What's The Best Beginner Bike?

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

It’s a question we’re asked all the time: “What’s the best motorcycle for a new rider?” It’d be great if we could give the same answer every time, but in reality the answer depends on many factors – rider size, competency, wants, needs, and desires among them. Small displacement bikes are generally a good place to start, but read enough forum commenters and before long you’ll find someone who shares their tale of how they started on a literbike and lived to tell the tale.

Hence the subject of this poll. If you’ve read MO long enough, you’ll know we think new riders should typically start small and work their way up. But what about you? Which of these motorcycles would you recommend? Click on the up or down arrows beside each bike to rank them and have your say as to which beginner bike is best. Don’t see your preferred machine on the list? Tell us what it is in the comments section.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at Motorcycle.com in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

More by Troy Siahaan

Join the conversation
2 of 59 comments
  • Joe Dangelo Joe Dangelo on Jan 26, 2017

    None of the above. A scout or dyna.

  • Matthew Ebel Matthew Ebel on Mar 21, 2017

    Other than "something middleweight and torquey," it's kind of impossible to suggest a bike unless you know the rider's body type. Lots of friends suggested a Grom for me… jokingly. I'm 6'5". Most of the bikes on your list would be awkward and difficult to control for a tall beginner. You'd never suggest a Versys as a first bike, but it fit my body perfectly and was easy to control for my first few years.