Each motorcycle has a long list of features to consider, but I have narrowed it down to a handful that will help you choose the best beginner motorcycle. These are basic common criteria to look for in each motorcycle that should help you when you’re shopping for your new adventure. If you would like to get a better understanding of the different types of motorcycles, please visit my previous blog on A Beginner’s Guide to Types of Motorcycles I & II respectively.
As a new rider, one of the things to keep in mind is the seat height and how it reflects on your inseam. When you reach a point where you need to stop and put a foot or both feet down, the seat height will need to accommodate the length of your legs. If the seat height is too tall, a shorter inseam will require you to lean the motorcycle over just to be able to put a foot down or possibly have to stand on your tiptoes to keep the motorcycle upright and stable. On the opposite side, a shorter motorcycle and a longer inseam may also be uncomfortable because it’s almost too easy to touch the ground. Finding the balance of seat height and inseam length is needed, and most likely they need to stay within a few inches of each other for a rider to feel comfortable with stopping and standing.
Like seat height, handlebar height affects your rider posture which affects your fatigue level and comfort while you ride. You need to be able to reach the hand controls easily when seated on the motorcycle. You should not have to reach too far to use the controls, nor lean too far to reach the controls. Your elbows should be slightly bent when you sit on the motorcycle and reach for the controls, which will allow you to stay comfortable and alert as you ride
Engine Size Less Than 600cc
A 600cc engine size is a general starting point for beginner riders. A 600cc cruiser may have half the horsepower of a 600cc sportbike, so it will be dependent on the rider to find where they are comfortable with the type of motorcycle they are interested in. Secondly, a larger rider may find a 600cc motorcycle is too small to fit comfortably, while a smaller rider may find the same motorcycle too large. Again, it is a starting point for consideration, but you as the rider need to find what fits best and works best for you.
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Most motorcycles will have a standard braking system that does not involve a computer to keep the brakes from locking with too much application. Some models you find will have an anti-lock braking system as standard fare, but most will keep it as an add-on feature if you want to purchase it. Why ABS is notable is that it will keep the tires and brakes from locking and skidding if you apply the brakes too hard. As a new rider, you will be more likely to over-apply the brakes than worry about not applying them enough in a panic-stop situation.
Windscreen / Fairing
Having a windscreen or fairing on the front of your motorcycle will allow you to tuck behind it to stay out of the wind and weather. Having to lean forward to fight against the force of the wind as you ride makes you tired on a longer ride. The higher speed also equates to more wind force, so a highway ride without a windscreen may cause more fatigue compared to riding with something to block the wind. A windscreen will also block small rocks and bugs as you ride, like a windshield in your car. Overall, it will keep you cleaner and more energized on your ride than riding without.
Making the choice to buy a new or used power bike is always a tough decision. So if you are looking for the best cruiser motorcycle or the best sports motorcycle for beginners, I have you covered. Next week, I will be discussing a bit about my very first power bike and motorcycles I recommend for beginners.