Best Motorcycle for a New Rider?

Awesome website, I really enjoy reading it!

I’m a new rider, and I’m looking to purchase my first bike. I’ve been looking at a Honda CX500, but I was wondering if you could recommend some other beginner models. I’m looking for a standard style bike, under $1,000. I’m 5’7″ tall, 160 lbs. I’m not totally new to motorcycles, but i’ve never personally owned a bike.

I’m looking for a model that is:

1) Reliable/ easy to maintain for a new wrencher
2) Be good at city riding, but occasional open highway rides as well
3) Good power, speed and handling

If you could recommend a few models, I’d appreciate it!

Thanks very much!

Wow – this sure is a can of worms!!

I have very strong opinions on what makes a good beginner bike. I suppose in a world full of sport bikes and big egos the CX500 would make a reasonable choice, but I’d encourage you to look at something smaller.

The best platform for learning proficient motorcycle handling skills is an off road bike. Training on an offroad bike in offroad conditions will give you a great understanding of the physics of motorcycling and how the bike will react to different surfaces and under different conditions. It will also allow you to learn how to react in a safe environment where you can practice, fall, and won’t put yourself in danger. Because of this I recommend an enduro style bike like a Yamaha XT225, XT350, or Suzuki DR350.

However, I also recognize that no everyone wants an enduro (why I have no idea smile ) but in lieu of those bikes I would push you towards a street going twin cylinder bike of 400cc or less. The Yamaha XS400 is a favorite of mine, the Kawasaki KZ400, Honda CB350 and CL350. Those are all excellent starter bikes that are reasonably light weight, have lower seat heights for improved control, and have plenty of power to get you into trouble, but are mellow and fun to ride. Any of those models can be found in good running shape for $1000 or less, but they will require tinkering as they are all older models. (Tinkering is the best part!).

Evan Fell

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