Based on your responses you are a beginner motorcycle rider that about an average rider height, your weight is lower than average, and you also indicated you know how to operate a manual transmission and you have a higher than average amount of relevant experience. These different factors tell us a few things about you that allow us to make some customized recommendations for you as a beginner rider. Below we’ll explain how these factors steer our recommendations and then below that, we’ll give you a couple of specific beginner motorcycle recommendations.
Riders with average height will want to stay away from the very smallest (in terms of engine/cc size) available out there such as say a Honda Grom as it just may be too small of a bike for your frame and lead to uncomfortable riding. The good news is that there are a lot of great choices (of different makes/models) of the entry-level size motorcycle an average height rider like you can look for.
Riders with lower than average weight, have to be a bit careful to avoid a motorcycle that will have too strong of an engine or perhaps be too heavy of a motorcycle as you’re going to have to “wrestle with that motorcycle” when you are parking the bike say in a parking spot or a garage stall. As is often the case, since there is no reverse on motorcycles (there are a VERY few motorcycles that have such a thing but they are touring bikes on the massive end of the weight scale) you’ll have to manually push the bike in and out of situations where it needs to be backed up … so we’re going to avoid recommending a bike that might be too much for a lighter weight beginner to handle (we’d recommend you stay away from anything over say 500 cc).
The good news is that you indicated you have a lot of relevant riding experiences and you can drive a manual transmission, so the challenge of learning to ride a motorcycle is less profound. So, with that piece of information, we feel more comfortable providing you with some more powerful beginner motorcycle options than another beginner rider with the same physical stature but without your background and skills.
Our Recommended Beginner Motorcycles for YOU
2017 Honda Rebel 300
Probably the most successfully marketed beginner motorcycle of all, the Honda Rebel, has for decades been a go-to bike for beginner riders. Honda has not rested on its laurels but instead, update and upgraded its hit of a motorcycle over the years recently upgrading the engine size from 250 cc to its current 300 cc form. And, they’ve worked hard to give the Rebel 300 an appealing look with a unique combination of the old school, new school, and minimalist school elements. Lastly, at a 27″ seat height it is even lower than its “little brother Grom,” yet with a more than double the size motor which may appeal to you if you’re thinking that a Grom’s 125 cc is going to be too small for you.
2021 Yamaha MT-3
Yamaha has worked hard to provide a beginner-oriented motorcycle in the “Naked” street bike genre. After having tons of success in the higher cc range, they’ve finally put out a smaller 300 cc (technically, 321 cc) powered option and the results are impressive. At 373 lb, it is the heaviest of our recommendations here but with a 30″ seat height, the bike should be a good fit for most beginner riders in the low to medium height and weight ranges. The 2021 version of the MT-3 comes it at about $4,500 which makes a new motorcycle within the range of many beginner riders.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Way back in 1983, Kawasaki invented a class of motorcycles by introducing the Kawasaki Ninja 250. The bike was a big success as it found a sweet spot for a motorcycle that offered beginner-level power yet with inspiring sport bike looks and a great price. The other manufacturers eventually offered competing options and Kawasaki has evolved its Ninja ever since with the most recent evolution coming in 2018 when Kawasaki upgraded its previous Ninja 300 series to a Ninja 400. These little Ninja’s have always been great starter bikes and for a rider with your level of relevant experiences, a Ninja 400 may be a great way for you to learn to ride.
For a list of other recommended motorcycles for beginners, check out our beginner motorcycle blog section that has a variety of articles for folks looking into learning to ride motorcycles such as: