Based on your responses to our questions, you are a beginner motorcycle rider with about an average height, an average weight, and yet you also indicated that you both know how to drive a manual transmission vehicle and you have a lot of relevant riding experiences (e.g., like riding ATVs, jet skis, and/or dirt bikes). So with these inputs, we’ve come up with some specific motorcycle make/model recommendations at the bottom of this page. But first, we’ll give you some insights into how your factors drove us to those suggestions.
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 about an average weight, have some good options for their beginner years because they are not perhaps so light that we have to avoid a beginner motorcycle that will have an engine that will be too underutilized for their light frame. And, we also don’t need to avoid the opposite that we might for a rider with a higher than average weight (opposite in the sense that we don’t have to be concerned about choosing a motorcycle that is not powerful enough).
The good news is that you indicated you have a lot of relevant riding experiences and you can drive manual transmissions, so the challenge of learning to ride a motorcycle is less profound. So, that being the case (along with your average height and weight), below, we’re going to recommend some motorcycles that are normally not mentioned as good starter bikes because of their engine size. Many riders have learned on motorcycles that are far from your 250-300 cc motorcycle that is typical/safer recommendations and so you may just have what it takes to learn on something bigger. Of course, you HAVE TO DECIDE what is right for you and if the larger bikes feel like too much to you, don’t go that route.
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.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Taking a step up in power and weight, we introduce a Ninja to the recommendations. 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.
2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
A totally cool retro-looking bike that is part of a bigger comeback by a 100+ year old motorcycle company (Royal Enfield) is the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 made in the country of India and now available in the USA and most of Europe. At 650 cc, this is larger than your typical beginner bike but the very standard/traditional configuration of the motorcycle is just about ideal for a new rider to learn on. At 450 lb though, that weight will show up at stop signs and moving in and out of parking lots so be prepared for that challenge if you go this route. But overall the Interceptor 650 could be a good fit for your physical stature and the larger than normal beginner bike engine could keep you from wanting to upgrade as soon as you feel you’re no longer a beginner rider.
2018 Indian Scout
By far, the least conventional beginner bike recommendation on this list is the Indian Scout (Indian motorcycles are an offshoot of the ATV company – Polaris headquartered in Minnesota). And, at 1200 cc, the engine is 4-times the size of our first recommendation – the Rebel 300. So, you’re probably wondering why we would make such a recommendation and it comes down to two things. 1) Indian motorcycle company worked very hard to put the seat height of this motorcycle down as low as they could and pulled off a bit of a miracle at 25.5″ and this low seat height means this heavier bike (about 560 lb) will be more manageable as it has a low center of gravity that somewhat neutralizes that heavier weight. And 2), there are some of you that are simply not interested in buying a beginner motorcycle only to be having to upgrade to a larger more powerful motorcycle later when you’re comfortable riding and so this Scout, with its lower seat height, may allow you to both learn safely and have a bike you’ll be content with for many years.
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: