Based on your responses you are a beginner motorcycle rider that has an above-average height, a higher than average weight, and 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., riding ATVs, jet skis, 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 want to give you some insight into how your factors drove us to those suggestions.
Riders with above-average height will definitely want to stay away from some of the beginner rider marketed motorcycles being produced in recent years like the Honda Grom and Yamaha 125Z. With your frame, they are simply going to probably feel cramped to you and perhaps a bit like a mini-bike (and we know that you also indicated you have a higher than average weight which further steers away from the smaller beginner bike options) However, there certainly are more conventional starter bikes for someone of your size, and we’ll have some recommendations below that as you’ll see really cover a wide part of the motorcycle engine size spectrum.
Riders with a higher than average weight may find that the recommendations on the smaller end of our list below (ex. 300 cc Honda Rebel) may simply not be powerful enough to allow you to accelerate within the normal range and you may cause more than one driver following you to become frustrated. Additionally, if the motorcycle is underpowered, accelerating properly on to highways and maintaining appropriate speeds at the higher speed limits (65-75 MPH) may be difficult or even impossible so you won’t find us recommending to a rider of your size and stature the lower cc options that commonly are recommended to beginner motorcycle riders.
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
2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400
At the lower end of recommendations for a rider with higher than average height and weight, we start out with a lower-end sport bike. 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.
2008 Suzuki GS500
For a taller rider like yourself, someone who knows how to operate a manual transmission, and for someone who has good relevant riding experiences, you really could consider going into the 500 cc range and still have a motorcycle that won’t overpower you and let you begin your starter years with a bike that is more likely to fit your frame than some of the smaller options out there. The GS500 is a good solid bike Suzuki made for years but abandoned when manufacturers seemed to gravitate either to larger bikes (600+ cc) and to smaller engine bikes (400 or less cc) for market reasons. However, there are still a lot of used GS500s out there that will work out well for you and save you money at the same time.
2005 Harley Davidson Sportster 883
If you’re looking to start out on an American motorcycle, there just simply aren’t that many options for a beginner as most of the American bikes are cruisers of the 1,000+ range. However, Harley Davison puts out a great sub 1,000 cc bike they call a “Sportster” or as is sometimes simply referred to as the 883. As the name implies, the Sportsters has an 883 cc engine and this is the bike that helped Harley Davidson crawl out of the grave back in the 1980s. For a bigger rider like you with good experiences and skills, starting out with an 883 is an option and with its low 27.5″ seat height, its heavy 560 lb will be more manageable. There are multiple benefits of starting out with a bigger bike and one of which is that the chances of you quickly wanting to upgrade as soon as you are comfortable riding, will be less if you’re riding a bike with a more substantial engine as this “Hog” offers you.
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: