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Finding the best beginner motorcycle can be tough for a new motorcycle rider or a potential one. Unlike cars, the style of motorcycle you ride will likely dictate the kind of riding you do. This is why picking the right bike is even more important than picking the right car. These are the best beginner motorcycles for new motorcycle riders across multiple categories. 

The 2021 Royal Enfield Himalaya cruising through the mountains. This bike is one of the best for new motorcycle riders.
2021 Royal Enfield Himalaya | Royal Enfield

How to choose the best beginner motorcycle?

Our friends at Gear Patrol noted that one of the most important aspects of picking out a bike for a new motorcycle rider is comfort. The footpegs and handlebars control the riding position. These parts have to work with your body shape, size, and riding preference to make a positive and comfortable riding experience. 

Secondly, the size of the bike should be taken into account with the size of the rider. This doesn’t necessarily mean engine size; although the two often coordinate, the size means the height and weight. While moving, these two things don’t have to be all-important, but when coming to a stop or slowly wheeling through a parking lot will get much harder when riding a taller, heavier bike. 

No matter your size, a new rider should be able to stand over the bike with their feet flat on the ground. In some cases, the balls of your feet can be ok, but the bike shouldn’t have to lean for a rider to get a foot on the ground. Aside from that, most of these tips are just suggestions. Feel free to explore and find what works for you. 

The Triumph Trident 660 is the best beginner naked motorcycle 

Naked bikes are basically sportbikes without the aero fairings. These tend to be common commuter bikes for city dwellers. Because of their sporty nature also tend to be on the smaller and lighter end of things, making them a bit more manageable for new motorcycle riders. 

Right off the top, the Triumph isn’t the cheapest bike, but hey, rich folks got to start somewhere too, right? The 2021 Triumph Trident 660 starts at $8,195. While that may be pricy, it is wise always to buy gear that you love whenever starting a new hobby. This may sound silly, but it raises the chances of sticking with it if you love the gear itself. 

This triple-cylinder, 72-hp bike may be a little powerful for some new motorcycle riders, but Triumph has something called “Rain Mode” that lowers the power to be safer in the rain. This feature is huge for new riders. The Trident also weighs under 500lbs, which is a great beginner motorcycle weight. Given the 32-inch seat height makes this bike a great starter for most folks 5’7-6’3. 

The Husqvarna Svartpilen is a perfect beginner’s bike for anyone looking to scramble

The scrambler-style bike is making a serious comeback. People like Steve McQueen famously road scrambler-style bikes through the desert. But, back in those days, most scramblers had to be customized to work off-road. The Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is set up from the factory to work beautifully on-road and off. 

These bikes are small, light, and affordable. Although the looks can be a bit polarizing, the Svartpilen is a standout bike whether moving or sitting still. With a starting price of $4,999, this little scrambler is hard to beat for any new motorcycle rider. 

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is the perfect adventure bike for beginners 

The 2021 Himalaya riding through the forest. This bike is one of the best beginner motorcycles.
2021 Royal Enfield Himalaya | Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield has been leading the industry in cool since before the war. Even new models like the 2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan somehow conjures that vintage vibe that we all love so much. 

The Himalayan is a newer model that lets new riders try their hands at adventure riding without investing $10k in a BMW GS or Honda Africa Twin. The Himalayan is a bit taller to be effective in its segment, but it still has a clever enough seat design to work for many different riders. 

The 25-hp thumper engine is mild and friendly. One of the dangers for new riders is having an underpowered bike that they outgrow too quickly. Even though the Himalayan is rubbing up against being underpowered, it manages to stay peppy enough to make for a fun off-roader for even seasoned riders. 

All of that beginner greatness can be yours for only $4,999.

Don’t fear the Indian Scout Bobber because it’s bigger

Two riders look at the motorcycles for sale at an Indian dealership
Two riders look at the motorcycles for sale at an Indian dealership | David Brewster/Star Tribune via Getty Images

5 of the Most Affordable New Cruiser Motorcycles for Beginners

The Honda Rebel has been the go-to beginner cruiser motorcycle for decades. However, we shouldn’t be relegated to one slow cruiser. The Indian Scout Bobber is the best bike for beginners if you want something with a little thump. 

The 78-hp v-twin will give you plenty of power and rumble if that is what you are after. Let’s be honest; very few new motorcycle riders buy a bike to fill a practical need. No, most bikers come to the segment to fulfill a dream. And, if that dream is to ride a big American v-twin, then these little Honda’s and Triumphs simply won’t cut it. 

The Indian Scout Bobber gives riders a sensible entry point to big v-twin bikes without the pressure, messiness, and price of Harley-Davidson. The Indian Scout isn’t cheap, with a starting price of $9,799, but it is a quality bike that will make many new motorcycle riders very happy.