Today’s motorcycles offer plenty of new technology. They’re also designed for various functions and types of riders. There are standard/retro, adventure, cruiser, superbike, supermoto, electric, and mini versions. But some people are looking for a motorcycle for beginners. The top pick of the bunch is the Kawasaki Ninja 400, according to Popular Mechanics.
The best motorcycle for beginners
Popular Mechanics suggests that beginners find a motorcycle with plenty of safety technology and not too much engine power. Entry-level motorcycles are less expensive and easier to maintain. They have a race bike’s looks but usually a single-cylinder engine of only 300 to 400 cc. Most manufacturers sell this type of motorcycle, but Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha are among the best.
To make its recommendations, Popular Mechanics compiled editors’ experiences, market research, surveys of industry professionals and owners, and interviews with motorcycle experts. The magazine picks the Kawasaki Ninja 400 as the best motorcycle for beginners.
About the Kawasaki Ninja 400
Popular Mechanics says the Kawasaki Ninja 400 is “lightweight, affordable, practical, and with cool looks.” With 3.7 gallons of fuel and all other fluids, the Ninja 400 weighs 366 pounds. It has a 399-cc parallel-twin engine and a six-speed transmission. The Ninja’s twin-cylinder engine doesn’t vibrate at highway speeds like some single-cylinder engines on other beginner motorcycles. According to Ultimate Motorcycling, the Kawasaki Ninja 400’s top speed is just over 100 mph. The engine is still manageable in traffic and parking lots. And it performs well on tight canyon roads.
According to Kawasaki, the Ninja 400 offers several important technology features. Its assist and slipper clutch gives a lighter clutch lever feel and helps prevent the rear tire from hopping and skidding. The Economical Riding Indicator provides feedback to new riders, helping them adjust throttle use, gear selection, and other riding conditions to optimize fuel efficiency.
Also available on the Kawasaki Ninja 400 are optional anti-lock brakes and the Ergo-Fit system, which helps customize the motorcycle to fit the rider best. The 2020 Ninja 400 comes in two color choices: Pearl Blizzard White and Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Magnetic Dark Gray/Phantom Blue.
The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 400 with anti-lock brakes starts at $5,299. That price includes the extra $300 for anti-lock brakes, which Popular Mechanics recommends. The Ninja 400’s 2019 and 2020 model years are the same, so buying a used one can help save money.
Other great beginner bikes
Popular Mechanics says the Suzuki SV650 ABS and the Honda NC750X are also good motorcycles for beginners. The Suzuki SV650 ABS offers plenty of power and offers Low RPM Assist to help keep the motorcycle from stalling. It has a 645-cc carbureted V-twin engine and weighs 437 pounds, according to Suzuki. The base MSRP of the Suzuki SV650 ABS is $7,499.
The Honda NC750X is even more powerful than the Suzuki SV650 ABS. It has a 745-cc parallel-twin engine and weighs 479 pounds, according to Honda. The NC750X also offers a storage compartment near the gas tank. There’s a second automatic transmission option, which adds $800 to the cost. The price starts at $8,099.
With a variety of motorcycles available, new riders should first consider ones designed for beginners. These bikes allow novices to develop their skills without having to handle too much power. Among entry-level motorcycles, the first to consider is the Kawasaki Ninja 400.