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If you’ve got the urge for the thrill of the open road, the wind in your face,  and bugs in your teeth, a motorcycle could be in your future. While you might want to jump right onto a big 1923cc V-twin Harley, that’s probably not the best motorcycle for a beginner.

In fact, experts say that while you’re still learning, you should choose a motorcycle that isn’t too powerful to handle. That means choosing a motorcycle that isn’t too tall, too heavy, or with too much power. You also want to choose a bike that fits your height and size, especially when it comes to your feet reaching the ground. 

To get started, check out this list of the most popular motorcycles for beginners according to Kelley Blue Book

The most popular motorcycles for beginners

1. Kawasaki Ninja – The Kawasaki Ninja is Kawasaki’s smallest bike and a great choice for beginners. Its petite size and low seat height makes it a perfect choice for women and smaller adults. It has a 399c engine, which is the largest displacement in its category, and a smooth ride that makes it easy to manage. It still packs thrills for more experienced riders but is a great entry for those looking to get into sport biking. 

2. Yamaha YZF-R3 – This sportbike made its debut in 2015 and has been a popular choice ever since. The Yamaha YZF-R3 has legendary styling and a 321cc liquid-cooled engine and an ultra-light chassis, making it popular with beginning riders. The YZF-R3 weighs only 368 pounds fully-fueled and has a seat height of only 30.7 inches. It builds confidence by being small, light, and nimble. 

3. Honda CRF250L – Check out the Honda CRF250L for riding on the trail and in the city. This classic has a light and simple 249.6cc single-cylinder engine. It has rally bike styling with a tall windscreen and frame-mounted bodywork, and a comfortable seating position with 34.4-inch seat height. 

Other choices for beginning motorcycle riders

If you’re looking for a classic motorcycle style, try the Honda Rebel, which has been a favorite entry-level cruiser since the mid-’80s. Both the Honda Rebel 300 and the Honda Rebel 500 feature the lowest seat height on Kelley Blue Book’s list, and sport a 286cc and 471cc engines, respectively. Other choices for beginners that Kelley Blue Book put in their top 10 are the Honda CBR500R, the KTM Duke 390 street bike, and the Suzuki DR-Z400SM.

Whichever beginner motorcycle you choose to start your adventure with, look for lightweight bikes with low seat height. The seat height is probably the most important factor in determining whether a bike is going to work for you or not.

Types of motorcycles that work best for beginning riders are standard “naked” motorcycles and sportbikes. Naked motorcycles are popular because they have a nice, upright seat position so new riders don’t have to lean too far forward while they are getting used to cruising. 

Tips for beginner motorcyclists

Every new rider should be prepared to go on the road.  The best way to avoid accidents from the start is to take an advanced motorcycle safety course. This will teach new riders how to stop on gravel, emergency stops, and other motorcycle know-how that will save lives.

Beginning bikers should also be sure they understand lane position and wear the proper gear, including reflective clothing at night. 

Take time to research some of the bikes on this list and talk to experts to find the right beginning motorcycle for you. It will open you up to a whole new world of fun and excitement on the road.