Older, more experienced motorcycle enthusiasts often have loyalty to one brand and type of motorcycle. Yet for beginners, the number of models and amount of specs to review can be overwhelming! If you’re just getting started on two wheels, learn more about the best options for new riders.
Also called a “street cruiser”, this type is exemplified by the classic Harley-Davidson and is considered the quintessential motorcycle. Cruisers span a wider range of models, from a 250cc to a 2,300cc engine, to mid-century American motorcycles and heavier-duty Japanese models introduced in the 1980s and 1990s.
In terms of design, the typical cruiser has more metal than plastic on the exterior, although carbon fiber parts in more recent years have helped lighten the once-heavier weight. These bikes also tend to be situated lower, requiring the rider to sit upright or lean back a little.
Aside from these attributes, the ideal cruiser has a high-torque V-twin engine and bigger tires. As you get more immersed in motorcycle culture, you’ll find that when riders talk about custom bikes, they nearly always mean modifications to a cruiser.
A cruiser can also be a solid choice for beginners due to the slower speed, reduced power and ability to travel longer distances. Especially if you’re looking for a starter bike that will give you several years of use, the larger engine in a cruiser better handles wear and tear for longer trips and highway riding.
Popular Cruiser Models
Looking specifically at brand, the following motorcycles make good starter bikes:
- Honda Rebel: Narrow 471cc twin-cylinder engine, lightweight, low seat height
- Suzuki Intruder: Robust 155cc single-cylinder engine, comfortable riding position
- Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster: Rubber-mounted 883cc Air-Cooled Evolution® V-Twin engine, low riding position, precise handling
Beginners Should Avoid Sport Bikes
Sport bikes are built for speed, which can quickly get a new rider in trouble. The shorter frame can also make it more difficult for an inexperienced rider to keep the front tire on the ground. It takes skill to ride at this level and practice is needed to learn proper handling techniques.
What was your first motorcycle? If you have any advice for beginners choosing a first ride, head over to the comments on our Facebook page.