10 Best Beginner Motorcycles and Starter Bikes

Dec 31, 2023

Tags:motorcycleshelptips

The open road’s newest recruits are here, and you don’t plan on waiting. You’ve waited long enough, so here are the best beginner motorcycles in 2024. 

2024's best beginner motorcycles are pushing boundaries with cleaner engines, smarter tech like ADAS and connectivity, and sharper performance. We're seeing retro throwbacks alongside aggressive aesthetics while e-moto's roar louder and adventure bikes get even more rugged. 

Personalization is king (or queen), and sustainability is a growing focus, suggesting a future where two wheels are both thrilling and eco-conscious. From models like the Honda CB300R, Triumph’s Speed 400, the Kawasaki Eliminator, or classics like the Honda Rebel 300- here are our top 10 recommendations for beginner bikes.

How to Find the Best Beginner Motorcycle

  • Engine: We’ve all probably heard about this one already, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you recently completed the MSF safety course, you likely learned to ride with a 125-250cc engine. As a rule of thumb, it’s normally recommended not to go over 500cc for your first bike.  
  • Motorcycle Weight: The average bike weighs around 600-700 pounds, but it’s better to aim for a 300-400 weight range. This provides enough stability without being too cumbersome, making it easier to handle, especially for those new to riding. 
  • Cost: Well- it’s your first bike. There’s a higher probability of some scratches and dings, so it’s normally not advisable to buy your dream motorcycle on the first go-around. If you’re buying used, it’s easy to find one of these bike models (or similar) for under $5k. If you’re buying new, there are plenty of bikes available in the $4-10k range. 
  • Speed: Don’t seek more speed right off the bat. It’s important to learn what you can handle and to follow the rules of the road. We recommend bikes that don’t go any faster than 80-120 mph as good beginner motorcycles. 
  • Safety Features: With modern advancements breaking barriers in the motorcycle industry each year, bikes just keep getting better. For your first bike, prioritizing safety will be in your best interest. Look for bikes with ABS, GPS systems, and more. 
  • Terrain: If you’re new to riding, chances are you might want to try out different terrain. Finding a bike that can handle different types of riding might be on your list. 

Honda 2024 CB 300R

Stock picture of a yellow Honda 2024 CB300R best motorcycle for beginners

$5,149 MSRP

The 2024 Honda CB300R, a beacon in the lightweight motorcycle category, strikes a perfect balance between performance and practicality. Weighing just 317 pounds, this neo-sports café racer houses a spirited 286cc single-cylinder engine, offering a harmonious blend of power and manageability, ideal for beginners. It stands with a comfortable 31.5-inch seat height, catering to a diverse range of riders, while the standard Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) ensures heightened safety on unpredictable roads. With its sleek, minimalist design inspired by its larger CB series siblings, the CB300R is not only a visual treat but also a customizable canvas, thanks to Honda's range of personalization options. Its affordability, coupled with its compelling features, makes the 2024 Honda CB300R a standout choice for those seeking a stylish, agile, and cost-effective entry into the motorcycling world.

BMW 2024 G 310 GS

bmw 2024 g 310 good beginner bike

$5,890 MSRP

The BMW G 31GS, a standout in entry-level adventure bikes, blends urban versatility with off-road capability. This agile machine, weighing 374 pounds, is propelled by a 313cc single-cylinder engine, providing a smooth yet lively ride that's suitable for both new riders and seasoned adventurers. With a seat height of 32.9 inches, adjustable to accommodate different riders, and standard ABS for enhanced safety, it's engineered for confidence across varying terrains. Drawing design inspiration from its larger GS counterparts, it offers a robust suspension system and adjustable clutch and brake levers for personalized comfort and control. The G 310 GS, embodying BMW's signature style and quality, presents an affordable gateway into adventure biking, ensuring a thrilling, reliable experience for everyday commutes and exploratory rides alike.

Suzuki 2024 250r ABS

Stock picture of a red and black 2024 Suzuki 250GSX250r ABS best motorcycle for beginners

$5,099 MSRP

The 2024 Suzuki GSX250R ABS is a standout entry-level sport bike, combining a sleek, aerodynamic design with approachable riding dynamics. Powered by a 248cc parallel-twin engine, it strikes a balance between responsive performance and manageable power, ideal for new riders or daily commuting. Weighing in at 392 pounds and featuring a comfortable seat height of 31.1 inches, it offers easy handling and accessibility for a variety of riders. Enhanced with an Anti-Lock Braking System for improved safety, the GSX250R ABS also sports a digital LCD dashboard for modern functionality. Its design echoes Suzuki's racing legacy, making it not only a practical choice for beginners but also an attractive, affordably priced option for those aspiring for a taste of sport bike exhilaration.

Triumph 2024 Speed 400

triumph 2024 speed 400 great beginner motorcycle

$4,995 MSRP

The 2024 Triumph Speed 400 is a classic entrant in the mid-size classic motorcycle arena, blending timeless elegance with contemporary performance. At its core is a 399cc single-cylinder engine, which provides a smooth yet potent ride appealing to both beginners and experienced riders. Weighing 375 pounds and with a rider-friendly seat height of 31.1 inches, it offers easy handling and comfort. Triumph's dedication to craftsmanship shines through in the Speed 400's retro design, reminiscent of the classic Speed Twin. Yet, it's equipped with modern necessities like ABS and a hybrid digital-analog display. This motorcycle is more than a nod to the past; it's a well-rounded machine that marries classic allure with the practicality and reliability needed for today's roads. It makes it a great choice for beginners who value Triumph’s heritage design paired with modern riding dynamics.

Royal Enfield 2024 Himalayan

Stock picture of a black and grey 2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan best motorcycle for beginners

$5,449 MSRP

The 2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan is a well-known adventure motorcycle, embodying durability and simplicity for both off-road capabilities and city rides. It features a 452cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine, well-suited for varied terrains. At 432 pounds, it offers a stable, grounded experience with a comfortable 31.7-inch seat height. The bike's rugged design prioritizes functionality and ease of maintenance, which is essential for long-distance. Equipped with switchable ABS and a digital compass, the Himalayan is both practical and adventure-ready. Its straightforward, no-frills approach, combined with an attractive price point, makes it a popular choice for seasoned adventurers and newcomers alike keen to experience the thrill of adventure motorcycling in its most authentic form.

Kawasaki 2024 Eliminator

Stock picture of a silver and black 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator best motorcycle for beginners

MSRP ABS: $6,949

The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator is an ideal beginner's motorcycle, offering a balance between power and manageability that's perfect for new and intermediate riders. It features a 451cc parallel-twin engine derived from the Ninja 400, providing enough punch for a fun riding experience while still being approachable. The bike's sport-cruiser style, combined with a chassis and ergonomics that fall between a cruiser and a standard bike, make for a controllable yet comfortable experience. It's lightweight at 386 pounds for the base model, making it easy to handle. Its mid-mount footpegs, slightly leaned-forward riding position, and low seat height of 28.9 inches add to accessibility. While its exhaust note might not match the traditional cruiser rumble, Kawasaki’s overall performance and comfort make it an excellent choice for those starting their motorcycling journey.

Honda 2024 Rebel 300

honda rebel 300 great beginner bike 2024

$4,849 MSRP

We’re not sure any “best beginners motorcycle” article would be complete without Honda’s Rebel 300. Honda offers two Rebels, 300 & 500, both perfect for your first starter bike. The Rebel 300 combines style, performance, and affordability. It features a 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine, delivering a robust 27.4 horsepower and a six-speed transmission for a top speed of around 95 mph. Its fuel efficiency is notable, with an estimated 78 miles per gallon. Designed with a lightweight frame and low center of gravity, the Rebel 300 offers ease of handling and a fun riding experience, making it perfect for new riders. The bike also prioritizes rider comfort and safety, likely featuring a relaxed riding position, smooth suspension, ABS, and potential advanced technology additions like a digital instrument cluster and smartphone connectivity. From Honda itself, “...this two-wheeled blank canvas becomes a beacon of your individuality.”

Honda 2024 Grom

Stock picture of a white 2024 Honda Grom best motorcycles for beginners

$3,599 MSRP

The 2024 Honda Grom is an excellent beginner motorcycle due to its compact size and manageable power. With a 123.9cc engine, it offers enough performance for learning and city commuting without being overwhelming. It has a lightweight design of 224 pounds and a seat height of 30 inches, making it easy for new riders to handle and maneuver. The Grom's ease of customization also allows beginners to personalize their ride without much complexity. These features, combined with its affordability, make the Honda Grom a great choice for those starting their motorcycling journey without the intimidation of a larger bike. 

Yamaha 2024 MT-03

Stock picture of a teal and black 2024 Yamaha MT-03 best motorcycles for beginners

$4,999 MSRP

The 2024 Yamaha MT-03 is a remarkable motorcycle, especially suitable for beginners due to its blend of performance and manageability. It features a 321cc liquid-cooled two-cylinder engine, which ensures smooth power delivery, making it easy for new riders to manage. The bike's lightweight design, ergonomic riding position, and seat height of 30.7 inches make it accessible and comfortable for a variety of riders. Its aggressive MT design, with dual position lights and a singular LED headlight, gives it a distinct street presence. The inclusion of advanced features like a six-speed transmission, modern fuel injection, and a compact exhaust system adds to its appeal. With inverted KYB front forks and potent braking with standard ABS, the Yamaha MT-03 promises a confident ride.

Kawasaki 2024 NINJA ZX-4RR 

Stock picture of a green, blue, and white 2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4RR 40th anniversary edition ABS best motorcycles for beinners

[40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION ABS]

$10,299 MSRP

The 2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4RR 40th Anniversary Edition ABS is a remarkable entry in the supersport motorcycle category, designed for both performance enthusiasts and those new to riding. It is powered by a 399cc in-line four-cylinder engine, ensuring a blend of power and control. The bike features a 6-speed manual transmission, a trellis frame for agility, and a sophisticated suspension system with a 37mm inverted fork and horizontal back-link rear suspension. Safety and rider support are enhanced with Kawasaki Traction Control, a Quick Shifter, and ABS. Its ergonomic design includes a 31.5-inch seat height and a curb weight of 414.5 pounds, making it accessible to a wide range of riders. The Ninja ZX-4RR stands out with its integrated riding modes, TFT color instrumentation, and smartphone connectivity, offering a high-tech riding experience for beginners.

Purchasing the Best Beginner Motorcycle for You

Choosing the best beginner motorcycle is a personal journey that requires careful consideration. It's highly recommended for new riders to test-ride various models before making a purchase. This hands-on experience is invaluable as you may not be familiar with what to look for in a bike or understand your preferences just yet. Renting a motorcycle for a few days to casually explore different types and styles can provide a clearer picture of what suits you best, ensuring you make a well-informed decision that enhances your riding experience from the start.