Best 2nd Motorcycle: Choosing Your Second Bike

Apr 5, 2024


a row of different motorcycles parked on a wet asphalt parking lot choosing your second bike

When choosing the best second motorcycle for you as a rider, the choice often hinges on expanding riding experiences beyond what your current bike offers. Whether you're looking for something to complement a daily commuter with off-road capabilities, a sporty ride for the weekends, or a long-distance tourer, selecting a motorcycle that differs from your first can broaden your riding skills and enjoyment. This guide will outline some of the best options for an intermediate motorcycle, categorized to suit various riding styles and preferences.

Helpful articles related to choosing your 2nd motorcycle:

Best Intermediate Motorcycles 

  1. BMW F 750 GS
  2. Kawasaki Versys 650
  3. KTM 690 Enduro R
  4. Honda Shadow Phantom
  5. Harley-Davidson Road Glide
  6. Ducati Scrambler Icon
  7. Triumph Street Triple
  8. Suzuki DR650GS
  9. Harley-Davidson Sportster S
  10. Honda CB500F

1. BMW F 750 GS

stock picture of a red, white, and blue BMW F 750 GS choosing your second motorcycle

  • 853 cc, two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine
  • 77 hp
  • 61 lb-ft torque at 6,000 rpm

The BMW F 750 GS is a great second bike for those ready to step up their ride. It’s super versatile, easily handling city streets and rougher paths, thanks to cool features like ABS Pro, Dynamic Traction Control, and LED lights. You can even customize it with different ride modes. Plus, it's got an option for a really low seat, making it super easy to hop on and start your next adventure. It's the bike that makes you want to explore more, offering a smooth ride and the freedom to make it fit just right for you.

2. Kawasaki Versys 650

Stock picture of a black and red Kawasaki Versys 650 choosing your second motorcycle

  • 649 cc, two-cylinder four-stroke engine
  • Great for touring with a relaxed position
  • 44.8 lb-ft torque

The Versys® 650 makes an excellent second bike for riders looking to expand their horizons beyond daily commutes or local jaunts. Its blend of city smarts and adventure-ready features means it can easily switch from being a reliable partner for daily rides to becoming your go-to for longer, more exciting journeys. Its long-travel suspension smooths out rough roads, and the adjustable windscreen and fuel-efficient engine make longer trips more comfortable and economical. Plus, with the added perks of smartphone connectivity and Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), you’re getting a tech-savvy ride that keeps you in control and connected no matter where you roam. Whether upgrading for more comfort, capability, or connectivity, the Versys® 650 is a versatile choice that covers all the bases for your next adventure.

3. KTM 690 Enduro R

stock picture of a orange KTM 690 Enduro R motorcycle choosing your second motorcycle

  • 692.7 cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine
  • 73.75 hp
  • Great choice for on and off-road riding

The KTM 690 ENDURO R is a solid pick for riders moving up to an intermediate level, blending power with cutting-edge tech. Its light frame and long-travel suspension mean it's nimble on tricky terrain but stable on the road. The bike's engine is all about quick, smooth power, and the 6-speed gearbox with Quickshifter+ makes shifting seamless. You also have top-notch control and safety features, like Motorcycle Traction Control and Cornering ABS, to keep rides smooth and safe. Plus, its unique fuel tank design and adjustable suspension let you customize the bike to suit your ride style perfectly. It's a versatile bike that's as ready for off-road adventures as for cruising the streets.

4. Honda Shadow Phantom

stock picture of a grey and black Honda Shadow phantom choosing your second motorcycle

  • 745 cc, liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin four-stroke engine
  • Excellent safety features with stylish upgrades & customization options

The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom is an excellent choice for a second motorcycle, especially for riders looking to step into the cruiser category with a machine that blends classic styling with modern enhancements. Introducing a powerful new rear disc brake with an optional ABS feature ensures superior, linear stopping power, elevating the riding experience with added safety and control. Its design updates, including new paint, graphics, a refreshed headlight cover, machined-edge cylinder-head fins, and updated instruments, inject a contemporary flair into its traditional cruiser silhouette. Its 745cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine, combined with a wide-ratio five-speed transmission and shaft drive, provides a smooth, reliable ride. Low seat height and manageable curb weight make it accessible for a wide range of riders, making it a great next step for those looking to explore the cruiser lifestyle with a bike that's as easy to handle as it is on the eyes.

5. Harley-Davidson Road Glide

stock picture of a blue Harley Davidson Road glide choosing your second bike

  • 1,917 cc
  • 105 hp
  • 130 lb.-ft. @ 3,250 rpm
  • Great for touring with more bells & whistles than a beginner bike

With its cutting-edge audio experience powered by Rockford Fosgate® Stage II speakers, the Harley-Davidson Road Glide offers a compelling reason to make it your second motorcycle. This machine doesn't just deliver on the open road with its powerful Milwaukee-Eight® 117 engine and robust chassis but also enhances every ride with unmatched sound quality, from ultra-clear highs to ground-thumping bass, all engineered to withstand the rigors of motorcycle riding. Its comprehensive infotainment system, designed for easy use with the Skyline™ OS touchscreen, brings your music and navigation to life, ensuring a seamless connection throughout your journey. The Road Glide stands out with purpose-built features for durability against water, dirt, UV, and vibration, ensuring your investment lasts. Whether cruising the city streets or embarking on cross-country tours, the Road Glide's combination of performance, comfort, and top-tier audio makes it an excellent choice for riders looking to upgrade their experience without compromising the thrill of the ride.

6. Ducati Scrambler Icon

stock picture of a yellow, white, and black ducati scrambler icon choosing your 2nd motorcycle

  • 803 cc
  • 48.1 lb-ft (65.2 Nm) @ 7,000 rpm
  • Enhanced safety features with numerous customization options
  • Classic charm with modern tech

The Ducati Scrambler Icon is a prime choice for a second bike, especially for those looking to delve into a mix of classic charm and modern tech. It keeps its unmistakable Scrambler look while introducing a fresher, more contemporary design and advanced features. Its enhanced customizability sets it apart for intermediate riders, offering nine different color options and accessory kits to make it your own. The bike is lighter, more agile, and has a more comfortable seat for two, making rides enjoyable for both the rider and passenger. The next-gen electronics, including a 4.3” TFT display, Ducati multimedia system readiness, and full LED lighting, elevate the riding experience to new heights. Safety features like cornering ABS and adjustable Ducati Traction Control, combined with two riding modes, Road and Sport, ensure a secure ride in various conditions. The Scrambler's L-Twin engine provides ample power while remaining fuel-efficient, and its upgraded frame and suspension offer improved handling. 

7. Triumph Street Triple RS

stock picture of a black, grey, and red triumph street triple rs choosing your second bike

  • 765 cc, liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder engine
  • Great for daily commutes and occasional touring

The Triumph Street Triple 765 is an ideal second bike for riders seeking a perfect blend of everyday usability and exhilarating performance. It's comfortable enough for daily commutes and occasional touring yet possesses the cool factor to stand out at social gatherings and the agility for thrilling laps on the track. Starting at an accessible price point, it offers remarkable value for a sports naked bike. The Street Triple's evolution from its 2007 debut has maintained its lively character, now further enhanced with the 765cc upgrade for a superior power-to-weight ratio. 

8. Suzuki DR650GS

stock picture of a black suzuki dr650gs choosing your second bike

  • 644 cc, oil-cooled, four-stroke, single-engine
  • All-around dependable dual-purpose motorcycle

The Suzuki DR650S stands as a versatile and dependable dual-purpose motorcycle, perfect for riders looking for a machine that excels on both the pavement and dirt. Its durable 644cc, oil-cooled, four-stroke engine and robust steel frame deliver reliable performance across various terrains. Adjusting the seat height makes it accessible to a wider range of riders, while the electric start, smooth transmission, and easy-pull clutch enhance its ease of use. Whether cruising through town, embarking on a highway adventure, or exploring trails, the DR650S has high-quality suspension, brakes, and strong aluminum rims to ensure a comfortable and trouble-free ride. 

9. Harley-Davidson Sportster S

stock picture of a harley davidson sportster s choosing your second motorcycle

  • 1252 cc
  • Compact fuel capacity
  • Great mixture of heritage & performance

The Harley-Davidson® Sportster S is a fantastic second bike for those looking to elevate their riding experience. It's a perfect mix of heritage and performance, offering quick acceleration, nimble handling, and fun. With a sporty yet accessible seat height and a balanced weight, it's comfortable for various riders. The bike's modern specs, including radial tires and efficient power use, make it versatile for city rides and longer journeys. If you're after a bike that combines the thrill of riding with Harley's iconic style, the Sportster S could be your ideal match.

10. Honda CB500F

stock picture of a black honda cb500f motorcycle choosing your second bike

  • 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin four-stroke engine
  • Affordable, lightweight, with a streetfighter aesthetic

The Honda CB500F exemplifies the ideal balance between performance, affordability, and riding pleasure, making it an excellent choice as an introductory motorcycle and a lasting companion on the road. Drawing from the legacy of Honda's 350 twins, which showcased the potential for fun and quality in motorcycling, the CB500F continues this tradition with its 500cc twin engine. It's lightweight and affordable, with a powerband that's easy to manage for new riders yet satisfying for the experienced, thanks to its midrange horsepower and versatile performance. The bike's narrow profile enhances its streetfighter aesthetic, ensuring it remains stylish and agile in urban environments. Unlike others in its class, the CB500F doesn't compromise on components, featuring high-quality parts such as a 41mm Showa SFF-BP fork, dual front brake discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers, and standard ABS. With its size striking the perfect middle ground and its exceptional fuel efficiency, the CB500F stands out as a smart choice for contemporary riders, embodying the joy and quality of motorcycling.

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Ready for an Upgrade?

Choosing your second motorcycle is an exciting step in your riding journey, offering a chance to explore new terrains, enhance your riding skills, and experience the joy of motorcycling in fresh ways. This guide has navigated various motorcycles, from the versatile BMW F 750 GS to the street-savvy Honda CB500F, each with unique features to suit different riding preferences and styles. Whether you're drawn to the ruggedness of the KTM 690 Enduro R, the classic appeal of the Harley-Davidson Sportster S, or the all-around competence of the Suzuki DR650GS, there's a bike out there that promises to enrich your riding experience. 

As you consider your next motorcycle, reflect on how each option aligns with your current skills, your aspirations, and the adventures you envision. The right second bike complements your riding lifestyle and opens the door to new challenges and joys on the road, making every journey an opportunity for growth and exploration.