There’s nothing quite like riding a motorcycle on the open road, and nothing quite as dangerous for newbies. Learning to ride involves mastering balance and concentration and being constantly vigilant about the other drivers and road conditions around you. That can be difficult for new riders and makes riding a very intimidating activity – compounded by the fact that motorcycles are heavy things that behave very differently than people sometimes expect.
The bike itself should be the last thing you have to worry about when learning to ride. Manufacturers know this, and also know that snagging new riders with a motorcycle that is easy to ride, affordable, and good-looking will draw them into the brand when they go to purchase again.
The result is a marketplace full of great entry-level bikes. We picked four of the highest rated and most popular motorcycles for beginning riders. Here’s our list:
BMW G 310 R
BMW G 310R BMW
The G 310 R and its cousin, the G 310 GS, are handsome entry-level bikes built by BMW. The G 310 R features a stripped-down look, where every piece has a function and there is no wasted space. The result is a motorcycle that weighs just 349 pounds wet, which gives the BMW an athletic, easy-to-handle personality that is great for people learning to ride. The 313cc engine produces 34 horsepower and gets the bike moving without hassle, ideal for city traffic and commuting.
Honda CB 500F
Honda’s “all-rounder” CB 500F checks in at 415 pounds – more than the BMW, but still well within the manageable range for most riders. Its 47-horsepower engine is smooth and responsive, and will push the bike to a top speed of over 115 mph. The CB 500F, like other bikes on our list, sports a fairly stripped-down design that features only the bits that are actually needed, rather than adding bodywork just for visual appeal. Even so, it’s an attractive motorcycle with an aggressive look, thanks to an angular headlight and blacked-out frame pieces. The bike’s tidy curb weight and strong powertrain make it ideal for a beginner’s urban runabout.
Honda Rebel 300
Honda Rebel 300 – black RHP HONDA
The Rebel 300 is an entry-level cruiser from Honda that checks all the boxes for a beginner’s bike. It has a low seat height that can make riding much safer for shorter or newer riders by making it easier to get their feet down when needed. The Rebel 300 also weighs just 364 pounds wet, further bumping the easy-to-ride factor. Honda redesigned the Rebel for 2017, and the new bike features a plush ride and compliant handling, both of which make the motorcycle ideal for people learning to ride.
Yamaha V Star 250
Yamaha’s V Star 250 is a blast from the past with modern flair. Its cruiser styling is a throwback to another time, but the advanced powertrains and light weight make for an (extremely) efficient commuter bike that is easy to ride. The V Star 250 is rated at 78 mpg, which beats the other bikes on our list and gives a lot of scooters a run for their money. Despite its classic design, the Yamaha is attractive and features chrome accents around the engine with side covers that make the tiny cruiser look much more like a full-size bike.