Best Motorbikes for Beginners

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Whether you are just starting out learning to ride or you’re coming back to biking after a long layoff and consider yourself a born-again beginner, deciding which bike to get can be difficult.  First of all, do you want a ‘proper’ motorbike or a scooter?  The best beginner’s bike should have enough power to make riding less of a butt-clenching guessing game and should be light enough to comfortably handle.  And, of course, how much money do you spend?   Here are some of the best beginner bikes:

Suzuki Van Van 125cc.

This bike has its origins in the sand bikes of the 1970s and with its very individual looks is becoming increasingly popular.  With its light weight and low, wide, comfortable seat it is a good, solid commuter option and, while it is equipped with a small luggage rack it doesn’t have a top box and panniers as standard, nor does it have a windshield so probably not ideal for a long motorway commute.  However, its top speed of 65mph is enough for most and won’t frighten new riders.

 Aprilia RS125cc.

The iconic two-stroke Italian machine is one for the budding racer.  With true sports bike styling and features like upside down forks and sharp brakes and gearbox it is said to be one of the best handling small capacity sports bikes around.  It has a tank range of 125 miles and manufacturers claimed 40 mpg but like most two-strokes it needs regular maintenance and can be expensive to run.

Honda CG125cc.

The good old reliable CG has been around since 1975 and is probably the one most used by riding schools.  With 11 bhp and a top speed of around 70 mph the little Honda will give around 95 mpg and has to be one of the most reliable bikes ever made.  A basic bike ideal for commuting which will, with regular servicing, probably last until the end of time!

Honda VT 125 Shadow.

Riders of shorter stature often choose cruiser style bikes for their low seat height and feet-on-the-floor capabilities, of which the Honda Shadow is a popular and long-established example.  It is fairly cheap to buy and insure (group 4) and will do a 70 mph top speed.  The power delivery is steady and manageable for nervous riders although the bike is heavier than many small bikes.  It has a wide, plush seat and high handlebars for comfortable riding which doesn’t strain your back and wrists.  The build quality is well up to Honda’s usual high standard though this makes the VT125 Shadow more expensive to buy than its nearest rivals.

Yamaha YZF-R125cc.

This has been around since 2008 and is known as the ‘baby’ R1.  A true sports learner bike, brand new it will cost in the region of £3000 and is reasonably cheap to insure at insurance group 6.  It has a steel frame and adjustable suspension which makes for a comfortable ride on any road surface.  The torquey, water-cooled engine works efficiently at low speeds and is smooth right up to the redline, with a top speed of around 80 mph.  The Yamaha is built very solidly and is ideal for bigger riders.

 Kawasaki Ninja 250R.

After graduating from the 125cc machines one with a 250cc capacity is a logical step.  The ever popular Kawasaki Ninja 250cc offers big bike thrills in a neat manageable package.  It has a lower seat height than most sports bikes which makes it a good option for shorter riders who don’t want a cruiser.  With a six-speed gearbox it can go from 0-60 in about 7 seconds but still manages to give 61 mpg.

Suzuki Inazuma 250cc.

This is a new addition to the mid-range commuter market and combines the practicality of a commuter bike with its windshield and luggage rack, with a hint of sports bike looks, albeit with a much less wrist-straining handlebar position!  Liquid-cooled and with an output of 24bhp the ride is probably more relaxed than exciting so this doesn’t yet seem to be a top-seller for Suzuki.

Yamaha XT250cc.

A lightweight motocross style bike with electric start and efficient fuel injection, this is a great bike for beginners and experienced riders alike having a 2.6 gallon fuel and a 76 mpg capacity

Piaggio Beverley Sport Touring 350cc.

For sheer practicality scooters are hard to beat and the Beverley is no exception.  With storage compartments, spacious seat and a touring windshield it has a torquey and economical 350cc engine putting out 33bhp.  Newer models also have ABS and traction control, handy for that nerve-wrenching city ride.

 

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