How to choose your first beginner motorbike

Choosing your first motorbike is an exciting milestone, but it can also be a bit daunting. Motorbikes come in all shapes and sizes; from agile superbikes all the way to comfortable tourers – and it’s often hard to know where to start your two-wheeled journey. Whether you’re a teenager that’s just passed their test, or a late bloomer in the world of motorcycling, on this page we’ll help find you find your perfect beginner motorbike.

Things to consider: at a glance

  • Engine size: Smaller engines are more user-friendly for beginners
  • Weight: Lighter bikes are easier to handle
  • Seat height: Ensure your feet can touch the ground comfortably
  • Tech: Features such as ABS brakes can be a lifesaver for inexperienced riders

Understanding your needs

Before diving into the vast sea of motorbike options, it’s crucial to assess your needs. After all, there are lots of great motorbikes out there, but there’ll be some that are more sorted to your unique set of circumstances. 

Consider your future riding habits – are you going to be using it as a daily commuter, a mile-muncher, or a weapon to carve up B-roads over the weekend? Your choice of bike will vary significantly based on these intentions.

If you’ll be primarily using a motorbike to go to work, you may prefer a more practical, upright bike with some storage space. If you’re doing longer trips, we’d suggest something more like a tourer, while a user-friendly, sports orientated bike is best for those who want spirited rides.

how to pass module one and two - rear

Age and experience

Age and experience play a vital role in choosing the right motorbike. Younger riders might prefer lightweight, less powerful bikes for easier handling, while older beginners might appreciate more comfort and stability. It’s essential to choose a bike that matches your physical capabilities, confidence, and riding experience.

For the new younger rider

If you’re a young rider, first consider starting with a smaller, more manageable bike. Models suitable for A1 or A2 licenses are ideal as they offer enough power to be exciting but not overwhelming. Check out Motorcycle News’ guide on A2 licence motorbikes for a thorough list on some of the best smaller capacity bikes you can buy in 2023.

For the more mature novices

Many older beginners might value comfort over agility. High foot pegs and a leant-forward riding position might be fine for younger riders, but it can be a physically demanding and often painful scenario for everyone else.  

BMW F900GS Adventure

With that in mind, more mature new riders should consider bikes with a more upright riding position and features that add to riding ease, such as automatic transmission or anti-lock braking systems. The best adventure bikes tick many of the boxes above, and you can read more about them in MCN’s guide.  

Physical considerations

Taller motorcyclists will often feel confident on a variety of bikes regardless of seat height, but they’ll likely find most sports bikes somewhat cramped – mainly due to their low bars, high pegs and aggressive riding positions. In contrast, shorter riders should pay attention to the seat height of bikes, as they’ll want to make sure both feet can touch the ground simultaneously. It’s also common for manufacturers to sell slightly lowered version of their bikes, so they’re easier to manage for short riders. 

Avoid looking inexperienced by learning how to pull away smoothly from a standstill

Budget considerations

Like most purchasing decisions, choosing the right bike for you will often just boil down to budget. Buy a bike for an amount that makes sense for its use as well as your financial situation and remember; the cost of owning a motorbike isn’t just the purchase price. Consider insurance, maintenance, gear, and training costs(if you’re yet to pass your test). For a better steer on how much it’ll cost to begin your two-wheeled career, read MCN’s detailed breakdown of the costs associated with riding here

Making the decision

When you’ve whittled your options to just a handful of bikes, make sure you try them out on the road. Take your time to test ride different bikes. How you feel on the bike is just as important as its specs. Trust your instincts – if a bike doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.


2023 Suzuki GSX-8S cornering on a road

Choosing your first motorbike is a personal journey, but it’s also a decision of two halves. Make sure you finda bike that not only fits your budget and riding style but also one that you’re excited about. Motorcycling is a passion, and it’s important that the bike you end up with fans the flames and remains something you look forward to jumping on. Use the resources available, take your time, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!

And one more thing… 

Most instructors say the bulk of your learning comes after you pass your test and hop on your first bike. While there’s no substitute for time in the saddle, you can quickly level up your skills, confidence, and safety by enrolling on an advanced riding course. Here’s why advanced training is beneficial.

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