What’s The Best Beginner’s Bike?

Illustration for article titled What’s The Best Beginner’s Bike?

Everyone’s got an opinion about the best first bike. Some say just get a small engine. Others think it should be easy to wrench on. But here’s the one thing we can all agree on: Buy cheap and buy used.


When I started asking my riding friends for advice on a first bike, the answers spanned the spectrum from the default Kawasaki Ninja 250R to the Suzuki SV650. Some said start small and work your way up. Other told me to go mid-size because you’ll be bored with a tiny engine in a few months.

The only consensus was to find something in good condition on the cheap, because inevitably, you’re going to put it down. So with everything out there on Craigslist, what would you recommend to a new rider?


Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.
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Suzuki SV650

This is the exact bike I’ve been considering for my first (non-motocross) bike. From everything I’ve been reading, it seems perfect for a beginner. Comfortable riding position, not too much power, but more than enough to get out of it’s own way. Lots of them out there so you should be able to pick one up used for a good price. V-twin engine. You can get it naked, or with a cowl depending on your tastes.