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Finding a Good First Motorcycle

Ah the hog. Is there anything that symbolizes freedom and being a badass at the same time so easily? I think not. But what should a bro do after getting all excited during a Sons of Anarchy marathon over the weekend? Suddenly you have the itch and want to scratch it but don't know where to begin. No worries, we got you covered here at Manwall and will gladly help you decide what's a good first motorcycle.


First Motorcycle Guide

First things first, accept the fact that you are a beginner. If you weren't green about hogs you wouldn't be reading this. A novice is going to have a starter bike and that is just the way it is.

"But, I'm too cool for a beginner bike!" No, you just think you are.

The beginner bikes are usually smaller, lighter, have less power, and cost less. This means they are easier to handle, pick-up, and cost less if you crash them. Suck up your pride and buy a good novice bike then ride the shit out of it to move up to the next level. Plus you never want to blow your wad on the first bike because you don't even know what you want since basically you don't know dick other than what you learned from watching movies and playing Road Rash.

Crotch Rocket or Cruiser?

This is really a style choice. Some guys want to be a Harley Davidson riding badass who slips on a pair of chaps and gets in fights at the Roadhouse. Other guys prefer that high tuned whine of a rice rocket as they do a Tom Cruise impersonation from Top Gun. Hey, we aren't judging; to each their own. But whatever style you like, pick an appropriate beginner bike in that style to start with.

For the bikes below we are looking only at a 250cc engine. Yes you can get bigger but since this is a beginner bike the extra power is more dangerous than useful in the learning stages of riding. Plus, as the engine size goes up, so does the price (and very quickly).

Top Cruiser

The Honda Rebel - Nothing says hog like Honda right? Don't be fooled by the maker as Honda has been producing quality bikes for years. The Rebel is found at Safety Foundation courses all the time because it has a smooth ride, low seat, and still has some power to roll with. It will never be mistaken for anything other than what it is, but for $4200 new you can have an enjoyable time learning how to ride.

The Yamaha V-Star 250 is a solid second choice. It costs about the same and really is very similar to the Rebel in looks and performance and makes for a good first motorcycle.

Just for comparison, a low-end Harley is going to run you at least $8000 brand new.

Top Rocket

The Kawasaki Ninja 250R - The name sounds cool and it looks a lot like a higher end performance bike with the fully-flared design. Real riders will know you are on a smaller engine version but who cares? Also with the rice rockets, the smaller engine is less noticeable than on cruisers because the engine rumble isn't a big deal.

The Honda CBR 250R is also a solid bike and makes a good first or second choice. It doesn't have quite the same sporty look compared to the Ninja but it is still a performance bike. Both rides will cost you between $4000 and $4500 depending on extras.

Just for comparison, a low-end Ducati goes for a little over $9000 and has a 696 engine.

Bottom Line

Now if you are damn sure that you will forever be a bike lover and rider and have the cash to spend by all means feel free to go get something bigger. But remember, the larger bikes are heavier which means harder to steer and control. Sometimes it helps with confidence to practice on something smaller. Plus people tend to get pissed when they tip over their brand new Harley and get road rash on that expensive paint job.

Bigger dudes are the exception here as you might look and feel a bit comical on a 250. In that case move up to the 600s and shop around when looking for a good first motorcycle.