Best Starter Bikes: Safe Motorcycles for New Riders
Are you ready to ride? Then there’s no better time than the present to buy a starter bike.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON February 8, 2021
Riding motorcycles isn’t just a hobby; it’s a passion and lifestyle. If you love to ride, then you may consider sharing that passion with friends or family members. As you already know, how you introduce them to riding and what they first ride is crucial. Putting a beginner on a bike that’s too big or powerful will present a safety risk, so you want to find the perfect starter bike.
Choosing the right starter bike requires you to consider the size and experience of the rider. Since not everyone comes to riding with the same skill set, there are several starter bikes available. There are even small starter bikes that are perfect for younger riders. This guide will help you know what to look for when buying a starter bike for someone.
This colorful starter bike has a 250cc engine and comes in four color options. The tires are large and knobby for lots of traction.
- Broad rider compatibility
- Motorcycle style seat
- Oversized tires
- Not always street legal
- Assembly required
Designed for young riders, this 50cc bike is gas powered with a two-stroke engine. It's also a great pit bike.
- Automatic transmission
- Easy to ride
- Speed limiter for younger riders
- Requires an oil/fuel mixture for operation
This 14 horsepower bike comes 95 percent assembled and is perfect for younger riders. It has a fuel-injected 200cc engine. It has LED daytime running lights and an LCD.
- Includes a two-year warranty
- EFI system
- Assembly required
- Too big for smaller riders
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Benefits of a Starter Bike
- Safer. Because these bikes have smaller engines, they have a limited amount of power. This makes them significantly safer than other bikes. They can’t achieve the same sudden increase in speed or high top speeds.
- Younger rider friendly. These bikes tend to be smaller in stature, making them easier to ride by smaller riders. Children will be able to control and ride these bikes. This makes them perfect for learning on.
- Affordable. These smaller and less powerful bikes are more affordable than buying a full-sized bike. This makes them great for purchase when you aren’t ready to invest in a full-sized bike. The lower price point makes them good for trying out riding.
Types of Starter Bikes
These bikes are like a smaller version of the street bikes that you see on the road. They have more plastic body panels and put the rider in a leaned forward position with their legs tucked up under them. The body shaping and tire setup make them ideal for those who want to ride on pavement. You’ll find them easier to lean into turns and balance.
These are the most common starter bikes. They have a higher seat stance than street bikes. The tires aren’t smooth like street bike tires. Instead, they’re covered in a knobby tread to give you plenty of traction on soft or uneven terrain. These bikes are meant for riding on trails, off-road, or dirt tracks. They put the rider in an upright riding position, but their legs are still underneath, which some people find to be more secure.
These bikes will look similar to the cruiser motorcycles that you often see on the road. They put the rider in an upright riding position with their legs out in front of them. These bikes don’t have a ton of plastic body panels like the other types. You’ll also find that the seat tends to have a lower stance, making them easier to ride for shorter people. They tend to be heavier than the other types.
Founded in 1992, Lifan has its headquarters in Chongqing, China. While the company is best known for its production of small passenger cars, it also has a motorcycle line. Its products are shipped worldwide and are considered dependable and versatile. The Lifan Gas Motorcycle is a sporty little bike that’s perfect for learning on.
The SYX Moto team prides itself on producing top quality trikes, street bikes, dirt bikes, electric rideables, and UTVs. The goal is to create top-class products with safe delivery and dependable customer service. The SYX Moto Kids Dirt Bike is perfect for having some pint-sized fun on two wheels.
Starter Bike Pricing
- Under $500: Starter bikes in this price range tend to be the smallest. They are typically 100cc or smaller. This makes them perfect for younger riders. They’ll have the same quality build as larger bikes.
- $500 to $1,000: Starter bikes in this price range have engines that are in the 100 to 200cc range. They are slightly bigger bikes and can come in all three types. These bikes may or may not be street legal.
- $1,000 and up: These are the largest of the starter and mini bikes with engines that are over 200cc in size. These bikes are typically street-ready with headlights, taillights, turn signals, mirrors, and plate frame.
The type of starter bike that you buy will completely depend on the type of riding you want to do. Buying the wrong type can make for an unenjoyable or even dangerous situation. Dirt bikes are best for kids and for riding on surfaces that are not paved. Street and cruiser bikes are designed to be ridden on paved surfaces.
Starter bikes range in engine size and power capabilities. When choosing a size, consider the skill level and size of the intended rider. Inexperienced and smaller riders should start on smaller engines. This matches their abilities with the size and power of the engine. Starter bike engines range in size from 40cc to 250cc.
The height of the rider needs to work with the height of the seat. If the seat is too tall, then the rider won’t be able to reach the ground. This can make it harder to ride the bike or make them feel less stable. Some bikes with a taller stance can be lowered, which is an alternative option to limiting your search to already low enough bikes.
- Color. Just like full-sized bikes, starter bikes come in a wide range of colors and designs. The one you pick will depend on your style and taste. Whatever color appeals to you most is the one you should buy. However, some bikes are limited, and you may not have an option. Thankfully, the color on most of these bikes is the plastic fairings, which can easily be changed out for something else.
- Accessories. Some starter bikes come with several features that mimic larger bikes. This includes things like turn signals, headlight, taillight, kickstand, and storage compartments. If you plan to ride the bike on the streets, then it’ll need to be street legal, and these accessories are a must. It also needs to have a license plate holder.
- Reliability. No one wants to buy a bike that’s constantly in need of repairs. You’ll spend more time with it in the shop than actually out riding it. If you’re handy, this means spending more of your time working on the bike. If you aren’t mechanically inclined, you’re spending money on someone else working on the bike. A reliable bike is less expensive to maintain and more fun to own.
Best Starter Bikes Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- No matter what bike you get as a beginner, you should ride it in a parking lot first. Perform several maneuvers until you get confident with your skills.
- Look for a bike that you can customize. This lets you adapt the bike and make it your own. Aftermarket parts let you modify and upgrade your bike to help it grow with you.
- Don’t break the bank when buying your first starter bike. Most people ride their bike for about six months before they outgrow it and want more of a challenge. Plan for this and expect to upgrade.
Q: What bike should a beginner get?
A beginner rider should get a lightweight bike that isn’t too powerful. The rider’s previous experience, height, and weight should be taken into consideration. The beginner rider should feel confident in their abilities to control their bike.
Q: Is a 250cc a good beginner bike?
Yes, if a rider has never ridden a motorcycle or dirt bike before, then a 250cc bike is a great beginner bike. These bikes are small, have a slow acceleration rate, and are easy to maneuver.
Q: What is a good entry-level motorcycle?
A good beginner bike is one that isn’t too heavy in weight and doesn’t have too much power. This will make them easier to control so that the rider can focus on developing their skills with a reduced risk of losing control.