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Suggested starter motorcycles

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Starter bikes

This list is from used bike evaluation guide. I started on a 1996 Suzuki GS500e, and have been very pleased with it.

A very partial listing of good starter street bikes:

  • Honda Nighthawks and the CB series (but not the CBR series), Rebel 250 (cruiser, low seat-height), Hawk GT, XL and XR-L series
  • Suzuki GS series (particularly the GS500) (but not the GSX or GSX-R series), Bandit 400, SV650, DR series
  • Kawasaki EX500 or EX250 (slightly sporty; called the Ninja 500R and Ninja 250R in recent years), LTD250 (cruiser, low seat height), KLR series
  • Yamaha XS/XT series, Seca, Seca II

(Model codes will vary from country to country -- these are US model codes.)

I happen to think it's a good idea to start on a standard -- neutral riding position, neutral handling. after a while, you'll have an idea of if you want your second bike -- you know, the one you'll drop less often -- to be a laid-back cruiser, or a more aggressive sport bike. or maybe you'll like the posture and comfort of a standard so much that you'll stick with that. or decide to get an all-out tourer. lots of ways you could go. i think that a standard bike gives you a nice way to learn which way you lean.

there's a lot to be said for the upright seating position of a standard, too. on my Suzuki GS500, with a 29" seat height, i could see over the top of a Ford Explorer. (I'm 5'8" tall.) on my next bike, a Ducati 750 Sport with a 32" seat height, i couldn't! the difference? on the suzuki, i sat upright; on the ducati, i sat leaning much farther forward. now i'm on a ducati ST4s sport-touring bike. i still can't see over the top of an explorer. ;-)

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