What is the Best Bike for a Beginner?

by Kathy
(Independence, MO)

I am a 5'2" 125 lb inexperienced woman rider (except for a few excursions on a scooter) and am interested in getting a bike. My husband has rode years ago and has had many bikes, the last being a Harley. He wants to get another one, but I would kind of like to have my own bike instead of riding behind someone else. My question is what bike would be the best. My husband, of course, thinks I should get a Harley. They seem heavy and I feel like maybe it is too much for me to control. What is a smooth easy-to-handle bike that would be best suited for a small-frame woman with little riding experience?

Comments for What is the Best Bike for a Beginner?

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Nov 09, 2009
Yamaha Custom 650
by: Anonymous

I bought a Yamaha V Star Custom 650 and it's the perfect size for me. I'm 50 years old, 5'3.5 inches, and weigh about 150 lbs. I'm not particularly athletic anymore although I do ride horses regularly. I just took the MSF Basic course in Sept. and bought my first motorcycle in Oct. My feet are flat on the ground and it's not heavy and I don't like I would drop it easily. I sat on other bikes at the showroom and I then had a chance to buy this one from an individual. It fit right. I think it's important for a bike to fit you right from the start and for you to feel comfortable on it.

Oct 05, 2009
I'm New Too
by: Kari

Hi there,

I'm 5'2 as well and admittedly, not a very strong person. I am just learning to ride and will be taking the class soon. My husband rides a Roadstar - way too big and powerful for me. We went to a bunch of bike stores and I sat on pretty much every one. I fell in love with the Hyosung Aquila. Its a 250, but a great beginner bike. The seat is 27" so I can put my feet on the ground, and its light enough for me to move around, but not too light that it felt scary. It has a nice fat tank and feels meaty. It looks like a baby cruiser. :) We put a new 09 on layaway for me. I'm very excited!

Hope this helps.

Sep 17, 2009
My Opinion
by: Anonymous

I'm a new rider myself so I'm no expert but I'm also 5"2 and weigh 125 lbs. My husband is a Harley guy and he also wanted to get me a Harley. He got me a Sportster 1200R as my first bike. I could not do the clutch and felt very unsafe on it. I practiced in a parking lot on weekends for about 4 months before I gave up. Then when my son took the MSF class I was watching and realized I couldn't ride because my bike was too big for me. My husband took me out looking at other bikes and I ended up getting a Suzuki Boulevard s40. After all those months just trying to get the Sportster to go without jerking or stalling I was out riding my new bike on the streets the first weekend I got it! (although following hubby and my son on side streets with very low traffic) The s40 ias a single cylinder 652cc engine and is pretty light (a lot lighter than Sporty!) and I can sit on it and be flat footed. The clutch is very easy for me and I haven't had any problems at all with it.

Sep 14, 2009
I Don't Hate Anyone
by: Quicklimegirl

When someone is attempting to GIVE GUIDANCE to a new rider, using the words "I wouldn't" generally implies giving direction/advice...this person wrote in because they were seeking counsel from other women who ride. I am always VERY sensitive about what kind of advice is given to new riders, because there is so much truly bad advice. This is even more true for people seeking a sport-oriented MC for their first, but it can be prevalent in any motorcycle genre.

I stand by my assessment that wasn't a good thing to tell her; I'm sorry I called you an idiot, but you need to remember new riders may take any advice literally, not necessarily being knowlegeable enough to judge it's validity. I've ridden for well over 30 years, and correspond with many riders nationwide, and am yet to hear of any U.S. market in which is difficult to sell a starter bike under 900cc of ANY type, including Cruisers.

Sep 13, 2009
Why All the Hate?
by: Anonymous

What I said was I wouldn't buy anything less than a 900, the key word here being "I".

What you said "As to the person who said "don't buy anything less than a 900" ..YOU'RE AN IDIOT!!!"

So who's the idiot now??

Sep 13, 2009
What Kind of Riding Will You Want to Do?
by: Quicklimegirl

You won't know that until you have some experience. There are so many different types, sizes and styles of bikes out there you shouldn't automatically limit yourself to Harley's or even the Cruiser (HD clone) style. First of all, yes, they are VERY heavy, slow-steering bikes, with suspension and chassis characteristics not very suitable for beginning riders! The only thing that potentially makes this style of bike good for beginners is if you have a short inseam, the seat heights are low.

Other than that, these very heavy, plodding machines are very poor choices for first bikes.

I recommend a more "standard" type of bike, one that has seating, footpeg and handlebar positions in the middle; upright handlebars, (not low sport stype clip-on type, nor high buckhorn pullback style)sort of dirt bike style; pegs right in the middle underneath you, not high and rearward like sport bikes, and not forward controls on Cruisers.

There are several "standard" position bikes out there with very good handling; these LOOK like sport bikes, but have the neutral ergonomics described above. One good example is the Suzuki GS500; there are also street-legal dirt bikes that are lightweight and very well handling.

As to the person who said "don't buy anything less than a 900" ..YOU'RE AN IDIOT!!! There are always plenty of new riders looking for smaller bikes to learn on, and absolutely no one I've ever known has had trouble selling their first bike.

Go to several dealers of all kinds of brands and machines, and go with what appeals to you, what feels good to you, and don't let your husband dictate a brand out of hand. It's YOUR decision!

Sep 13, 2009
Your Best Bike
by: Anonymous

You want both of your feet to firmly touch the ground. I had a Harley and found the ride to be to rough for me maybe you could rent one before you buy it to see if you like the ride. I wouldn't get anything smaller than a 900 as you will quickly out grow anything smaller and they are harder to resell.

What ever you get have fun and remember "dress for the slide not the ride".

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