Buying Your First New Motorcycle – Here Are Our Top Ten Candidates

You’ve got some cash burning a hole in your pocket from a recent score and you’ve decided it’s time to buy your first brand-spanking new motorcycle fresh off the showroom floor. Now you’re faced with a difficult dilemma – what do you buy and why?

Motorcycles come in as many different shapes, sizes – and with as many strengths and weaknesses – as they people who buy them, so your search will involve a whole bunch of choices.

Are you about speed? Style? Comfort? Practicality?

Once you’ve made those baseline determinations, you can start the hunt, and we think the following ten bikes from various manufacturers are a good place to start your shopping and test riding.

 

1. Triumph Bonneville ($7,299)

Photo © Triumph
If  you’re down with the look and feel of classic British bikes, start with the Triumph Bonneville. Its torque-heavy, air-cooled 865cc parallel twin doesn’t rev high and produces solid power. You also get iconic design with retro styling and modern functionality.

2. Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD ($5,499)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Kawasaki
If you decide to enter the market on a cruiser, you can’t go far wring with this compact parallel-twin, the Vulcan 500 LTD. Well-balanced, this mid-sized cruiser is well-suited for beginners and built on the  Ninja 500R platform features.

3. Suzuki GS500F ($5,899)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Suzuki

It’s time for a sportbike, and the GS500F’s will appeal to performance-oriented riders. To the good, an air-cooled, twin-cylinder 487cc engine is tame enough for beginners, but provides a decent enough top end for more experienced riders.

4. Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom ($6,099)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Yamaha

At a somewhat porky 513 lbs, Yamaha’s V-Star 650 Custom cruiser might is heavier than most of the bikes on this list, but a low 27″ seat height and mild-mannered handling make this an ideal beginner bike. You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll have an enormous dealer network behind you, and that’s worth its weight in gold.

5. Suzuki DR-Z400SM ($6,299)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Suzuki
Arrived at the decision that you’ll be needing a versatile supermoto style bike? The Suzuki DR-Z400SM offers a  combination of dirtbike body and street-biased suspension which should take you comfortably down tracks from asphalt to gravel and dirt.

6. Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow ($7,999)

Harley Davidson SportsterPhoto © Harley-Davidson

The Harley-Davidson SuperLow is a re-configured Sportster and offers enhanced low speed maneuverability, a comfort-friendly saddle height of 25.5 inches, and more suspension travel for more comfortable long-distance riding.

7. Kawasaki Ninja 500R ($5,499)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Kawasaki
This is the relaxed older brother of the notorious Ninja bike like. The 500R is like a beefier, jacked up Ninja 250R. It remains manageable enough for beginning riders but offers more bang for the buck than little brother.

8. Suzuki GSX650F ($7,299)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Suzuki
It may look like a Gixxer, but the Suzuki GSX650F’s sports an upright posture and a less fussy powerplant, and that makes it a great choice for the  beginning rider.

9. BMW G650 Xcountry ($7,500)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © BMW
If you’re after something versatile and dual purpose, consider a BMW G650 Xcountry. Packing 53 bhp, this single-cylinder powerplant will give you anvil-solid and reliable operation for a long, long time. The bizarre styling cuts a strange profile out on the road, but take comfort in the fact that you’re making a statement marking you as an iconoclast.

10. Honda Shadow Aero/Spirit 750 ($7,699)

Buying your first motorcyclePhoto © Honda
The Honda Shadow Aero and Spirit line’s 750’s liquid-cooled 745cc V-twin is considerably more powerful than most bikes on our list, but with a low seat height and steady, predictable handling, this line has become a venerable contender. Add to that the fact that you have a huge dealer support network to fall back on in times of trouble, and you have a winner on your hands.

 

 


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