When first starting out in the world of motorcycles, there are many styles to choose from. However, you must decide where and how you will ride most often to make the best choice for you.
If you will mainly ride in town where speeds are low, then a smaller motorcycle will suit you very well. Generally, the smaller the bike, the more nimble it will be. The Honda Rebel 250, Kawasaki Ninja 250, and Suzuki GZ250 are better suited to a jaunt through the city than a long ride on the open road. However, it is important to note that both are highway legal and fully capable of highway speeds, but they are designed for a better in-town experience. A general MSRP for this class is around $4000. As a side note, this small class of motorcycles usually performs best with smaller riders and are commonly used in a Certified Beginner Rider Safety Class.
If the open road calls you, then a bigger bike is in order. The mid-size cruiser class of motorcycles generally ranges from 500cc up to 900cc. There are many choices with weights around 500-600 pounds and power ranges from 40-70 horsepower. This is plenty of power and size to get you out on the highway while still feeling nimble around town. MSRP in this class ranges around $6000-$8000 depending on model and options. Some model suggestions are the Honda Shadow, Harley Sportster, Suzuki Boulevard, and Kawasaki Vulcan900.
I don’t normally recommend sport-bikes for beginners since most are purpose-built for power and speed, not ease of operation. However, I will say that most manufacturers offer 500cc to 650cc sporty bikes that are easier to control than their more powerful counterparts and are better suited for the motorcycle novice. If this is your style, then look to Ninja 650R or Suzuki SV650. MSRP for sport-bikes runs from $4000 to $12,000, so there is a price for everyone’s budget.
There are larger bikes on the market, but due to their size, they are a little tougher to maneuver. This is especially important when attending a certified rider’s safety course, which I highly recommend. The course instructors will teach you normal riding and proper emergency maneuvers that could save your life. With the proper choice of motorcycle and a completed rider’s safety course, you will be well on your way to an enjoyable and safe lifetime of riding.
Also be sure to invest appropriately in motorcycle safety gear such as helmet, gloves, boots, and jacket. Never ride without safety gear, or without having your bike insured by a trusted motorcycle insurance co. Full coverage policies are smart if you can afford them, as motorcycles are especially vulnerable to theft and damage.