Why Auto ApproveResourcesFAQ
(844) 336-3365
Why Auto ApproveAuto RefinanceAuto Lease PurchaseMotorcycle RefinanceResourcesFAQ
(844) 336-3365

What to Look for When Buying a Beginner Motorcycle

Finance | 06/14/2023 20:47

You’ve dreamt of owning a motorcycle for as long as you can remember, and you have finally decided to make that dream a reality. Maybe you are looking for a bike to take on leisurely rides, or maybe you are looking for more of an adventure. But whatever your reason is, it can be hard to know where to start.

Here’s your ultimate guide to buying a beginner motorcycle.

Are you prepared to own a bike?


First things first, are you ready to own your own bike? You should ask yourself the following questions before you go too far down the rabbit hole: 

  • Do I have a motorcycle license? Do I know how to get one?

  • Is my family ok with me buying a motorcycle?

  • Do I know how to ride a motorcycle? How and where can I practice?

  • Where will I park my motorcycle?

  • Can I afford a motorcycle?


Think about all of these questions and be sure that you have good answers for all of them before moving on.

What type of bike do you need?


There are several different styles of bike on the market, all of which are good for different things. Think about how you intend to use your bike. Do you want to commute? Do you want to take it out on the weekends for fun? Do you want to take it on long trips? In general, beginning motorcyclists will be best suited to get either a cruiser, sports bike, or naked bike. Each of these categories offers lightweight options that are easy for beginners to maneuver comfortably. Here are your different options when it comes to a motorcycle style.


A cruiser is a great option for a beginner rider. They are powerful, stylish, and have a low seat height and relaxed seating position which makes them comfortable for new riders. They are better suited for shorter distances, so if you plan on commuting or taking short weekend trips, this might be a great option for you. 


Top cruiser pick for beginners: Honda Rebel 500



If your love for motorcycles was born out of a need for speed, a sport bike might be a better option. Sport bikes have a rapid acceleration which makes them better suited for experienced riders, but if you start on the lower end of the power spectrum there are a number of options available. 


Top sport pick for beginners: Kawasaki Z650RS



A naked bike is a bike between two worlds, settled between the sport bikes and cruisers. Also referred to as standard bikes, they have an open bike frame that makes them similar to sports bikes but without the extra bulk. They also have a more upright seating arrangement, which makes them an ideal beginner bike. In fact many naked bikes are created especially with beginner riders in mind.


Top naked pick for beginners: KTM 390 Duke



A touring bike is not designed for beginners. They are the biggest and heaviest bikes on the market, designed for long trips and far distances. A touring bike is more of an aspirational goal for when you have mastered your beginner bike and are ready to level up your motorcycle game. 



Again, an adventure bike is not designed for beginners. These powerful bikes are designed for off roading adventures and have rugged features to help them perform in different types of environments. Adventure bikes should also be viewed as aspirational bikes, a goal to have when you are very comfortable with your beginner bike.  

What size bike should you get?

In addition to determining what type of bike you should get, you will also need to decide on an engine size. If you are a beginner, a smaller engine size is definitely a good idea. Experienced riders know that smaller engines give you the room you need to learn the ropes. When it comes to something as powerful as a motorcycle, you want some room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake your engine size might mean the difference between some bumps and bruises or a trip to the emergency room. 


Engine sizes range from 125cc to over 2000 cc. The lower the cc is, the easier the bike will be to handle. When you test drive be sure to try out some different engine sizes. Some beginners might find that a 300 cc engine is powerful enough for their needs and can still get them around on the highway. Others may easily handle a 500 cc or 600 cc engine and find that to be a better fit. Starting lower and increasing the engine size will help you find the perfect size for you.


Should you buy a new motorcycle or a used motorcycle?

When you have settled on what type of motorcycle is best for you, you will need to decide if you want to buy a new bike or a used bike. New bikes are certainly safer as they tend to offer more traction control and better safety features than older bikes. While a used motorcycle will be more affordable, newer bikes are actually cheaper to insure and will require less maintenance than a used bike. Newer bikes also tend to get better gas mileage and will come with a factory warranty. 


If you prefer to buy a used motorcycle, it’s important to do your research. Be sure that the bike doesn't have too many miles (fewer than 20,000 miles is ideal). You should also bring along an experienced motorcycle rider who can help determine if there are any serious issues with the bike. If you don’t know any bike enthusiasts and aren’t very knowledgeable yourself, stick with a new bike.

How does it ride?

You should be sure to test drive any bike that you are considering. Your driving experience–as well as your safety–will depend on it. Here are some notes to keep in mind:

  • When you sit on your bike you should be able to place your feet flat on the ground.

  • Your feet should rest comfortably on the pegs.

  • Your arms should reach the handlebars and you should be able to turn them from side to side without shifting your body. 

  • You should be able to pick the bike up by yourself and push it around without help. 


While bigger bikes may look cool and have the style you want, they are not suitable for everyone. Make sure you find a bike that is that right size and fit for your body type. There are a lot of bikes on the market and there is something for everyone.

What brand of bike should you get?

Iconic brands come with higher price tags. But these brands also tend to come with higher resale value, more reliability, and oftentimes easier repairs. The more popular a brand or model is, the easier of a time you will have if something goes wrong. 

What bike can you afford?


Another huge factor to consider when buying a bike is your budget. Chances are your bike will not be your main mode of transportation if you are a beginner. This means that your motorcycle budget will be outside of your normal budget, separate from your car payment and other costs. A motorcycle is a luxury, and you will not only need to think about how you will pay for the actual bike, but you will need to pay for insurance and maintenance as well.


If you can buy your bike upfront and avoid financing, that is always a great option. But if you are looking to finance be sure to consider the following:

  • How can I pay for a new bike? If you can save and pay for your bike upfront that is a great option. You can save a lot of money in interest and avoid the hassle of financing. But if you are looking to finance you should ensure that your credit is in good shape and that you are in a good position to make payments every month. Avoid buying a bike on your credit card, even if it seems like an easy option. You will pay a lot more in interest and getting behind on credit card payments can put you in a ton of debt fast. It’s a much better idea to get a loan instead.

  • How much of a down payment can I afford to make? Making a down payment of 20% is a good idea to keep your loan from going underwater and to help keep your payments affordable. A higher down payment will also make you a more desirable candidate for lenders.

  • Can I afford the extras as well? Remember that you will need to pay for insurance, registration, maintenance, and safety gear as well as the bike itself. 

And that’s everything you need to know about buying a beginner motorcycle.

If you have your heart set on buying a motorcycle, make sure that you buy a bike that is right for you and your needs. Consider safety, practicality, and affordability when making your decision.


If you already have a motorcycle and are looking to refinance, contact Auto Approve today!


More Resources

(844) 336-3365Get My Rate
Copyright ©2024 AutoApprove. All rights reserved.
*APR and Fees Disclosure: Auto Approve works to find you the best Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which is based on factors like your credit history, vehicle and desired payment terms. Fees to complete your loan refinance vary by state and lender; they generally include admin fees, doc fees, DMV and title. Advertised 6.24% APR based on: 2019 model year or newer vehicle, 730 minimum FICO credit score, and loan term up to 72 months. All loans subject to credit and lender approval.
Auto Approve has an A+ rating with the BBB and is located at 2860 Vicksburg Lane North Plymouth, MN 55447. Auto Approve works to find its customers the best terms and APR, which are based on factors like credit history, vehicle, and desired payment terms. Loan amounts, costs, and fees vary by state and lender; they generally include admin fees, doc fees, DMV, and title fees, depending on the lender and period of repayment. There is no fee to obtain a quote and all refinancing-related costs are included in the amount financed so there are no out-of-pocket costs! For more information, please go to AutoApprove.com.