This is probably the most asked question by rookies. Nearly everyone has thought about it prior to getting their first motorcycle. And that’s understandable, we all want to make sure we’re making the best decision before we go out and spend what is possibly thousands of dollars on something important. Your first bike is an important thing, especially as a rider, but not in the way you think it might be.
See, the first bike is all about teaching you how a motorcycle should behave, what it feels like, acting as a learning tool for the first year or so (some cases more). It is true that you can learn how to ride on pretty much anything, however, the learning curve is really different depending on the bike you go for. This topic has been covered probably a million times already, but we thought we’d do an article on our own opinion, based on years and years of experience.
First, let’s talk different types of bikes. You have your grand tourers, sportsbikes, and everything in between. Then there’s the engine size, it can range from anything as low as 150cc or even 50cc, to 1000 cubic centimeters and above. The seating position makes a huge different in how the bike behaves. Sportsbikes have a low, aggressive seating position, which although great for fast driving, isn’t much useful when you’re learning how to ride. A sportsbike is nothing like a scooter or small-cc enduro. You’re basically laying on top of the bike. It’s what surprises the most, the fact that you’re slanted so forward. As you can imagine, rookies will be overwhelmed with the riding position so much that they will be preoccupied to think about actually riding the bike.
A bike with an up-right riding position gives you all the control and visibility needed for learning. You can focus on actually riding, instead of maintaining balance and trying not to kill yourself. Later on, you can move to a sportsbike, or upgrade to a big grand tourer for instance, depending on your personal preference.
The engine is the most important thing however. And it’s not just the engine volume either, it’s more to do with the type of engine rather than its displacement. Most sportsbikes, even the 600cc ones, have an inline four-cylinder. Although they’re generally the most powerful, all their capability lies in the top-end. Or in other words, to get any sort of power, you’ll have to really rev it out. A V-twin on the other hand for instance, delivers lots of power and torque low down, ideal for learning and daily driving. A 1000cc V-twin is better than a 600cc four-cylinder in that regard, not that we recommend starting on a large liter bike however.
Ideally, you want to start on something 500cc or less, and it shouldn’t be an inline four-cylinder. Trust us, you’ll learn so much faster on a smaller bike than a large one. As they say, it’s much more fun to drive a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.