You probably know my brother got his M class license just a little while ago. He’s been wanting to ride with me for a while, but as a new teacher hasn’t had a lot of time (or money) to move forward with this dream. I gave him a bit of a push this spring when I organized some friends and we all pitched in for the MSF class for his birthday. He’s spent the summer learning how to ride and now he’s got a pretty good handle on it. He was with me practicing when my 620 engine gave up on me.
Well he’s truly hooked, and he’s really looking hard at saving up for a first bike. He’s wondering what makes a good first bike and while I’ve written in the past about what I think makes a good first bike, I never had to actually shop for a motorcycle specifically for a new rider.
It’s here that I’ve come up a bit at a loss.
The problem is that most of the new riders I’ve been talking to only really can afford to spend $3-4000 on it. Since you should be spending about $1000 on gear that only leaves $2-3k for the bike. This negates a lot of the advice I wrote about. There is no way you’re going to find a new bike for that little, which means nothing with ABS, it simply wasn’t on motorcycles that much until a few years ago. In general there were very few motorcycles made for new riders sold in the USA until recently. Which is very frustrating when you’re shopping for a used motorcycles about 5 or so years old.
It really comes down to the Ninja 250R if he wants something small (unlikely)
Or the Ninja 650R or Suzuki SV650(s). (and of course my beloved Ducati Monster 620)
That’s it. Really those are the only fuel injected bikes sold between 2000-2010 that made less than nearly 100hp. Insane… Why this is/was the case is a whole different topic, which maybe I’ll take on later.
Right now I’m busy trying to find a used 2004 SV650.