If you’re looking to get into motorcycling in 2023, first of all, welcome! Second of all, you picked a great time to start. There are a lot of great bikes to choose from, and many of them are geared toward new (or returning) riders.  

As you build confidence, you may of course decide to go in a different moto-direction—maybe you’ll want something with larger displacement, different ergonomics, a full fairing, no fairing, or a ginormous adventure bike. No worries—beginner bikes are here to help you learn, build skills, and build confidence for what will hopefully be a long and enjoyable riding future, no matter what kind of bikes you welcome into your life later on. That said, here are several great options to get you started. 

1. Honda Navi 

2022 Honda Navi - Action - Balboa Island - Right Side

MSRP: $1,807 
Engine displacement: 109cc 
Saddle height: 30.1 inches 
Curb weight: 236 pounds 

The Honda Navi straddles the line between motorcycle and scooter, in a way that’s not common on combustion-powered motorbikes but will seem all too familiar to anyone who’s ridden electric motorbikes. Like the new crop of electric bikes, the Navi doesn’t have a clutch. Its low top speed and extremely small-displacement engine make it a fun little around-town machine, though it’s certainly not intended for long-distance rides.  

Small commutes are great for small bikes, though—and this little bike absolutely sips fuel. If you’re the type of beginner rider who also wants to start learning to wrench, and you’re even slightly curious about carburetors, the Navi still has one in 2023. (While they still show up on dirt bikes, most street bikes have since moved to fuel injection.) 

2. Honda Trail 125 

2023 Honda Trail 125 - Pearl Organic Green

MSRP: $3,999  
Engine displacement: 125cc  
Saddle height: 31.5 inches  
Curb weight: 256 pounds  

On the outside, you may look at the 2023 Trail 125 and think it only has a new available color (Pearl Organic Green), but it also has a new 124.9cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine with bore and stroke of 50mm x 63.1mm. The foot-operated transmission is a four-speed unit with no clutch required, and the light weight and nimble, unassuming nature of this bike only enhance its appeal to both beginner and experienced riders alike. 

3. Yamaha MT-03 

2023 Yamaha MT-03

MSRP: $4,999 
Engine displacement: 321cc 
Saddle height: 30.7 inches 
Curb weight: 373 pounds 

The smallest member of the Yamaha MT family carries the looks of its larger-displacement siblings, but in a more approachable package that’s more amenable to riders just learning the ropes. It’s fun, nimble, and a great way to get to know yourself and refine your skills as you settle into riding.  

4. KTM 390 Adventure 

2023 KTM 390 Adventure

MSRP: $7,399 
Engine displacement: 373cc 
Saddle height: 33.6 inches 
Curb weight: 379 pounds 

The KTM 390 Adventure is a gateway adventure bike, in a way—offering riders a taste of adventure capability while remaining relatively small, lightweight, and unintimidating. (GS diehards may love their bikes, but nearly all of them would probably agree that it’s just not a good bike for beginners.)  

If you get deep into adventure riding, you may find yourself wanting something different—with more power, different suspension, larger fuel tank and carrying capacity, and so on. However, the same can be said of any riding genre—what you start out with may not be your dream bike, because your dreams may change as you get more comfortable and confident in your personal riding style. The 390 Adventure is a good starting point, which is what this list is all about. 

5. Suzuki DR-Z400SM  

2023 Suzuki DR-Z400SM

MSRP: $7,799 
Engine displacement: 398cc  
Saddle height: 35 inches  
Curb weight: 322 pounds  

The DR-Z400S has long been a favorite dual sport for beginners and experienced riders alike, and the SM just tips the scales slightly with a little more of an on-road bias. You can still do a reasonable amount of exploration off-road, but the SM gets an inverted front fork, wider spoked wheels to increase your tire contact patch, and a larger, 300mm floating front brake disc rotor. Handling and feeling the exhilaration of speed are great, but stopping well is also important. It’s a potent package if you find the idea of a smaller supermotard tugging at your heartstrings. 

6. Kawasaki Ninja 400 ABS

2023 Kawasaki Ninja 400 - Smoke

MSRP: $5,699 to $5,899 
Engine displacement: 399cc  
Saddle height: 30.9 inches  
Curb weight: 366 pounds  

Do you love the look of a fully faired and modern sportbike? If you do, but you also know that you want to build up your skills before you go hopping on a liter bike, then the Ninja 400 ABS could just be the perfect way to start. It’s agile, fun, unintimidating, and confidence-building—which are all fantastic characteristics for beginning riders. You might love it forever, and you might not—but either way, you’ll take what you’ve learned on this bike and be a better rider for it. Isn’t that the point of a beginner bike? 

7. Honda CRF300L

2023 Honda CRF300L - Red - Front Right Angle View 2

MSRP: $5,399 
Engine displacement: 286cc 
Saddle height: 34.7 inches  
Curb weight: 306 pounds  

While the CRF300L is technically considered a lightweight dual sport bike, Honda refers to it as “a dirt bike that’s street legal,” and it’s not an inaccurate assessment. If you want to be able to go just about anywhere your wheels take you, the CRF300L makes an excellent first moto companion—or second, or third.  

Although the CRF300L is friendly and tractable enough for beginners, it’s the kind of bike that pulls in experienced riders as well, because it’s just very good at what it does. You can also opt for a version with ABS for an additional $300 or jump up to the Rally if you want a bigger fuel tank down the road. 

8. Royal Enfield Hunter 350 

2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 - Rebel Blue and Dapper Ash

MSRP: $3,999 
Engine displacement: 349cc 
Saddle height: 31.1 inches 
Curb weight: 399 pounds 

The Hunter 350’s nimbleness and agility are easy to get to grips with, almost as soon as you throw a leg over the saddle. For those who love the retro-informed modern styling, of course, the looks don’t hurt either. It’s fun and easy to flick around, even in hectic traffic—which makes this a fun and yet unintimidating bike for beginners and anyone who has to gingerly pick their way through traffic on a regular basis. 

9. Triumph Trident 660 

Triumph Trident 660

MSRP: $8,595 
Engine displacement: 660cc  
Saddle height: 31.7 inches  
Curb weight: 416.7 pounds  

Art, whether it’s in a museum or rolling on two wheels, is a subjective experience. What moves you may not move me, and vice versa. That said, the Trident 660 features some head-turning styling, something that the team at Triumph seem to be awfully good at (see also the Speed Triple 1200 RR). The fact that it’s also one of Triumph’s best-suited bikes for beginners is both a blessing and a curse.  

On one hand, it’s cool that you can get a bike this solid for such a reasonable price (new) in 2023. On the other hand, will you cry when you drop it? (Yes, everyone has a tip-over at one point or another, but that fact still doesn’t make you feel any better when it happens to you.)  Only you can know how you’re likely to handle that situation if and (most likely) when it arises. If you’re willing to take that risk, then the Trident 660 could be just the right beginner bike for you. 

10. Ducati Scrambler Icon 

Ducati Scrambler Icon

MSRP: $10,995  
Engine displacement: 803cc  
Saddle height: 31.3 inches   
Curb weight: 408 pounds  

I have to admit that I didn’t love the Scrambler’s looks at first, but actually riding one put a big ol’ smile on my face immediately. It’s so fun, easy to shift, and characterful—just the essentials, nothing fancy, you and your bike and the wind having a great time together. The 2023 model comes with full LED lighting, as well as nine different colors to choose from. You can also get low or high seat accessories to make you as confident as possible while you’re getting into the swing of riding. 

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