A new year is nearly upon us and with it a new lineup of motorcycles from top makers Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Yamaha among many others. Those looking to purchase their first motorcycle as a new model are probably still overwhelmed by the number of options. Once a would-be rider whittles their decision down to a particular class of bike, dozens of choices still remain. Which is the right one for starters?
Before we even get into that it’s important to go over a brief checklist of necessary and often legally required criteria for operating a motorcycle on streets and off-road. Beginners need to know this stuff or otherwise risk being pulled over by the police , seriously injured in an accident, or worse:
Proper Attire: All but three states require some if not all motorcyclists to wear helmets. In addition it’s recommended to invest in a quality leather jacket or one specifically designed to protect riders from injury. Denim and leather boots are also suggested at all times.
Proper Insurance: Companies have specific, separate policies written for motorcycle insurance as opposed to car insurance. It’s vital for new riders to get coverage as soon as possible to limit personal liability and protect against destruction in case of an accident.
Proper License: Most states and municipalities require beginner motorcycle riders to get a learner’s permit. This often allows riders to drive on streets during the day but not at night. Riders must then pass a test in order to legally operate a motorcycle at night and receive a proper endorsement on their driver’s license.
Now onto the best 2016 motorcycles for beginners by type:
CRUISER – Indian Chief Dark Horse
The new approach to the once-iconic Indian Chief line of motorcycles is itself getting a new twist in 2016 with the refined release of the Dark Horse which made its debut earlier this year. The classic design of the Indian Chief Classic is modded in a style fitting for the Caped Crusader; streamlined black matte encasing a 49cc V-Twin contributing to a 751 lb. dry weight. Ideal for starters due to the balance and comfort of the saddle owed to a brand tradition of adhering to both.
OFF-ROAD – Yamaha YZ250X
Two-stroke, wide ratio gearbox, and reinforced suspension make this dirt bike ideal for beginners. Yamaha continues to outdo themselves in the off-road department by improving upon the YZ250 but subtracting the traction problems and less than stellar stock seat.
SPORT – Yamaha FZ-09
Once again Yamaha makes the list thanks in part to their persistence in retooling near-perfect models instead of letting them be. Such is the case with the FZ-09, the latest generation in a long line-up of worthy naked sports bikes from the brand. Designed specifically with beginners in mind, the FZ-09 sports an 847cc liquid-cooled dual overhead camshaft three-cylinder four-stroke beneath either a raven or blue colored body.
STANDARD – Kawasaki Z800
Standard-class motorcycles by definition suit starter riders due in part to the barebones basics inherent to the type. The Z800 ABS released by Kawasaki is a goldmine for would-be riders concerned with safety but not willing to compromise on speed and maneuverability.
TOURING – Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L
While standard-class is the go-to for most beginners, some prefer something seemingly even more secure and compromising. Such are touring type motorcycles, of which the Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L ranks as the superior design to be released in North America in 2016. Already a runaway hit overseas, the upgraded Africa Twin is a cousin of the more familiar True Adventure and features a steel double cradle frame specifically designed for optimum balance on both the off and open roads. Ample storage suits the long distance riders and daily commuters alike.
Every year brings dozens of new motorcycles to market. New riders with the intention and means to acquire a new model can be easily puzzled by the vast array of options. Never fear, for sticking to the aforementioned bikes by class will ensure a safe and smooth ride – so long as the rider adheres to the standard safety requirements of motorcycling.