7 Reasons Why a Small Displacement Motorcycle is a Great First Bike

7 Reasons Why a Small Displacement Motorcycle is a Great First Bike

Getting into motorcycling is often a dream realized, but choosing a first motorcycle can be a bit daunting.

New riders---those who are 100 percent new to riding a motorcycle and are fresh from earning their motorcycle license---are recommended to begin riding on a smaller motorcycle for the first 6 months or year into their motorcycle career. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but we are tackling this from a best practices viewpoint to encourage your growth into becoming a lifelong motorcyclist.   

We’re going to let you in on a little industry secret too, your first bike will not be your last bike. Lifelong motorcycling is a drawn out process which is infinitely joyous and it’s generally filled with a couple great machines. Just ask any old and experienced rider you meet.

Setting the stage for your own riding career requires a little discipline and patience. Starting on a small displacement motorcycle---or a motorcycle which is lightweight and moderately powered---will help you in the following ways:  

Cost of Ownership

Most new motorcycles under 500cc are relatively affordable, parts are cheap, and reliable. Having a motorcycle that’s stress-free and not a financial burden will encourage you to ride more often. 

Technique Before Power

Just like throwing a punch, painting a masterpiece, or cooking a great brisket, getting good at something takes time, practice, and sometimes involves making mistakes. Often a smaller bike can be more forgiving as you learn proper technique.

Learning how to ride well is a matter of properly learned and executed technique. You may have learned the basic inputs, and concepts of countersteer and body position from your two day motorcycle course but that is a far cry from being able to execute the technique perfectly every single time in every single riding situation. 

Less Powerful doesn't Mean Less Fun

There is a saying amongst motorcyclists, “It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.” As you wade into motorcycling for the first time, the allure of power and speed is ever present, especially if you have a bigger and more powerful bike underneath you. Power without technique can often lead to dangerous situations if you’re not skilled in how to control the bike in the first place.

The fastest riders like Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi learned how to be fast on small bikes first. Their speed and talent came from those early years developing good technique. 

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Less Money Spent on a Bike Means More Budget for Good Gear

When your parents bought your first bicycle, there is a good chance they strapped a helmet to your head and wrapped your joints in padding. You know why? Because they love you and want you to be safe when you fall. Which you probably did. The same logic applies when you first learn how to ride a motorcycle. 

There’s another saying in motorcycling, “it’s not a matter of if, but when.” Every active and lifelong motorcyclist has had a close call on a motorcycle. It's fair to guess many have sustained a minor injury somewhere along the way. Whether it’s falling over in your driveway or experiencing a crash, these events can have a profound impact on your body. While you continue to learn to become a better rider always invest in some good riding gear. In addition to keeping you safer during an unscheduled dismount, good gear can make your riding experience more comfortable, help you be seen by other drivers, and boost your confidence. 

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Smaller Machine = Easier to Manage

Smaller bikes are often lighter in weight and therefore they are more nimble, easier to move, operate, balance, and easier to pick up if dropped.

Subsequently, a smaller bike doesn’t bring with it the intimidation of heft or power. An accidental, careless, or unintended input can be more forgiving to recover from on a smaller motorcycle. 


Great Fuel Economy and Better Insurance Rates

How does 70 miles per gallon sound to you? Small displacement bikes generally get amazing fuel economy and that means less money spent at the pump.

As a newly licensed rider with zero-history of motorcycle operation, insurance companies already perceive you as a risk. Smaller bikes have really great insurance rates if you have a good driving record, and if you load up on full-coverage options, which is highly recommended.


Great Resale Value

Once you’re ready to upgrade, selling your used bike is pretty easy if you’ve taken care of it. Because your initial investment in your first bike wasn't large to begin with, it’s easier to accept half the cost of the original purchase price versus trying to sell a much more expensive bike. You can even approach your local motorcycle training school to sell it through them as most new riders going through a course have interest in purchasing lightly used motorcycles. Better yet, you can do what all obsessed motorcyclists do, keep it and buy a new bike so you can have two motorcycles in the garage.