18 Dec 2018

Recommended Beginner Motorcycles

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Which one is right for you?

By George Tranos

KTM 390 Duke

The Duke is an upright, sporty single cylinder naked bike. A 373cc single driven through a 6-speed transmission propels this 328 pound machine. KTM claims 42 horsepower and 27 foot-pounds of torque. A 4-piston front disc brake and single piston rear provide excellent stopping power. The only negative is a tall, 32.5 inch seat height.

An upright handlebar and TFT display are highlights of the Duke. Fully adjustable brake and clutch levers allow you to customize the machine to fit the rider.  


Yamaha R3

With an aggressive new look and an inverted fork, the 2019 R3 is a beginner sportbike with rational ergonomics. It looks similar to their MotoGP bike with a sporty fairing and windscreen. But at only $4,999 in Matte Black or Yamaha Team Blue, it won’t break the bank. Add $300 for the ABS version in Vivid White or Matte Black. It has a quick-revving 321cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, fuel-injected parallel twin engine, weighs just 371 pounds with a 31-inch seat height.

A digital display highlights the dash of the R3. A tachometer bar graph is on the top with a digital speedometer on the right. A gear position indicator, temperature gauge and fuel level indicator round out the information.  


Kawasaki Ninja 400

The little Ninja belies its small size and weight with a powerful 399cc twin cylinder liquid-cooled engine driven through a 6-speed transmission. Kawasaki claims best-in-class roll-on acceleration to get you quickly up to speed. A single front and rear disc brake provide excellent stopping power. A 30.9 inch seat height and 366 pound curb weight keep things managable.

MSRP is $4,999 in Solar Yellow / Grey / Ebony, Candy Plasma Blue or Metallic Spark Black.  


Honda CB500F

The Honda CB500F is small enough for the true beginner but fun and capable for more experienced riders as well. The 500cc twin-cylinder engine develops usable torque. A comfortable, upright riding position and 30.9 inch seat height provide good ergonomics.

Adjustable clutch and brake levers provide a custom fit for every rider. MSRP is $6,099 in Candy Blue / Matte Black. Add $300 for ABS.  

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