Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8-valve V-twin
This inline twin cylinder has a unique linear torque curve, giving the rider a smooth feeling in throttle response. Equipped with dual front brakes and a compact wheelbase, this bike can handle a lot. With a comfortable yet sporty riding position, the FZ-07 is a versatile bike for city use as well as longer trips. It is not an absolute beginner bike, but can be enjoyed by riders with a variety of experience. It will not be outgrown.
Honda CBR 500R
Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled liquid-cooled parallel twin
We were ecstatic when Honda announced the CBR 500R. It’s great fun for almost any rider—although we don’t suggest this bike for an absolute beginner, but rather a more mature beginner. The parallel-twin, four stroke has more grunt on a lightweight bike. It is, as Honda says, “enough engine for everything.” Stay tuned for our own test ride.
Moto Guzzi V7 II Stone ABS
Engine: 4-stroke, V-twin
We wanted to offer another naked, retro-style bike, this time from Italy. The V7 Stone ABS is inspired by vintage V7s from Moto Guzzi’s rich history, only with modern technology and lighter-weight materials (the bike comes in at 417lbs). It has the classic V-twin with the cylinder heads jutting out the sides. But be warned, Moto Guzzi owners can become lifers! So it’s very useful that V7 has a large fuel tank (5.8 gallons), which will help you get to those Moto Guzzi Owner’s Club meetups with fewer stops.
Engine: 4-stroke, air-cooled, DOHC parallel twin
Once again the Bonneville has made the list, because it’s a classic. Avoid the headache of owning a vintage bike and just enjoy this bike as if you bought it in the ’70s. It is comfortable and fun and well-behaved. It provides all the basics, which is so important for beginners. Not the best bike for long trips on highways, but it certain can make the trip.
KTM 200 Duke
Displacement: 373cc (390)
Engine: 4-stroke, water-cooled, 1-cylinder
KTM has been on fire the last couple of years with a very exciting range of new models. We last suggested the 125 Duke, but that was before KTM introduced the 200 and the 390. All three bikes are excellent first rides. There isn’t much on the moto market like the Duke family. Both the 200 and 390 are single-cylinder 4-strokes. Highlights include “upside down forks” and large Brembo brakes. Both bikes offer a smaller displacement, but are still solid and aggressive looking
Suzuki DR 200
Engine: 4-stroke, air-cooled, OHC
The all-new redesigned DR 200 is the newest offering in the DR family which has been a reliable staple in the dual sport world for a long time. The new stylings take cues from Suzuki’s RM-Z series (their full-on MX bikes.) The new seat design makes for a more comfortable ride, and a hefty new 3.3 gallon gas tank allows the rider to make it from the city to the hills and back, no problem.