5 best beginner motorcycles of 2009

By: On: December 29th, 20090 Comments »Updated: October 1, 2014

2009HondaRebelAnyone that is interested in learning how to ride a motorcycle and getting their motorcycle license had a great variety to choose from in 2009.  A large cruiser or a racy streetbike might be your ultimate goal, but starting out on a beginner motorcycle is the wisest choice if you lack street experience.

To learn how to ride responsibly, attend a MSF course, and leave your ego at home.  Start out on a beginner motorcycle, such as the five popular models we compared.

First of the top five motorcycles for beginners during 2009, and perhaps of all-time is the Honda Rebel.  It has great looks and style, a fantastic reputation and reasonable sticker price of $3999 US.    The engine is a smooth running 234cc parallel twin cylinder, tied to a 5 speed transmission.  At 331 pounds ready to ride with a full tank, this nimble and practical motorcycle for beginners is always highly rated.

Suzuki TU250Second and third on the list are Suzuki motorcycles.  Similar to the Honda Rebel is the Suzuki GZ250. The same engine is also offered in the TU250.  Both of these list for $3799 US.  The GZ does looks a lot like the Rebel with that touch of cruiser styling.

The TU250 style is classic standard motorcycle done in a retro way.  That may sound boring, but the retro styling really looks great.  The engine is a single cylinder 249cc displacement.  Of course, a single will have a bit more vibration than a twin, but vibration is not always considered a bad thing by motorcyclists.

The GZ250 seat height is about an inch taller than the Honda Rebel at 27.8 inches.  Ready to ride weight is rated the same at 331 pounds.  The TU250 weighs just a couple of pounds less than the Rebel and the GZ250 and has a taller set height of 30.3 inches.  Suzuki claims 82 miles per gallon fuel economy for both the GZ250 and TU250.

V Star 250Fourth on our list, and styled as a cruiser is the Yamaha V Star 250.  The big differences between the Honda Rebel, Suzuki GZ250 and the V Star 250 are the engines. The V Star is the only beginner motorcycle on our list that has a v-twin engine.  Another distinguishing feature of the V Star 250 is the 58.7 inch wheelbase.

This is more than half a foot longer than the Honda Rebel and the Suzuki 250.  The seat height is reasonable 27 inches and weight is right near the others.  The V Star 250 fuel consumption is estimated at 78 miles per gallon by Yamaha. Price of the V Star 250 is $3790 US.

Fifth on our list is the Kawasaki Eliminator.  With a 125cc engine, this is the smallest engine on our beginner motorcycle list.  Seat height is a low 26.8 inches, and wheelbase is close to the V Star at 57.9 inches.  Ready to ride weight is 319.6 pounds, which is the lightest of the group.  Shifting is done via a 5-speed transmission, like the other competitors on our list.

Forward mounted pegs and low slung seat give this a comfortable cruiser style that also looks good.  The main benefit of the Kawasaki Eliminator is the $2799 price tag.  The thousand dollar difference is hard to ignore and this Kawasaki is a very nice beginner motorcycle, regardless of the smaller engine size.  You can use the extra money for your motorcycle insurance, such as from GEICO.com and for all your new riding gear too.

Each of the bikes on this list would make a fine beginner motorcycle for any rider that is looking for something light, relatively small, and easy to manage.  Motorcycles with v-twins are a popular pick these days, but don’t get all hung up on that.  A single or a parallel twin would make a fine choice, especially since these are small displacement engines that we are talking about.

Kawasaki Eliminator 2009Learning how to ride and getting your motorcycle permit, and eventually your motorcycle license, is kind of a big deal.  The key is not to rush it.  Start small and work your way up to a bigger bike if you want, but motorcycle riding is not about how big and bad your bike is.  Riding is about enjoying yourself and the freedom and sensations that motorcycling offers, whether you are on a beginner motorcycle or not.

Pick a motorcycle that you like, that you are comfortable on, and that you feel safe and confident on. Make sure the levers and foot controls feel right to you.  Gather as much hands-on motorcycle info as you can. You might be surprised which motorcycle feels right and which ones feel wrong.  Keep an open mind, go to several different motorcycle dealers, and just sit on as many different motorcycles as you can before you buy.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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