Top 10 Sport Bikes for Beginners

Posted: 22nd June 2011 by Shannon in General


Please note that riding a motorcyle can be a dangerous undertaking and must be approached with the utmost care and respect. Always know your limitations before getting into riding and take the necessary steps to prepare for a safe journey.

The list below contains SPORT BIKES that are typically going to be faster and more powerful than more “entry level” bikes. These sport bikes can be handled even by beginners though as long as they are respected and understood before riding them.

Again, know your limits and respect the bike and you will enjoy a much smoother time in the world of motorcyles!


Many people think that when it comes to learning how to ride a motorcycle sport bikes are out of the question for beginners.  However this is not entirely true as there are many sport bikes that look nice, have some serious power, but are still able to be tamed by even the most novice rider.

It is important to understand that motorcycles in the 600cc+ range are in fact more finely tuned for riders who understand how to utilize all the “race” features of a motorcycle. Again though, this does not mean that a beginner can not learn these things as he/she goes along. In fact, on smaller 250cc bikes the rider may never experience these fined tuned features so it would be as if the rider never truly learned about the bike in the first place. To make that statement clearer, if your goal is simply to learn how to ride and keep a motorcycle up on two wheels then a smaller 250cc option might suit you better.

While the bikes posted below are shiny and new it is highly recommended that you buy a used bike while you learn to ride. It is inevitable that you will drop one whether that be on the road or in your driveway.  If that happens it will hurt (financially) a lot less if your bike is used and not a $15,000 model.

As with anything else being learned though, practice and patience are key. So here it is, the top ten sport bikes for beginners over 250ccs:

#10: Suzuki GSXR 600

Ah the Gixxer. Even if you don’t know the first thing about motorcycles or sport bikes you will likely recognize this one. The GSXR is a very popular sport bike due to it’s light weight, nice power range, and fairly decent price for how it performs.

The GSXR 600 is definitely a good looking bike with lots of sharp angles and clean edges.  As far as raw power is concerned this motorcycle can get up there with the best of them.  Is it a good starting bike though?  You might be surprised that many first timers learn to ride on this very bike.  It is lightweight and pretty forgiving making it a good starter bike. However, it is important to note that the GSXR is made with racers in mind so it will be a little touchier than other 600cc motorcycles.

Something to note also, GSXR models 08′ and up have different mode selections available that allow the rider to truly control how much power is being harnessed from the bike.

#9: Suzuki SV650

The Suzuki SV650 is a bit of a roadster mixed with some sport bike style. Many opt for this choice because it is viewed as a good “beginner bike” for those who still want to have a decent looking bike for their first.  This bike doesn’t get up as fast as some of the others, but the brakes are very responsive so it may be a challenge for those who are ready to pay attention to the fine details.

#8: Yamaha YZF R6

The YZF R6 is definitely a looker. Sharp fairing design with clean cut edges make this a gorgeous 600cc sport bike.  I have known many people who have this as their first bike and they have had great experiences with them.  The bike is lighter than most 600ccs and handles like a dream. The downside? New ones are fairly expensive!

#7: Suzuki Bandit 600

This motorcycle is yet another that has plenty of power but isn’t as torquey as some other 600cc options.  The bike handles nice and can get up to pretty good speeds once the rider gets comfortable with it. It should be noted though that this bike is pretty heavy for a sport bike making low speed maneuvers very difficult which can mean trouble for novice riders.

#6: Suzuki Katana 600

While not nearly as ferocious looking as its GSXR cousin, the Suzuki Katana 600 is still a very nice bike for beginners looking to get into riding.  One of the advantages of this bike is the fact that it sits a little higher so the rider isn’t completely leaned over the handle bars.

This is great for beginners as it allows them to get a feel for riding a motorcycle around and through traffic.  Another plus is that this bike is considered a “sport touring” so insurance rates are typically much cheaper!  The only minor flaw with this bike is that it is a bit on the heavy side. If you are a smaller rider you may want to consider a smaller, lighter option.

#5: Honda CBR 600

The Honda CBR 600 is another lightweight sport bike that has the potential to be fast but still easy enough to handle for beginners.  The CBR 600 looks great and is of really high construction quality. This bike’s light weight and smaller size make it perfect for beginning riders who are nervous about handling a larger bike around corners and what not.

Many who learn on this bike do give one piece of advice though: The bike sits a little higher than most so if you are on the shorter side you may either want to get this bike lowered or opt for a different motorcycle.

#4: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

While this bike may be intimidating to look at it can also be a very good starter bike as well.  The weight and positioning of this bike is nice and can accommodate riders of average to tall heights. This motorcycle has plenty of power but can be handled if the rider is patient with the bike and learns to control the throttle.  Don’t underestimate the engine size, while it’s 650 cousin may sport 50ccs more, this bike actually totes more power so be cautious.

#3: Suzuki GS500

The GS500 might not be the first bike in mind when it comes to sport bikes, especially to beginners who are looking for a mean looking motorcycle.  However, don’t be fooled by appearances as this bike is an extremely easy one to learn on while still retaining a lot of power.  The lack of too much fairing and bodywork allows for less wind resistance and an easier first rider experience.

#2: Kawasaki Ninja 650R

The Kawasaki Ninja 650R engine size may seem too large to be considered for beginners, but don’t let numbers misguide you.  This bike has a nice weight to it, good seat placement, and the way it handles corners can quickly be learned by new riders. The parallel twin engine also provides for a smooth ride and transition into motorcycles. The aggressive design of this bike is nice to look at as well.

#1: Ninja EX500

So here it is, in my (and many others) opinion the best sport bike for beginners to learn on.  While I understand that this motorcycle’s looks may not hold a candle to the other bikes listed in this post that doesn’t rule it out as a bad bike.  In fact, ask almost anyone who has experience riding and they will likely tell you that this is the bike they learned on or a bike that they would recommend learning on. It is very light, easy to maneuver, and is very economically friendly (cheap!).

If you are an absolute beginner this is likely the best introduction to sport bikes you can get. If you are looking to purchase your very own sport bike, I recommend checking out Sheriff Auctions to see if you can get some great deals on used motorcycles. Riding a used motorcycle can still be fun and save you a TON of money while learning or even if you are veteran rider! Enjoy!

* Remember, it is important to always wear safety gear when riding and to respect a motorcycles power. The ability to handle a motorcycle ultimately falls on the rider and how responsible he/she is with the machine.

Images obtained from Google
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  1. Spencer Terry says:

    I am looking for some god deals on some bikes:/

  2. Rajesh says:

    How much

  3. Jorge says:

    I felt in love with the Suzuki GSXR 600. It is a bit out of my budget range but is my new dream bike.

    • ssutherland says:

      This bike is definitely a favorite of many! It is inexpensive compared to other bikes in its range yet still nice looking and powerful!

  4. machu says:

    I would like to buy a god second hand sport bike,am in Zambia please contact me.

    • ssutherland says:

      Unfortunately I do not know of any services in Zambia that offer good second hand bikes. Perhaps try your local equivalent of classified ads/neighborhood postings?


  5. Wes says:

    great bikes…..all favorites…..looking to ride in april 2013

  6. Cider says:

    What!? There a few bikes that belong here, and some that DO NOT.


    You WILL drop it and you WILL hurt yourself.

    The EXACT same goes for the ZX-6R. I don’t know who wrote this list, but they must be trying to kill someone.

    • ssutherland says:

      I agree, the wording perhaps could have been more thought out. My main point of this article are the best SPORT bikes (meaning something faster/sportier than your average bike) for a beginner getting into the sport bike scene.

      I made it clear though in the opening paragraphs that all motorcycles are to be taken seriously and must be respected whether you are on a 50cc moped or GSXR 1000cc. I had never ridden a bike and I started on a GSXR600cc and never had any problems because I took the proper procedures before, during, and after the purchase. Does that mean everyone will? No. I can only hope that everyone looking to get into riding takes it up with great care.

      Thank you for contributing!

  7. ray thompson says:

    how much does a 10 to13 year old Suzuki katana in very good condition sell for ?

    • ssutherland says:

      It depends on the condition (as you stated it is in good condition), the size of the engine (600cc, 750cc), and the time of year.

      You could be looking at getting anywhere from $1500 to $2500 in the spring for this bike. Be sure to look around and check sites like for more information!


  8. RobMoore says:

    I knew this list was not to be taken seriously when the first bike you list is a race bike with headlights. The whole class of inline 4 600cc supervikes are NOT BEGINNER BIKES, despite being very popular for new riders. Negative and incorrect advice like this list is what causes new riders to believe they can buy race bikes and “respect them” and “be alright”. Then they total them in the first year and all of our insurance rates go up.

    New riders should start on bikes with less than 50 horsepower, brakes in good order but not so powerful as to bite the hand that grabs them, and riding position that won’t wear out the inexperienced and cause them to lose focus on riding while thinking about their sore backs and wrists.

    • ssutherland says:

      Again, this list is titled SPORT bikes for a reason. I did not say best overall motorcycles to ride but I definitely understand where you are coming from. The most important thing with any motorcycle is the respect for it. It doesn’t matter if it is a street racing bike or a lower HP roadster; the fact of the matter remains that if the person riding the bike is not ready and doesn’t respect it then they will have problems no matter what.

      Thank you for commenting though, I appreciate your input.

  9. Murray says:

    Whoever put this list together has no clue, The GSXR,R6 and ZX-6R we’ll add in the CBR600RR not on the list but often mentioned in the same breath. Simply shouldn’t be on the list they are not even very good road bikes let alone the sort of bike someone new should be looking at. If you are vaguely looking at this list there is something called a MSF riders course in the USA, I suggest in the strongest possible terms before you even buy a bike you go do this course it will probably be the best money you ever spend on motorcycling and may save you a lot of pain and heartache in the future.

    • ssutherland says:

      A very good point about the MSF courses. I wouldn’t say I don’t have a clue, if you read the post you will see that I recommended 250cc bikes for beginners but that with care and responsibility (such as taking the MSF courses) then a rider could definitely start on a 600cc. Also, my number one bike is regarded as one of the most beginner friendly yet still powerful bikes to ride.

      Again, thank you for taking time to comment and inform the readers further about MSF courses.

  10. boyan says:

    thatnks thats very good

  11. aaron says:

    hi want to know if im stupid of thinking of getting a gsxr 600 its my dream bike im doing my bike test after my birthday January 16 im 30 year old every body who I tell that im thinking of getting a gsxr 600 say that I will kill my self

    • ssutherland says:


      Thank you for stopping by! “You’re going to kill yourself” is probably THE most common response you will get when you tell someone you are thinking about getting a motorcycle. Their concern is not off base though, as motorcycles can be extremely dangerous if not approached with care and respect and even then you are taking a risk by riding one. However, if you are truly wanting to own and ride your dream bike then I definitely say you should go for it but just make sure you do it the right way!

      I would recommend taking an MSF course to learn how to ride the correct way. I would also recommend practicing on some older motorcyles or maybe even less powerful ones. If you decide you want to jump straight to the GSXR600 then be prepared for a little more power, it is definitely doable as long as you respect the bike and know your limits!

      If you have any more questions or concerns just drop me a line!