First Big Bike Recommendations

So, you’re fed up of going to work on public transport or sick of sitting in traffic jams and reckon a motorcycle is the key to your commuting blues and weekend fun. You’ve breezed your CBT, got your big bike license, now certain a motorcycle is for you and you have cash burning a hole in your pocket. You’ve probably seen countless articles recommending you this posh new Honda, that fancy showroom Ducati, some super fast Kawasaki just released or a huge BMW that’s more eco than last years – all claiming to be the best first big bike to buy.

All very well, but I say stuff all that, for a newbie’s city commuter their suggestions are rubbish for a number of reasons:-

  1. You will drop your first bike. Probably a few times. Everyone does. If it’s a brand spanking new bike or has loads of fairing, your wallet is really going to hurt.
  2. Insurance.  As a new rider you will obviously pay more for insurance. Even more, if commuting into the city where bike theft is rife. Fully comp premiums for a brand new bike in the city are just insane.

As such, first big motorbikes should ideally be naked (or with minimal fairing) and a few years old. A naked bike will keep down repair costs when you have a mishap. Fitting crash bobbins or bars will help protect it when dropped too. However, if your commute involves many miles on fast A-roads or motorways  a faired bike would be more favourable for wind/weather protection. Swings and roundabouts.

The sweet spot for second hand first big motorbikes is around £1500-2500

The sweet spot for second hand first big motorbikes is around £1500-2500, maybe bit more if you live somewhere rural. In the city, above £3K and insurance premiums start getting high. Above £4K and you’re looking at bikes more desirable to thieves that warrant more expensive Fully Comprehensive cover often with high excesses. £2K will usually equate to a 500-750cc bike about 10 years old that’s still in reasonable condition with a decent amount of life left. Drop your budget to below £1000 and more often than not you’ll only find money pits and rust buckets that don’t make financial sense longer term.

Although not essential, if you do spot a model with ABS brakes, I would recommend it. They may well save you a nasty spill in those first few months when you panic and grab a fist full of brake.

Stop press: London commuters should be aware the Ultra Low Emission Zone will come into enforce in April 2019. If you plan to ride a bike not meeting Euro 3 emissions (almost all older than 2007) within the current congestion charge zone, you will pay £12.50 per day. Further plans are set to extend this zone to the North/South circulars around 2021. Even if you plan on upgrading before then, it will still impact second hand prices around the capital.

So there you have it, tone down that budget for your first motorcycle. Get some experience under your belt. In a year or two you’ll be in a much better position to upgrade to a posher bike. I’m now going to present you with a list of universally recommended and best first big bike to buy that fit the above criteria. For those of you under 24 with an A2 license, many of these big bike recommendations can be restricted to suit you.

Best First Bike Bike to Buy:

(list in progress, watch this space!)

For slightly newer bikes to beat the London ULEZ charge, check out my article here.

Share with your buddies!

5 replies on “First Big Bike Recommendations”

Good strong torquey bike that is good when stepping up. Comfy too. Its a big physical bike that has a lot of presence so needs a bit of muscle as a noob to avoid the drop. Or more skill. Good value and a lot of evolution gone into it so will be robust and reliable.

Great article, currently choosing between the F650 favoured by my partner and the CBF500-A available to buy from my riding school – very different bikes a tough choice

Honda Hornet CB650 or CB900F – both are great first bikes, especially as CB650’s are becoming more common as instruction big bikes at riding schools. I’ve moved onto a CB900F, and while not as economical, it does everything I need for the time being – city commuter, something for a countryside splat and of course you can bomb it down the motorway if you need to. Ultra reliable – great all-rounders.

Don’t make the mistake like I did and buy a Honda VFR, I’ll never sell and it’ll last my lifetime. I’ll never get to experience anything else :p

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.