This jack of all trades is one of the most easy-to-ride bikes there is. With an engine based on that of the Honda Fit hatchback, power delivery is torque and the redline low. The payoff is easygoing performance and, at 64mpg, excellent fuel economy. Equally at home loaded down for a cross-country ride as it is on a twisty road, the NC700X is surprisingly good off-road too, where that low center of gravity and ease-of-use make more expensive bikes look positively silly.
Moto Guzzi V7
Why didn’t we include a Triumph Bonneville in this list? Because this Moto Guzzi is 100lbs lighter, has much more character and even a lower seat height. As its designer Miguel Galluzzi says, “The V7 is just a great bike for riding around on.”
Kawasaki Ninja 250
The archetypal learner motorcycle is available cheaply in the used market. Originating all the way back in 1984, it’s certainly not the nicest motorcycle you can buy, but it is cheap, easy and accessible.
Kawsaki Ninja 300
An update to the 250 uses the same basic platform, but the larger engine means more power and the aggressive styling will appeal to riders who eventually want to upgrade to a full-on sport bike.
This little retro is surprisingly small, making it a great option for riders of smaller stature. It’s not available in California due to emissions regulations, but elsewhere, new riders will find it utterly unintimidating.
Thinking of taking in some fire roads, camping trips or just getting a little dirty? The CRF250L is fun and easy off-road and surprisingly capable on-road too, where it can tackle highways or blitz through traffic jams.
Plan mostly on short trips through the city? This supermoto makes traffic and bad roads a breeze while offering an extremely fun ride. The tall seat and commanding riding position offer great vision, too.
Dead set on the cruiser thing? This is a friendly, stylish, reliable, safe and affordable option. The Bolt has better performance, a plusher ride and is just friendlier and easier to use than equivalent Harleys.