Not everyone believes that novice motorcycle riders should go straight for the big bikes. Cruisers are hefty rides that often prioritize comfort over ease of use. Riders should know how to handle their bikes’ weight and reaction time, and a cruiser is impeded by both. Regardless of what the sticklers of the biker world might say, however, cruisers turn heads, and attract people to riding. For many would-be-bikers, cruisers are the main attraction.
We’re not going to dissuade riders from finding the motorcycle that fits their style; what we will do is assemble a list of the five best cruisers for new riders to consider. These bikes are not the big, bad king cruisers on the block, but they have the looks and feels that new riders may seek. Some of these may be pricey, and because they are not the most powerful bikes you can get, splurging on them may not be worthwhile. Buying one used with low mileage, however, can get you a better return on your investment. Here are the best cruisers for new riders looking seeking these styles of bikes.
1. Harley-Davidson Iron 883
The Harley-Davidson Iron 883 is a powerful machine with a sleek and classic design. A slick road machine, the Iron 883 is a best-seller for a reason. It has a low solo saddle and drag handlebars for the classic cruiser look, as well as an 883cc Evolution V-twin engine that makes for a powerful ride. This is definitely a modern motorcycle. Unfortunately, as with all Harley-Davidsons nowadays, it’s got a modern price tag as well, with an entry point close to $9,000.
It comes in a variety of colors, from a slick jet black design to red, cream, green and grey. The vehicle is a beautiful ride, but it is not an easy one. It weighs more than 560 pounds, and can be difficult to maneuver – the hallmarks of a big cruiser-style bike. However, it does feel a bit lighter than it looks. The loss of maneuverability can certainly be made up for by the fact that you will be riding a top-of-the-line modern Harley-Davidson. Newer models are slicker and weight slightly less; however, a used vehicle can save you a couple thousand bucks with minimal loss of reliability.
2. Indian Scout Sixty
Another solid contender for starting riders is the Indian Scout Sixty. Indian Motorcycle was a classic brand in the earlier part of the 1900s, before the company went bankrupt in 1953. However, in 2011, Polaris Industries began producing new motorbikes, bringing a classic ride back on the market. The Scout Sixty is a perfect example of Indian’s signature style. This 1000cc, twin-powered bike is a classic and beautiful ride. The standard bike comes in a cherry-red paint reminiscent of the classic motorbike image.
Unlike the Indian Scout, it is a bit smaller, has a little bit less horsepower and a much smaller price tag. Despite this tidbit, though, it’s significantly faster than most other bikes on the market, and the swiftest on this list. That makes it an appealing sell for new riders who want a good bike without heading straight for the most expensive option on the block. As an upside, this is a good-quality bike that you won’t necessarily want to move on from too quickly. You can expect a new bike here to last you several years of riding – without feeling like you have a beginner’s hog.
3. Yamaha Bolt
The Yamaha Bolt is a great entry-level cruiser option for riders looking for a ride that is solid, affordable and reliable. It can be highly customized, due to robust aftermarket competition and design, so you can guarantee that your bike doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Zippy and with a surprisingly strong throttle, it’s an astonishingly fun ride over the road. The seat is a low, single rider suitable for shorter riders, and the slightly higher handlebars provide a little more control. It is a powerful ride with decent suspension that only sometimes becomes inefficient for the ride. However, the bike’s pegs are known for being just a bit uncomfortably low, which can be difficult for novice riders to maneuver around. A new one will run you about $9,000. However, if you search, you can find bikes used to knock a couple thousand dollars off the price tag.
4. Kawasaki Vulcan S
The Kawasaki Vulcan S is a unique cruiser with a modern twist. Unlike older models of motorcycles, Kawasaki’s Ergo Fit system allows riders to adjust the handlebars, seat and pegs to the necessary position. This means new riders can have an easier time with the bike by customizing the positioning to their needs. On the other hand, this feature comes with a downside. You can’t change the customization yourself, which means if you buy it used, you have to pay for a Kawasaki dealer to adjust it to your size. It’s an added expense and inconvenience, but the result is a bike that fits you like no other.
Note that heavier riders weighing around 160 pounds and above are likelier to face issues with the suspension. However, lighter riders will find a perfectly smooth ride. It is operated by a 649cc twin engine that offers a vigorous ride. This is a great choice for new riders looking to stand out, while starting off with something modern.
5. Honda Rebel
The Rebel is one of Honda’s best-selling bikes for a reason. This motorcycle is sporty and stylish, as well as classic and modern. The Rebel has been a Honda motorcycle model for more than 30 years, and it has gained a solid reputation in that time. However, Honda has recently overhauled the entire design of the bike.
There are two options available: the 300cc and the 500cc. The 500c is the sturdier and more reliable choice of the two. It’s a surprisingly slick-looking cruiser with a trustworthy 471cc twin engine and a six-speed transmission. It’s the most affordable motorcycle on this list by far, with a starting price tag of $6,200. That price makes this a solid choice for a biker looking for a starter cruiser with reasonable maneuverability and manageable horsepower.