Swing your leg over ANY motorcycle for the first time and it will feel overwhelming. This is true if you are short or tall. Participating in professional cycling or being able to drive a stick shift offers no comfort. The more time in the seat, the more experience you have... these are the things that separate new riders from those that pull a motorcycle up off the kickstand with confidence. Time, ambition and patience builds this confidence. That being said there are some things to consider when picking out your first motorcycle.
Many people think of Harley-Davidson motorcycles as big, loud, expensive touring bikes. But did you know there are motorcycles that are shipped new from the factory with ABS, security systems and a two year warranty for less than $12,000? Less than $200* a month? Did you know they start at 883 ccs and go up from there? There's at least 10 Harley-Davidson motorcycles with a seat height less than 26 inches?
Starting with the Right Motorcycle
Which Harley is best for new riders? There isn't just one. You should be able to place your feet flat on the ground - this will give you more confidence when picking the bike up off the side stand, when pulling up to a stop light or when navigating a parking lot. In this case, most motorcycles will fit most people. Get close and use accessories - like a new seat or suspension - to fine tune for comfort.
Think About Your Riding Style
Around town or along the backroads, you'll see quite a few of these motorcycle models. There are a lot of choices here so it'll be hard not to find one that matches your style. They are big enough, laid back enough to crank out lots of miles but not so big they are overwhelming for many new riders. To find a great fit to your style, body type and budget, sit on them at Oakland H-D. Start small and work your way up until you feel like it's too much. Then take it back down a notch. We can help. You'll find options in the Sportster and Softail model families. Engines range from 883 to the Milwaukee Eight 114. For examples check out the Iron 883, Forty-Eight, Softail Standard, Street Bob, Fat Bob 114, Low Rider S and Heritage Classic.
Built for the long road with the features that will make that ride comfortable, members of the Grand American Touring lineup typically have a few things the others don't. Fairings (that big piece on the front with the stereo in it), saddlebags (luggage boxes on the side) and all the electronics from stereo, navigation and touch screens. In order to pack all this in, you'll end up with a larger bike. Can new riders ride one of these? Absolutely. But some might not want to just by looking at them. For more beginner-accessible models in this category check out the Road King, Electra Glide Standard, and Road Glide.
If you have an inclination to take trips off the paved road, but are still looking for a motorcycle that is street-legal you are going to be in the Adventure Touring category of riding. These bikes do both. There are some unique things needed when you are going off road. For that you'll want to dig in to the Pan America.
Ready for more? Check out the Picking a Motorcycle That's Right For You
*Financing Offer available only on new Harley-Davidson® motorcycles financed through Eaglemark Savings Bank (ESB) and is subject to credit approval. Not all applicants will qualify. This 8.49% offer is available on new Harley Davidson® motorcycles to high credit tier customers at ESB and only for up to an 84-month term. The APR may vary based on the applicant’s past credit performance and the term of the loan. For example, a 2022 Iron 883™ motorcycle in Black Denim with an MSRP of $10,749, a 10% down payment and amount financed of $9,674.10, 84-month repayment term, and 8.49% APR results in monthly payments of $153.16. In this example, customer is responsible for applicable taxes, title, licensing fees and any other fees or charges at the time of sale. APR is calculated according to the simple interest method. Not valid in conjunction with other offers. Other terms, conditions, and limitations may apply. Dealer participation may vary. Financing offer is subject to change or cancellation at any time. See your Harley-Davidson® Dealership for details.