Yes, a 600cc Sport Bike is Too Big for a First Bike
This is the question we get the most so we’re cutting to the chase and answering it straight up and as emphatically as possible. Yes, stay away from riding a 600cc motorcycle if you are starting out as a motorcycle rider.
Why a 600cc Motorcycle is Not a Good Beginner Motorcycle
Remember when you were first learning to drive a car? You fumbled with the clutch, you killed it multiple times, lots of starts and stops. In my family when we were taught how to drive we used one of the older cars in our garage, that way if something happened the good cars wouldn’t be damaged.
Learning to drive was very frustrating to me at first, I couldn’t figure out how to operate the clutch and smoothly shift gears in a way that didn’t jerk everyone around.
Learning on a Lamborghini
Imagine first learning to drive not in an old beater car, but a brand new Lamborghini! The idea of that might sound pretty cool, but for anyone that has driven a high performance car you know that everything about it means business.
It accelerates blisteringly fast, it brakes are so powerful they can lock up even WITH anti-lock brakes. Definitely not a forgiving first car. To top that off you have to be extra careful so you don’t scratch that crisp yellow paint job or bang your chromed dual exhaust on a speed bump.
I was very happy to learn in that 10 year old car, it made things much easier for me. The first time I drove my moms brand new Subaru WRX I nearly steered into the fence because I wasn’t used to a car with such a sensitive gas pedal.
Why People Want to Ride Big Motorcycles
Most people are attracted to motorcycle riding not only because of the image it portrays, but also because of how the bike looks. Most modern motorcycles are beautifully engineered and beautiful to behold. Unfortunately it seems like the more aesthetically pleasing a motorcycle is, the more CC’s it has. When I first got the motorcycle bug, the one I dreamed about and saved up for was none other than the Honda CBR 1000RR!!!
Now THAT is a beautiful bike. Much like the North African spider monkey, that motorcycle is both beautiful, and deadly (in the wrong hands anyway). I’m not saying that as soon as you get on it you will die, and i’m also not saying that it is completely impossible to learn on that bike, but I AM saying that a bike with that much power behind it would be VERY hard to handle, especially if something unexpected happened like a child running across the street.
Let me preface this guide by saying that Yes, i know of people that have learned to ride motorcycles that are 1000cc’s and greater, but it is definitely not something i’m going to recommend.
What We Recommend for a Starter Motorcycle
Generally these riders progress much slower than someone who starts off on a smaller machine like the Kawasaki Ninja 250. On a 250cc motorcycle (which we highly recommend). This is usually because they have to spend a lot of their focus on not grabbing too much throttle, and not grabbing too much brake, and trying to keep such a heavy and long machine on 2 wheels, especially during slow speed maneuvers.
On a motorcycle like the Ninja though even if you do grab a fist full of throttle and twist it is much easier to recover, and the changes of lifting the front wheel off the ground are much lower. The brakes on smaller machines are also much more forgiving, although they should still be used carefully, THEY STOP YOU FAST!
So far we can see that a 600cc or greater motorcycle is not the perfect beginner motorcycle because it is a machine built for the race track. Another reason to get a smaller bike at first is the cost.
A brand new Suzuki GSX 600 can run you $9,000+, that is a lot of clams, especially if you end up dropping it the first week (I’ve seen it happen). The Ninja 250 on the other hand only costs around $3,000 brand spanking new!! So if you do end up dropping it, it’s not going to be nearly as expensive to fix/replace parts.
Upping the Difficulty
Now take that example and add 2 things: Keeping 300+ pounds balanced on 2 wheels, and keeping the front end down. With a car you don’t have to worry about balance at all, 4 wheels really helps with that, but with a motorcycle if you’re going less than 5 mph you really need to watch your balance.
Turning the motorcycle at all also requires balance, too much lean one way or another and you either end up on the pavement or wrapped around a telephone pole. Motorcycles have incredible acceleration and they require a lot of throttle control to operate properly. If you give a fast car too much gas all you are going to do is peel out, if you do that same thing on a motorcycle you could easily pull a wheelie and flip the bike.
Most modern 600cc motorcycle are built for the race track, the only thing that makes them street legal is adding blinkers, headlights and a license plate. Even 500cc motorcycle will out accelerate all but the fastest cars in a quarter mile race, imagine what a 600cc, or a 1000cc motorcycle can do!
Do yourself a favor and when you get your first motorcycle buy something that is smaller than 600ccs, and preferable naked so you don’t have to worry about scratching the fairings if you drop it in a parking lot. I was extremely careful and even I dropped my first motorcycle 2 times in the parking lot, and once at a stoplight (tuck in those laces while you ride or they will catch on your pegs!).
It’s definitely not an uncommon to hear of someone wrecking their brand new motorcycle less than a week after they leave the dealership. Not only will that hurt your pride, but it will also hurt your wallet and your body!