Best (Low CC) Learner Motorcycle of 2023
Welcome to Australian Motorcyclist’s special feature on the Best Low CC Learner Motorcycles of 2023. This year, we’ve scoured the market to bring you a selection of motorcycles that stand out for their learner-friendly attributes. Our focus is on smaller, lower CC bikes, perfect for those starting their riding journey or seeking a nimble, manageable ride. To keep our list concise and relevant, we’ve intentionally omitted heavier and larger models, as we believe the essence of a great learner bike lies in its approachability and ease of handling. Join us as we highlight the top picks of the year, each offering a unique blend of style, performance, and accessibility for the aspiring rider.
KTM 390 Duke / RC390
The KTM 390 Duke and its sports variant, the RC390, are excellent choices for learners. The 390 Duke is a naked bike known for its lightweight, agile handling, and punchy single-cylinder engine, making it ideal for urban riding and twisty roads. Its aggressive styling and advanced features, such as a TFT display and ride-by-wire, add to its appeal. The RC390, on the other hand, is a fully-faired sportbike version, sharing the same engine and performance characteristics but with a more aerodynamic design and a sportier riding position. Both models offer an engaging ride experience while being accessible for new riders.
Yamaha MT-03 / R3
The Yamaha MT-03 and R3 are two learner-friendly motorcycles with a common platform. The MT-03 is a naked bike with a comfortable upright riding position and a lightweight, nimble design, making it suitable for city commuting and beginner riders. It features a reliable and efficient twin-cylinder engine. The R3 is the sportier, fully-faired sibling, designed with an ever more slightly aggressive riding position with aerodynamic sport bike styling, making it a great entry-level sportbike. Both models are known for their balance, easy handling, and smooth power delivery, ideal for those new to motorcycling.
Honda CB300R / CBR300R
Honda’s CB300R and CBR300R are both excellent entry-level motorcycles. The CB300R is a part of Honda’s neo-sports café lineup, offering a stylish, modern take on the classic roadster. It’s lightweight, has an easy-to-handle nature, and a single-cylinder engine that’s both responsive and fuel-efficient. The CBR300R is a more sports-oriented bike, with full fairings and a slightly more aggressive stance, sharing the same reliable engine and approachable performance, making it a great beginner sports bike.
Honda CB500F / CBR500R
The Honda CB500F and CBR500R cater to learners who want a bit more power. The CB500F is a naked bike with a comfortable, upright position and a 500cc twin-cylinder engine offering a great balance of power and manageability. Its design is sleek and contemporary, suitable for both city and highway riding. The CBR500R, sharing the same engine, is the fully-faired sportbike version, with a more aggressive look and riding position, providing a taste of Honda’s racing pedigree in a beginner-friendly package.
Honda CL500 / Rebel 500
The Honda CL500 is a modern classic with a scrambler aesthetic, offering a relaxed and comfortable ride. It’s characterized by its retro styling and easy-going performance from its parallel-twin engine. The Rebel 500, meanwhile, is a cruiser with a low seat height, making it accessible for riders of all statures. It also shares the same engine but is designed for smooth, low-speed cruising, providing a laid-back riding experience.
Kawasaki Ninja 400 / Z400
Kawasaki’s Ninja 400 and Z400 are two closely related models, both excellent for beginners. The Ninja 400 is a lightweight sportbike with aggressive styling, inspired by its larger siblings in the Ninja range. It features a potent twin-cylinder engine that’s both exciting and manageable for new riders. The Z400 is the naked version, sharing the same engine and chassis, but with an upright riding position and minimalistic styling, making it more suited to urban environments and everyday riding.
CFMoto 450NK / 450SR
CFMoto’s 450NK is a naked bike offering a balance of performance and affordability. It has a twin-cylinder engine, providing a lively yet manageable ride, and modern styling that appeals to a range of riders. The 450SR is the sportier, fully-faired sibling, designed for riders who prefer a more aggressive look and feel. Both bikes are equipped with features such as LED lighting and digital displays, positioning them as value-packed options for beginner riders.
Triumph Speed 400
The Triumph Speed 400 is a new entry in the beginner motorcycle segment, emanating from a brand known for its heritage and build quality. This bike is expected to offer a blend of classic Triumph styling with modern technology, tailored for new riders. It’s likely to feature a manageable engine size, easy handling, and a design that reflects Triumph’s iconic aesthetic. The Speed 400 promises to be an attractive option for learners who desire a bike with character and a distinguished brand pedigree.
We hope you’ve found inspiration and insight in our carefully curated selection. These bikes represent the ideal starting point for new riders, combining safety, style, and simplicity. We encourage you to participate in our community voting, sharing your thoughts on which models stand out to you. Your input is invaluable in celebrating the bikes that make learning to ride an exciting and accessible adventure. Remember, the journey to becoming a seasoned motorcyclist begins with a single ride, and these motorcycles are the perfect companions for that first thrilling journey.