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Best Beginner Cruiser Motorcycles 2016

Cruisers are generally not thought of as very beginner friendly bikes to learn on. Because of how large and heavy they are, they're not easy to handle at low speeds. The classic cruiser riding position isn't comfortable either, being low and leaned back with both the arms and legs stretched way out. And plus, cruisers are pretty expensive too with expensive parts.

But that said, manufacturers are making smaller cruisers that work great as beginner bikes. To come up with our list of best beginner cruisers, we took into account the following factors:

- Maneuverability: A good beginner's motorcycle is one that you can actually maneuver. Bikes that are lightweight and agile are easier to handle. A more comfortable reach also helps you steer the bike better.
- Power: Cruisers don't have as much power as sportbikes, but it's still a generally good idea to start off on something smaller.
- Seat height: You want to be able to get both feet firmly on the ground
- Price: As a beginner, you probably don't want to drop too much dough on your first bike. You probably will drop it as some point and you may grow out of it too. Cruisers aren't known for being cheap, but the ones we've got here have price tags that are easier to swallow.

Here are our picks for the best cruisers for beginners:

Honda Rebel 250 ($4,190) 

The Honda Rebel is one of the best motorcycles for beginners, period. There's a reason why it's often used as a learner's bike at MSF courses. In the cruisers market, it's just about the smallest one you can find, and you simply can't beat it's under $5,000 price.

This baby cruiser has a 234cc V twin engine, but don't be fooled, it still delivers plenty of power for a fun ride. The weight tops out at just 330 pounds, which means that not only is it super easy to handle, it's also got some speed! So don't worry about getting bored with it too fast. The seat height is low at only 27" so beginners can confidently plant both feet on the ground. You really can't go wrong with the Honda Rebel as your first bike.

Yamaha Bolt (MSRP $7,999)

Cruiser engines aren't as powerful as that of a sportbike, so you can start out on a much larger engine (and get the bragging rights!). The Yamaha Bolt has a powerful 924cc V-twin engine, so you'll have plenty of fun on it. The throttle response is smooth in the low-mid RPM range, which is where you'll be most of the time.

The bike itself is compact and slim with a low seat height, which are all ideal for beginners. Despite the larger engine, the weight only comes in at 540 lbs, and while it's obviously not as little as the Honda Rebel, it's still a manageable size. And plus, you won't outgrow it so fast.

Harley-Davidson Street 500 ($6,849) 

The Harley name is synonymous with classic American cruisers. If you are set on a cruiser bearing that iconic branding, the Street 500 is our pick for the most beginner friendly Harley cruiser. This street style Harley is designed for maximum urban agility and has a sleek, minimalist black-out styling. It's been upgraded with new front and rear brake systems, new brake and clutch levers, and a more ergonomically placed rear brake petal position. At under 7 grand, it's a steal for a piece of that Harley name.

Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS ($7,399) 

This bike offers a great balance of price and performance. The Vulcan S has a beautiful cruiser styling combined with that renowned Kawasaki sportbike power and handling. It features a 649cc parallel twin engine that is derived from the Ninja 650.

At just under 500 lbs, it's not the lightest cruiser we're recommending, but beginners should still have no trouble handling it. The seat position is also ergonomically designed for comfort. The bike also has a custom fit concept to accommodate riders of all heights. There are three different positions for the footpegs and handlebars and adjustable hip support on the seat to, so you can find the one that provides the most comfortable reach.

Triumph Bonnesville ($8,099)

A Triumph Bonneville is a classic beauty outfitted with modern technology. The 865 cc parallel twin engine delivers plenty of power and smooth throttle response even at low RPMs. The classic 1960s suspension is fitted with modern damping internals so the ride is smooth and easy to handle.

The Bonnie (as it's known to fans) already has a strong reputation for being a good beginner bike. The classic riding style is comfortable for beginners and the low seat height makes it easy to plant both feet firmly on the ground. The size is a bit larger, but this makes the Bonnie a bike that you won't outgrow too fast, if ever.

Suzuki Boulevard S40 ($5,499)

And lastly, we end with a true timeless old-school bike. Not much has changed on the Suzuki Boulevard S40 since it was first introduced 3 decades ago (when it was known as the Savage). The only major upgrade is that the original 4-speed transmission is now 5-speed. This has always been known as a reliable bike. Why change something that ain't broke?

You also get plenty of power for the price. The Boulevard S40's 625cc single cylinder engine delivers surprisingly high torque. This nimble little bike weighs in at just over 380 pounds, making it very easy to handle for beginners. It's not the most technological advanced bike there is, but it does the job just fine and fun. And plus, you've gotta love the price tag.

Do you ride a cruiser? What was your first one? 

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers

By Daniel Relich

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