Find the Best Cruiser Motorcycle for Motorcycle Beginners

There are lots of cruisers to choose from, but I'll help you pinpoint the best cruiser motorcycle for you, the beginning motorcycle rider.

I've ridden, owned, and passionately followed street motorcycles and motorcycling the last 22 years. I'm excited to help you with one of the most fun buying decisions you'll make!

 Riding a cruiser motorcycle is a great choice if you see motorcycling as a chance to unwind and forget the world, or if you want to experience the simple pleasures of motorcycle riding in a relaxed mindset. If this doesn't quite sound like what you're about, then please see my other page,

Objective Advice about Starter Motorcycle Riding For younger people, ladies, people less than 5'11" and/or 200 pounds, I highly recommend one of the following motorcycles for you as your best cruiser motorcycle:
  • Honda Rebel 250
  • Yamaha Virago 250
  • Suzuki GZ 250
For people nearing 30 years or older, or over 5'11" and/or 200 pounds, or those with a little motorcycling experience, the best cruiser motorcycle for you may very well be one of these highly recommended motorcycles:
  • Honda Shadow VLX 600
  • Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD
  • Suzuki Boulevard S40 (665cc)
  • Yamaha V-Star Custom (650cc)
250cc-Class Beginning Cruisers

 Let's start off with the smaller cruiser motorcycles, namely the Honda Rebel 250, the Suzuki GZ 250, and the Yamaha Virago 250. These bikes are perfect for younger new riders, or riders who are under 200 pounds, 5-foot 10 inches.

I would not recommend either of these cycles for anyone pushing 200 pounds or the 6 foot mark. You just won't be as comfortable on them as you might a middle weight cruiser.  

Suzuki GZ 250 - A Great Option for Beginning Cruiser Motorcycle

The Rebel has been in Honda's lineup since 1985. It was offered for one or two years as a 450 cc, but that experiment was short lived. The Rebel 250 has been a very popular beginning cruiser motorcycle for good reason. It features a simple air-cooled 234cc 2-valves per cylinder twin engine with a single carburetor.

This is not a fire breather, and new riders will probably appreciate this for their first year on the streets. All 3 quarter-liter cruiser beginner motorcycles have a single disc brake on the front and a drum brake on the rear wheel.

These bikes are made for cool, smooth riding, not for thrashing about on the backroads, so they don't need to have the optimum (expensive) brakes. The Rebel is fitted with a 2.6 gallon tank, the Virago has a 2.5 gallon tank, but the Suzuki GZ has a cavernous 3.7 gallon fuel capacity.

With easily 60 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, you can ride your GZ 250 across a state line or two without having to refuel. (Those fugitives wanted by Federal Authorites, pay no attention to that last line.)  

Honda Rebel - A Best Cruiser Motorcycle for Beginners

The Rebel and the Virago share many standard points. The Virago does feature a bit more involved engine and exhaust layout. For an extra $400 (the Rebel is $3,099 the Virago has a $3,499 sticker hanging off of its handlebar at the dealer) the folks at Yamaha outfitted this little 250 with a V-Twin engine.

Many cruiser riders will say that the V-twin is the hallmark of a true cruiser motorcycle. The Virago also sports dual chrome exhaust pipes. One of these will be the best cruiser motorcycle for beginning riders, so explore them on the showroom floor and test-ride carefully. Pay attention to the riding position, seating comfort, and "ergonomics," that is, how far away the operating controls are in relation to your hands and feet. A regular test-ride may be the only true way to determine these important considerations.

 Yamaha Virago 250 - Another Great Beginning Cruiser Motorcycle Option

 For 2005 Honda Rebels come in Black and a gorgeous Candy Orange color, while the 2006 models will only be offered in Black and Pearl White. If you really dig that crazy Orange color, you better hurry down and scoop one up before they disappear. Yamaha and Suzuki both only offer their 250's in black.
  • Look good when you take your motorcycle helmet and leather jacket off.
  • Look GOOD when you get to where you're going...
Middle-weight Class of Beginning Cruiser Motorcycles

If you're above the 200 pound mark, taller than 5 foot 10 inches, are a bit more older/experienced and can afford a new larger size beginner cruiser motorcycle, then I'd recommend you select from this gang of offerings:
  • Yamaha V Star Custom (650cc)
  • Honda Shadow VLX (600cc)
  • Suzuki Boulevard S40 (665cc)
  • Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD
Super Beginner Cruiser, Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD

After reading over the material and setting my own large-size rumpus down on these bikes, the bike that gets my overall nod is the Kawasaki Vulcan 500. The Vulcan gives you very nice, complex styling, a 500cc parallel twin engine (while Suzuki Boulevard leaves you with only one single cylinder) a 6-speed gearbox (the other 3 bikes have only 4 or 5 gears) at a price that's hard to beat. Of these four my least favorite is the Suzuki Boulevard.

Yep, it's the cheapest of the four, but you get an air-cooled single cylinder engine with only black or white to choose from. I do appreciate the fact that the Boulevard has a belt final drive, belt is a good alternative drive as it is reliable and much lighter than either chain or shaft drive options. If money is no object for you and you're looking in this category,

I'd happily steer you towards the Yamaha V Star. I really like Yamaha's overall fit and finish quality, and they have oodles of customizing options and add on accessories. Plus, I think it's just the baddest looking of the assembled bunch here.

One of the options (pushing the V Star to the $5,699 price point) is the awesome Galaxy Blue with Flames paint scheme - just gorgeous. This is the bike you could sit with for a longer period.