UPDATE (3/13/2018): Our list of best new bikes for smaller riders and budgets continues to grow. We’re way beyond 39 now, but like we said before, we plan to stay 39 forever! We’ve updated the list to include new 2018 models, updated the links to the manufacturer sites and made sure the pricing is correct. In some cases, we also have new reviews. Stay tuned as we keep adding more!
You don’t need pavement-buckling torque and shoulder-wrenching power to have fun on two wheels. Among the growing number of female riders (go, girls!), younger folks wanting a fun and economical way to commute to work or school, older riders looking for something smaller and easier to manage, and regular Joes just wanting something fun to ride, demand for smaller machines has prompted manufacturers to increase their stateside offerings of easy-to-ride, easy-on-the-wallet motorcycles.
If you’re in the market for a ride like this, you could spend hours (literally) searching each manufacturer’s website and scouring Google for “best small motorcycle.” OR you could scroll down to our handy-dandy list of the Best Bikes for Smaller Riders (and Budgets).
Most of the bikes include a link to our review, making it easy for you to get a real ride evaluation. We’ve also included the latest model year’s U.S. base MSRP (as of publication), seat height and claimed wet weight (when a wet weight was not available from the manufacturer, the claimed dry weight is listed). For more details, you can read our review, which includes comprehensive specs, or click on the bike’s name to be taken directly to the manufacturer’s page.
BMW F 800 GT $12,295, 31.5-inch seat (30.9 and 30.1-inch low options), 472 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2013 BMW F 800 GT
BMW G 310 GS $5,695, 32.9-inch seat (32-inch low option), 373 lbs.
Coming soon: First Ride Review!
CSC RX3 Adventure $4,195, 31.3-inch seat, 408 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2016 CSC RX3 Adventure
Ducati Scrambler variations, from $9,195, 31.1-inch seat (30.3-inch low option), 410 lbs.
Read our First Ride Review of the 2017 Scrambler Cafe Racer
Harley-Davidson Iron 883 $8,999, 28.9-inch seat, 562 lbs.
Click here for our comparison test of the 2011 Harley 883 Superlow and the 2010 Honda Shadow 750
Harley-Davidson Street 500/750 $6,899, 28-inch seat, 489 lbs. / $7,599, 28-inch seat, 489 lbs.
Click here for our review of the Harley Street 500 and 750
Harley-Davidson SuperLow $8,699, 27.4-inch seat, 565 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2014 Harley-Davidson SuperLow 1200T
Honda CB300F $4,349, 30.7-inch seat, 348 lbs.
Honda CB500X $6,599, 31.8-inch seat, 428 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2013 Honda CB500X
Click here for 2016 model updates
Honda CBR300R $4,699, 30.7-inch seat, 357 lbs.
Click here for our comparison test review of the Honda CBR300R and Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE
Honda CBR500R $6,599, 30.7-inch seat, 423 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2013 Honda CBR500R
Honda CBR650F $8,749, 31.9-inch seat, 461 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2014 Honda CBR650F
Honda CB650F $8,749, 31.9-inch seat, 461 lbs.
Honda CTX700 DCT $8,399, 28.3-inch seat, 493 lbs. / $7,699, 28.3-inch seat, 494 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2014 Honda CTX700
Honda NC700X $7,699, 32.7-inch seat, 474 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2012 Honda NC700X DCT
Click here for 2016 model updates
Honda Shadow Phantom/Aero $7,799/$7,599, 25.8-inch seat, 549 lbs. / 25.9-inch seat, 560 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2013 Honda Shadow Aero
Indian Scout Sixty $8,999, 25.3-inch seat, 555 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2016 Indian Scout
Click here for our review of the 2016 Indian Scout Sixty
Kawasaki Versys-X 300 $5,399, 32.1-inch seat, 386 lbs.
Read our First Ride Review of the 2017 Versus-X 300
Kawasaki Vulcan S/Café/SE $7,099, 27.8-inch seat, 498 lbs. / $8,099, 27.8-inch seat, 498 lbs. / $7,699, 27.8-inch seat, 498 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S
MotoGuzzi V7 III Line starting at $7,990, 27.2-inch seat, weight varies by model
Read our First Look Review of the 2017 V7 III Lineup
Royal Enfield Himalayan $4,499, 31.5-inch seat, 401 lbs.
Suzuki Boulevard S40 $5,749, 27.6-inch seat, 381 lbs.
Suzuki GSX250R $4,499, 31.1-inch seat, 392 lbs.
Read our First Ride Review in our “Small Bikes Rule!” feature here
Suzuki SV650 $7,049, 30.9-inch seat, 429 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2017 Suzuki SV650
Suzuki VanVan 200 $4,599, 30.3-inch seat, 282 lbs.
Read “Man on a VanVan Without a Plan,” our Tour Test Review of the VanVan
Triumph Street Twin $9,100, 29.5-inch seat, 478 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2016 Triumph Street Twin
Triumph Street Scrambler $10,800, 31.2-inch seat, 453 lbs.
Read our First Ride Review of the Street Scrambler here
Triumph Bonneville T100 starting at $10,400, 31.1-inch seat, 470 lbs.
Read our First Ride Review of the Bonneville T100 Black here
Yamaha Bolt/R-Spec $7,999, 27.2-inch seat, 542 lbs. / $8,399, 27.2-inch seat, 542 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2015 Yamaha Bolt C-Spec
Click here for our review of the 2014 Yamaha Bolt
Yamaha TW200 $4,599, 31.1-inch seat, 280 lbs.
Read our First Ride Review of the TW200 in our “Small Bikes Rule!” feature here
Yamaha YZF-R3 $4,999, 30.7-inch seat, 368 lbs.
Click here for our review of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3
Yamaha V Star 250 $4,349, 27.0-inch seat, 326 lbs.
Click here to read our review of the 2008 Yamaha V Star 250 in a 9-bike fuel-economy comparison test
Yamaha XT250 $5,199, 31.9-inch seat, 291 lbs.
UPDATE (8/19/16): Astute readers will notice that there are 42 bikes shown above (and even more if you count variants of some models) even though the title of the article is “39 Best Bikes.” There were 39 bikes when the article was first published, but some readers alerted us to bikes we left out (like the Honda Rebel, Moto Guzzi V7 Stone and Victory Octane). We’ve added those bikes (and may add more in the future), but like some folks well into their 40s (or 50s), we plan to stay 39 forever!