False Neutral Episode #2: "What Would Be A Good First Bike?"

For our second episode, it’s just Pete and Eric. We start out discussing Eric’s high-octane choice of first bike, which leads us to examine what makes a suitable first bike for new riders or those returning to bikes. After discussing general features and characteristics, we go on to name names, listing the specific models that we’d recommend.
Since we’re still finding our groove, please feel free to come back after listening and leave us a comment about how you like the new podcast and what bike-related topics you’d like to see us cover in the future. Also, please rate and review us on iTunes.

False Neutral – “What would be a good first bike?”


Yamaha RZ500

Yamaha TW200

2014 Honda Valkyrie.
Honda Valkyrie

KTM Duke 390

Honda CB300F

Yamaha MT-03

Hyosung GD250N EXIV

Suzuki SV650

Kawasaki KLR650

Honda XR650L

Yamaha SR400

Triumph Bonneville

Ducati Monster

Yamaha V-Star 250

Piaggio MP3 500

Aprilia Mana GT

Yamaha T-Max

All the above images are manufacturers’ press photos.

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  1. bzr Avatar

    gixxer with extended swiingarm, breh. don’t be a pussy

  2. Maymar Avatar

    I took a test-ride on a Hyosung a couple years back, and not that this is a definitive marker of reliability, but the built quality was really underwhelming, just kind of cheap and floppy. I was also curious about pricing, but the Canadian distributor’s website wasn’t much help (because it looks like it hasn’t been touched for about 5 years, so maybe a bad choice for a new Canadian rider).
    On the other hand, I’m very jealous as we don’t get the SR400, as it’s pretty close to exactly what I’d be looking for in my next bike (whenever that comes).

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Hyosung is, I think, on the same upward path as Korean car makers. I’ve heard good reports about the EXIV from overseas and I’d like to hope that the build quality of a few years ago is not representative as what they’re making now. I will personally have to take a close look at one.

  3. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    In Canada in the ’80s we got the following 2-stroke forbidden fruit:
    Honda NSR400
    Suzuki RG250 (my first bike)
    Suzuki RG500 (my second bike)
    Yamaha TZR250 (yes, I know because I nearly bought one in 1987)
    Yamaha TDR250 – basically the TZR250 in dirtbike form. Fantastic thing
    Yamaha RZ350 (the RG250 and TZR250 were quicker but the RZ350 was a better bike to own)
    Yamaha RZ500 (I wanted one until I got the RG500)

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I thought the TDRs in Canada were gray market bikes?

      1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
        The Real Number_Six

        They were sitting on the showroom floor when I bought my RG250 and 500. Maybe I wasn’t aware of any grey-market provenance but they seemed widely available at the time. Sadly very few people bought them (which was the story for all the bikes I listed except RZ350). *edit* I’ve got confirmation they were sold officially 88-90

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          Good to know, and thanks for listening!

  4. jeepjeff Avatar

    I still love my TW200. 😀

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      I don’t care what else you own/ride on a regular basis, but anyone who can’t enjoy a TW200 simply doesn’t truly appreciate motorcycling. 10/10ths everywhere, without being able to break most speed limits.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Preach, Bruddah, preach!

      2. Windbüchse Avatar

        Unless you’re my size…

      3. Windbüchse Avatar

        Not if you’re my size….

        1. dead_elvis Avatar

          Big/tall dude exemptions, of course! But even 6-footers and those long of leg fit pretty well. I’ve got two friends who are both 6’2″ who ride the snot out of their TWs.

        2. Tanshanomi Avatar

          Most big guys on a TW end up with their butts back about where the passenger strap is.

  5. Patrick Hoffstetter Avatar

    My first and only two wheeled affair has been my Aprillia SR50 Max Biaggi edition. Love the little thing

  6. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    After listening to the podcast let me add two more to this list.
    The Suzuki GS-500E unfaired and GS-500F are great starter bikes that you can learn on and live with. It has a higher seat height for someone like me with a 29′ inseam. It has enough power at low RPM to get started out. More importantly it has a 9000 rev limit to explore. It’s also has great handling.
    Add in a 500cc air cooled parallel twin that is bullet proof. They are capable of breaking 95mph as well. l
    Let’s go with a second one as well which is the Harley Davidson street. It’s easy to ride and has enough enough upgrades to grow with it. It’s available as a 500cc as well as the 750cc. It reminded me a lot of my GS-500E. Harley uses them for the motorcycle classes.
    Granted I had huge reliability issues with my street which is why I don’t have it anymore but that was an early model.

    1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      GS500 is an excellent beginner bike – my vertically-not-blessed ex-gf really enjoyed hers, and I liked the easy maintenance.

    2. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Excellent additions, Wayne. I will be sure to mention those in the next podcast.

  7. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar


    1. Vairship Avatar