So, you’re ready for big bike ownership? That’s great news but you might not know where to start.

Depending on what you’ve been used to, it’s probably a good idea to start with a middleweight machine just so you can get used to the increase in power.

And you’re in luck because today I’m taking a look at 10 of the best first ‘big’ bikes ideal for stepping up from a smaller bike. I’ve included a nice mix of bikes varying in style, price and performance so there will be plenty to choose from.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650 has been described as one of the easiest bikes to ride. It’s also secured awards for ‘2-wheeler of the Year’, ‘Best Retro Bike of the Year’ and ‘Motorcycle of the Year’. If that’s not enough to convince you that it could be your step-up into the biking world then maybe this will…

The combination of the upright riding position, light-alloy wheels and newly adjusted suspension creates a bike that’s oozing with a laid-back, easy-riding attitude. And at the heart of this beautiful being is a 648cc, air-cooled engine that reaches a manageable 46.8hp, making it nice and A2-friendly.

Speaking of beauty, the styling is massively on-trend. With the chrome detailing, prominent round headlight, teardrop fuel tank, graphics and selection of colourways it’s got the vintage/retro-hipster vibes that have always been fashionable but are oh so much more popular now, especially with the younger generation.  

The Interceptor 650 is a bike that looks good, rides well and, with prices starting at £6,039, is amazingly good value for money! 

Engine 648cc, 46.8 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 13.7L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 805mm
Weight 217kg
Price £6,039 (Canyon Red, Ventura Blue & Orange Crush), £6,239 (Downtown Drag, Baker Express & Sunset Strip) & £6,539 (Mark 2)

Yamaha MT-07

It was launched back in 2014 and since then the MT-07 has been a pretty popular model. This 2021 version marks its seventh season on the market and time has certainly been on its side as, with this, Yamaha has been able to iron out and fix a few flaws to create one of the best-selling ranges to date. 

With the 2021 version, you can expect to see new bodywork which includes twin winglet air intakes, sharp LED headlight and blacked-out detailing to give it a more mature look and keep it in line with its hyper-naked siblings. A 690cc, Euro 5 compliant, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine (that reaches 72.4 hp) for easy-to-use performance and character. Larger 298mm dual front brake discs for better stopping power and added confidence. And new tapered aluminium handlebars for a more assertive riding position, better control and that ‘bigger bike’ feel.

All of the above, plus the wallet-friendly £6,092 price tag, are all great characteristics for a bike of this stature to possess. It will mean that riding (and your overall bill) aren’t as daunting.

Engine 689cc, 72.4 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 805mm
Weight 184kg (wet)
Price £6,902

Yamaha Tracer 7

On the subject of Yamaha’s, I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to the Tracer 7. It’s another offering from the Japanese giants that can be easily tamed.

Compared to the MT-07, it’s more of a sports tourer and with a 689cc Euro 5 compliant liquid-cooled engine, aggressive modern design, half-fairing and relaxed ergonomics, it nails the big bike look, feel and attitude – and coming in at £8,202, the big bike price too! 

Engine 689cc, 72.4 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 17L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 840mm
Weight 196kg (wet)
Price £8,202

KTM 390 Duke

At 150kg, the 390 Duke is the lightest on the list today, weighing 50kg(ish) less than the others. This gives it a real advantage, meaning it will be easier to control than some of the heavies – KTM hasn’t nicknamed this guy the ‘Corner Rocket’ for nothing!

Living up to that nickname further, this pocket-rocket features a well-mannered 373cc liquid-cooled engine and produces an everyday usable 44 hp and 37 Nm of torque. Lightweight 17” cast alloy wheels, Bybre brakes with ABS, an 820mm seat height and upside-down WP forks on the suspension are all also included as standard for ultimate control. 

It’s hitting just under the A2 legal limit of 47 hp so it’s not as powerful as some of the others but KTM have still landed a solid punch and packed their 390 Duke with enough welly to ensure all riders get maximum enjoyment.

Bonus, for a top-quality machine like this, it’s only priced at £5,099!

Engine 373cc, 44 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 13.4L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 830mm
Weight 150kg
Price £5,099

Suzuki SV650

Here is why Suzuki’s Sv650 is securing a spot on today’s list.

It features a V-twin, liquid-cooled engine which has been tweaked to ensure it lives another day and survives Euro 5. It produces 72.4 hp and has high torque reserves so will happily take you where you need to go.

It makes good use of its 198kg weight, slim body, five-spoke cast aluminium wheels and ABS to offer riders responsive acceleration, comfort, nimble handling and confidence when manoeuvring.

It’s got nice sporty, naked styling too which only helps to make it more tempting and, for 2021, is now available in two new colourways – white with a red frame or black with a gold or blue frame.

Suzuki claims the SV650 is suitable for ‘riders of all levels’ and with all that spec going for it, plus the low-price tag of £6,599 and overall running low costs, it’s hard to ignore it. It would make an ideal choice for your first proper bike.

Engine 645cc, 72.4 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 785mm
Weight 200kg
Price £6,599

Suzuki V-Strom 650

Straight after the first, say hello to our second Suzuki – the V-Strom 650.

I told you I’d include various models, and the V-Strom is definitely different from the others listed so far. Thanks to its 20L fuel tank, aluminium twin-spar frame, new ten-spoke cast aluminium wheels, new LED tail lamp and windscreen that’s been extended by 9mm, it’s a machine that’s been designed to tackle rufty-tufty riding conditions.

Add to the equation the 645cc liquid-cooled engine and 69.7 hp plus the hints of DR-Z desert racer styling and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent do-it-all first bike.

Coming in at £7,999, it’s slightly more expensive than its distant relative, the SV650, but it’s been made for completely different reasons. The V-Strom 650 is a dedicated adventure tourer that’s been built with the sole purpose of racking up the miles, whether that be by commuting or exploring the trails – that’s up to you!

Engine 645cc, 69.7 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 20L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 835mm
Weight 213kg
Price £7,999

Honda CB650R

We’ve got Honda’s CB650R up next and what a choice it is!

It’s all about the styling and the power with this one and if I had to categorise it, it would be filed under Neo Sports, meaning it has the modern Cafe Racer-inspired looks and that high horsepower makes it one of the most powerful on the list and, therefore, could be a big jump for those who aren’t used to such power but, the good news is, it can be restricted to 35 kW – making it another A2-friendly choice.

Getting up close and personal, you’ll find that the CB650R comes fully equipped with an inline four-cylinder, 16-valve, liquid-cooled engine, assist and slipper clutch, Honda’s own torque control, full LED lighting, LCD dash and emergency stop-signal tech.

At £7,399, it’s leaning towards the more premium end of the pricing spectrum, but it’s got the looks people go crazy for and, alongside this, it also has the typical Honda build quality so I think we can forgive them for adding on a few extra pennies.

Engine 649cc, 93.8 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 15.4L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 810mm
Weight 203kg
Price £7,399

Triumph Street Twin

Next up, we’ve got Triumph’s most successful custom classic bike – the Street Twin. Why is it so well-loved you ask? Well let’s find out, shall we?

It's easy-to-ride and confidence-inspiring set-up which includes an accessible low 765mm seat, enhanced seat-to-foot-to-handlebar ergonomics, 41mm cartridge front forks with traditional stylish fork gaiters and twin rear suspension units, ensure it handle superbly!

On top of this, the Street Twin also includes ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’ riding modes, switchable traction control, ABS and a torque-assist clutch all for better safety and control.

Created for the style-conscious, the Street Twin has bags of Triumph’s signature retro British coolness and enough modern tech for today’s rider, so it’ll be love at first sight – even if it is the second most expensive on today’s list, coming in at £8,200. Brett definitely felt the love on his recent road test review.

Engine 900cc, 64.1 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 12L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 765mm
Weight 216kg (wet)
Price £8,400

Kawasaki Z650

Here we go! I was wondering when Kawasaki would be making an appearance and with their Z650 being the chosen bike for this list, it’s definitely an appearance!

With a more compact cowl, muscular radiator shrouds and that classic Kawasaki Sugomi presence, this Sportster is a mean-looking bike. For those that don’t know, Sugomi translates to ‘the embodiment or spirit of a predator on the hunt’ and predatory is definitely the appropriate word to describe this bike!

The 649cc liquid-cooled engine and 67.3hp output ensure there is enough smile-producing, yet controllable, power. And practical touches such as smartphone connectivity and a TFT instrument panel have also been included for everyday convenience.

As you can tell, Kawasaki has sprinkled this fella with all those rider-friendly goodies to make the Z650 a little less menacing, and the £6,849 starting price only helps!  

Engine 649cc, 67.3hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 15L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 790mm
Weight 188kg
Price £6,849 (Flat Spark Black) & £6,949 (Spark Black & Pearl Blizzard White)

Triumph Trident 660

There aren’t many manufacturers who can create a bike quite like Triumph so that’s why we’ve had to feature two of them on the list today, and our second offering from the British-based brand comes in the form of the Trident 660.

This middleweight motorcycle brings easy handling, sure-footedness and performance to the table through full LED lighting, TFT display, 17” sporty cast aluminium wheels, Michelin ‘Road 5’ tyres, Showa suspension and an 805mm seat height. And let us not forget about the crown jewel – that 660cc, triple-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that plays it’s 80 hp and 64 Nm of torque soundtrack proudly – and can also be restricted for A2 use.

Did I mention that was all as standard too? So for the £7,395, you get a lot for your money!

Triumph’s Trident 660 is another British good-looker that houses all the equipment to make those jumping on their first ‘big’ bike feel comfortable, confident and in control. 

Engine 660cc, 80 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 805mm
Weight 189kg (wet)
Price £7,395

Ducati Monster

Yes, you read that right. Ducat’s Monster is my last choice today *mic drop*.

You guessed it from the name, everything about it is monstrous. The 937cc, liquid-cooled engine. The 111 hp output, making it the most powerful on the list. The mega-sports energy. The curvaceous shape. The spicy red styling. The tech. It’s all there in huge amounts.

I wouldn’t be surprised if your eyes widened when you read all of that, but you don’t need to be scared of this Monster because Ducati has filled it with a ton of goodies for easy handling including an aluminium front frame, ABS and an 18kg lighter overall weight.

The only thing that makes this a tougher bike to obtain is the premium £10,385 price tag, the highest on the list today in fact. But if you’re fortunate enough to have that lying around then Ducati’s Monster would be a fantastic thing to splurge it on!  

Ducati has turned the temperature up with their Monster and if I was one of their competitors, I’d be wiping my brow. They’re giving A-licence graduates a chance (maybe even their first chance) to experience what a serious sportsbike feels like and that’s why it’s securing a spot on the list today.

Engine 937cc, 111 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 820mm
Weight 166kg
Price £10,385

The last stop

Not only are these top 10 bikes great first ‘big’ bikes, but they’re also great choices in general so I wouldn’t blame you if you’re struggling to narrow it down to just one.

I want to know what you think about our choices. Are you currently riding one of these bad boys? Drop a comment below and let us know or give us a message on social media! 

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