Since the introduction of the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) in 2012, new riders entering the market have benefitted from a much wider choice of "first bikes" than ever before. No longer restricted to just a 250cc motorcycle, that wider choice means there are more options than ever to filter through when picking your first bike. Here are 5 of the Best (in our opinion) to get you started on your long road of motorcycling enjoyment.
Benelli Leoncino 500
Entering the local market in 2018, the Benelli Leoncino 500 was a true surprise from its build quality through to its street manners, the little "Lion Cub" is a fun, stylish machine.
Priced from $8,990 plus on-road costs and available as a standard cafe-style commuter or stylish scrambler (complete with knobbly tyres) the Leoncino is a collaboration between Italy and China like few we've seen before.
At its centre is a 500cc parallel-twin producing 35.8kW (48hp) and 45Nm of torque. More than enough power to have fun and a characterful engine as well.
With the factory gearing for the 6-speed gearbox, top speed is mechanically limited to just shy of 180kph. More than fast enough for even experienced riders.
Add to the mix the fact the Leoncino is quite a fun bike to ride with 17-inch wheels and comes complete with a digital dash and a full suite of LED lighting and you’ve got a modern bike with all the features you’ll need to get started in riding.
BMW G 310 R & GS
Okay, it might seem like a cop-out to squeeze two bikes into one space here, but the fact of the matter is BMW's G 310 bikes are great value offerings from the premium manufacturer.
In fact, both bikes share their frame and engine as well as a few other important components. The big obvious difference is the G 310 R is a stylish roadster while the G 310 GS is a capable small-capacity adventure tourer.
A rarity these days, the G 310 is powered by a fuel-injected 313cc single-cylinder engine (hence the 310 designation) which pumps out a healthy 25kW (34hp) and 28Nm of torque. The engine also features a reversed cylinder head, which means air enters the engine from the front and exhaust exits out the rear, which is also slanted backwards to improve weight distribution.
Both bikes feature styling in line with their bigger counterparts in the BMW lineup, and as you'd expect from a premium manufacturer like BMW Motorrad, build quality is top-notch.
The best part, especially if you're a BMW fan, is these two bikes offer the most affordable entry into the BMW brand with a base price of as little as $7,995 new!
Kawasaki Vulcan S LAMS
When it comes to the cruiser market there aren't many options in the LAMS segment that are as modern or as fun as Kawasaki's Vulcan S LAMS.
With its 650cc heart plucked straight out of Kawasaki's equally brilliant Z650 and Ninja 650, it not only has the torque to fulfil those dreams of lazily cruising down the highway but also the top end to put a smile on your face.
But that's not the best trick up the sleeve of the Vulcan S. Built into the design is the ability to easily alter the bike's ergonomics to suit its owner via the Ergo-Fit system. Incorporating up to 18 different combinations through alterations in the footpegs, handlebar and seat.
While it is priced at the higher end of the LAMS market at $13,995, the Vulcan S is a motorcycle that you can truly continue to enjoy long after you’ve become a fully qualified rider.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
They're one of the oldest names in motorcycling, and if you're looking for a brand with all the classic cred you'll ever need complete with a selection of Learner Approved models to choose from, then look no further than Royal Enfield.
The Indian owned brand has been pumping out its range of Bullet motorcycles for decades with little to no changes (ABS braking recently was added along with EFI, however) but it is the new range of 650cc parallel twins you really want to jump on.
With two models in the range, the Interceptor and Continental GT 650, Royal Enfield brings 1960s style into modern motorcycling at a price point that it is very attainable.
Priced from just $10,290 plus on-road costs, the pick of the two is the Interceptor in our opinion. This is because with its upright riding position and two-person seat it is the far more easy to live with bike of the two to start your journey on.
Not only that, once you've passed your full Class 6 licence you'll be able to take a pillion along for the ride as well and introduce them to the joys of motorcycling!
One of the first LAMS specific models available, the Yamaha MT-07 has remained a top pick for riders entering the motorcycling world.
Powered by a 655cc CP2 parallel-twin engine, the MT-07 has developed not only a strong following but also an impressive reputation for being a near-bulletproof bike in all respects.
Power delivery is sublime, and while this is technically a restricted machine there is no hint of restriction while riding, with the MT-07 smoothly delivering power throughout the rev range.
Styling was recently refreshed (and markedly improved in our opinion) with a new headlight giving the MT-07 a more muscular stance on the road.
While the MT-07 is over the magical $10,000 entry into motorcycling at $11,599, much like the aforementioned Kawasaki Vulcan S you won't outgrow this motorcycle quickly as it is in our opinion one of the few LAMS machines that you can continue to enjoy long after you have attained your full licence.