For many budding motorbike enthusiasts, finding the perfect motorcycle can be a challenge especially with restrictions put on for beginners. Apart from completing training like the pre-learner training course and passing the Rider Knowledge Test to get your Learner Licence, beginners will need to find a bike that fits the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS).
Before you start shopping for your first motorbike, read about learner approved motorcycles and everything you need to learn as a motorbike beginner below.
Bikes for beginners: Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS)
The Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme or LAMS allows riders with an RE class licence—this includes learner, provisional, and open—to operate a learner approved motorcycle. Also, those with motorcycle learner permits and restricted licences are only allowed to ride LAMS-approved motorbikes. This is to ensure the motorcycle beginners ride match their level of experience.
A learner approved motorcycles is a moderately powered motorbike with an engine capacity of up to 660mL. It should not exceed a power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne and its maximum engine capacity should not go over 660cc.
Each state and territory has a list of LAMS-approved motorcycles which is adjusted over time as new models come out. Regularly check the state or territory LAMS motorbike list to see which models are approved.
Take note, the motorcycles should be in their standard form as produced by the manufacturer. Any modifications made to a LAMS-approved motorcycle that increases its power-to-weight ratio will no longer be LAMS approved even if it’s on the list.
Always look at the laws of your own state or territory to ensure you’re following the appropriate guidelines.
Finding the right LAMS-approved motorcycle
The importance of choosing the right LAMS-approved motorcycle can’t be understated. With learner approved motorcycles, the goal is for beginners to ride safely, comfortably, and with full confidence.
Learner approved bikes are there to help novice riders keep themselves and others safe on the road. The learner approved motorcycles on the official lists have many essential safety benefits, as well.
For the best experience, learners have to find the best LAMS bike the suits them. It should complement their size while meeting their needs as a beginner. There's an extremely wide range of learner approved motorcycles out there.
To help you choose, we’ve compiled some of the most popular and trusted motorcycle brands below. Read on to learn about which is the best beginner motorcycle for you.
Honda LAMS motorcycles
Honda motorcycles are known for their reliability and affordability making it a favourite among motorcycle enthusiasts. Motorcycles from this manufacturer are typically low maintenance and extremely dependable. Because it’s one of the biggest names in the industry, it’s easy to find service centres too.
If you’re looking for a relatively cheap but still solid learner approved motorcycle, Honda LAMS bikes are one of the best out there. Check out our top picks of Honda LAMS bikes:
Estimated price: $4,899
The Honda CBR300R promises an exceptional experience for riders, especially beginners, with its compact size and impeccable manoeuvrability. Equipped with a single-cylinder engine, this motorbike is lightweight, fuel-efficient, and delivers an impressive performance.
The CBR300R is a great first motorcycle because of its broad powerband that gives plenty of low revving torque while providing peak comfort as you cruise at highway speeds. The seat on this one is at a low 30.7 inches making it easy to put your feet down and help you feel grounded. Build your confidence as you get the feel of riding your motorbike.
Another great feature of the CBR300R is the counterbalance shaft. The counterbalancer gives this motorbike that extra smooth run. It also looks great with a full-cowl super sport style, dual headlights, and finishes taken from the CBR-RR series. Plus, this Honda LAMS bike is also one of the most affordable motorbikes out there.
If you’re looking for a cheap starting motorbike that lasts, the Honda CBR300R is one of the best beginner motorcycles out there. However, a drawback for this model is that you might outgrow this quickly if you’ve skilled up too much as it’s geared towards novice riders.
Estimated price: $7,299
If you’re looking for more adventure, the Honda CB500X might be perfect for you. It’s a compact motorbike that can go on backroads while also being fit for daily commutes into the city. The CB500X is great for long-distance adventure riding.
This Honda LAMS motorbike combines form and function with a 471cc fuel injected, twin-cylinder engine giving power and torque in the midrange. It’s optimised to give a crisp throttle response all day every day.
Other exceptional features include long travel suspense and disc brakes with an Anti-lock Braking System for improved performance and safety. The digital instrument panel has a speedometer, trip meter, gear position indicator, tachometer, odometer, a clock, fuel consumption meters, and illuminated engine diagnostic indicators. The windscreen is also adjustable so you can get the best wind protection possible at various speeds.
A drawback of the Honda CB500X is that it’s not easy to get your foot on the ground when stopping. Depending on your height, you might have to work to properly balance yourself while stopped.
Harley-Davidson LAMS motorcycles
When you think of a cool motorcycle, you think Harley-Davidson. Known for its brilliant bikes with that iconic style, motorcycle enthusiasts have been raving about these motorbikes for decades. People buy a Harley because it’s more than just a motorbike, it’s a statement.
Harley-Davidson prides itself by creating not just elite motorcycles, but also an experience. It’s a brand with a rich history and heritage in the motorcycle community which really sets it apart from others like it.
Harley-Davidson Street 500
Estimated price: $9,995
For beginners who want to own their own Harley, then the Street 500 is for you. This is the only Harley-Davidson in the learner approved motorcycles list. Among one of the best-selling road bikes in Australia, it’s been around for a couple of years but it’s still a top-performing motorbike.
This motorcycle has everything that makes a Harley special while being a LAMS-approved. It has a 494 cc Revolution X V-twin engine making it one of the more high-performing learner approved motorcycles in the market. It’s at an ideal height that even those under six-feet can reach the ground giving them more confidence as they ride. And it’s more comfortable with the seat in a more upright position so novice riders can feel comfortable while they get used to the road.
Unlike what we traditionally think of a Harley-Davidson, the Street 500 is lightweight which makes it easy for beginners to maneuver at low speeds. It has a broad toque curve and offers a smooth power delivery. Plus, the modern styling and signature Harley look gives you that extra edge.
Because Harleys are so iconic, expect to pay a little more even if you’re just buying a beginner bike. Another downside about the Street 500 is the lack of power in the brakes.
Aside from the motorbikes mentioned above, there are heaps more LAMS-approved bikes out for you to choose from. Here are some of the best LAMS bikes from other established motorcycle manufacturers:
Estimated price: $5,399
The Kawasaki Z400 is one of the best standard or naked bikes on the market. Even without the flash and features of the typical sports bike, the Z400 delivers in excellent technology and impeccable rideability. You get all the features you could want as a beginner like dual-zone ABS, assist-and-slipper clutch, supportive suspension, and linear and controllable power curve. No need to worry about damaging your bike as you learn the ropes. It can weather through a lot while providing riders comfort and confidence.
This motorbike is equipped with a parallel-twin 399 engine to give you great power and performance. The seat puts the rider in the perfect upright position for active control and dynamic riding. To top it all off, the Z400 brings a fresh street style with its compact chassis and aggressive styling.
Estimated price: $8,199
The Yamaha MT-03 is another naked, beginner bike with an aggressive twist. Its exterior gives you that added edge with predatory twin-eye face projectors, upside-down forks, and a restyled wide-shouldered fuel tank to underline that shared MT dynamic. Exude confidence and street presence with this hyper naked motorbike.
This motorcycle promises thrill-seekers an awesome adventure while being LAMS-approved and beginner friendly. It has a twin-cylinder 321cc liquid-cooled engine that beginners will have no trouble managing. It has a 180-degree crank designed and integrated counterbalancer minimising vibrations for an incredible smooth ride.
The MT-03 has a compact body and a low seat height which means it’s a comfortable and ergonomic ride. The bodywork reveals a sculpted knee area and fuel tank cover work with the high-mounted handlebars. This motorbike was built with performance and comfort in mind, and has all the features thrill-seeking beginners would love.
Estimated price: $11,490
The Suzuki SV650 has been a staple on best beginner motorcycles lists over the years and for good reason. It’s a bike designed for both urban roads and racetracks. If you’re looking for a starter bike that can give you practicality while sating your need for speed, then this motorbike is your best bet.
It has a 645cc V-twin engine the delivers powerful torque at lower RPMs. Even at higher RPMs, the SV650 is smooth and easy to control for beginners. The bike is cruise-ready and has a great sound. It’s a tried and tested bike with plenty of satisfied customers throughout the years that will happily vouch for its reliability and performance.
One of the drawbacks is that it’s more expensive compared to the other beginner bikes in the market right now. And it hasn’t received any significant updates recently.
Factors to consider when choosing a LAMS motorcycle
As you can see, all motorbikes even the LAMS-approved ones have their own pros and cons. The trick to finding the right bike is focusing on what your needs are as a rider. Consider the following factors when choosing the best lams bike for you:
The motorbike you buy needs to be the right size, height, and weight for you. As you’re shopping around, hop on the bike and see whether your feet reach the ground or if the handle bars are within comfortable reach.
Different bikes are built for different purposes so make sure you’re buying a bike that is suited for your need. Each bike type has a different seating position so your comfort relies on the type of riding you want to do. The motorcycle you choose should fit your physical size and suit your style of riding.
Last but definitely not least, you need to think about your budget. There are a range of LAMS bikes out there that vary in price and specs. Shop around for a bike the fits your price range. Aside from the price of the bike, you need to consider the cost of your riding gear too. Safety equipment and gear are vital to your riding so make sure to budget at least $1,000 for them.
Finance your first motorcycle with Aussie
Purchase your LAMS-approved bike today and start riding in no time! Get in touch with us at Aussie and we’ll help you get the best loan for your motorbike purchase. Or get a quick quote and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.
What is a learner motorcycle?
A learner motorcycle is part of the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme. The list of approved motorcycles differs per state and territory. It’s best to check your local government to see what bikes are approved in your area.
What is the engine size limit for learner motorcycles?
Learner approved motorcycles are moderately powered motorcycles with an engine capacity of 660mL and a power-to-weight ratio not exceeding 150 kilowatts per tonne.
Do I need a special license to ride a learner motorcycle?
You need to have a motorcycle licence to legally ride a motorcycle. You’re not allowed to ride a motorcycle with only a car driver’s licence.
What are the benefits of riding a learner motorcycle?
As a beginner, riding a learner motorcycle means you’ll be able to confidently and safely learn the ins and outs of motorcycle riding. A learner motorcycle has limited engine capacity to help keep you and everyone on the road safe as you’re learning the ropes.
How much does a learner motorcycle cost?
Learner motorcycles come in a range of prices from more affordable Honda CBR300R at $4,899 to the more expensive Suzuki SV650 at $11,490. With so many bikes in the market, you’ll have plenty to choose from as you shop around.
What should I look for when buying a learner motorcycle?
In addition to the provisions in the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme about the limitations of learner motorcycles, you should also consider the size, type of bike, and price. The ideal learner bike should perfectly fit your physique, need, and budget.
How long does it take to learn how to ride a learner motorcycle?
You can take a beginner's course that takes around two to five days depending on your skills and knowledge. After that, it’s all about practice and getting used to riding which could take about a month or longer.
Can I ride a learner motorcycle on the highway?
You can ride a LAMS-approved motorcycle on the highway as long as it meets road rules and guidelines. Depending on the type of licence you have, you may need to be accompanied by a supervisor while on the road.