Best Learner Approved Bikes
If you’re looking for a reliable, cost-effective and light motorcycle to start learning on, the Honda CB125E has won over many fans with its outstanding performance in several areas.
Easy to manoeuvre
Maintenance is a breeze
Fuel efficient with low running costs
- Build Quality3.4 (7)
- Value for Money3.9 (7)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 4.1 (7)
- Mileage 6,584.571 km
- Noise Level4.3 (7)
- Braking3.6 (7)
- Acceleration / Power2.7 (7)
- Gear Shifting3.7 (7)
- Suspension3.3 (7)
- Fuel Efficiency4.9 (7)
- Comfort3.9 (7)
- Handling4.3 (7)
Suzuki proudly states that this highly popular dual-sports motorcycle it just as perfect for your weekday daily commutes to work as it is for ‘hardcore adventure touring.’
Impressive 644cc engine capacity
Good for long-distance rides
Expensive for a LAMS Bike
Seat is on the high side
- Build Quality3.8 (4)
- Value for Money4.0 (4)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 4.3 (4)
- Mileage 135,333.333 km
- Noise Level3.3 (4)
- Braking3.3 (4)
- Acceleration / Power3.3 (4)
- Gear Shifting3.0 (4)
- Suspension3.0 (4)
- Fuel Efficiency3.3 (4)
- Comfort3.3 (4)
- Handling3.5 (4)
The 471cc twin cylinder engine Honda CBR500R is compact, durable and reliable for both weekday commutes to work and weekend adventures.
Good all-rounder bike
Top points for comfort
Spare parts can be tricky to source
- Build Quality5.0 (3)
- Value for Money4.7 (3)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 4.7 (3)
- Mileage 11,750 km
- Noise Level4.3 (3)
- Braking3.7 (3)
- Acceleration / Power4.0 (3)
- Gear Shifting4.3 (3)
- Suspension4.0 (3)
- Fuel Efficiency4.7 (3)
- Comfort4.0 (3)
- Handling4.3 (3)
A reliable, affordable and robust dirt bike for a range of riders. Ideal for handling farm paddocks through to an off road trail. It’s a great bike to start exploring the unbeaten path.
Good top speed
Affordable maintenance costs
Rear drum brakes are weak
Seat uncomfortable for long rides
Described as a great all-rounder bike for those looking for a little adventure in their lives. The KLR650 is an ideal way to be introduced to the world of adventure touring motorbikes.
Great bike for long-distance trips
Easy to handle
Highly fuel efficient
Brakes aren't especially responsive
- Build Quality4.5 (4)
- Value for Money4.8 (4)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 5.0 (4)
- Mileage 13,390 km
- Noise Level3.8 (4)
- Braking3.5 (4)
- Acceleration / Power4.0 (4)
- Gear Shifting4.3 (4)
- Suspension4.0 (4)
- Fuel Efficiency4.8 (4)
- Comfort3.5 (4)
- Handling3.8 (4)
How do I get a motorcycle license in Australia?
The steps you need to take differ slightly from state to state, so it’s important to check your state’s RMS or Transport website for details relevant to you.
For example in Queensland, before applying for a motorcycle learner permit, you need to have held a car license for at least a year. However in NSW, this isn't a requirement.
Example - Steps to getting your license in NSW
- You need to be 16 years and 9 months to apply
- Book a pre-learner motorcycle course. This is a motorcycle learner course that helps you understand road hazards, road rules and surroundings. This is a 2-day course, 3.5 hours per day, with the motorcycle and all gear provided. After finishing, you can now get a .
- After 3-12 months, you’ll sit a Pre-Provisional course, which includes a written theory test and a practical riding skills test.
- You’ll then have your Red P’s for 12 months. If you’re over 25 and hold a full, open Australian car driver’s license, you can progress to an unrestricted motorcycle license. If not, you’ll then move onto your Green P’s. After 2 years, you can then apply for a full rider license - no further tests required.
What is the best motorbike for a learner?
When you’re selecting a new set of motorbike wheels for the first time, it's important to know you’ll initially be limited for choice.
The Learner Approved Motorcycles Scheme (or LAMs Scheme) lists all the available motorbikes you can ride on a learner permit, P1 and P2 license.
While it’s a national scheme, the brands and models of motorbikes available to riders differ according to the state you live in. For example, LAMS approved bikes in NSW will be different to LAMS approved bikes in the ACT.
Always check the list of LAMS bikes available to ride in your state.
What is a LAMS approved bike?
A LAMS approved bike refers to approved motorcycles for learner riders. They're low or moderately powered motorbikes, scooters and three-wheel motorcycles, or trikes, you can choose from.
Difference to other motorcycles
LAMS motorbikes are generally easier to manoeuvre, easier to handle, and built with solid, extremely safe brakes.
A LAMS motorcycle also won't be equipped with the specs to safely try out advanced riding techniques. For example, the more severe cornering and braking possible on some highly powered sports bikes will be rare, if not impossible, to find on a LAMS motorcycle.
These precuations help you build up your biking skills and improve reaction times. In the long run, this will prepare you for riding faster, more powerful non-LAMS bikes if you choose to upgrade when you progress to your full license.
What CC motorbike can I ride on a provisional licence?
LAMS bikes are also built with less powerful engines than other, highly specced bikes available to all motorcycle riders. As a result, they are restricted to the following:
- Maximum engine capacity of 660 cc: or cubic centimetres. This refers to engine capacity, or engine displacement. It's one measure of a motorbike engine’s power.
- Maximum power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne: This refers to the ratio of the motorcycle’s power output compared to weight. This factors in a motorbike’s size relative to its engine power, to give an even more accurate measure of a bike's power.
- Modifications are limited as they must be listed as allowable modifications on your state's RMS or transport website.
Types of LAMS Bikes
On Road Bikes
Scooters are great for navigating urban streets, as they’re compact and low to the ground. However they’re not as useful for driving outside of metropolitan areas.
- Lighter than other motorcycle types - making them easy to manoeuvre and handle
- Easier to learn how to ride a scooter than another type of motorcycle, and most models are automatic
- Cheaper to buy and run than other motorcycle types, including cheaper fuel
- Less power and acceleration than motorcycles - however there are some sports scooters designed with a 650cc
- Smaller wheels makes them more sensitive to the conditions of the road, including potholes, water, and gravel
- Limited to the city and suburbs - Not suited to highways off-road riding
Naked or Standard Bikes
These motorcycles lack a windscreen and have an exposed body - giving them the name ‘naked’ bike.
- A good multi-purpose motorcycle - can be driven through city streets or on the highway with equal ease
- Lightweight design means it’s not uncomfortably heavy to ride
- More basic functionality means if you’re after something specific, a naked motorcycle is less likely to have it.
- Less protection from the elements means more exposure to wind and dirt
- Less equipped for long distance rides
Sports motorcycles are designed with both speed and aesthetics in mind. They’re known for their agility and ability to tackle sharp corners easily - however, there are hardly any pure Sports (as opposed to Dual-Sports) motorcycles that are LAMs approved.
- Powerful speed and acceleration
- Appealing aesthetics
- Not many LAMS approved sport motorcycles
- Uncomfortable riding position, especially on longer trips
- Any need for speed is compromised by the fact that you're limited to provisional speed limits
Other On-Road Motorcycles
These feature a tantalisingly vintage aesthetic, while keeping up-to-date with modern motorbike design and technology. Among them is the 494cc Harley Davidson Street 500, LAMS approved in NSW and Queensland, to name a few states.
Also known as choppers, these often also have an iconic design dating back to the 1950s. They’re designed to sit very low to the ground, which can make navigating corners and curves especially difficult for beginners. They have an exposed frame and no windshield, similar to Naked Bikes.
Off road bikes
Off road bikes, or dirt bikes, differ from the street bikes discussed above. The difference is in the tyres, which are designed to handle the changes in terrain that occur when you go off-road. As a result, they can be ridden through the dirt, bumpy and unsealed roads, and sand.
Keep in mind that unlike on-road motorcycles, many dirt bikes aren’t street legal - so are unable to be registered.
However, there are still popular dirt bikes available to learners. Enduro bikes are popular street-legal versions of motocross bikes, which are less commonly legal. For example both the KTM 500 EXC and KTM 690 Rally are LAMS approved.
If you’re looking to ride both on-road and off-road, dual-sport motorcycles (also known as dual-purpose bikes) are a good compromise. These are similar to Enduro bikes, but are more multi-functional.
What size motorbike can I ride on my learners?
The size of any prospective motorcycle is one of the most important buying decisions. Often this depends on your own body size, including height and weight. Riding a bike that’s built too small or too large for your body can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
For example, if you have a large build and are a 6-foot tall man, choosing a bike that’s more generously sized is going to feel more comfortable to sit on and ride. Also consider the type of motorcycle; as some will be more suited to you, such as a naked or sportstouring bike.
If you’re a shorter rider, the bikes listed above are going to be less suitable to you. The seat height will be too high, and the saddle too wide to be comfortable.
Whenever you start your bike or get it moving at a green light, this can mean a long stretch down with your toes. This isn't just uncomfortable, it's also unsafe; as you should be able to place both feet firmly flat on the ground when your motorcycle is stopped. Cruisers may be more suitable for shorter riders.
CC and size
A motorcycle’s cc can often be an indicator of its size. For example, a 660cc motorcycle is going to be more supportive and comfortable for a larger rider than a 250cc bike - which was the old LAMS limit before 2008.
Also consider the motorcycle’s weight, centre of gravity, the steering head angle and how far you have to reach to grip the handlebars.
This affects how easy a motorcycle is to ride and manoeuvre. A bike that’s too heavy you’re going to feel the weight of it when you’re learning much more.
You may not feel the bike’s weight when you’re doing high speeds on the highway, but while navigating slow-moving traffic, or even pushing your bike into the garage. A heavy bike will soon be cumbersome, and can increase your chances of dropping your bike.
You can get a LAMs bike for as little as $2, 500 (much cheaper than your standard car). However, for more multi-functional motorcycles, like a dual sports bike, you can easily pay around $10K.
You’ll need to also budget at least $1,000 for gear. This includes a helmet, a riding jacket and jeans, boots and gloves.
Should I buy a second hand motorbike?
While buying second hand is often cheaper (and you might be thinking your LAMS bike will be temporary), it’s not always worth it.
While you may initially snap up a bargain, second hand bikes have more mileage, and more potential issues requiring expensive mechanical work later down the track.
Second hand bikes also aren't protected by a warranty, like they would be if you bought from a motorcycle dealer. So if something does go wrong, you’re not protected under Australian Consumer Law.
If you do still decide to buy second hand, make sure you ask for a roadworthy license from the seller. If you take the vendor’s word for the quality or condition of the bike without proof.
Overall, there are plenty of things to consider when buying your first bike - consider your lifestyle, riding habits, what you prioritise in a motorcycle (for example, speed, comfort or on and-off road capability), your own weight and height for easier handling, and how much you're willing to spend.
Reading reviews before making a significant purchase can be helpful, so you can find a dream LAMS bike.