Why a Miata makes a terrible first bike

Illustration for article titled Why a Miata makes a terrible first bike

First off, let me make something perfectly clear. I’m talking about ACTUAL Miatas. NOT new bikes styled to look like them (none come to mind)

I know this might not sit well here, as Miata Is Always The Answer, but as someone who has been riding motorcycles for nearly my entire life, with 10s of thousands of miles both on road and off, the Mazda Miata is not a good beginner bike.


So, let me start off with what make these attractive to new riders.

* Used examples can be had cheap.

* It is known for its reliability and low maintenance. Features like fuel injection remove the maintenance and repairs associated with carburetors. Drive shafts don’t have to be cleaned, adjusted, and replaced like chains do.


* They are incredibly roomy if you want to take someone along with you.

So. with all of those plus points, why are they bad motorcycle to start learning on?


* The engine is too large. A general rule for a beginner bike is that the displacement should be 650cc’s or less. Even the smallest Miata engine is 1600cc’s, which is more than twice that.

* It’s too heavy. Despite what BMW K1600GTL owners might tell you, a 2,200lb motorcycle would be insanely difficult to maneuver - especially for a new rider.


Now, I know some of you are thinking - I can take it easy at first, and I have calves of steel, and I want to do a lot of freeway cruising and carry a passenger, so the Miata sounds perfect. But you’re forgetting reason #3:

* It’s not a motorcycle - it’s a car. If you show up to a motorcycle rally with a Miata, someone will likely try to inform you that “this is a motorcycle rally.” When you respond “I know!” and shut the visor to your helmet, they will think you are an idiot.


So, there you have it. I maintain that a good starter bike would be something from this list right here.

And as always, don’t forget to wear the proper gear, and keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down!

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