Short Beginner’s Guide to Riding a Motorcycle

So you’re interested in riding a motorcycle but don’t know how to get started. This guide will give you an objective analysis of how to start, what to consider and a break down of each step.

Please keep in mind that like any guide on the internet, it is not an exhaustive list and there may be other things to consider for your own personal circumstances. So whilst I’ve made every effort to make this as thorough as possible, just remember to do your own due diligence too!


Make sure to watch the YouTube video here!

Pre-learners course ✅ Completed December 2023
Learners permit 2-day course ✅ Completed January 2024
Check Ride ✅ Completed May 2024
MLA ⏰ Scheduled 

height: 153cm / 5ft
inseam: 66cm / 25.9″
bike: 2013 ninja 300 

1. where tf do I begin??

Glad you asked. Here’s something I prepared earlier. Click on the image to zoom in and save!

  1. If you’re short: go and sit on some bikes at dealerships to see how your feet reach the ground
    • Did they feel okay? Could you comfortably tippy toe or was it a bit sketchy? If it felt okay, go ahead and sign up for a motorcycle class / pre-learners course / lesson at your local training facility!
    • If not, call up different training facilities to see if they have lowered bikes or specific makes/models of bikes with shorter seat heights (i.e. Honda Grom). I did mine on a Honda Grom but I’ve heard other training facilities have other bikes like a Honda Rebel 500
  2. After you take a class / pre-learners course / lesson – did you enjoy the session and could you see yourself riding more?
    • If yes, look into the requirements to apply for a motorcycle learner permit at your local department of transport! I have linked each state below:
    • If no, don’t be disouraged if you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped. There were moments even after I got my learners that I thought maybe I wasn’t meant to ride. Just sit on the ide for a while and go back to entertaining it when or if you feel ready again. Don’t ever feel pressured to do, or not to do something, especially when it comes to riding.
  3. So you looked into getting a learner permit! Are you elligible?
    • If yes, you know what to do next >:) go take the course and get your learner license!
    • If no, I’m sure you’ll make it work when the timing is right <3 🙂 whether that’s an age thing or a license requirement. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Check elligibility and book in your learner permit course

State Age Requirement License Requirement Residency Requirement Training Requirement Source
New South Wales
16.5 / 16.75
Must hold a provisional or open driver license
Resident of New South Wales
Must complete the pre-learner rider training course
Northern Territory
Must hold a provisional or open driver license
Resident of Northern Territory
Must complete a pre-learner course and pass a theory test
Must hold a learner, provisional, or open driver license
Resident of Queensland
Must complete a pre-learner training course
South Australia
Must hold a provisional or full driver license
Resident of South Australia
Must complete the Rider Safe Basic Training Course
Must hold a provisional or full driver license
Resident of Tasmania
Must pass a pre-learner motorcycle training course
Must hold a learner, provisional, or open Victorian driver license
Resident of Victoria
Must pass a 2-day learner permit course
Western Australia
Must hold a provisional or full driver license
Resident of Western Australia
Must pass a motorcycle theory test and obtain a Learner's Permit

It should also be noted that all states require you:

  • To be medically fit to ride
  • Not have any outstanding fines, disqualifications or other issues pending on your license and
  • Be able to pass an eyesight test.

2. Financial Need-to-Knows

It’s important to understand how much of an upfront cost is required in order to get started. I wasn’t nearly aware of how expensive it would be until I truly sat down and did the numbers to make sure I could afford it.

There’s more to this investment than just simply buying the bike. Depending on where you are located, there are also many fees and costs that need to be considered:

  • Registration 
  • Stamp duty
  • Transfer fees (if bike is used)
  • Dealership fees (if bike is new)
  • Maintenance costs (from tools and products for DIY, to mechanic’s labour if needed for major servicing)
  • Insurance costs
  • Gear (helmet, jacket, pants, armour, boots, etc.)
    • Some stores that I visited and recommend checking out are:
    • AMX in Keilor/Epping (Got my gloves here)
    • MCAS in Keilor/Epping (Got my helmet here)
    • Peak Moto in South Yarra (Got my jacket + pants here)
    • Riders Line in Epping (Got a summer jacket here)
    • Saint in Fitzroy (Got summer jacket + pants here – use code MOTOPHIE for $$ off)

Other Quality of Life Enhancements (not ‘compulsory’ but could be nice to eventually have)

  • Mods (frame sliders, bar ends, crash cage, exhaust etc.)
  • Locks (to keep your bike secure when parked in dense locations)
  • GPS tracker (in case it gets stolen)
  • Bluetooth headset (for directions or communication)
  • Device mounts 
  • Action cameras
  • Tinted visor
  • List goes on

It’s important to understand that if you need to finance a bike (pay in instalments) in order to afford it, it probably means you can’t afford it yet.

Whilst I am not giving you professional financial advice and you should really make these considerations based on your own personal circumstances, it’s good to make sure that you’re financially capable of covering all bike related costs up front. As well as be able to comfortably cover your everyday expenses and emergencies that may come up.

It’s best to fully understand the extent of costs before committing, so that you don’t rush into any impulse decisions and end up regretting it later.

If you’re in the market for a used bike, make sure to check out redbook as a useful tool when negotiating price. It shows a bike’s year, make, model and its value in the market today (Australia). It was something I used a lot when buying my bike!

3. Importance of Gear

Whilst a helmet is the only legal requirement for riding a motorcycle in Victoria, it is highly recommended that you also wear appropriately protected jacket, pants, boots and gloves. 

There are many different options that offer various types and levels of protection, so make sure to do your research and go try them on instore to get an idea of how it fits.

Have a read of this fantastic article which breakdowns the different levels and types of CE ratings. Whilst it’s great to aim for the highest level of protection possible, what you end up choosing will depend on your preference for budget, protection and comfort

You can also check out MotoCap for independent and impartial testing reviews of gear too. 

MotoCap Homepage

Wearing the right protective gear could mean the difference between a terrible accident and being able to walk out of it okay.

You’ve probably heard of the saying, “dress for the slide, not the ride” which emphasises wearing protective gear to prevent severe injuries in case of an accident, rather than focusing on comfort or style while riding.

This practice ensures better protection against abrasions, fractures, and impacts, significantly reducing the risk of serious harm in the event of an accident (“safety is sexy” as they say).

With this in mind, it’s also important to note that what you choose to wear on your ride is entirely up to you. I don’t believe we should shame those who choose to squid – it’s their life not yours. But understand the risks involved if you’re going to do that, and don’t say nobody told you so ;p


Here's the gear that I rotate between depending on the ride/weather

ophie wearing the saint unbreakable jacket and jeans

Wearing the Saint Unbreakable Jacket & High Waisted Jeans

Here is the gear that I have been using over the last few months and that I rotate between depending on the type of ride I’m doing and the weather. If it’s super cold, I pop an oversized hoodie on top.






4. How to choose the right motorcycle as a (short) beginner

It’s so important to remember that what worked for someone else, will not necessarily mean it will work for you. I could tell you what motorcycles could be good, but until you actually get your ass onto one, you won’t really know if it’s good for YOU.

What am I talking about here? I’m talking about how two different people could be the SAME height, but have completely different inseams (leg measurement) and have an entirely different experience sitting on the exact same bike.

Lisa’s TikTok is a hilarious demonstration of how different two people can be even at the same height

So I’m going to first talk about what to LOOK for, so that you have a basic understanding of why certain motorcycles are recommended for beginners. Then you can take this knowledge and apply it to your own individual situation. Because not all bikes are available in all locations. 

What makes a motorcycle "beginner" friendly?

  • Seat height
  • Width
  • Weight
  • Displacement (cc)

Seat Height

This is the measurement from the top of the seat, to the floor. Not to be confused with the actual height of the bike.


This is the width of the bike. Imagine sitting on a horse and how your legs dangle to the side depending on how thicc (wide) it is. Kind of the same thing but on a motorbike.


How heavy the bike is. You generally want to look at the “wet” or “curb” weight – which indicates how heavy the bike is with all its fluids (like petrol, motor oil, coolant, brake fluid, etc.) 

Displacement (cc)

This is another way to measure the volume of the engine’s cylinders which determines how fast a bike will go. The higher the displacement, the faster the bike (also the heavier). 

Let me give you an example of this in action:


Both bikes have the same seat height, but will feel slightly different when you sit on them. Why?

Other than obviously being two different makes, they also have slightly different width. These are small differences but can feel significant depending on how short you are and what your posture is like! Just things to consider when you’re looking for the right bike for you.

Is it LAMS approved?

You’re more than likely already looking at LAMS approved motorcycles, but just in case you weren’t – make sure to double check with your local department of transport to make sure that the bike you’re considering is LAMS approved (learners are restricted to certain bikes in their first few years of riding).


okay i'm overwhelmed, now tell me what bike I should look at >:[

Okay fine, I get it. Here’s a good starting point! But don’t limit your options just to this OK GIRLYPOP?

And make sure to also check out this spreadsheet I put together of the bikes I was both recommended and considering that compares seat height, width and weight!


displacement: 125cc
seat height: 765mm
width: 600mm
wet weight: 102kg

*(can only buy these used in australia – they don’t make them here anymore :<)


displacement: 126cc
seat height: 760mm
width: 736mm
wet weight: 114kg

has ABS :O


displacement: 321cc
seat height: 780mm
width: 755mm
wet weight: 168kg


displacement: 321cc
seat height: 780mm
width: 730mm
wet weight: 167kg


displacement: 803cc*
seat height: 790 / 770mm*
width: 770mm
wet weight: 189kg

* low seat height option
*ALSO I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS 800CC bruh all y’all recommending this to me when I was first starting out are cray. Keeping this here only because of the lower seat height. NOT LAMS APPROVED.

NINJA 300/400*

displacement: 296cc / 399cc
seat height: 785mm
width: 710mm
wet weight: 168kg

*will be discontinued and replaced by ninja 500 


displacement: 471cc
seat height: 690mm
width: 820mm
wet weight: 190kg

by far one of my favourite bikes and I REALLY wanted this one but it was so expensive, even used 🙁 rebel 300 isn’t available here so alas, I had to give up


displacement: 449cc
seat height: 690mm
width: 805mm
wet weight: 181kg

this one is a good contender against the rebel 500 but it’s just not nearly as cool


displacement: 125cc
seat height: 785mm
width: 745mm
wet weight: 133kg

commonly used in training facilities here in victoria!

Honda CB300R

displacement: 286cc
seat height: 800mm
width: 805mm
wet weight: 143kg

Wrapping up this section, you need to consider a few other things when looking to buy a bike:

  • availability
  • proximity
  • drop guilt

Availability like whether the bike is discontinued or not (so you won’t be able to buy it new from a dealership, you’ll need to buy it used). Are there parts available for it if you need to replace them? Are they easy to find? Are servicing options a plenty?

Proximity in terms of how far the bike is – how far are you willing to travel to inspect it? If you buy it, how will you get it home? How much would it be to transport it? Can you budget that in? Can a friend help? etc.

Drop guilt “would I feel bad if I dropped it?” Remember it’s your first bike. You’ll be learning on it and the chances of dropping it are pretty high. If you buy a brand new bike, it could limit your confidence because you’re in your head trying not to drop it (which can often make you drop it more haha).

My bike had been scuffed quite a bit before I bought it, so I didn’t feel too bad about adding my own damage to it as I was learning (was still heart breaking, so I got frame sliders, but I imagine it’d have been worse if it was a newer bike).

These are a few pics of the damage I picked up at the inspection. I still bought the bike though 🙂 my heart was set. You can always use this as part of your negotiation too.

5. Practice Skills + Technique

So you’ve got your

  • Learners permit ✅
  • Gear ✅
  • Bike ✅
  • All other registration things ✅

Now what?

practice, practice, practice!

Whilst some riders go straight onto the road once they have all of the above, I believe it’s more important to have a solid foundation of riding skills and technique under your belt to prepare you for the road.

First work on demonstrating essential riding techniques comfortably in a parking lot (including but not limited to):

  • starting and stopping
  • emergency braking
  • slow riding
  • clutch and throttle control
  • turns, u-turns, figure 8’s
  • counter steering
  • using your indicators and turning them off without looking
  • getting on and off the bike
  • pushing / parking the bike
  • picking up the bike (if you can do so safely)

Practicing in a safe and controlled environment gives you the space to focus on yourself without worrying about other road users or hazards.

Once you build up your repertoire of skills, this translates very well onto the road when faced with scenarios like slow traffic, uphill starts, round-abouts, etc. 

I rode exclusively in a parking lot for the first 3 months of riding. I probably would have spent longer if not for eventually lowering my bike (I can talk about this in another post but I also have videos about it on my instagram). But remember that it IS an option, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about considering it (I certainly felt a lot of pressure NOT to lower my bike, but ended up going for it anyway and it was the best thing I did for myself!)

I am also very lucky in that my husband is a much better rider than I am and has been able to watch me, give me feedback and ride with me which helps me to feel more confident and safe. If you’re able to find a riding buddy, there are learner friendly groups that you can join too, it could help you to build up your hours on the bike whilst you’re getting comfortable on the road.

Please do remember, again, that how you choose to go about your journey is entirely up to you. I am no expert, but this is what I did and it really helped me to build my confidence, so I hope it can help you too!

6. Final words of wisdom (I learned from others)

ride your own ride

You are the only person who knows yourself well enough to gauge what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable going on the road yet, then don’t go.

If you’re going 20km/h under the speed limit, you create a hazard out of yourself. If you must ride slowly, then limit your riding to a safe environment where you CAN do so.

Riding your own ride not only means focusing on what you're comfortable and confident with, but also only putting yourself in environments that support this level of riding.

where you see is where you'll be

Essentially, look where you want to go. This is especially important for tight turns, but also remembering to not target fixate on the wrong thing (like the groun or the trees on the side of the road).

if you don't know, don't go

If at any point, you don’t know if you’ll be able to make a light, or the roundabout turn, or whether you’ll fit on the curb, just don’t do it.

It’s so important to pick up on these glimpses of hesitation that you have, and get used to holding space for them, because they can really impact your confidence and lead to preventable accidents.

Doubt can create fear and fear will impact your judgement. Give yourself the time and space to make reasonable judgement calls. Staying calm will help you respond to situations where a quick decision will be required of you (e.g. swerving or emergency braking) but this time, you’ll have the confidence for it.

Go ahead only if you're ready and it's safe for you to do so.

It would not be right of me to not wrap up with the pros and cons of riding. You’ve made it this far, you probably know that motorcycles are very dangerous. Please ensure you’ve considered everything and that you’ve done your utmost to mitigate risks of accidents or injuries to yourself. 

Fuel Efficiency: Motorcycles generally have better fuel efficiency compared to cars, saving money on gas.
Safety Risks: Higher risk of severe injuries or fatalities in accidents due to lack of protective barriers vs a cage.
Cost: Lower initial purchase cost and maintenance expenses compared to cars.
Weather Vulnerability: Increased risk of accidents and discomfort in adverse weather conditions (rain, snow, wind).
Maneuverability: Easier to navigate through traffic and find parking in congested areas.
Visibility Issues: Less visible to other drivers, increasing the risk of being involved in collisions.
Enjoyment: Offers a sense of freedom and adventure; riding is an exhilarating feeling.
Physical Strain: Longer rides can be physically demanding and tiring.
Environmental Impact: Generally produces lower emissions than cars, making it a more environmentally friendly option.
Legal and Financial Risks: Potential for higher insurance costs, especially if you’re young, fines for traffic violations, and expensive medical bills from injuries.
Community: Strong sense of camaraderie among motorcyclists and opportunities to join riding groups and social events.
Limited Storage: Less space for carrying luggage or passengers compared to cars.

Whilst I’ve only been riding for just over 4 months, it’s been such a blast. It’s an exhilarating feeling and encourages me to get outside of my own little bubble and see more of the world.

The community is wholesome and I’ve found myself amongst so many likeminded short girlies it makes my heart so giddy. I can’t wait to see where it takes me. 

I hope this has helped you in your journey. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to DM me on instagram or leave a comment.  I’ve been so excited following y’all’s journeys too who have just got your learners!

Love you xx


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