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How Much Does It Cost to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle

How Much Does It Cost to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle

Motorcycles have slowly been replacing four-wheelers as the most favored mode of transportation. Over the years, there has been a consistent increase in the demand for motorcycles, as observed in the global motorcycle market trends. Analyzing this trend, Zion Market Research reported significant growth in the global motorcycle industry, which was valued at 104.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. Further compound annual growth of about 7.4% is expected to occur between 2022-2028.

Similarly, Statista, a German online platform having expertise in data gathering, statistics, and data analysis, has reported that the revenue in the global motorcycle market is expected to increase to 145.50 billion U.S. dollars in 2024. In the United States, motorcycle market revenue is predicted to reach 6.98 billion dollars in 2024, with an annual revenue growth rate of 1.78%. It has also been reported that the largest segment of the motorcycle market in the United States comprises road-biased motorcycles, with an expected market volume of 6.01 billion U.S. dollars in 2024. Additionally, it is predicted that by 2028 the unit sale of motorcycles in America will reach 620.10k bikes.

Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has confirmed a gradual increase in the number of registered motorcycles in the U.S., reaching 8.6 million in 2021. Although a decrease in motorcycle sales was reported between 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the number of registered motorcycles spiked again post-pandemic, reaching a whopping 8.8 million in 2023. The highest number of registered motorcycles in 2023 consisted of mid-sized to heavy cruisers, lightweight baggers, and luxury touring motorcycles .

This surge in the number of motorcyclists is primarily because two-wheelers are now safer than ever before, thanks to ABS, traction intervention, rider aids, and other high-end safety features. Moreover, the sense of freedom, recreation, and adventure offered by motorcycles cannot be experienced in any other vehicle. Harley Davidson also has a huge role in convincing young and old alike to become a part of the motorcycle community and feel the essence of American culture. Not to mention, the countless options of customization, availability of premium aftermarket parts and luggage bags, and the aesthetics of riding a stylish bike on a scenic route, all of which compel riders to make a purchase. The maneuverability and practicality of a two-wheeler as a commuter just add to its charm.

But before one can experience all the advantages of a motorcycle, it is important to learn how to ride and also understand the costs involved. In this article, you will find a complete breakdown of the costs involved in learning to ride a motorcycle, from training course fees to license fees, the cost of protective gear, insurance, and motorcycle purchase.

1. Cost of Motorcycle Riding Lessons

In a rider’s motorcycle riding journey, the first monetary investment presents itself in the form of a motorcycle training course fee. Although it is not mandatory by law to enroll in and acquire training from a motorcycle training school to be eligible for a motorcycle license, it is highly recommended that you join a riding school. In these motorcycle safety courses you will learn the etiquette of riding on public roads, safety practices, motorcycle preparation, and the following fundamental riding techniques:

  • Clutch and throttle controls
  • Braking
  • Cornering
  • Slow-speed maneuvers
  • Serpentine maneuvers
  • Gear shifting
  • Straight line riding
  • Riding in a circle
  • Crash avoidance
  • Parking

In addition, students have to take a written and a riding exam to complete and become eligible for a license in states where completing a motorcycle safety course is mandatory. The cost of a motorcycle training course depends on the course duration or number of classes, availability of safety gear, whether you will use your bike or school’s motorcycle, location of the school, certified instructors with ongoing ratio, and student-to-instructor ratio.

A motorcycle training course that offers well-maintained motorcycles for training, safety gear, and a low student-to-instructor ratio is likely to cost more than other safety courses. On average, you can expect to pay somewhere between $350-$500 for a complete motorcycle training course. To give you a better idea of the riding course fee, we have listed the price plans of some of the best motorcycle riding schools in the United States in the chart below. Please note that the prices mentioned are for the basic motorcycle riding course to maintain the focus on the scope of this article; plus, the costs are subject to change at the discretion of the training center. If you are looking for the costs of an advanced riding course, check the official website of each riding school.

Motorcycle Training Course Fees
Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course (MSF)
Basic Rider Course: $385 Basic Rider eCourse: $19.99 (The costs of MSF Basic Rider Courses range from under $100 to over $300, depending on the rider’s age and location of the school.
Total Control
Basic course: Free for residents of Pennsylvania. Cost of course in other states is unavailable Intermediate course: $175-$350
California Superbike School
Single day training: $625
Harley Rider Course
Riding classes range from $99-$495
T.E.A.M Arizona Motorcyclist Training Center
Introduction to motorcycle class costs $99

2. Cost of Acquiring a Valid Motorcycle Endorsement (License)

 Cost of Acquiring a Valid Motorcycle Endorsement (License)

2.1 With a Training Course - The Expensive Route

This route includes a riding class fee, as well as the licensing test fee, which covers the written test, road test, learner’s permit, and license fee. Riders have to pay around $300-$350 for riding classes and $25-$125 for licensing fees; a total of about $325-$475.

2.2 Without a Training Course - The Economical Route

This route is considered more economical because the rider only has to pay around $25-$125 in terms of licensing fees. No other charges apply.

3. Cost of Motorcycle Safety Gear

Cost of Motorcycle Safety Gear

When it comes to mandatory motorcycle safety gear, all you need is a DOT-certified motorcycle; you can also look for motorcycle helmets that have Snell Foundation’s safety ratings. In the beginning, it is best to invest in a lightweight full-face helmet for maximum protection; however, as you gain more confidence, control of the bike, and riding experience, you can also opt for a DOT-approved half-helmet in summer. Beginners should also wear back, knee, and elbow pads during riding classes and at-home practice sessions to protect against impact in case you lose control of the bike, causing it to tip over.

In addition, most riders prefer to wear lightweight, breathable, and abrasion-resistant riding jackets for an added layer of protection that is also comfortable. Wearing vibration-dampening padded riding gloves is also a must even for experienced riders, so make sure you invest in good-quality riding gloves. Riding pants and boots are often considered optional safety gear, so skip these two if you are tight on budget. Overall, you can expect to spend around $375-$1,000 depending on what you choose to include in your riding safety gear essentials.

4. Buying an Entry Level Motorcycle (Usually Second-Hand)

Buying an Entry Level Motorcycle (Usually Second-Hand)
Photo Credit: Royal Enfield 

For some motorcycling beginners, purchasing a lightweight entry-level motorcycle is a part of ‘learning how to ride a motorcycle budget.’ Depending on your budget you can opt for a new or a used motorcycle; however, most riders prefer a used bike for practice due to its many benefits. 

4.1 Used vs New Bikes for Beginners - The Better Investment

  1. A used motorcycle does not undergo initial depreciation, and after training, you can sell it for almost the same price you bought it for, if not more. On the other hand, new motorcycles have a high initial depreciation rate, which does not make them a worthwhile investment unless you plan to keep using them for a long time.
  2. Most novice riders upgrade to a mid-sized motorcycle or a different type of bike to find their riding style. As mentioned, it is easier to sell a used bike considering you experience a little loss on the original investment compared to the new bike.
  3. While practicing, there is a higher risk of scratching or damaging the motorcycle finish, and using a used bike for this purpose, offers you the peace of mind you need to focus on learning how to ride instead of on how to keep your bike as good as new.
  4. As discussed infra, the insurance costs of used motorcycles are quite affordable compared to the high insurance rates of new motorcycles. Therefore, you get to save some money to spend on more useful things such as safety gear and motorcycle safety accessories.
  5. Similarly, maintenance costs of used motorcycles are much less than new bikes, primarily because for used bikes you won’t feel compelled to go to the expensive authorized dealership for maintenance. On the other hand, trusting your new bike with local mechanics can be difficult, causing you to spend more on high maintenance rates at the dealerships.

4.2 Cost of Used and New Motorcycles

After you weigh out the pros and cons of buying a used or new first motorcycle, there are different ways to determine the cost of your first two-wheeler.

Checking Official Websites of Different

If you are considering purchasing the latest entry-level motorcycle, then all you need to do is check the official website of the motorcycle manufacturer you want to purchase from and manage your budget accordingly. To help you with your search, a few of the best beginner-friendly motorcycles by the most prominent brands have been listed below along with their category and pricing.

Cost of New Beginner-Friendly Motorcycles
Motorcycle Price Category
 Triumph Scrambler 400X  $5,595 Beginner-Friendly Adventure Motorcycle
 Honda Rebel 500  $6,499 Entry-Level Cruiser
 Aprilia RS 457  $6,799 Beginner-Friendly Sports Bike
 Royal Enfield Interceptor 500  $6,149 Retro-Style Beginner-Friendly Cruiser
 Honda CB300R  $5,149 Beginner-Friendly Sports Bike
 Kawasaki Eliminator  $6,649 Entry-Level Cruiser
 Yamaha MT-03  $4,999 Lightweight Naked Sport Bike
 Triumph Speed 400  $4,995 Beginner-Friendly Custom-Style Cruiser
 KTM 250 Duke  $4,599 Beginner-Friendly Naked Sports Bike
 Royal Enfield Himalayan 450  $5,449 Beginner-Friendly Adventure Motorcycle
 Kawasaki KLX 300  $6,199 Street-Legal Dual-Sports Bike

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces, such as eBay Motors, Cycle Trader, Moto Hunt, and Craigslist, are some of the most reliable and easily accessible platforms to purchase a well-maintained second-hand motorcycle. When purchasing a secondhand motorcycle online, you need to consider the risk of scams since you won’t be able to physically inspect the motorcycle.

Authorized Dealerships

Authorized dealerships are another place that you should look to purchase a secondhand bike. As for costs, you would have to visit them to see which second-hand motorcycles they have for beginners in the inventory, whether you find it to be a suitable enough ride for practicing riding skills, and if the price offered falls under your budget. Authorized dealerships also offer finance facilities; however, it is highly recommended that you do not avail of this facility for an entry-level bike that you will most likely for a long.

Fuel and Maintenance Costs

Fuel and Maintenance Costs

While it is difficult to determine the exact fuel and maintenance costs of your first motorcycle, it is another aspect that you must consider when creating a budget for learning riding skills. After acquiring your learner’s permit to practice the skills you have learned in the training course or to prepare for the road test, you would need money for fuel because someone might be kind enough to give you your motorcycle to train, but expecting them to also bear your motorcycle fuel costs will be inconsiderate. Once you acquire a license, then motorcycle fuel and maintenance costs will become even more profound. Hence, it is an aspect worth considering.

Cost of Customizing Motorcycle for Safety and Comfort

Cost of Customizing Motorcycle for Safety and Comfort

To make your two-wheeler safer and more practical, you may also want to consider the cost of some useful aftermarket motorcycle parts , such as crash bars for protection, a lightweight luggage bag to carry tools or spare gloves when practicing riding, a plush seat in case the seat of your used bike is worn out, and ergonomically-designed handlebars that do not put strain on your arms and shoulders and allow you to better control the bike during your practice sessions.

5. Cost of Motorcycle Insurance in the United States

Motorcycle insurance is a worthwhile investment for motorcyclists as it provides coverage for motorcycle damage, personal injury, and theft. Minimum liability coverage is required by law for all motorcyclists in almost all states of the United States (except for Florida) before they can ride their two-wheelers on the road. Though motorcyclists in Florida are not required to have motorcycle insurance; however, it is still recommended that they purchase a plan.

This liability coverage pays for the damages a rider causes to others’ persons and property. In case you have been injured on the road due to a no-contact collision or any other similar events where you were not at fault, your liability coverage helps pay your medical bills and even lost wages provided it is included in your motorcycle insurance plan.

Though motorcycles are now a safe mode of transportation, the risks remain high. By not having to worry about the financial consequences of an accident and high maintenance and repair costs that can strain your monthly budget, you can enjoy all the benefits a two-wheeler offers with peace of mind. But how much does motorcycle insurance cost in the United States and what is the minimum liability coverage that a motorcyclist must have?

5.1 Minimum Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in the United States

To register their motorcycle, riders have to provide proof of insurance coverage, without which they cannot register their motorcycles or acquire license plates to legally ride on the road. Therefore, fulfilling the minimum insurance requirements of different states in America is inevitable to be able to ride your motorcycle. Except for Florida, motorcycle insurance is required in 49 states, each with its different minimum insurance amount to cover damage to property and bodily injury. In case you cause an accident and the rider you hit sustain injuries, the insurance from which you have acquired your liability coverage will provide the funds to cover the medical bills of the injured party.

In most states, the minimum motorcycle liability coverage requirement is $25,000 for causing physical injury or death of one person and $50,000 for causing an accident with two or more people. Moreover, an additional $10,000 in insurance is required to cover property damage. The three requirements are also presented as follows: (25/50/10) or (30/60/25). Mentioned below are some of the best insurance companies from which riders can purchase a comprehensive motorcycle liability coverage policy.

  1. Progressive - Reliable insurance company offering affordable rates, generous discounts, minimum motorcycle liability coverage, and other optional policies.

  1. Geico - Another trust-worthy motorcycle insurance company that covers most types of motorcycles at low rates that are made even more competitive through discounts.

  1. Allstate - A top-notch automobile insurance company in the United States that offers personalized support and access to agents, in addition to minimum motorcycle liability coverage.

5.2 Average Cost of Monthly Motorcycle Insurance in the United States

The average cost of monthly motorcycle insurance in the United States depends on multiple aspects, including the state, the type of motorcycle you ride, its model year (age), and the insurance policies of different motorcycle insurance companies. Sometimes, a rider’s age may also impact the cost of insurance; however, it is not always a determining factor.


It has been observed that North Dakota has the cheapest monthly motorcycle insurance rates at around $18 per month, with Kentucky boasting a hefty amount of $69 per month primarily because there is a higher risk of accidents and an even higher crime rate in Kentucky. On the other hand, North Dakota has a lighter traffic flow with weather conditions favorable for riding. The crime rate and number of reported accidents in North Dakota are much less compared to Kentucky, Florida, or Arizona, which have an average monthly insurance rate of $69, $54, and $49 respectively.

Type of Motorcycle

The monthly insurance costs depending on the type of motorcycle you ride are directly influenced by how difficult it is to replace in the event of theft and how expensive it is to repair or replace its parts. The level of stability and control offered by a motorcycle also influences the insurance costs. Since street motorcycles are more prone to theft and most sports bikes are involved in accidents, they are the most expensive type of motorcycle to insure.

Next in line are the baggers or grand touring motorcycles because they feature expensive features and utilize high-end technology, replacing the parts or the motorcycle itself in case of theft is difficult. But because touring motorcycles are more stable than sports bikes and the risk of theft is much lower on the highways than in city streets and neighborhoods, touring motorcycles are less expensive to insure than sports bikes. Every month, you can expect to pay $370 or above for sports bike insurance and $280 or above for a touring motorcycle. Cruisers, standard motorcycles, and scooters are even cheaper to insure, having a monthly insurance rate of around $150, $130, and $105 respectively.

Motorcycle’s Model Year

By a rule of thumb, second-hand and older motorcycles are cheaper to insure compared to brand-new models just out of the showroom primarily because the former have already undergone initial depreciation, and because of their lower resale value, they are easier to replace in case of theft or a major crash. Furthermore, older motorcycles lack sophisticated features that are readily available in most latest motorcycles regardless of their type. A lower degree of sophistication means repair is less complex and more cost-effective, making it easier for insurance companies to pay for the damages.

Rates of Different Insurance Companies

Some of the best motorcycle insurance companies in the United States owe their popularity to providing extensive liability coverage policies at affordable rates. The lowest monthly insurance rates are offered by Progressive, Dairyland, Geico, and even Harley Davidson. Maryland, Allstate, and Markel are counted as the most expensive motorcycle insurance providers.

Age and Riding Experience of the Rider

Age and riding experience play a significant role in determining a rider’s capability to control the bike and prevent accidents. Since beginners are more prone to road accidents, you will have to pay more as a novice rider, and the insurance costs will further go up if you are below 21. Here are some examples:

  1. An 18-year-old rider can expect to pay more than a 30-year-old rider.

  2. A 35-year-old novice rider can expect to pay more for insurance than a 27-year-old rider with five years of riding experience and a clean record.

  3. As a beginner with no riding experience, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200-$375 or above, especially those who are under 21 or 18, to acquire monthly motorcycle insurance without which you cannot register or ride your motorcycle to hone the riding skills you have learned during a motorcycle training course.


Based on the factors and data listed above, you can expect to pay anywhere between $33 to $350 per month on average to purchase the minimum required motorcycle insurance liability coverage.

6. Estimated Total Cost of Learning How to Ride a Motorcycle

Estimated Total Cost of Learning How to Ride a Motorcycle

By accruing the cost of the riding course and license fee, safety gear, cost of the beginner-friendly motorcycle, essential aftermarket parts, and motorcycle insurance, the total maximum and minimum cost of learning how to ride a motorcycle can be broken down as follows:

Total Estimated Costs of Learning How to Ride a Motorcycle

Minimum Cost Maximum Cost
Motorcycle Course Fee $250 $625
Motorcycle Licensing Fee $25 $125
Motorcycle Safety Gear Cost $375 $1,000
Cost of an Entry-level Motorcycle Example - Honda Rebel 500 Used: $4,000 (Reference: Cycle Trader) New: $6,499
Motorcycle Insurance Cost (For this table, counted for one month only) $50/ month $350/month
Total Cost Range $4,700 - $8,599
Note: All the costs mentioned in this post are just estimations and not exact calculations of the average cost to learn to ride a motorcycle. Also, since custom accessories are optional, those costs are not added here.

7. Last Words

A large number of motorcycles are registered in the United States every year, and most of these motorcycles belong to beginners who have just completed their motorcycle training courses and have acquired a motorcycle endorsement. If you too are planning to become a motorcycle owner, it is important that you first pass a written test to acquire a learner’s permit, learn how to ride by joining a training course or practicing on your own - if it is not mandatory by law for you to complete a riding course, pass the road test, and get a valid endorsement. Additionally, to get a license plate, you must also purchase minimum motorcycle liability coverage based on the requirements set by the state you reside in. This entire process of learning how to ride involves certain costs.

Though it is quite challenging to come up with the exact cost of learning how to ride a motorcycle due to multiple variables influencing the costs; however, we have tried to provide you with a rough estimate so you can manage a budget for your riding classes, licensing fees, safety gear, motorcycle purchase, and insurance costs. Be sure not to over-rely on the estimated costs provided in this article and also perform your research to have a clear cost projection. Comparing prices and features offered by different riding schools and insurance policies may also help you save money and reduce the overall costs to ensure they remain within your spending limit.

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