December 6, 2012 12:18 PM | By David Booth for MSN Autos
Best beginner bikes for 2013

Thinking of getting on two wheels and hitting the open road? Try these on for size

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 (© Photo: Kawasaki)
  • 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 (© Photo: Kawasaki)
  • Honda CBR125R (© Photo: Honda)
  • Honda CBR125R (© Photo: Honda)
  • Kawasaki Ninja 300 (© Photo: Kawasaki)
  • Kawasaki Ninja 300 (© Photo: Kawasaki)
  • Honda CB500F/X/R (© Photo: Honda)
  • Honda CB500F/X/R (© Photo: Honda)
  • Honda CBR250R (© Photo: Honda)
Photo: KawasakiShow Thumbnails
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For two decades now, the motorcycle industry has feasted on the fatted calf that is the wealthy Boomer. Flush of wallet and, compared with his, or her, predecessors, blessed with better health, the born-again biker has been the engine that kept the two-wheeled world humming.

Well, no more. Economic gloom and the realization that the 10,000-kilometre-old still-gleaming steed languishing in their garage simply doesn't need replacement any time soon, aging yupsters have curtailed their motorcycle buying spree.

The downturn was just the impetus for the industry to start pay attention to the segment of the market — beginner bikers — that it had ignored for so long. For almost 20 years, catering to novices was simply not on most manufacturers' radar; there was simply too little profit to be had selling bargain-basement bikes compared with fully-dressed tourers and super-powered superbikes. Now, the hallways of any motorcycle exposition in North America (like the one starting December 7th at Toronto's Metro Convention Centre) are full of the small, basic motorcycles that, just a few years ago, would have been dismissed as unworthy. Here are some excellent choices.

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