If you’ve never experienced the freedom of motorcycling, whether it’s open-road touring, off-road adventure or street carving, you’re betraying at least four of your senses (five if you like to lick the inside of your full-faced helmet). Now that the riding season is under way in many parts of the country, it’s time to sign up for riding lessons and start thinking about the machine that’s best suited for you.

The hard part is getting started. You’re not going to strap yourself to a Hayabusa or drop half your savings on a Goldwing, right? Picking a good starter bike is far more intimidating than buying a car, especially since you’ve been driving on four wheels poorly since you started getting acne. Once you find your way to a certified beginners’ motorcycle course and get your license, you can start visiting local dealerships for test rides. Just don’t try to show off your skills with a kickstand. No one will be impressed.

Browse through the slideshow above to find our five best picks, or find more details about each of the five best starter motorcycles on the next page.

MORE BRAVE BIKES: KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition | Ural Yamal Limited Edition | Sidecars & Snow

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