Sports bikes 101


Fast, sleek, sexy. Sports bikes get the latest high tech first, have the most powerful engines, best brakes and suspension. Many are close to being proper race bikes on the road. Thrilling to ride on the right roads, but can be too focused and uncomfortable when the speeds drop.

Good for:

Stunning acceleration, the most thrills per pound on the planet and defying gravity around corners. Sports bikes get the latest high tech first and some of them are just about practical enough for day to day use too, while still blowing the cobwebs away on a Sunday morning thrash round the lanes.

Not so good for:

The real world. Cramped riding positions give perfect control for cornering but aching backs, wrists and necks everywhere else. A modern 1000cc sports bike does 130mph… in second gear. Small fuel tanks mean frequent fill-ups and insurance is expensive because plenty get stolen.

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For new riders wanting a new bike it’s probably something like Honda’s CBR250R or maybe the CBR600F if you’re feeling confident. Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R is a good choice as is its ER-6F. 400cc sports bikes were popular a few years back. A good one is still a joy to ride but many are tired now and needing a complete overhaul. Suzuki’s GSX-Rs, Yamaha’s YZF-Rs and Kawasaki’s ZX range are superb for the experienced rider, but can be a little sharp steering and peaky for new riders. We’d suggest building confidence for your first summer on something a little less extreme.


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