Street bikes 101


No frills motorcycling at its most simple. A flexible engine in a simple chassis with an upright, comfortable riding position and no screen or additional bodywork. Streetbikes come in all sizes and are reasonably priced because they often share bits with other bikes… which helps keep the costs down.

Good for:

Most things, apart from sustained high speed riding (because the wind pressure makes your neck and shoulders ache) and foul weather (because there’s absolutely no protection from the elements). The upright riding position gives excellent visibility over the traffic in town, allowing you to spot the gaps, and the wide handlebars give plenty of leverage for easy steering. Plus, the upright riding position makes it more comfortable for your passenger too who won’t be perched two feet above your head like on a sports bike. Most street bikes also have a flexible engine giving a broad spread of power over a wide range of revs.

Not so good for:

Long motorway journeys at high speed or long distances in cold, wet weather. Basic chassis and suspension design means you can’t go chasing sports bikes down a bumpy, twisty B-road. Suzuki’s Bandit range (600/650cc and 1200/1250cc) has been around for 16 years and bikes are cheap new and used.

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Honda’s CBF range (600cc and 1000cc) are easy to ride and built to last, but a little pricier. Kawasaki’s ER-5 and ER-6 are both excellent too, while Ducati’s Monster range is superb for riders with a little more experience because the engine’s power delivery and sportier chassis design takes a bit more getting used to.

Yamaha’s XJR1300 is a superb machine too, although maybe a bit too quick for new riders.


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