Here is a complete guide on everything to know about choosing the right sports bike for your needs. Getting a sports bike means considering the elements that affect your life directly or indirectly.
Since these bikes provide more speed and maneuverability, it is better to take your time to ensure you are happy with your option.
I’m a bike enthusiast who likes fast sports motorbikes. I believe my advice can help many riders, whether beginner or advanced.
Finding the Right Sports Bike Type
It is best to know what types of sports bikes are out there before you can even start shopping for one. Generally, sports bike types break down into three categories:
Lightweight or Entry-Level Sports Bikes
This class is practical for beginners or anyone still getting comfy in the saddle. As the name suggests, these bikes are lightweight and have enough power to keep up with traffic. They have an engine displacement of up to 500cc (31 cubic inches) but still achieve impressive performance.
Middleweight or Supersport Bikes
These bikes are ideal for more advanced riders, but you do not have to be an expert to ride one. They handle well and have much greater performance, ergonomics, and aerodynamics.
The engine displacement for middleweight sports bikes ranges from 500cc to 1000cc (31 to 61 cubic inches). Mostly, they are ideal for track racing and general riding but not so much for heavy competition.
Supersport bikes often have “RR,” which stands for Race Replica, in their model name. This is because they are racing bikes tuned down enough to make them street-legal bikes.
Heavyweight or Hypersportsbikes/Superbikes
Superbikes are heavier than other sports bikes and more stable at flat-out speeds. They are designed mainly for very high-speed riding and also touring to an extent.
These bikes have an engine capacity of 1000cc or above. They have the most powerful engines, making them ideal for experienced riders.
Level of Experience
Sports bikes may be exhilarating, but it is crucial to consider your riding skill and experience level before getting one. Going for higher power can be dangerous if you are not skilled enough to handle it. This is why you should choose a bike you can control before advancing to bigger, more powerful bikes.
Usually, most sport bike models are not ideal for novice motorcycle riders. Their excessive capacities for speed can make a dangerous combination when paired with a lack of riding experience. However, some brands supply sports bikes with slightly less power, about 300cc. But this doesn’t mean they are not fast; they are just not as fast as standard supersport bikes.
If you are a new rider, it is best to familiarize yourself with smaller engine capacities rather than starting with powerful ones. Consider going for sports bikes with an engine displacement of up to 500cc or below. If you are confident about riding a high-power motorcycle, then it’s okay. But even some experienced riders may find anything above 600cc more than they can handle.
Get a Bike That Fits You
Unless you can reach the ground and prevent the bike from falling, you will injure yourself or possibly damage your motorcycle. Consider going for the right-size bike you can control, whether in motion or stopped.
When getting a bike, you want to go for a seat height that is not too high or too low. If the seat is too high, your feet will have difficulty reaching the ground, but if not too low, you will have trouble controlling the bike. The best sport bike seat height allows riders to place both feet flat on the ground when sitting on the bike.
Usually, sports bikes tend to have higher seats, and shorter people may find them much more challenging to ride. So, riders who are shorter than average may want to search through different models to find one that fits well.
Here are some clues to help identify a poor fit:
- Not having both feet flat on the ground when sitting on the bike.
- Overstretching to reach the hand or foot controls.
- Not reaching the controls.
- Being on the tip of your toes when standing.
Buying a New or Pre Owned Sports Bike
Price is an essential factor when buying a sports bike. There is nothing wrong with buying a brand-new sports bike if the price falls within your budget. However, remember that the value of the new sports motorbike will depreciate once you sign the papers and take it for a ride.
Since these bikes are not meant for daily usage, most people are unwilling to spend that much money if they can help. There are many decent used sports bikes out there at fair prices.
If you get a pre-owned sports bike, ensure it is in good shape. Look into the mileage, brake fluid level, and oil level. Also, check for dry cables, rusty chains, pitted fork tubes, and leaky fork seals.
Buying a second-hand sports bike is as good as purchasing a brand-new one. Besides, it is common for those who buy pre-owned bikes to sell them at almost the same price for which they got them several years later. The resale value will vary depending on the demand and condition of the bike.
Consider the Frame
The frame is the core structure supporting the rider and the engine and provides a location for the rear suspension and steering. Sports bike frames are made from either aluminum or steel.
Aluminum frames are usually lighter and offer more comfort in the ride. However, steel is heavier but stronger and more durable than its aluminum counterpart.
Therefore, steel may be the best choice if you want a bike that can withstand heavy use and last longer. They can absorb more blows and be fixed easily in case of damage.
Aluminum may be suitable if you are looking for a bike that is lightweight and ideal for shorter rides or commuting. They are also eligible for those working on a low budget as they are cheaper than steel frames.
Comfort and Safety Features
Safety on a sports bike should always come first. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, test for the ergonomics and suspensions to ensure they are in good condition.
Ensure the handlebars are just the right height, and you do not stretch out your arms so far in front of you. This can be pretty uncomfortable and makes controlling the bike more difficult.
Also, check out the brakes and clutch lever position. All four fingers should reach the brakes without adjusting the hand position on the handlebar. The brakes should be efficient and operational in all weather conditions.
For the suspensions, do a test drive to make sure the bike can absorb shock from potholes and bumps.
The Kind of Riding You Will be Doing
The sports bikes range in engine capacity from 300cc to 1000cc or more for powerful bikes. Therefore, before choosing the kind of sports bike you want, consider why you need the motorcycle.
The powerful bikes are majorly for racing due to their aggressive riding positions and speeds. They thus will require more excellent handling experience. If you are a frequent user and want a sports bike for commuting to and from work, a smaller bike that can maneuver traffic would be ideal.
However, if you plan on going for longer trips on weekends out of town, consider going for a touring bike instead. Consider a sports bike with more power and a good riding position for street racing.
Top 5 Best Sports Bikes
You should consider both your budget and bike specifications when making your decision. Here are our top picks for the top 5 best sports bikes.
1. Honda CBR600RR – Best Overall
The Honda CBR600RR is one of the best 600cc motorcycles. Its 600cc inline-4 engine has an outstanding performance to satisfy most riders’ two-wheel dreams.
The bike has a great handle and control with easy maneuvers. It also has great front and back braking, making it a top racing bike.
The bike has undergone many changes and improvements, with the latest upgrade in 2021. The new model is equipped with a radial-mounted mono-block front brake caliper.
2. Yamaha YZF-R1 – Best Slip Assist for Launches
The standard Yamaha YZF-R1 has been at the top of superbikes since 2015. The bike has a 2-level quick-shifter, an anti-wheelie system, and launch controls.
The newer model has thicker KYB inverted forks that make it not snappy over rougher roads and bumps. It also has a reworked clutch with a better slip assist for launches. The company upgraded the bike’s chassis, giving it a smoother tank, a sharper front end, and new side fairings.
3. Suzuki GSX-R1000R – More Power
The Suzuki GSX-R1000R is one of the major bike designs focused on more power. The bike is powered by a 999cc inline-four engine with an aggressive gearing system.
This model has a variable valve timing engine, aerodynamics, and a huge exhaust. It also has launch control, a lighter battery, and a quick bidirectional shifter.
4. Ducati V4S – Less Drag
Ducati V4S sets the bar high on power, weight, and looks. It features electrically adjustable suspensions, slide control, cornering ABS, and a lean angle-aware quick-shifter. There is also a TFT dash and single-sided swingarm with a small exhaust.
The newer model has thinner winglets with less drag, maximum torque, and a new oil pump. It also has an improved speed seat, and a Track Evo dash display mode.
5. Kawasaki ZX-10R – Efficient Around Corners
The Kawasaki ZX-10R is framed from the 2020 model. It has LED lighting, cruise control, a modern TFT dash, and improved front brakes. The bike also has the 6-axis IMU, Kawasaki Intelligent ABS to adjust electronic valves and quick-shifter.
The ZX-10R has an adjusted cornering system, making it even more efficient around corners and canyons. It also uses the anti-wheelie, anti-squat, and sport traction control system.
As you can see, there are several things to consider before choosing the right sports bike. Usually, manufacturers use advanced materials to ensure sports bikes are agile and faster. But not all sports bikes have the same characteristics and specifications.
This is why picking the right one is essential for an enjoyable riding experience. Ensure you do your research, so you don’t overestimate your ability.