Sport Bikes »
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Sport Bikes »

Price Range
$4,599-$40,000
Top Models
Suzuki Hayabusa
Honda CBR600RR
Kawasaki Ninja 650
Engine Size Range
248 cc-1,441 cc

Looking for the ultimate in two-wheeled performance? You’ll want to be shopping for a sport bike. With potent engines, nimble handling, and high-performance tires, sport bikes are designed to move. They typically feature sleek designs with plenty of aerodynamic sculpting to cut through the wind. If a dirt bike is a Jeep Wrangler, a sport bike is a Porsche 911. With top-end performance that rivals the acceleration of supercars, sport bikes aren’t for everyone. The typical riding position is hunched far forward, making the bikes uncomfortable for long road trips. The extreme performance of high-end models leads to some of the highest motorcycle insurance rates you’ll find. The sport bike is best exemplified by lineups such as the Kawasaki Ninja range and Honda CBR models. Prices range from about $4,700 for a basic Honda CBR300R to more than $32,000 for a Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon with a supercharged four-cylinder engine.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

What is a Sport Motorcycle?

Sport motorcycles are the most performance-oriented category of motorcycle. They feature a lightweight frame, a powerful engine, and seating and handlebar positions that encourage an aggressive riding posture. Though sport bikes are available in relatively low-power configurations that can make them accessible for beginners, most brands focus their marketing on the fast acceleration and high speeds these bikes can achieve. Sport motorcycles’ nimble handling and quick braking can make the right model a good first bike for learning, but it’s very important that the rider respects his or her boundaries and doesn’t give in to the bike’s potential for speed.

There are some sub-categories of sport motorcycles, such as “sport touring” bikes that combine the attributes of a sport bike and a touring bike, making them more comfortable for long trips. Some manufacturers offer bikes marketed as “super sport,” “hyper sport,” or similar terms, designating models especially suited to high performance riding conditions, such as racing.

This type of motorcycle is most common amongst Japanese manufacturers, and many of these brands also make other powersports equipment, such as four-wheelers, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft. Though sport motorcycles can be found among European and American brands, they’re really a speciality of the Japanese brands and represent many of those brands’ entry points to the North American motorcycle market. 

Sport Motorcycle Brands

2019 Ducati SuperSport / Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.

As mentioned above, sport motorcycles are most commonly associated with Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, though there are exceptions to that rule. The most well-known sport bike brands are Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha, all of which are known for making other consumer products such as cars, powersports equipment, consumer electronics, and musical instruments. Though all of these brands offer a wide variety of motorcycle types, including powerful, competition-ready sport motorcycles, beginners will also find a choice of affordable sport bikes that are suitable for learning. 

Other sport motorcycle manufacturers include BMW, KTM, and Ducati, all from Europe. Among American motorcycle brands, such as Harley-Davidson and Indian, it’s less common to find sport bikes, as these brands tend to focus more on cruisers and tourers, though there are usually a couple of models available that have some sport motorcycle features and characteristics, even if they can’t strictly be considered sport bikes.

Honda Motorcycles »
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Honda Motorcycles »

Known for
Cruisers, Dirt Bikes, Sport Bikes, Standard
Top Models
Honda Shadow
Honda Gold Wing
Honda Rebel 500
Founded
1949

Based in Japan, Honda is a multinational manufacturer of everything from lawnmowers to business jets. Now known for its high-quality cars and award-winning SUVs, it was founded as a motorcycle manufacturer in the period following World War II. Today Honda sells a vast array of new motorcycle models. If there’s a category of motorcycle, Honda likely has a product that actively competes in it, from urban scooters to powerful, luxurious touring bikes. Honda motorcycle prices range from around $1,500 for small air-cooled dirt bikes to $31,800 for a loaded 2019 Honda Gold Wing Tour with an airbag and automatic transmission. The average price for a Honda motorcycle is about $9,700. That’s the lowest average base price among major motorcycle companies. Shoppers looking for their first motorcycle have plenty to choose from in the Honda motorcycle lineup. The Honda CB300F has a low starting price of $4,349, a simple “naked bike” design, reliable fuel injection, and a small enough engine to qualify for low insurance rates.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Kawasaki Motorcycles »
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Kawasaki Motorcycles »

Known for
Sport Bikes
Top Models
Kawasaki Ninja H2
Kawasaki Vulcan S
Kawasakin Ninja 400
Founded
1969

Kawasaki’s history dates to 1878 when the Japanese company began building ships in Tokyo. The company has grown to be one of Japan's largest conglomerates, producing everything from aircraft and ships to bridges. In 1969, Kawasaki began manufacturing motorcycles. Today, the company builds several lines of leisure vehicles, including Jet Skis, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. Their bike range spans all types, from youth dirt bikes to well-equipped touring motorcycles. Included in the lineup are specialized models, such as the $9,799 retro classic W800, which is one of several Kawasaki bikes styled after café racers. The KLR 650 is a popular dual-sport model, with a price tag of $6,699. Though there are many models in Kawasaki’s lineup that perform well as beginner motorcycles, the brand has built a reputation for their sport, supersport, and hypersport Ninja lineup. They currently offer more than 30 road-legal Ninja models with prices ranging from $4,999 to $32,500. The average price of all models marketed by Kawasaki is a little over $12,000.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Yamaha Motorcycles »
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Yamaha Motorcycles »

Known for
Sport Bikes, Dirt Bikes
Top Models
Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha YZF-R6
Yamaha YZF-R3
Founded
1955

The Yamaha Corporation was formed in 1887 as a producer of reed organs and pianos. Following World War II, the company's surviving wartime industrial machinery was repurposed to produce motorcycles, and the Yamaha Motor Company was split off from the piano maker in 1955. Today, the Yamaha Motor Company builds everything from snow blowers to personal watercraft and, of course, a wide array of motorcycles. Yamaha’s inventory of two-wheeled vehicles ranges from the $2,599 Zuma 50F scooter to the high-tech $24,999 Star Venture touring bike. The Star Venture includes features such as a reverse gear, throttle-by-wire, and an integrated infotainment and communications system. The average base price for Yamaha models is $11,264. One of the brand’s most popular models is the Yamaha YZF-R6, a supersport bike styled after the company’s MotoGP racing bikes. It has a starting price of $12,199.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Sport Motorcycle History

Sport motorcycles have a relatively short history in the United States. Kawasaki was among the first brands to bring performance-oriented motorcycles over from Japan, opening a U.S. headquarters facility in Chicago in 1966, and later, in 1974, becoming the first foreign vehicle brand to set up manufacturing in the U.S. According to Cycle World, the sport bike segment has come a long way since the 1970s, specifically in terms of weight and power. Bikes are now commonly available in displacements higher than 1,000 cubic centimeters (cc), with more than twice the power of vintage sport motorcycles. Advancements in materials and construction have also enabled modern bikes to weigh 20 percent less than their predecessors, despite being stronger and more supportive. Lighter wheels and tires enable faster acceleration, and stronger braking systems provide impressive stopping power. Many bikes are also equipped with electronic safety systems, such as anti-lock brakes (ABS), that give the rider a little extra help.

In other words, a vintage sport motorcycle can provide a unique and satisfying riding experience, but comparing an old sport bike with a new one isn’t unlike comparing cars of similar vintages, in that almost everything has changed. Cycle World says that the most significant change, which has occurred in the last 12 years or so, was an update to the way the bikes’ frames are constructed. Specifically, older bikes were designed and built with a casting technique that allowed inherent weaknesses in the structure, and to compensate, the bikes simply used thicker, heavier material. A more recent casting technique allows manufacturers to cast bikes of “near-forged” quality, and since the resulting frame is stronger, they can shed material density, and therefore, weight. 

Another notable change was the switch from air-cooled to liquid-cooled engines. Air-cooled engines are heavier than liquid-cooled engines, and don’t produce as much torque. More modern engine designs increase performance and can be constructed of lower-weight materials since they run at lower operating temperatures. Manufacturers operated on their own timeframes for these changes (again, not unlike the car industry) and in fact, some new bikes (though not typically sport bikes) can still be purchased with air-cooled engines.

Finally, according to Cycle World, another big update happened around 1980 with regard to suspension systems. Modern rear dampers are more supple, increasing performance and comfort, and are better at managing the suspension system’s pressure.

Should I Buy a Sport Motorcycle?

Sport motorcycles emphasize acceleration and high speeds, so they are generally best left for experienced riders who are comfortable managing those speeds and who ride in appropriate environments, though there are exceptions. They’re also a good choice for riders who plan to race or ride on a track for training or competition. Because sport bikes put a premium on impressive performance, they’re designed to push riders into an aggressive riding position, with feet high on the foot pegs and the upper body leaning forward toward the handlebars. That means they aren’t comfortable for those who prefer a more relaxed ride pace and posture, and aren’t well suited for long trips or traveling.

Sport Motorcycle Pros and Cons

    • Agile cornering

    • Quick acceleration

    • Uncomfortable riding position

    • Not well-suited for long-distance traveling

Like any type of motorcycle, a sport bike will have its pros and cons. The cons, or drawbacks, don’t necessarily indicate flaws with the segment or with any particular brand or model of bike in the segment; rather, they’re just factors that mean that not every bike or type of bike is a good match for every rider. That’s why there are so many different bike types out there to choose from. Even though it can get confusing and perhaps overwhelming, these pros and cons should be carefully considered by potential buyers, especially those who are new to this segment, to ensure the best chance of finding a good match in terms of riding style and experience.

First, let’s look at the pros, or factors in favor of buying a sport motorcycle. Pros include speed, acceleration, agility and handling, overall performance, and aggressive styling. If you’re looking for a fast, nimble motorcycle, a sport motorcycle is one of the better choices. These bikes are aerodynamic in design, and have a seating position that pushes riders into an aggressive, aerodynamic posture. Sport motorcycles also have eye-catching styling that stands out from the crowd, though that can be considered both a pro and a con depending on what you want out of your motorcycle.

Next, let’s look at the cons, or drawbacks that are common in the sport motorcycle segment. They are the flip side of the pros mentioned above, in that sport motorcycles generally do not provide much in the way of comfort or protection for the rider, force an aggressive seating posture that can grow uncomfortable when not riding in optimal conditions or speed, and aren’t well suited for travel. Furthermore, the sporty styling can be polarizing. As mentioned above, not everyone wants a motorcycle that draws a lot of attention and has a stereotype for being favored among fast, aggressive riders, since that often also carries a connotation of irresponsibility, much like driving a sports car. 

Sport Motorcycle Prices

In general, a new sport motorcycle can be purchased for as little at $5,000, and sometimes less. As for top-end pricing, there’s a lot more variation. Most brands have a good range of choices priced up to the mid-teens. Once you get to the high teens or higher, you’re looking at some seriously fast bikes, many of which have additional features such as audio systems, electronic rider aids or safety features, or smartphone integration. There are bikes priced well into the $20,000 range and higher, but tend to be designed specifically for track riding or competition. Some of the most expensive sport bikes on the market aren’t even legal for street use, such as the Kawasaki Ninja H2 R, a limited edition bike designated as a “closed-course racing edition.” Note that manufacturers rate their bikes differently, so not all models mentioned here have both horsepower and torque specs. In cases in which the 2020 model is available, we’ll stick with the 2019 model year information. This is just a selection of brands’ ranges, and there will be more information about specific models to come. 

Prices for Honda sport bikes range from $4,699 for the CBR300R to $16,499 for a CBR1000RR. There’s also the 125-cc Grom, priced at $3,399, which Honda considers a sport motorcycle but is often categorized with scooters or minibikes due to its very low displacement. Otherwise, the CBR300R, with a 286 cc engine and anti-lock brakes, is a lightweight and nimble starter bike. The CBR1000RR is a bargain-priced 998 cc sport bike, with features like an LCD display and LED lighting.

Kawasaki’s Ninja lineup opens at $4,999 for the Ninja 400 and tops out at $55,000 for the Ninja H2 R. The Ninja 400 is a decent beginner sport bike with a 399 cc engine, 28 pound-feet of torque, and a simple suspension and brake setup. At the other end of the spectrum, the H2 R features a 998 cc engine with 121.5 pound-feet of torque, numerous electronic riding aids, such as traction control and launch control, and sport suspension and brake systems. The Ninja H2 R has sold out its entire production run for 2019, but it’s an interesting example of what you can get for that kind of money. There are several Ninja H2 models with similar specs that cost about half as much as the H2 R, plus, unlike the H2 R, they’re street-legal.

Triumph’s lineup of sport motorcycles starts at $9,950 for the Street Triple S and goes up to $16,500 for the Street Triple RS. The Street Triple S features a 765 cc engine good for 111.4 horsepower, along with selectable riding modes, anti-lock brakes, and switchable traction control. The additional $6,500 gets you the 121.3-horsepower Triple RS, with Brembo brakes, a track mode, a lap timer, and Pirelli performance tires.

Yamaha has a range of bikes in the sport heritage, sport touring, and supersport sub-categories. We’ll look at examples from the supersport range, including the $4,999 YZF-R3 and pricing up to $26,099 for the YZF-R1M. The YZF-R3 is powered by a 321 cc engine and features a digital instrument cluster and LED headlights. At the top end of the YZF range is the 998 cc YZF-1RM, with carbon fiber body panels, GPS compatibility, Wi-Fi integration, anti-lock brakes, traction control, slide control, and launch control.

Key Sport Motorcycle Specs

Engine sizes for the sport motorcycle segment typically range from about 300 to 400 cc at the low end to about 1,000 cc at the high end, though there are outliers, such as the aforementioned 125 cc Honda Grom. Fuel tanks are often in the three- to five-gallon range, with larger and more powerful bikes featuring larger tanks. Many bikes in this segment come standard with anti-lock brakes or offer it as an upgrade, and more expensive sport bikes tend to include features such as traction control, launch control, sport mode, digital instrument clusters, and on-board performance data systems (especially those designed primarily for racing). Comfort and convenience features, such as heated hand grips or built-in luggage systems, are uncommon. 

The Top 10 Sport Motorcycles

1) Suzuki Hayabusa

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2019 Suzuki Hayabusa

MSRP
$14,799
Engine Size/Displacement
1,340 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The Suzuki Hayabusa is one of the most well-known sport motorcycles on the market. At a starting price of $14,799, the Hayabusa offers up a 1,340 cc four-cylinder engine fed by ram air intakes, anti-lock brakes with Brembo front calipers, adjustable KYB suspension, selectable driving modes, and halogen front lights and LED rear lights. The distinctive and recognizable exterior styling, which features fairings that cover most of the frame, contributes to the Hayabusa’s reputation for impressive aerodynamics.

Curb Weight
586 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
5.5 gal
Engine Type
Horizontal In-line
Seat Height
31.7 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

2) Honda CBR600RR

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2019 Honda CBR600RR

MSRP
$11,799
Engine Size/Displacement
599 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The CBR600RR has a high-revving 599 cc four-cylinder engine, along with fully-adjustable suspension and optional ABS.

Curb Weight
410 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
4.8 gal
Engine Type
Horizontal In-line
Seat Height
32.3 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

3) Kawasaki Ninja 650

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2019 Kawasaki Ninja 650

MSRP
$7,399
Engine Size/Displacement
649 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The Ninja 650 has a liquid-cooled 649 cc engine putting out 48.5 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes a six-speed transmission, 17-inch tires, disc brakes with dual-piston calipers up front and a single-piston caliper in the rear, and a 4.0-gallon fuel tank.

Curb Weight
419 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
4 gal
Engine Type
Parallel Twin
Seat Height
31.1 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

4) Kawasaki Ninja 400

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2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400

MSRP
$4,999
Engine Size/Displacement
399 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The Ninja 400 features a liquid-cooled 399 cc engine that makes 28 pound-feet of torque, along with a six-speed transmission, 17-inch tires, disc brakes, and a 3.7-gallon fuel tank.

Curb Weight
361.6 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
3.7 gal
Engine Type
Parallel Twin
Seat Height
30.9 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

5) Honda CBR1000RR

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2019 Honda CBR1000RR

MSRP
$16,499
Engine Size/Displacement
999.8 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The CBR1000RR ($16,499) boasts a larger 998 cc four-cylinder engine. A track-ready CBR1000RR SP version ($19,999) is also available, and it has an electronically adaptive front suspension, gyro-assisted ABS, and uprated Brembo brakes.

Curb Weight
430 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
4.2 gal
Engine Type
Horizontal In-line
Seat Height
32.3 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

6) KTM RC 390

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2019 KTM RC 390

MSRP
$5,549
Engine Size/Displacement
373.2 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The KTM RC 390 is another affordable sport motorcycle. The KTM RC 390 features a single-cylinder engine with 373 cc of displacement and 44 horsepower. This bike comes standard with ABS and Brembo four-piston front and single-piston rear disc brakes. The color scheme stands out, with a combination of black, light and dark gray, and high-contrast orange bodywork. This KTM sport motorcycle is definitely a little different than some of the others we’ve looked at, and not just because the company is European.

Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
2.6 gal
Engine Type
Single-Cylinder
Seat Height
32.3 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

7) Yamaha YZF-R3

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2019 Yamaha YZF-R3

MSRP
$4,999
Engine Size/Displacement
321 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The YZF-R3 squeezes sport bike performance into an affordable $4,999 package. The R3 has a high-revving 321 cc parallel-twin engine and a six-speed transmission. It weighs in at just 368 pounds as well. Standard features include electric start, a digital gauge cluster, disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an adjustable rear suspension. ABS is optional.

Curb Weight
368 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
3.7 gal
Engine Type
Parallel Twin
Seat Height
30.7 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

8) Ducati SuperSport

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2019 Ducati SuperSport

MSRP
$12,995
Engine Size/Displacement
937 cc
Bike Type
Sport

Ducati’s SuperSport is one of the more aggressive-looking sport motorcycles available for 2019, and its European origins help it stand apart from the more commonplace Japanese brands. Though this Ducati is more accessible than most of its stablemates, its base price of $12,995 is a bit too steep to really call it out as a beginner bike. The SuperSport has a two-cylinder 937 cc engine rated for 110 horsepower and 69 pound-feet of torque, anti-lock brakes, traction control, selectable riding modes, and an LCD display. The SuperSport S, at $15,195, gets an upgraded suspension and a Quick Shift transmission feature.

Curb Weight
463
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
4.2 gal
Engine Type
Longitudinal Twin
Seat Height
31.9 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

9) Yamaha YZF-R1

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2019 Yamaha YZF-R1

MSRP
$16,699
Engine Size/Displacement
998 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The YZF-R1 pushes its performance into superbike territory, and it’s priced like one at $16,699. The R1 has a 998 cc four-cylinder engine and a six-speed transmission. Additional standard features include a lap timer and a more-advanced engine computer (ECU) with launch control, wheel lift control, and slide control.

Curb Weight
441 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
4.5 gal
Engine Type
Horizontal In-line
Seat Height
33.7 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

10) Yamaha YZF-R6

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2019 Yamaha YZF-R6

MSRP
$12,199
Engine Size/Displacement
599 cc
Bike Type
Sport

The YZF-R6 is pricier at $12,199, but it boasts a few key upgrades from the YZF-R3. The R6 is outfitted with a 599 cc four-cylinder engine, a six-speed transmission, and a larger 4.6-gallon fuel tank. It also adds an adjustable front suspension, dual front disc brakes, ABS, and traction control.

Curb Weight
419 lbs
Transmission Type
Manual
Gas Tank Capacity
4.6 gal
Engine Type
Horizontal In-line
Seat Height
33.5 in
Carburetion
Fuel Injected

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

Best Sport Motorcycles for Beginners

As mentioned above, two of the models on the top 10 list, the Yamaha YZF-R3 and the Kawasaki Ninja 400, are popular picks for beginner sport motorcycles. Both start at $4,999, which is a fair figure for a sport motorcycle. That is to say, these aren’t the cheapest bikes in the segment, but they offer a lot of value for the price. Both have displacements under 400 cc, are offered with anti-lock brakes, and provide a sport motorcycle look and feel without the “go big or go home” attitude that can easily spell trouble.

To this list, we’re going to add the Honda Grom. As previously mentioned, some riders may consider the humble 125 cc Grom to be more of a minibike, or even closer to a scooter, than a true sport motorcycle. However, Honda says the Grom is a sport bike, and it’s definitely got looks and features that appeal even to more experienced riders. It’s not especially powerful, but it’s quick and nimble, it’s small and comfortable to ride, and it has a playful attitude. The Grom starts at $3,399 and can be outfitted with ABS for another $200. Disc brakes and an LED headlight come standard.

Sport Motorcycles vs. Cruisers

Cruiser motorcycles are designed for relaxed, comfortable riding, in a style exemplified by American manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle. That said, the major Japanese brands have been imitating the style for decades, so there’s plenty of choices on the market for this segment. Cruisers have an upright riding position and feature powerful engines with lots of low-end torque, and are usually offered with convenience amenities such as audio and communication devices or matching saddlebags. As for pricing, a new cruiser can easily be found for well under $10,000, and as low as $4,500 for a base Honda Rebel or Yamaha V Star. Indian and Harley-Davidson, in particular, offer several models for well-heeled buyers, priced at $20,000 and up.

Sport Motorcycles vs. Standard Motorcycles

Standard motorcycles are the oldest style of motorcycle. They feature modern technology paired with classic styling, an upright seating position with a comfortable handlebar placement, and a natural foot position with pedals and controls within easy reach. The term “naked motorcycle,” which signifies stripped-down styling, is often used interchangeably with standard motorcycles, though Cycle World says the styles are actually “cousins.” Standard motorcycles on the lower end of the power spectrum make great beginner bikes because they’re comfortable and straightforward. Honda’s CB lineup and Kawasaki’s Z lineup are both good choices starting in the sub-$5,000 range and going up to over $10,000. For more premium models, check out the Triumph Bonneville or Street Triple S, starting at just over $10,000; the Harley-Davidson Roadster at $11,299; and the Indian FTR at $13,499.

Sport Motorcycles vs. Touring Motorcycles

Touring motorcycles are ideal for long-distance riding, and in that sense, they aren’t the best bikes for beginners simply because it takes experience to be safe and comfortable on an extended trip. Tourers tend to be big and heavy to enhance comfort and stability, and though they have large engines to compensate for that heft, they aren’t designed to accelerate as quickly or sustain very high speeds like a sport motorcycle. Touring bikes also tend to offer features such as built-in luggage, navigation systems, and smartphone integration, all to provide convenience on the road. Popular brands include BMW, Indian, and Harley-Davidson, though the big Japanese brands have also made a name for themselves in this segment. Touring motorcycles are among the most expensive segments, with most models starting above $10,000. Indian and Harley-Davidson’s top-end tourers reach well into the $30,000 and $40,000 range.

Other Motorcycle Types

Cruiser Motorcycles »
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Cruiser Motorcycles »

Price Range
$4,349-$23,995
Top Models
Honda Rebel 500
Kawasaki Vulcan S
Harley-Davidson Superlow
Engine Size Range
249 cc-1,868 cc

Cruisers are typically lower and longer than standard bikes, with lower seating positions. While their rider posture and leaned-back forks give them a healthy dose of style, they’re best for riders with some experience. The classic examples come from Harley-Davidson, but several manufacturers build bikes that fit into the category. Cruiser designs are available at a wide variety of price points, from just over $4,300 to well over $21,000. The addition of accessories and options to personalize the bikes can push their prices much higher. The $7,600 Harley-Davidson Street 750 and affordable $4,349 Yamaha V Star 250 are examples of cruisers.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

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Dirt Bikes

Price Range
$899-$11,999
Top Models
Yamaha YZ125
Honda CRF250R
Yamaha YZ250
Engine Size Range
79 cc-510 cc

A true dirt bike has aggressive tires, an upright ride, a tall seat, and plenty of suspension travel to soak up bumps and ruts. They’re typically not street legal, as they don’t have lights or other mandatory road-going equipment. Dirt bikes are available from tiny models suitable for kids to powerful competition models. The $6,699 2020 Yamaha YZ125X is an example of a lightweight, maneuverable dirt bike with a simple two-stroke engine. Riding on dirt is an excellent way to learn how to handle a motorcycle, according to many experts. However, the tall seats of many dirt bikes make them ill-suited for shorter riders.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Dual-Sport Motorcycles

Price Range
$4,499-$24,395
Top Models
Honda Africa Twin
Royal Enfield Himalayan
Yamaha TW200
Engine Size Range
125 cc-1,301 cc

A dual-sport (or on-off road) bike blends the features of a dirt bike with the equipment necessary to be ridden on the highway, such as lights. They’re motorcycles that you can ride to work Monday through Friday, then carve through trails on the weekend. They tend to be lightweight and easy to handle, while also being extremely tough. The $5,499 2019 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is an example of a dual-sport bike with a versatile design and optional anti-lock brakes for an additional layer of safety. A subset of the dual-sport class are Supermoto bikes, which are a bit more tuned for the street, but still have substantial off-road credibility.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Standard Motorcycles

Price Range
$2,099-$45,998
Top Models
Honda Grom
Honda Monkey
Suzuki SV650
Engine Size Range
125 cc-1,679 cc

Standard motorcycles are basic, stripped-down models without a lot of extras from the factory. They're kind of like the compact economy cars of the motorcycle world, with enough utility for a variety of riding conditions, but reasonable price tags. Standard motorcycles, which are sometimes called naked motorcycles, are great for beginners and those riders who are looking for basic transportation without wanting to break the bank on more specialized models. You can add accessories like saddlebags and backrests, but most standard bikes won’t include them. Prices for standard bikes range from about $4,300 to around $15,500. At the top end of the class are sporty models from Indian, including the FTR 1200 S with a designed inspired by racing bikes. Riders can expect an upright riding position, small to medium-sized engines, and a variety of models with varying levels of tech hardware. Top-end models include features such as anti-lock brakes (ABS), LED lighting, and digital instrument panels. Examples of standard bikes include the one-cylinder Honda CB300F, which has a base price of $4,349, and the Triumph Street Twin, with a base price of $9,300.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

Consumer Research Solutions, Inc

Touring Motorcycles

Price Range
$8,999-$43,889
Top Models
Indian Chieftain
Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Harley-Davidson Road King
Engine Size Range
645 cc-1,923 cc

Touring motorcycles are designed for long-distance road trips. Like the luxury cars of the motorcycle market, touring bikes are offered with weather-protected room for luggage, security alarms, comfortable seats, navigation systems, and large windscreens to help shield you from the elements. Large and heavy, touring bikes are best enjoyed by experienced riders. Prices on touring motorcycles range from about $8,400 to nearly $44,000 for limited-edition Harley-Davidson models. Two classic examples of touring bikes are the Honda Gold Wing and Harley-Davidson Road King. The Honda Gold Wing lineup starts at $23,800 and can be equipped with features including Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, an automatic transmission, and cruise control. The chrome-laden Harley Road King pricing starts at $19,499. It offers an optional package of advanced electronic rider assistance aids to help you maintain control when you have to react quickly.

This information was pulled from the manufacturer's website as well as from our partner Rollick and was accurate at the time of writing. Check with your local dealership for the latest details. Image copyright: 2004 – 2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS): http://crs-corp.com/

 

 

Motorcycle shoppers have hundreds of options to choose from. Use our Motorcycle Guide to find the right bike for you.

Image Copyright: 2004-2019 Consumer Research Solutions, Inc (CRS)