Sport Motorcycle: A Dream Bike or Hell for Beginners?


A sports motorcycle, commonly called a sport bike, is a motorcycle that is engineered for superior performance. It attains greater speeds, a faster rate of acceleration, better braking and has unparalleled cornering abilities.

While these bikes can be ridden on normal roads, many are used in racing competitions. Simply put, a sports motorcycle is for motorcycle enthusiasts who love the adrenaline rush of fast speeds.

It can be ridden on a variety of terrains thanks to its amazing handling abilities, faster than normal acceleration and and overall precise control.

The roots of sports motorcycles extend all the way back into the 1950s and 1960s, yet they didn’t have elite levels of braking and suspension until the 1970s. By the 1980s sports motorcycles were on par with the majority of racing motorcycles. They really flourished in the 1990s when a wide variety were produced along with unique styles like the streetfighter variation.

Pros Of Sports Motorcycles

KTM RC8 1190 R sports motorcycle

Photo by Brian Stalter

Sports motorcycles have highly placed foot pegs that allow the rider to pull his legs in closer to his body. Sport motorcycles have an abnormally light frame along with high grade engines.

They are also built with lightweight materials and electronics that are typically on the cutting edge of technology in order to decrease the bike’s weight and boost speed and acceleration abilities.

Sport motorcycles are built with top of the line braking systems with high performance discs, pads and calipers that attach to larger than normal rotors with vents. The suspension system is also elite. It is built and tweaked to maximize rider comfort while riding over bumpy terrain and taking on tight corners.

The result is a suspension system that lasts longer than normal and makes riding at fast speeds quite comfortable. The tires on sports motorcycles are wider and larger than those on traditional motorcycles to empower riders to take on sharp turns at very high speeds.

Cons Of Sports Bikes

Sports motorcycle tend to be more uncomfortable than other motorcycles and their fuel efficiency is worse than conventional motorcycles.

The hand controls are placed a bit lower than those on conventional bikes, so riders will extend their arms and hands down further to reach handlebar clips. This results in the rider being hunched forward a bit more than riders of traditional motorcycles. Some riders frown at this riding position as it can strain the back.

Types Of Sport Bikes

Ducati 1199R sports motorbike

Photo by Tim Oram

Sports motorcycles are typically segregated into different categories according to their engine displacement and horsepower.

Lightweight sportbikes

Lightweight sports motorcycles, commonly called entry level or beginner bikes, have engine displacements up to 500 cc.

They are available in two stroke varieties that have a superior performance compared to the four stroke variety. Some sports motorcycle aficionados compare them to mini super bikes.

Middleweight sportbikes

Middleweight sports motorcycles are available in the mid-size, mid-level and super sport variety.

A few of these middleweight models are eligible for the Supersport World Championship, the AMA Supersport Championship and other racing competitions. While the majority aren’t used in racing events, they do have substantial engines with displacements typically between 600 and 750 cc.


The Superbike variety of sports motorcycles is in the liter class and has a displacement of 1,000 cc.

Plenty of superbikes are used in superbike racing competitions. Some people refer to superbikes as supersport. Both are a reference to high performance sports style motorcycles.

Open class hyper sport bikes are also available. These are similar to superbikes as they have more powerful engines than middleweight sports bikes. Yet their largest displacement can actually top that of those in the superbike category.

Sports Motorcycles For Beginning Riders And Expert Riders

ZX-9R Crotch Rocket

Photo by Stephen Durham

Sport motorcycles are available for all types of riders. There are entry level bikes for novices and high end models for those with experience.

The high end variety will have the latest in technological bells and whistles to appeal to those who are looking for a racing bike, or at least one that resembles the sports motorcycles used in races.

The sports motorcycles designed for novices are typically cheaper and use slightly dated technology as riders are more concerned with controlling the bike and don’t have an interest in racing.

These novice bikes tend to have a very comfortable riding seat so that riders can use their bikes to carry other passengers, small cargo and perform daily suburban or urban work/school commutes. Beginner’s sports motorcycles typically have reduced fuel costs, lower insurance premiums and require less maintenance.

There are road racing sports motorcycles available with smaller wheelbases in order to increase the rider’s comfort level when touring.

Lately, makers of sports motorcycles have been leaning towards designing the bikes with these smaller wheelbases to enable fast turns. Beginning riders should consider a sports motorcycle with a normal or longer than normal wheelbase as it will have less of a tendency to pop a wheelie or “stoppie” when pressed to quickly accelerate or stop.

Novice riders who are in the market for an easy to ride sports motorcycle should consider the Yamaha R6, the Yamaha 600R, the Ducati 916, the Honda CBR600RR and the Buell Lightning or Firebolt.

How Sports Motorcycles Differ From Other Bikes

Honda CBR sport motobike

Photo by Daniel Hoherd

Sports motorcycles differ from sport touring motorcycles in a few subtle ways. Each is considered to be its own distinct class yet they share plenty of characteristics.

Sport touring bikes are typically medium to large in size and allow the rider to carry more cargo. They also provide more of a comfortable riding space with ergonomics geared towards a more casual rider who is less concerned with the bike’s performance.

Race replica or sports motorcycles are also available. These are typically called “naked bikes” as they are similar to those used in competitive races. These have grown in popularity since the mid to late 1990s.

Naked bikes tend to have very small or no fairings at all. They have less defined bodies and provide the rider with more of a straight riding posture with uplifted handlebars in place of clip ons. Plenty of industry experts view naked bikes as those that have similar power and acceleration as sports motorcycles but lack the same bodywork.

Sports motorcycles are ideal for thrill seekers.

These bikes aren’t designed for short trips to the store or for the daily work commute. They are perfect for riders who crave fast speeds, sharp turns and those who want to race in competitions.

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