Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
The Sport Bike is quickly becoming the most popular choice for motorcycle enthusiasts who want speed and agility above all else. You most frequently see young riders on sport bikes because they don't mind giving up comfort for the exhiliration of pure speed and agility. Sport Bikes, also known as, crotch rockets, street bikes, off-road, dual sport, hyper sport, and super sport bikes are designed for maximum performance and easier handling.
Sport Bikes have the footpegs in a rear position and the handlebars are positioned in such a way in the front so that the rider is forced to ride in a more aerodynamic position. For longer riding this can be uncomfortable for the rider and also for passengers when riding two up. My article that provided an update on the latest Crash Statistics showed that two-thirds of all crash fatalities are a result of speed. It makes sense then that the bikes built for speed, are less expensive, and thus more available to younger riders, have more accidents. In defense of that claim, the latest motor crash statistics report showed that the gap between younger riders on Sport style bikes and the over 40 age group with Cruiser style bikes in fatalities are narrowing. The age 40 group represent 47% of all fatalities. The key here is to get the proper training, follow the legal limits in speed, don't mix riding and alcohol, and use respectful riding behavior. In other words, don't ride drunk, don't do wheelies down the highway (which I have seen more often than naught), and don't ride above the legal speed limit. Just as important, keep in mind road conditions for your skill level as well. Inexperience and speed contribute highly to fatal crashes.
Sport Bikes are designed with a lightweight frame for easy handling and agility. They are generally classified as Sport Bikes, Super Sport, or Hyper Sport according to the engine size. A regular beginner Sport Bike has less than a 600 cc engine; Super Sport Bikes have a 600 - 1100 cc engine and Hyper Sport Bikes have a 1100 cc engine or above. Sport Bikes also come in touring models but lose some of the features that classify them as Sport Bikes, thus lending them more to touring models.
Consumer Sport Bikes mimic the speed and handling of the racing bikes you see at the racetracks, although at legal limits. Sport Bikes come in a variety of prices and styles to fit anyone's style of riding and budget.
Examples of Sport Bikes and their specific classifications are:
Sport Bike - Suzuki GS-500, Aprilia RXV550
Super Sport - Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14, Honda CBR1000RR
Hyper Sport - Buell 1125R
Touring Sport - Kawasaki Concours 14; Triumph Sprint ST; BMW K1200R
Dual Sport - Suzuki DR350; Honda XR650L; BMW R1150GS
(more info to come in the Dual Sport article)
As you can see, Sport Bikes come in all sizes and styles to fit almost any adventurous rider's needs. Sport Bikes are lightweight, easy to handle, come in all price ranges, and fast. It all depends on your riding preference. I am a cruiser rider now but used to ride sport bikes when I was younger.
Next article will be on Touring styles of motorcycles.
Until then, ride safe and have fun!