CF Moto 450SS

13 Sports Bikes That Are Great For Both New And Experienced Riders

Sports bikes aren’t generally considered the most beginner-friendly motorcycles. However, if you avoid the most potent and uncompromising models, there’s nothing wrong with starting out on a sporty machine. All the bikes on this list are relatively safe for beginners, although the bikes towards the end are probably better for those who have at least some riding experience.

We recommend that beginners start with less powerful bikes. They’re easier to handle and more forgiving if they mess up, and they’ll teach you proper riding technique. With less power, you’ll also have to plan your every move and ensure you’re always in the right gear, which eventually will make you a better rider.

While the bikes we’ll cover today are often considered beginner bikes, they’re just as good for returning or experienced riders looking to downsize.

Honda CBR300R

Honda CBR300R
Image Credit: Honda

Honda’s baby Blade, the CBR300R, has a single-cylinder 286cc engine that produces around 27 horsepower. Unless you’re an absolute beginner, there’s nothing exciting going on here at all. However, the little CBR is super lightweight and narrow, so it’s very agile and perfect for smaller riders.

Experienced riders looking for a cheap commuter bike could do a lot worse than the CBR300R. It also comes with that famous Honda reliability. Plenty of aftermarket parts are available to make it faster, but we wouldn’t waste money on that; just buy the KTM entry-level sports bike instead.

KTM RC390

KTM RC390
Image Credit: KTM

KTM’s RC390 is another single-cylinder bike, but it has a bigger and more powerful engine than the Honda CBR300R. Its 373cc unit churns out 43 horsepower, which is decent for a bike of its size.

The RC390 comes with some excellent components for its price range, and it’s a proper hooligan bike that needs to be ridden hard. Because of its aggressive riding position, it’s not a great commuter bike, but it’s an excellent choice for the track or your favorite twisty road.

Yamaha R3

Yamaha R3
Image Credit: Yamaha

Moving on to the first twin-cylinder bike on the list, the Yamaha R3 looks like a proper sports bike but slightly scaled-down. Its 321cc engine produces 42 horsepower and 21.8 lb-ft of torque, and while it’s not a ton of power, the R3 is plenty of fun on the right roads.

If you’re tall, you may want to look for a bigger bike. The R3’s riding position is best suited for smaller or average-sized riders. If you’re bigger, chances are it will be cramped and uncomfortable unless you’re a contortionist.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Kawasaki Ninja 400
Image Credit: Kawasaki

If you’re looking for an excellent everyday bike that offers comfort during your daily commute, is fun on a twisty road, and is even up for some track day action, the Ninja 400 could be the bike for you.

Its 400cc engine produces 45 horsepower and 27 lb-ft of torque—not too bad for a beginner bike weighing only 370 lbs. It looks like a “proper” bike, and the uninitiated can easily mistake it for its bigger siblings.

Honda CBR500R

Honda CBR500R
Image Credit: Honda

The Honda CBR500R doesn’t offer all the thrills of some of the other entry-level bikes on this list, but it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a sensible motorcycle rather than a racer. It looks like a proper big bike and has similar dimensions to the larger models.

Its 471cc engine develops 47 horsepower and 31.7 lb-ft of torque—more than the ones we’ve covered so far. However, the Honda is also the heaviest of the bunch, weighing 423 lbs. If you want a solid commuter that can even do some long trips, it’s perfect; if you want a bike that’ll excite you during a track day, look elsewhere.

CF Moto 450SS / SR

CF Moto 450SS
Image Credit: CF Moto

CF Moto surprised the motorcycle world when it revealed its 450SS (SR outside the North American market). Nobody expected it to be as good as it is, and quite frankly, it may just be the best bike of the entire beginner bike segment right now, at least until the new Aprilia RS 457 arrives.

Being a Chinese bike, resale values may suffer, and the build quality has yet to be tested over longer periods, so only time will tell if it’s as good as we think. Right now, all we can say is that it’s packing 50 horsepower, has the best-sounding engine in the segment, and rides like a dream.

Kawasaki ZX-4RR

Kawasaki ZX-4RR
Image Credit: Kawasaki

If you really want the ultimate 400cc performance bike, nothing beats the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4RR. This is nothing like the Ninja 400. The only thing they have in common is the design language, lime green paint, and 400cc engine displacement.

The ZX-4RR has a high-revving four-cylinder engine, like the iconic small-displacement Japanese bikes of the ’80s and ’90s. With 76 horsepower and 29 lb-ft of torque, it leaves every other beginner bike in its dust. Unlike the bikes with 40–50 horsepower, this could very well be a bike you’ll hold on to for years to come.

Kawasaki Ninja 650

Kawasaki Ninja 650
Image Credit: Kawasaki

The Kawasaki Ninja 650 may have a larger engine displacement than the ZX-4RR, but this twin-cylinder produces 8 horsepower less. It beats its smaller sibling in the torque department, though, as it has 47 lb-ft of twist.

The Ninja 650 is more of a sports cruiser than a full-on sports bike, so it’s more comfortable, less aggressive, and the ergonomics are closer to those of a naked bike than a superbike.

Yamaha R7

Yamaha R7
Image Credit: Yamaha

If the Kawasaki 650 Ninja is too relaxed for your liking, the Yamaha R7 may be right up your alley. It’s not just an MT-07 with some fancy fairings; the chassis, suspension, brakes, etc, were all revised for the R7.

It’s not a comfortable bike for cruising or longer rides, but it’s more fun than motorcycles that cost twice as much and pack three times the power. It’s aggressive and highly focused, making the most of its 73 horsepower.

Suzuki GSX-8R

Suzuki GSX-8R
Image Credit: Suzuki

Suzuki’s new GSX-8R’s ergonomics are geared more towards comfort than its more powerful sibling, the GSX-R1000. However, that’s great news for everyone looking for a real-world bike rather than a track missile.

Producing 82 horsepower, its 800cc parallel twin will happily indulge in some shenanigans, but it’s not so powerful that you’ll find yourself in constant trouble with the law.

Honda CBR650R

Honda CBR650R
Image Credit: Honda

Most middle-class sports bikes use parallel twin engines, but Honda decided to do things differently. While its 300 and 500cc offerings are among the least powerful in their segments, the CBR600R has a 95-horsepower four-cylinder unit, outclassing most of the competition.

Not only does the CBR650 pack more power, but it’s also one of the most comfortable sports bikes on the market. That obviously means it’s not the best track bike, but for everyday, real-world use, it’s hard to beat.

Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory

Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory
Image Credit: Aprilia

The Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory offers more relaxed ergonomics than its RS 660 sibling, but performance is virtually the same. Its parallel-twin engine produces around 100 horsepower, which is plenty for everyday riding.

A capable rider on the Tuono 660 Factory can show up some bigger and faster machines on a tight and twisty road or track, and that’s the only reason we need to buy this excellent sports bike.

Aprilia RS 660

Aprilia RS 660
Image Credit: Aprilia

Aprilia’s second entry is the excellent RS 660— it’s Europe’s best-selling sports bike for a reason. With a parallel twin that produces roughly 100 horsepower fitted in an extremely agile chassis, nicely wrapped in gorgeous fairings, this is the perfect sports bike for everyday use.

While its ergonomics are slightly more aggressive than the Tuono’s, they’re nowhere near as bad as a proper superbike, such as the R1 or GSXR-1000. If we were forced to pick just one bike, chances are we’d go with the RS 660.

Andre Nalin

Author: Andre Nalin

Title: Writer

Bio:

Andre has worked as a writer and editor for multiple car and motorcycle publications over the last decade, but he has reverted to freelancing these days. He has accumulated a ton of seat time during his ridiculous road trips in highly unsuitable vehicles, and he’s built magazine-featured cars. He prefers it when his bikes and cars are fast and loud, but if he had to pick one, he’d go with loud.

Similar Posts