Now, I do want to stress that most of these bikes are fairly new. Some of these bikes are much more expensive than others as well. These were bikes I recommended in an email to one of my friends looking to get into sport bikes. It is common knowledge that getting a cheap old standard or touring or even sport tourer would be the best bet, but here is my list of newer bikes that look great and work as good beginner bikes.
Ok, so first, here's a list of bikes that I think would be a good first bike. Now, when I say first bike, I'm not saying you'll get bored by them or that they'll look like crap. I've picked a couple of pretty interesting bikes to check out.
I've pretty much left out the ss (super sport) bikes. These are the 600cc, 750cc, and 1000cc super bikes that can go faster than 160mph and are basically just race bikes with mirrors. Although they are really cool looking machines, they're extremely unforgivable bikes, and are supposed to be piloted by people who know its limits and not go over them, because that's when you crash. Those ss bikes are usually cramped, uncomfortable, deadly quick, and will respond to any input you give them at an exponential rate. Their brakes are super grabby (bad for people with poor brake control because you can lock up your tires easily, which is a bad, bad thing on a bike), their throttle is super responsive and the bike is super revvy (bad for people with poor throttle control, especially when turning or when hitting pot holes or gravel, etc. As an example, all 600cc throttles turn 3/4ths as short a distance as my bike's throttle. This means any minute mistake will be increased another 25%. This can cause you to crash)
So, pretty much, forget about getting one of those bikes. When I talked to the local suzuki/honda dealer when I was looking for my bike, I asked how often people end up crashing and returning their brand new 600cc sport bikes, and he said that he gets back 1 IN EVERY 4
. He told me they had either crashed them or became to scared to ride them.
Now that that's out of the way, here is my list of good bikes to start out on:
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There are plenty of reasons to get an Sv. It is a V-twin, so the crazy amount of acceleration on a 600cc inline four bike is traded for a smooth, linear power band. That being said, this bike is on the very high end of the scale on speed, and most intelligent people consider it to be one of the fastest bikes to start out on. You must be very careful getting this as a first bike, and it is recommended to start out a bit smaller. There are three models available (although Suzuki is only selling the SF now). The Sv650SF (in picture) has full fairings, the Sv650S has a half-fairing, and the Sv650 is a naked bike.
Plenty of torque
May be too much power for people with low maturity level
High stock seat height, so not recommended for shorter people
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Kawasaki's take on the 650cc twin cylinder motorcycle. Similar to Suzuki's Sv650SF.
New model looks killer
Plenty of Torque
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This is considered to be one of the best starter bikes. Not too powerful, not too aggressive of a riding position, but with sport bike style looks, most people will think you're riding a 600cc or 1000cc sport bike. The other thing that you need to see is the specs. With a respectable 52 horsepower, and being so light weight, it will go 0-60 in less than 5 seconds, and will do a quarter mile in the high 12's. This is supercar territory.
great gas mileage
Looks like a super sport
Cheaper than the 650
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Inexpensive and reliable. Fits smaller people well. The 500cc single makes enough power for around the town riding, but can get long in the tooth on the highway.
Great power curve
Cheap Cheap Cheap
Low seat height
Underpowered for excessive highway riding