What is Sports Bike?
A Sports bike is a type of motorcycle which falls under the performance-bike segment. The manufacturers optimize the sports bikes for acceleration (pick-up), speed, braking, and cornering abilities. However, these performance parameters come at the cost of comfort and fuel economy compared to other motorcycles. So, generally, most of the Sports motorcycles worldwide have varying sizes and prices than other bikes.
According to Soichiro Honda, Founder of Honda, the Super Sports bikes primarily offer ‘the speed and the thrill.’ However, many believe that the sports bike’s enjoyment comes mainly from performing on paved highways. The characteristics of sports motorcycles include cornering on paved roads and handling. They also deliver adrenaline acceleration, braking power, and record top-speed.
Design of a Sports Bike:
Traditionally, Sports bikes have narrow and hard seats. Besides, the riding position allows feet to rest at the rear while hands bend in elbows on such bikes. Thus, it forces the rider to lean forward; as if virtually sleeping on the bike. Therefore, it helps to reduce the aerodynamic drag. So, the spine remains bent forwards while riding a sports bike. Moreover, the cornering ability in these bikes is immense because of the low center of gravity and low ground clearance. Hence, manufacturers design sports bikes for short distances but at high speeds, such as during racing events.
Furthermore, the sports bike features low and narrow handlebars, which provide an awkward riding posture. It does not give comfort to the rider. Besides, manufacturers place the footpegs near the exhaust or rear mono-shock at the rear. Hence, they are very close to the rider’s body. While cornering, the rider has to lean sharply, almost touching the knees to the ground. Thus, it further reduces the riding comfort.
Riding a Sports bike requires the highest concentration. So, the ideal ride is for a short distance and time. But, there is so much strain on the rider’s body & muscles and mind with not-so-good riding posture and high speeds.
Sports-bikes are good to ride when ridden at high speeds. However, riding for long periods at high speeds can cause exhaustion and discomfort. Riding the bike with bent hands causes strain on the forearm muscles. Additionally, the legs and thigh muscles often experience cramps after a few hours of riding.
Characteristics of a Sports Bike:
Sports bikes are the ones which most people use for short-distance or in the sporting event/racing. The distance ranges from 70 km to 200 km or so in a day. They feature a high-revving & smooth engine, making the sports bikes sprint faster than other types of bikes.
According to their usage, the sports bikes have four main categories: Lightweight, Middleweight and Super Sports, and Hyper sports bikes. Manufacturers further divide these bikes into Naked, Dual-Sports, Sports Touring, and Adventure Sports sub-categories. So, depending upon the application, the manufacturers offer different engine capacities for these bikes.
Thus, some entry-level Sports motorcycles have engine capacities of 300-500cc and power output below 50bhp. However, the mid-level Sports motorcycles offer engine sizes between 500-750cc, which provides more power. Some high-end bikes offer engine capacities above 750cc up to 1000cc.
However, the manufacturers offer more variations according to the local regulations and market. One of these upmarket Hyper Sports bikes, such as the Kawasaki Ninja H2, delivers a power output of a whopping 310bhp. Moreover, it recently broke the top-speed record at a mind-boggling 400 Km/h.
Watch Kawasaki Ninja H2R Breaking World Record 400 km/h in 26 sec:
Often, Sports motorcycles are sleek with complex design and many premium features. They also have a low center of gravity, which gives better handling and control. So, technically, they are more expensive to manufacture than commuter bikes. They have less comfort and low mileage, and high maintenance cost. Primarily, their focus is on cornering ability, pick-up, and top speed.
These bikes use lightweight materials such as cast aluminum to reduce weight and improve handling. In addition, a few of these bikes have dual exhaust pipes that deliver a deep, rumbling exhaust sound. They also offer premium features such as the Motorcycle TCS, ABS, wider tires, high-performance front & rear suspension, and alloy wheels to improve the performance.
Other safety features comprise a stiffer trellis frame, slipper clutch, soft-compound tires, and a mono-shock rear suspension for more agility and dynamic response. In addition, some modern Sports bikes offer Dual, semi-floating 330 mm discs with four-piston calipers for efficient braking. Some manufacturers even provide special features such as the quick-shifter, bank-angle sensor, and a super-charger. Thus, it improves the bike’s performance and the rider’s convenience. However, some of these bikes deliver only 15-20 Km/L fuel economy. They also have numerous expensive spare parts and high maintenance costs. Hence, they could have many issues to deal with if & when they break down.
Generally, these bikes have higher power & torque, trend-setting colors, and sleek design/style. Sportsbikes are preferred because they deliver high performance and break speed records. Hence, Sports motorcycles are more prevalent in developed countries such as the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Some popular premium Sports bike manufacturers include Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Aprilia, and KTM.
However, there are many entry-level sports bike manufacturers in developing countries. Some of them are Bajaj, Hero, and TVS Motors. The Bajaj Pulsar, Hero Karizma ZMR, and TVS Apache RTR are some of the popular sports bikes in India.
In short, Sports motorcycles can travel short distances without any hassles. They offer excellent performance, cornering, and handling abilities. These bikes are pretty fun to ride on the winding roads/bends with sharp cornering ability.
Moreover, they are perfect mainly for the race-tracks/paved roads,/tarmacs. Some premium Sports motorcycles offer better suspension, safety, and other equipment that suits regular travel. However, these bikes are very expensive. Thus, swankier and more feature-laden the sportsbike gets, it commands a higher price tag.
However, they are not comfortable with the long-distance commute due to their cramped seating position. Hence, most people use them for short-distance commutes on the highways or participate in racing events.
Watch a Sports Bike in Action:
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