Top 10: Sports Bikes

Best Sports Bikes

If you want to get from A to B as quickly as possible then a sports bike is probably for you, although to achieve this they sacrifice comfort and make use of the latest technology so they they tend to be quite expensive. Here we are looking at legal road use, not the fastest lap times on a track. What is a sports bike?

The Best Sports Bikes:

  1. Ducati V4S
  2. Yamaha YZF-R1M
  3. Honda Fireblade SP
  4. Kawasaki ZX-10R SE
  5. Aprilia RSV RF
  6. Honda Fireblade
  7. Suzuki GSX-R1000R
  8. Yamaha YZF-R1
  9. Suzuki GSX-R1000
  10. BMW S1000RR

1

Ducati V4S

Ducati V4S

No sports bike top ten would be complete without a beautiful Ducati, in this case the new for 2018 V4 powered Panigale V4 S. It sets the bar high on looks, power, weight and features all the tech you would expect. There's Ohlins electrically adjustable suspension, cornering ABS, slide control, a lean angle aware quickshifter, gorgeous TFT dash and of course the stunning single sided swingarm with no massive exhaust to ruin the lines. There's also a £3,750 cheaper V4 without some of the shiny bits and a track focused £35,000 V4 Speciale edition.

  • New: £23,900
  • Used: TBC
  • Engine: V4
  • Capacity: 1,103 cc
  • Licence: A
  • Power: 211 bhp
  • Seat Height: 830 mm
  • Wet Weight: 195 kg

2

Yamaha YZF-R1M

Yamaha YZF-R1M

Updated for 2018 the exclusive R1M builds on the regular R1 with Ohlins semi-active suspension, a new quickshifter, improved anti-wheelie system, Carbon bodywork, data logger and Akrapovic full Titanium exhaust system. Capability wise it's very much up there with the Ducati V4S and Fireblade SP.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 197 bhp
  • Seat Height: 860 mm
  • Wet Weight: 200 kg

Back to Top

3

Honda Fireblade SP

Honda Fireblade SP

Much like the R1M and V4 S the 2017 Fireblade SP re-design gives you a colour TFT dash, Ohlins semi-active suspension, a quickshifter, high spec Brembo brakes and cornering ABS. There's also a £3,900 cheaper base version without the Ohlins/Brembos/quickshifter and a £3,125 more expensive SP2 version although it's limited to 500 units with only 150 coming to Europe.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 189 bhp
  • Seat Height: 820 mm
  • Wet Weight: 195 kg

Back to Top

4

Kawasaki ZX-10R SE

Kawasaki ZX-10R SE

New for 2018 the ZX-10R SE has a party trick when it comes to suspension. It's from Showa and electronically adjusts the damping 1000 times per second although the pre-load is still manual. There's also cornering ABS, Brembo brakes, Ohlins steering damper and launch control but the bike is fundamentally the same as the 2011 ZX-10R.

  • New: £18,950
  • Used: TBC
  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 998 cc
  • Licence: A
  • Power: 197 bhp
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 206 kg

Back to Top

5

Aprilia RSV RF

Aprilia RSV RF

The 2017 re-design of the RSV RF introduced cornering ABS, Ohlins suspension, Brembo M50 brakes, a colour TFT dash and up/down quickshifter, all of which make the RF a potent track weapon. If there is a downside though it's likely to be the price versus bikes like the Fireblade SP, which include electric semi-active suspension over the RF's manual set-up.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 201 bhp
  • Seat Height: 840 mm
  • Wet Weight: 190 kg

Back to Top

6

Honda Fireblade

Honda Fireblade

The new Fireblade for 2017 focused on increased power and reduced weight while adding cornering ABS, wheelie control and a new colour TFT dash. It looks amazing in black and rather cunningly both LED headlights do low and high beam, avoiding that wonky look. There's also a £3,900 more expensive SP version which gets you Ohlins semi-active suspension, better brakes and a quickshifter.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 189 bhp
  • Seat Height: 832 mm
  • Wet Weight: 196 kg

Back to Top

7

Suzuki GSX-R1000R

Suzuki GSX-R1000R

Competing directly with the Fireblade is Suzuki's new for 2017 GSX-R1000R. It builds on the £2,850 cheaper base GSX-R1000 with more advanced Showa suspension, a bi-directional quickshifter, launch control and a lighter battery.

  • New: £16,300
  • Used: TBC
  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 1,000 cc
  • Licence: A
  • Power: 199 bhp
  • Seat Height: 825 mm
  • Wet Weight: 203 kg

Back to Top

8

Yamaha YZF-R1

Yamaha YZF-R1

The standard R1 has been knocking about now since 2015 however for 2018 it gains a quickshifter with low and high speed settings. You also get a launch control, an anti-wheelie system, a fancy colour TFT dash and lightweight Magnesium wheels. For £3,700 extra you could have the limited edition R1M with Ohlins semi-active suspension and Akrapovic Titanium exhaust system.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 197 bhp
  • Seat Height: 855 mm
  • Wet Weight: 199 kg

Back to Top

9

Suzuki GSX-R1000

Suzuki GSX-R1000

New for 2017 the GSX-R1000 re-design focused on more power from a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) engine, aerodynamics and being more compact however the exhaust grew into a bit of a monster. For £2,850 extra you could have the GSX-R1000R with more advanced suspension, launch control and a bi-directional quickshifter.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 199 bhp
  • Seat Height: 825 mm
  • Wet Weight: 202 kg

Back to Top

10

BMW S1000RR

BMW S1000RR

The S1000RR was game changing when it launched in 2005 and while it hasn't changed much in that time you can spec them up with a quickshifter, semi-active suspension and traction control. The asymmetric looks do divide opinion though!

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 199 bhp
  • Seat Height: 815 mm
  • Wet Weight: 204 kg

Back to Top

What Is A Sports Bike?

Sport bikes have one goal in mind, which is going as fast as possible from A to B. They achieve this by minimising weight while at the same time maximising power (ideally around 1 bhp per 1 kg of weight), a low aggressive riding position, full aerodynamic fairing, state of the art technology and the best lean angle possible for cornering as low as possible. The most expensive bikes are usually closely related to the manufacturer's MotoGP race bike of the time.

What Is A Sports Bike?

Sales have been suffering recently though because they aren't comfortable, pillion friendly, economical or really that practical for everyday riding and if you can only have one bike an Adventure or Sport Touring model probably makes more sense, particularly if you won't be taking it anywhere near a track. The middle capacities, around 600cc, have suffered the most though with the only real option still on sale being the gorgeous Yamaha R6.

Check out the other types of motorbikes.

Back to Top