Everyone has their own perspective about their motorcycle and how easy or not they are to ride. The ease with which you can handle a particular bike class is determined by the type of bike you have previous experience riding.
In this article, I touch on the facts about riding a sports bike that you may not be aware of. So keep on reading for more insight into whether riding a sports bike is actually harder.
Each variant of a motorcycle has aspects of riding that make it a pleasure to ride and characteristics that make it challenging to ride in certain circumstances. Sports bikes are often purported to be a challenging bike to ride, so within this article, I’m going to break down this misconception, enlightening you to how easy a sports bike is to ride.
Sports bikes are not harder to ride than other motorcycles, but they are different to ride than other bikes. The difficulty in riding a sports bike is a perceived difficulty depending on the rider’s previous riding experience or how new they are to motorcycle riding in general.
What gives the sports bike class of motorcycle the reputation of being harder to ride than other motorcycles? Is this just urban legend among the motorcycle community? The sports bike is a mechanical beast in a substantial class of their own that makes them stand out from the crowd of other motorcycles, but are they actually more demanding and so harder to ride than other bikes?
What Makes Sport Bikes Different?
Sports bikes come from the stable of racing motorcycles. They are just a little more civilized, so authorities will allow them to be used on public roads. Since these bikes’ lines and design take their cue from the pure racing machines, they have certain characteristics and quirks that set them apart from other motorcycles.
These characteristics can have a bearing on their riding difficulty, especially when the rider is a novice or only has experience with motorcycles that have a tamer demeanor. Riders in this category should approach the sports bike with caution!
This is not because the sport bikes are hard to ride; they are simply different to ride because of the purpose they were designed for.
Sports bikes are designed for speed and superior road-holding ability at speed. These design features, together with the size of the bikes, the engine capacity, and their raw power, make them a hugely different ride compared to other motorcycles.
What Makes Sports Bikes Seem Hard To Ride?
The features that go into the purpose-built design of sports bikes, as well as some characteristics of the sports bikes, can result in a level of adjustment that needs to be made when riding these bikes.
- Riding position. The riding position on most sportbikes is generally in the classic bike racing position with low handlebars, the rider leaning forward with knees pointing forward, beyond the footpegs. The rider almost lies over the fuel tank to tuck in behind the fairing or windshield to attain a streamlined profile for high-speed riding.
- Center of gravity. When riding a sports bike, the center of gravity is centered further forward than most other bike designs to accommodate the forward riding position. This different center of gravity can take some getting used to if you are used to riding in a more upright position.
- Engine capacity. Sports bikes generally have large engines and are usually classed as superbikes when they are 750cc or greater.
- Size and weight. Sports bikes are big bikes, making them quite heavy in comparison to other motorcycles. Riders sometimes take a bit of time getting used to a larger, heavier bike and are sometimes surprised by how nimble they are, even when used in heavy traffic. They are, however, a little bit more difficult to maneuver at lower speeds.
- Aggressive throttle. Because sports bikes come from a racing heritage, they have very responsive, quick throttles. This can sometimes catch a new rider by surprise, and because of the power of these machines, things get out of hand very quickly. Throttle and clutch control takes some getting used to, but you will get a thrilling ride once mastered.
- Road handling. Sports bikes are made to throw down into a corner or a curve in the road, and the bike can lean over to a seemingly impossible angle to negotiate the corners at speed. Many riders are nervous when they first climb aboard a sportbike and try to take a corner in such a manner. The size and weight of the bike leaning into a corner can sometimes feel counterintuitive. Often overcompensating can cause new riders to fall off.
Are Sports Bikes Harder To Ride Than Other Types Motorcycles?
Sports bikes are not harder to ride, but there may be a bit of a steep learning curve associated with transitioning to a sports bike from another motorcycle class or for a novice rider.
When transitioning to a different bike class, this learning curve is not unique to sports bikes. A rider who has only ever ridden a sports bike and climbs aboard a motocross bike, for example, will also have to adapt to the differences in the riding position, throttle response, braking capability, tire differences, and handling differences.
A rider who has experience with other motorcycle classes will be better positioned to adapt to a sports bike than a complete novice rider. Someone who is already an experienced rider would simply have to get used to the different riding position, the bike’s weight and size, and managing the motorcycles available power.
It is much easier to get used to these aspects of a sports bike if you are not trying to learn clutch control, throttle control, and riding awareness while learning to handle a sports bike’s weight and power.
This weight, size, and power characteristic of a sportbike generally makes it unsuitable as a motorcycle for a person who is starting out riding. It would be more beneficial for a new rider to learn to ride on a bike that is a little easier to learn the basics as a beginner.
A novice rider would have a much easier time learning to ride on a bike, such as an adventure bike or even a café racer. The café racer style of bikes have a good turn of speed but lack the weight and size that are features of a sports bike.
Can Sports Bikes Be Uncomfortable To Ride And So Harder To Ride?
Sports bikes can be uncomfortable to ride in certain circumstances, but that does not equate to being difficult or harder to ride.
The riding position on a sports bike puts a lot of weight on the rider’s hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. The head position when riding also puts a strain on the neck since your head needs to be tilted up to see forward over the controls.
Riding over a long distance in this position leads to rider fatigue and is quite uncomfortable to sustain for a long road trip.
Riding with a passenger changes the whole dynamic and feel of a sports bike. The passenger’s riding position often means additional weight on the rider since the passenger leans forward against the rider’s back.
The road handling and center of gravity change dramatically when a passenger is on board a sports bike. The feeling of instability is particularly accentuated if the passenger is not familiar with riding as a pillion on a motorcycle and overreacts to the bike’s movement, especially when cornering.
Are These Top 5 Sports Bikes Hard To Ride?
- Ducati V4S
- BMW S1000 RR
- Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R
- Kawasaki Ninja H2
- Yamaha YZF R1
Ducati V4S Review
BMW S1000 RR Review
Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R Review
Kawasaki Ninja H2 Review
Yamaha YZF R1 Review
Sports bikes are what most young boys dream about when they dream about riding a motorcycle. These loud, powerful machines and the speed that they can attain appeal to the wild, adventurous spirit that lies in the heart of every man!
Sports bikes are no harder to ride than any other bike, but like every other bike, they have their differences that take some time to get used to.
However, it is not a hardship for most bike riders to spend more time riding their bike to sharpen their skills. Many riders could use it as an excellent excuse to get out on the road and go for a breakfast run with the boys!