The Best Beginner Sports Bikes For New Riders

The Best Beginner Sports Bikes For New Riders
Best Beginner Sports Bikes

If your just starting our in the wonderful world of motorcycling, things can seem pretty daunting. Whether you are in the process of doing your test or considering to do so in the future, in this article we will break down our best beginner sports bikes that you can legally ride through various stages of obtaining your full licence. Simuraly to our Favourite Superbikes post, this isn’t a list of the definitive best bikes to learn on, simply what we would choose to buy with our own money.

You can read more about the UK’s licence structure here.

Learner Legal / A1 Licence

The bikes listed below can be rode legally in the UK with “L” plates  by simply completing your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). Passing the restricted A1 licence will allow you to ride without the looney plates and give you the legal permission to de-restrict any two stroke machines to full power…we’re sure everybody definitely waits until they pass their test to do this! 

Aprilia RS 125

The dream of many a teenager, the RS 125 is everything a 125cc sports bike should be. We would favour one of the earlier models (pre 2007) before the emissions rules changed and zapped the bikes performance. It wasn’t uncommon for these early RS’s to hit the 100 mph mark (on a track day of course!..). The later models replicated their RSVR big brothers with the latest edition mirroring the RSV4, still beautiful bikes but would be left in the smoke of one of the earlier models.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Single Cylinder, Two Stroke
  • Max Power: 34 BHP @ 11000 RPM (Unrestricted)
  • Top Speed: 100 MPH+ (dependent upon setup)
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 115kg
  • Price: £1,000 - £3,500 (used)
Yamaha YZF 125

Modern day emission restrictions has been a real head ache for modern smaller capacity sports bikes. The YZF 125 tries to counter act this with its clever Variable Valve Actuation system which aims to give the best low RPM power whilst still offering exciting high RPM riding. The YZF is packed with technology, a LCD display, slipper clutch, LED headlights and a compact Deltabox frame are all available as standard. The YZF isn’t a match for the other two smokers featured on our list in terms of performance, but it is far superior to them in terms of technology.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Single Cylinder, Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 14.75 BHP @ 9000 RPM
  • Top Speed: 75-80 MPH (claimed)
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 142kg
  • Price: £4,499 (new)
Cagiva Mito

If you can, then you should. What could be more appealing than owning this baby 916 from the age of 17? Designed by Massimo Tamburini, its clear where he took his inspiration from. If the looks aren’t enough to make you want one, then the performance will. The Mito was designed as a fully fledged race bike. Fun fact: Cagiva gave a young man called Valentino Rossi a Mito back to race in 1994 which he won his first championship on.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Single Cylinder, Two Stroke
  • Max Power: 34 BHP @ 12,000 RPM (unrestricted)
  • Top Speed: 100+ MPH (dependent on set up)
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 129kg
  • Price: £1,500 - £2,500 (used)
A2 Licence

After passing your A2 test you will be able to ride any of the machines below (or any other A2 listed bike) without L plates, on the motorway and take pillion passengers. After having held your A2 licence for two years you will be eligible for your full unrestricted licence allowing you to ride any machine of any capacity. For now, the best beginner sports bikes below are ideal options for getting used to the weight and power of a bigger machine 

Honda CBR 500R

The CBR 500R is an ideal introduction to a larger displacement machine, we are particularly keen on the 2019+ model which has adopted more of a Fireblade look (you would be forgiven for mistaking the two at a passing glance). The 500R comes with an LED dash, LED headlights and Showa rear shock and fork internals all as standard. You will be suprised just how much fun you can have with 47BHP – it sounds great to boot.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Four Stroke, Parallel-Twin
  • Max Power: 47 BHP
  • Top Speed: 114 MPH (estimated)
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 192kg
  • Price: £5.969 (new)
Yamaha YZF R3

First shown in 2015, the latest rendition only improves on everything Yamaha got right first time around. The R3 truly deserves its place in the “R” family. ABS, LCD dash and LED headlights inspired by its big brothers, a punchy high revving engine and ABS all as standard. A great all round bike and the perfect stepping stone before a supersport machine.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Four Stroke, Parallel-Twin
  • Max Power: 41.4 BHP @ 10,750 rpm
  • Top Speed: 115 MPH (estimated)
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 169kg
  • Price: £5.299 (new)
KTM RC 390

Perhaps the under dog in our list, and that’s exactly we why like it! Snappy acceleration and fat, sticky tyres ensure lots of fun to be had on your commute or equally on the track. The Moto 3 styling is there for a reason, this is without doubt a bike for someone learning to race. 

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Four Stroke, Single Cylinder
  • Max Power: 41.4 BHP @ 10,750 rpm
  • Top Speed: 111 MPH
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 147kg
  • Price: £4,999 (new)
A Licence

So, you have your full bike licence…congratulations! If you have followed the restricted licence steps above then you should now have the skills needed to ride any machine you fancy. If you have gone down the direct access route and are jumping on a big bike for the first time, we would recommend one of our three best beginner sports bikes below.

Suzuki SV 650

The current model is a naked only bike, but previous versions had the option for a half fairing. We would wholeheartedly recommend either. Plenty of low end grunt, forgiving and easy to handle, the SV 650 is quite possibly the best first “big bike” you can get.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: 90-degree V-twin
  • Max Power: 75 BHP
  • Top Speed: 130 MPH
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 197kg
  • Price: £5,599 (new, used examples can be found much cheaper)
Triumph Speed Triple

The most expensive bike on our list, but for good reason. The Speed Triple is a serious bit of kit and not a bike you will grow out of any time soon. Although it is a very powerful machine, acceleration is delivered very smoothly and it’s surprisingly easy to handle. Packed with technology and guaranteed to turn heads, the Speed Triple comes highly recommended. 

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Inline, Three Cylinder
  • Max Power: 148 BHP
  • Top Speed: 150 MPH
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 189kg
  • Price: £13,250 (new)
Honda CBR 650R

The 650R offers a sporty, yet comfortable and practical experience. The racing pedigree is clear throughout the bike, think of it as a tamed down 600RR for the street rather than the track. A perfect step up from the 500R.

  • Cooling: Liquid Cooled
  • Engine: Inline, Four Cylinder
  • Max Power: 94 BHP
  • Top Speed: 135 MPH
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed
  • Dry Weight: 207kg
  • Price: £7,729 (new)

So, there we have it. Our best beginner sports bikes for each stage of your motorcycle learning. All that’s left to do is choose your weapon of choice and get out there enjoying the best decision you ever made. 

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