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Can the Sport Bike Segment Make a Comeback?


2016 Commemorative Edition Suzuki GSX-R1000

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the development cycle for production sport bikes here in the United States (both 600 cc and 1000 cc) had shortened to two years. If a manufacturer didn’t make significant changes in that amount of time, it risked being left behind, both technologically and in terms of sales success.

If anything accurately reflects the current state of sport bike popularity, it is the fact that the development cycle for replacement models has significantly lengthened. This isn’t true for all manufacturers, of course, but some manufacturers are clearly focusing their resources elsewhere — we note, for instance, that the 2016 Suzuki GSX-R1000, somewhat long in the tooth (not significantly changed since the 2009 model year), appears unchanged except for paint schemes.

The question is whether the popularity of sport bikes, and their market share, can ever recover in the United States to the level of their zenith less than a decade ago. Plenty of factors are involved of course, not the least of which is the current financial prospect for younger enthusiasts. Older riders, it seems, have largely abandoned sport bikes in favor of more comfortable, upright mounts.

The younger generation also has a growing interest in more traditional, upright motorcycles. Additionally, unlike portions of Europe, motorcycle roadracing lacks widespread popularity in the U.S. The old adage “race on Sunday sell on Monday” doesn’t apply if nobody is paying attention to the racing.

Weigh in below with your thoughts on whether sport bikes can regain their popularity in the United States or whether that era is gone for good.


  1. MrEdwd says:

    Sportbike rider: (older ones, not so sure about the GenX riders, which may be more like the cruiser rider) How well does it handle, how good are the brakes, how usable is the powerband?

    Cruiser rider: Does it sound cool (loud); does it get attention (whether attention is positive or negative doesn’t matter); Finally and most important–When I sit on it, HOW DO I LOOK (?)

  2. Gary says:

    If you live long enough, EVERYTHING comes back around. I, for one, will not miss sport bikes while they are gone, and I won’t celebrate when they come back. My body was not meant to bend and twist that way. Never was.

    If my name were Pedrosa and if I weighed about 100 lbs., I might feel differently. It’s not and I don’t.

  3. Mick says:

    This is certainly a wordy one.

    With some exceptions, I always find it odd that some folks seem to think that the street bike market contains sport bikes, cruisers and nothing else. Note that cruisers are not mentioned in either the title or the article. I have friends who buy back and forth from Harley to sport bike. It confuses and frightens my primitive caveman mind.

    I was a dutiful sport bike buyer until 1994 when I bought my last one (916 Ducati). There were rumblings at the time about governmental 100hp limits. I thought that may have been an interesting idea. It would have given the manufacturers no place else to go but light. It never happened. Here we are twenty years later, and sport bikes still weigh about the same. The rest of the street bike market has been gaining weight at a sickening pace as well. I don’t need a million horsepower on the street. Less weight is always welcome.

    I do sometimes miss the unique perspective of the earth rotating just off to your side that you get while cornering a sport bike. I now ride an older air cooled Multistrada here in Europe. Judging by my tire wear, I corner at about the same speeds and lean angles on it. But it provides more of the perspective I get from the supermoto I have back in The Sates.

    What would it take to get me in a dealership to buy a sport bike again? I rented an MT-07 this spring so I could loan my ‘strada to my friend’s son, he’s too young to rent a bike here. The 07 (FZ in The States) has a cool engine. The 07 is also lighter than a sport bike even though it has a bargain basement price. Put that engine in an even lighter sport bike chassis with front line suspension, fill it with gas, and give me a call.

    P.S. What’s up with Yamaha and that triple, (My friend rented an MT-09 Tracer for the above ride)? The 07 engine is cool. The 09 triple? Life’s too short for a whiny engine. Be kind and unwhine.

  4. Max Frisson says:

    I rode about 250 miles Sunday in North Texas where I now live on my 2013 ZX10 [I’m 60] and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to change the oil, detail it and sell it. When I lived in the Hill County and had lots of curvy roads around it was perfect but up here it’s flat, a lot of urban riding and I am getting less flexible. I think a used Diavel is my next bike, sort of a cruiser but not a HD.

    • The Spaceman says:

      If you like the performance of you ZX but the ergos aren’t working anymore (I’m almost 60 myself) there’s some really cool options to cruisers. Im tinking of bikes like the BMW S1000XR, FJ-09, etc. that combine sportbike performance and handling with comfortable upright ergos. The best of both worlds.

  5. Chris says:

    Make a comeback from what? How far have sales fallen? So what if Suzuki’s development cycle has become excessive. There are other mfgs. releasing new and/or updated bikes this year and the past couple of years.

  6. rerun says:

    On why the double standard exists and why Sportbikes died but cruisers did not in the American Motorcycling landscape:

    While both groups of bikers are as phony as the other, I think we have given a pass to the cruiser riders and not called them up on their phoniness like we have with sportbike riders because the phony image which the cruiser riders express is so much more apart of what makes us American than what the Sportbike riders represent.

    America was founded as a reaction against Aristocracy and has great reverence for everyday man, blue jean, blue collar roots. Vin Diesel, in the Fast and Furious, to be tough guy who everyone liked and identified with wrenched on cars, not teeth. Has there ever been a movie in the U.S. that described wrenching on teeth (not kicking in teeth) something which tough guys do? I don’t think so. And that’s why a Dentist plays weekend warrior and acts as if he is someone who wrenches on motors, while car mechanics are not known to wear all white and pretends to be someone who wrenches on teeth in order to make themselves look and feel badder and tougher and more sexier to the opposite sex.

    So this blue collar grittiness which the cruiser class represents is an ingrained part of Americana, and to challenge it is to challenge the very ideal of Americana itself, which no one really wants to do, so we tend to give the cruiser boys a pass, no matter how stupid they may act or look, with their costumes and their purposefully built, extra loud, slow as molasses bikes.

    Now what about Sportbikes? There was always a sense of European guy in a speedo aspect to Sportbikes (the image of European Aristocracy and non-tough guy, nad exposing non-grittiness), so when the image of Sportbike became vulnerable, we had no problem calling up the riders for their illegitimacy and pretension.

    So to put it simply, John Wayne equals phony cruiser image, while Tom Cruise equals phony sportbike image. John Wayne, with his voice and his walk, is apart of Americana, as we all know, but Tom, the Scientologist, nope, he is not. Everyone always questions Tom’s manhood, but never John Wayne’s, even though in reality, Tom is in better shape than John and could probably beat him up.

    So there you have it. It is Un-American to diss the Duke, but we Americans could care less about Tom. Tom can come and go, but the Duke, he can be fake, and we don’t care. We still love him and his long drawl, tough guy sounding “Pilgrim”.

    We Americans don’t challenge images of blue collar, gritty, or faded blue jeans. That’s like rooting against Rocky. So, in short, John Wayne, Mr. Faded Blue Jeans himself, can be fake but not Tom and his spiffy, aerodynamic, European designed speedo.

    And that’s why Sportbikes died, but cruisers didn’t.

    • Xootrx says:

      I disagree. Cruisers, and their riders, get bashed all the time in the motorcycling press, including the comments section of Motocycle Daily. Just take a look at the comments about “Butt Candy” and the like when the new 2016 Harleys get announced. And the belief that cruiser riders are slugs who pose, more than they ride, is a myth also. The only kind of riding I do is touring. And wherever I go, Harley-Davidsons outnumber all other brands combined. The last time I tried counting, the ratio was 5 to 1, and it wasn’t just touring models. I see lots of Fatboys, Lowriders, etc., loaded with saddlebags and soft luggage. Granted, my experience is traveling on my little Versys mainly in the western half of the U.S., but I don’t know where we get this notion of cruiser riders falling into one specific category. It sure isn’t true by my experience. I think you’re over-analyzing this, and you’re using stereotypes to do it. No offense meant, but I suggest you get out there and look around, and don’t allow the motorcycling press, most of whom are sportbike bent, to feed you a belief system that is misleading.

      • todd says:

        That’s just what you’ve seen. Over here, I see Harleys maybe one in every ten bikes or so. They are the most popular cruiser though because for every three cruisers I see one will be a Harley. Since California is the largest bike market in the USA, by a large margin, I think people are over stating their popularity based on the riding groups they see in their home towns. You might just happen to notice them more because of their “look at me” exhaust systems and cartoonish “we all look the same” outfits.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Harley Davidson has had a market share of on-road motorcycle in the 44% – 47% range for quite some time. Either What you see in your microcosm is not characteristic of the rest of California (it certainly doesn’t represent any other part of the country I’ve been in), or the immensity of the California motorcycle market isn’t immense enough to tip the scales for the rest of the country. Colorado is the only place I have lived in the US where HDs didn’t greatly outnumber other brands, but I still saw quite a few of them there as well.

          • mickey says:

            Jeremy on my recent trip to the west coast from LA to Seattle, sport bikes ruled in So Cal.. they were everywhere. In Nor Cal Harleys dominated the road. In Oregon and Washington it was big ADV bikes. Just my observation from that trip.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Mickey, I had the same observation when I rode that area myself roughly a year ago. The San Francisco area actually had the most wonderful assortment of bikes out on the road. I’d say it was more diverse even than the motorcycle scene in Europe. That is as far North in California as I’ve been.

            In Colorado, we had quite a healthy population of non-cruiser bikes: lots of single-cylinder dual sports, ADV bikes, sport bikes.

            I would say that the types of roads available to a given locale have a lot of influence over what kinds of bikes are popular. However, when I lived in rural Connecticut which had some wonderful, twisty roads or just outside of the Appalachians in the Carolinas, cruisers still reigned supreme. So I don’t know what drives California’s two-wheeled diversity. Perhaps they just have the right combination of climate, motorcycle-friendly culture, twisty roadways and available off-highway riding to encourage various moto sub-cultures.

          • rerun says:

            Sportbikes ruling? Were they truly sportbikes or these little cbr250’s and Kawi 300’s you see everywhere? I don’t really consider those types of bikes to be true sportbikes.

            Sportbikes will make a comeback, but in the form of streetfighters, which are basically sportbikes without the plastic and with a grittier and more mechanical look. The sportbike with a bit of Harley in it, you could say, which is exactly what the market is begging for. If Harley is John Wayne, then this new, upcoming class would be Pacino and Scarface.

            So among the hardcore bikers, the bikers who want their ride to stand for something, the market will divide between Harleys and these streetfighters. One will call the suburbs their homes while the other will be based out of the inner city. One will come from people with good homes and have good jobs, the other will come from the America which has degenerated into a permanent and vicious cycle of poverty, from the people without fathers and tattoes on their faces.

            Suburbanism vs. Innercity-ism, you could say, or John Wayne vs. Scarface, or Godzilla vs. Mechanized Godzilla, but this time both images are a match for another, unlike that of John and Tom. Scarface is every bit as American and gritty as that of John W.

            I think Scarface inspired streetfighters are the future of sportbikes. We are just seeing a lull between normal sportbikes and the up and coming streetfighers, as one demographic group is giving sway to the rise of another in America.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I think Harleys are Perter Fonda or Dennis Hopper. I have no doubt John Wayne would choose a SuperDuke.

      • rerun says:

        Actually, you are a perfect example of what I am talking about. A person giving the Harley riders a break, when obviously they are posing for the crowd. Going back to the nature of the self to enlighten the issue, as I said before, the self was only formed, it only exists, because it cares about what others think about it, otherwise, there would be no such thing as a self, at least as we know it. This would be why when we are around others and feel others are looking at us, we become what? Self-conscious. But the irony and contradiction of the self is that it can only care about what others think so long as it does not admit to itself that it cares. In other words, the minute it admits to itself that it cares, then it can no longer care about what others thinks, or not do so as effectively as before. And this is why when you ask everyone if they care about what others think, even the teenie boppers, who everyone knows cares, they will almost to a man deny that they care, or at least attempt to mitigate how much they care to some degree. And the teenie boppers will be the ones who will deny it the most (like the Harley riders), even though they are the ones, as everyone knows, who care the most. Now, why do you think this is the case? It has to do with the very nature of the self, its inherent structure, as I said, and as such, it simply cannot be refuted.

        So given that backdrop, Harley riders are not fakes cause they ride alot? Or it could be cause they like to pose alot, and they are attempting to convince themselves and others that they do not care what others think – which of course means that they do care, as I attempted to show up above. I mean, come on man, if Harley riders are not poseurs and fakes, then are no such things as fakes and phonies in this world. Ride alot? You are letting them off the hook way to easy. Women with high heels walk alot, but everyone still knows they’re wearing those shoes for show. What about all the people driving SUV’s when minivans would do everything better and be more fuel efficient? Those people wouldn’t be caught dead driving a minivan. And what about all those city dwellers attempting to look tough by riding around in oversized pickups, when most of them have white collar jobs? Why in the world does a dentist need a full sized pickup for? They are all posing for the crowd. By the way, these very same people, the urban pickup buyers, tend to be also the ones who go and buy Harley’s. Mere coincidence? I think not.

        Think of it this way, a mega-scooter can do everything a Harley can do and do it probably better. How do I know? Cause I use to own one and I would pass Harleys while riding in greater comfort on the highway all day along. I don’t think I ever had a Harley pass me and I would only go around 80 or so on the highway. Now, the question is, would Harley riders ride around as much if they were forced to give up the All-American tough guy image and ride around on scooters? I don’t think so. Would they want to ride in groups as much? I don’t think so on this one either.

        That example sort of fleshes out what they find so enjoyable about riding. It ain’t just about riding, it is about being flattered by an image you think you are projecting to others, that’s where the kick comes from, even though none of them would ever, ever admit it.

        It’s basically John Wayne-ism. The Harley riders have basically turned it into a religion and riding for them is like going to church and paying homage to the image of John Wayne and all that it stood for. And the rest of us, well, as you did above, even if we know it’s fake, we give them a break and don’t call them up for their fakery. The logic being – hey, John Wayne, he may be fake, but he’s our fake, so we are just going to put up with him, and just keep letting him be fake. But Tom, no way.

    • Tom K. says:

      You make some good points, but also stereotype with way too broad a brush. The Harley riders I know are pipefitters, welders, machinists, all blue collar union guys who are passionate about “buying American”. I’m sure there are a lot of white collar professionals buying cruisers as well, but I understand the allure of cruisers, and although some of it comes from the “1%’er” Bad Boy association, much of it comes from the fact that Harleys just “look right”, they have great paint and chrome, they are eye candy to a lot of people. Plus, they “feel” fast even without having to go fast, due to the large amount of torque available at low rpm, the vibration, exhaust rumble, etc. – as someone who has owned most styles of bikes, I understand the appeal of cruisers, even if I don’t share the passion for them.

      The same goes for purchasers of sport bikes – I’m sure there are many who buy into the lifestyle of Ricky Racer, but just as many who appreciate the capabilities of the machines, and who strive to become better and faster riders because that’s what those bikes are designed for. As long as they stay on their side of the double-yellow, God bless ’em.

      I dislike the pigeon-holing of people in general, and motorcyclists in particular. Live and let live, different strokes for different folks, etc. – people ride because it’s the closest thing to flying while still being in contact with planet earth, at least in my mind – at least that’s how I always felt on a ride through the open country. Others ride because of gas mileage, ease of parking/commuting, the adreneline rush of opening up the throttle on a flat stretch – the reasons are as varied as the people who choose to partake, and the reasons tend to change with age/demographics. For every peacock, there’s a tortoise, for every swan, an eagle, for every goose, a grizzly.

      If sporbikes are a dying breed, IMHO, it’s because the average age of people who ride is increasing, such that there is less demand for a high ratio of cutting-edge performance to comfort, cost, and real-world effacacy.

      • todd says:

        I worked with a guy a number of years ago that wore Dockers, collared shirts, and had those little tassels on his brown shoes. One day after a couple regular years like this he shows up to work in black jeans, a black tee shirt with a howling wolf, a black “leather” vest and steel-toe work boots (because he worked in purchasing…). I commented on his dramatic change and apparent lifestyle shift. He responded that he decided to ride his Harley in to work that day since he sees us ride in every day. Apparently he felt like he had to fit a certain style or dress code to ride a Harley. I thought it was very comical!

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          We have a guy here that is like that. One Harley rider who works in the shop shows up in his work cloths – coveralls and work boots essentially. This other guy – who works in accounting with the typical slacks and a button up – shows up with a Harley Davidson T-shirt, leather vest, black denim jeans, and Harley Davidson leather boots whenever he shows up on his bike.

      • rerun says:

        Similar to an alcoholic, most times, the way to free oneself from the pull of a stereotype is to first admit its truth, rather than deny, deny, which is the modern way of reacting to a stereotype one does not find flattering. Basically, you will find that the very same people who claim most vehemently that they do not care about what others think (when they in fact do), are also the very same ones who will attempt to deny, deny, deny the truth of stereotypes which they find to be unflattering. And similarly, just as being honest for a change and admitting you do care is the first step towards freeing yourself from the grip and oppression of the opinions of others, admitting the truth of a stereotype is the first step towards actually being someone who actually does not fit that stereotype rather than being just someone who wishfully thinks he does not.

        Also, just like Black Cayman, saying there are exceptions to stereotypes does not mean that the stereotypes are in and of themselves not true. The real issue is whether they are true or false, that’s the really interesting question, not whether you can occasionally have an exception or two or some other variation from the general rule.

        With all that said, I can see what you are attempting to say about stereotypes (probably better than you can) and why modern people have such an issue with them. First of all, remember, the positive things you say about people are just as much stereotypes, as the negative, and to deny the negative stereotypes while only accepting the positive ones is better known as what? Egotism of course. And actually, the positive stereotypes (the we can do it spirit) are probably more stereotypical and artificial (contains more wishful thinking), than the negative ones, which are more guttural and from the world, which would explain why the negative ones always seen to win out, appear to be stronger than the positive ones, and are so hard to get rid of no matter how hard we try or how hard we attempt to wish them away.

        But again, with all that said, all stereotypes, esp. the ones which are guttural and not made up by the wishful thinking of men, are built in with a flaw, a crack you could say, an imperfection, which allows us the opportunity to deny them as false. First, this flaw does not mean that they are necessarily false, just that they are not completely true, which is very different from false. And secondly and more important, we are only able to see what is false, because we can compare it to what is more truthful. In other words, the crack, the fatal flaw, in the stereotypes exist because the stereotype contains within it the truth itself (that’s how the truth initially expresses itself to us) and it’s our ability to sense or see this truth (however vaguely) which allows us to see the falsity. In other words, we are only conscious, thinking because stereotypes have this flaw and nature through this flaw has given man the flexibility to think, ponder, and question, or else we would still be stuck in the world instinct as the other creatures of this world are.

        So stereotypes as they come to us tend to appear to be too general. Instinctly, we attempt to correct the overgeneralized feel of it by attempting to individualize it, which is correct. The overall trend from what is general to what is individual is the correct movement. It’s just that most make the error of thinking that providing separate instances, variations, and exceptions are the way to individualize it. They think individual means separate individual entities. In other words, they are literal and fail to see the deeper meaning of the individual, which is existential, the very spirit of individualism. So to existentialize a stereotype is the true way to make a stereotype individual and the correct way to account for it initial over generalization. When when we existentialize a stereotype, we do not do it by denying the stereotype but by first accepting its truth, and then we are giving the freedom to see in what way it is true and in what way it does not apply. In other words, existential stereotypes, unlike materialistic, abstract ones are naturally nuanced and intuitive – they are visionary and not merely abstract – and take into account and correct the errors for the over generalized stereotypes as they first come to us.

        So to be able to convert materialistic, life sapping, oppressive stereotypes into ones which enlighten and give life, that’s the stuff of legends. It’s basically what the meaning of life is about. What it means to be able to see the “Face of the World” once again. And this conversion is probably what was originally meant by the notion of being able to make lead into gold (it never really about money, at least not as first). Basically, it is what it means to “walk on water” (the expression of what true freedom feels like).

        So no, my stereotypes of Harley riders are not incorrect. They are existential and nuanced. Sure, there is an element of falsity to my description as well as truth, but truth of it simply can’t be denied. You can say it does not apply to all and every single case, but that was never my claim in the first place. I seeking to express the essence of the group, not the stragglers here or there, who don’t quite fit the mainstream as well as the mainstream does.

        • Russian Judge says:

          Troll Rating:

          Structure -7/10

          Good comment structure. Length is just right to convey the idea that you might actually take yourself seriously, while not being entirely believable. Well-balanced use of just enough spelling and grammatical typos to create the perception that you were well and truly enthusiastic about the topic you wrote about. Semi-proper use of paragraphs gives the initial impression of sophistication, though the severe overuse of parenthetical asides detracts greatly from neatness of form and overall impact.

          Technique – 6/10

          Makes superb use of multiple logical fallacies, psuedo-philosophical navel gazing, inflated self-righteousness, anecdotal proof, and false intellectualism. However, criminal abuse of a thesaurus to incorporate unnecessarily large, varied, and esoteric vocabulary words – as well as the poor integration of said vocabulary – negates any hope at conveying a flowing, easily believed impression of genuine ignorance that is so fundamentally necessary to the art of trolling. In the end, it’s pathetically obvious that you’re simply trying way too hard here.

          Creativity – 2/10

          Bashing Harley riders is tired, cliched, and at this point, simply childish. It’s been done so many times in so many ways, with differing levels of success, that it’s simply yawn-inducing. It’s the equivalent of A-Rod playing tee ball. Sure, it’s an easy go-to that requires little cognitive effort to passably succeed at. But that the end of the day, you get what you give, and if you’re not willing to put at least some degree of effort into what you’re doing, your results will always be as bland and unexceptional as what you wrote above. To make it all that much worse, your selection of a target audience was questionable at best. The audience here has seen this all before, and will see it all again. They are, in most cases, knowledgeable and mature. They’ve been around the block a few times, and are so jaded to inter-group bashing that it’s almost impossible to get a rage-filled rise out of them anymore. They’re simply too accustomed to this sort of thing. Next time, choose a target audience that is less accustomed to being trolled.

          Overall Troll Rating: 5/10

          Not the worst I’ve ever seen. But as long as you continue to be lazy and only go after the low-hanging fruit, you’ll never amount to anything; no matter how much effort you put into structure and technique. At the end of the day, it’s about the creativity of topic choice, as well as audience choice. In this case, the topic creativity was simply uninspired and the choice of target audience was ill-considered.

          You’ve got heart, though, kid – and a great deal of potential to boot. You could be better than this. You should be better than this. I believe in you. Just remember, one failure does not equate to defeat.

          Dust yourself and try again.

  7. olie says:

    ….above all, only one main reason: INSURANCE Premiums… absolutely out outrageous.

  8. The Spaceman says:

    Market/model segmentation has more to do with it than anything else. At one time, today’s “supersport” was nothing more than a manufacturers top of the line model. But as alternative bikes models emerged that weren’t simply downsized versions of the top of the line model, buyers were free to choose a bike that fit their priorities. The more slices of pie you cut, the smaller they are bound to be.

  9. ben says:

    I got away from sportbikes when they started shrinking in size, presumably to save weight, and became so cramped that actual riding was a miserable experience unless you were just flying. I have a friend who has a small shop and two thirds of the sportbikes that come in have been converted into what I call “clownbikes” what’s a clownbike? its a cutting edge sportbike that has been converted into something for getting attention rather than riding, usually involving idiotic long swingarms with huge rear tire and wheel combinations, lots of chrome, candy paint job, billet aluminum hand grips, etc. The average clownbike usually has about 500 miles per year put on it. My point is not to hate on the stupid “custom” jobs that people do. I just think that sportbikes have gotten so fast, so tiny , so uncomfortable, people would rather convert they into some sort of idiot showpiece than actually ride them. I am done with horribly cramped bikes, even if they do have 200HP.

  10. alang says:

    rerun, you make it sound like sportbikes riders are all posers. soimply not true.

    • rerun says:

      Of course, not all, but most. And that has to be true, or else the segment would not have declined. What causes trends – bell bottom pants, tight pants, bushy beards? People think they’re cool in other people’s eyes, then then after a while, they soon realize, instead of being hip, they were just making fools of themselves and in reality, everyone was laughing at them, and so they stop with that trend and go on to another one which seems to be hot at the moment.

      At some point, millennials will realize that slathering raw bull semen on their chins to make their beards bushier was stupid, laughable, and a sign of pathetic desperation and they will go back to shaving. Again, that explains why trends rise and fall – cause, basically, we’re all a bunch of phony, bull semen slathering poseurs to a degree. Or can you come up with any other explanation for why trends rise and fall?

    • rerun says:

      No, I take it back. My attempt to sound reasonable appears to have led me to an error. No, in a very strict sense, all must be phony, with no exceptions, no matter who you are, even if you be Mr. Rainey or Mr. Rossi himself. And this position can’t be challenged. I know, I know, to challenge them in this field is akin to challenging Ceasar himself, but, hey, when Diogenes replied to Alexander the Great, the then ruler of the world (a much bigger fellow than a Rainey or a Rossi), when Alexander asked him if there was anything he could do for the famous Diogenes, the man who lived in a bath tub and jerked off in the public square, that “Yea, you can get out of my light.”, it was Diogenes way saying that Alexander himself was a phony too. So if Diogenes can say that Alexander, a Ceasar, was illegitimate, then that means that even the legitimacy of the Rainey’s and Rossi’s of the world are open to question as well.

      In a very broad sense, your question has to do with the self and whether or not the self can ever be completely legitimate or not. Of course, Western Civilization and particularly the American branch of it, was founded on the belief that the self on rare occasions, in moments of excellence, in rare Jordan Spieth like exceptions could be legitimate, but think Tower of Babel on that one. No matter how high your Tower, or in this case, no matter how fast around a race track, the self still lacks complete legitimacy (i.e. it does what it does cause it cares about what others think and not because it really wants to do it on its own) and it always will (what is known as pre-destiny).

      You see, the self by its very nature is a social concept. It only exist because it cares about what other people think more than what itself thinks. It cannot exist alone, as we assume, and it never has. When we are selfish, we are only selfish because we are seeking to obtain an image to impress others, even though to obtain the said image, we have to screw around the very same people we are attempting impress, but hey, no one said the self was not full of contradictions and basically insane.

      So by theory alone, Rainey and Rossi must be frauds, as well as our Founding Fathers (every single one of them), as well as the scientific notion of creation, since it assumes that creation began with a single entity and if the self cannot be single then there is no such thing as a single entity as they assume at the start of all things. If the self could not exist alone outside of a social context, then obviously science’s basic assumption of how the universe began is wrong as well. So basically, as a matter of theory alone, they are all wrong and all frauds, and I alone am right, as usual. But I take the Fifth on whether I too am a fraud or not, as is my perogative – he, he, he.

      • Dirck Edge says:


        • Tom K. says:

          Or thorazine. Why does the name “Julian Solos” keep popping up in my mind? Where oh where, is Rat when you need him?

          • rerun says:

            You know, I bet my butt that you when pushed cannot give further detail to support your position. You are just throwing out this insinuation in a smug way to be a wise guy, but you got nothing else to back it up but a smart alleck posture.

            Now if I can know this, while you cannot defend and justify your insinuation, then who among us, between you and me, do you think has a more solid, rational, and sturdy grasp of reality? If you can’t back it up, if you can’t put your money where your mouth is, then I think the answer is clear.

          • Tom K. says:

            I must have hit a nerve. Sorry if I offended deeply, was only kidding about the thorazine (or lack thereof). You just reminded me of someone whose posts were absolutely fascinating to me, in a clinical sort of way, many years ago. My opinion only, no empirical evidence available or required. Now put down that knife, we’re all friends here.

          • rerun says:

            Na, I don’t mind being called nuts. I just don’t like being called nuts without any backing. If you are going to call me nuts, then please, have the courtesy to tell me why, or else don’t bother to call me nuts. I think that’s reasonable.

            Oh, I like your backhanded apology. You sound as if you maybe a medical professional of sorts, and if so, such backhanded replies are too be expected, so apology accepted.

          • Tom K. says:

            Cool beans. For the record, I didn’t mean “nuts” – let’s simply settle on “overly passionate”, and that is actually a compliment when applied in a professional setting, that’s how scientific advancements are made – “Eureka” moments are actually far and few between. BTW, I played Doctor a few times when I was a kid, but that was the extent of my medical training. I do highly recommend humility, it makes one a much more engaging person. Oh – we also agree on the stereotypical “Harley pirate dress code” – I find it ridiculous as well. But, my point is that most of the Harley riders I associate with actually do not fall into that groove – the most active rider I know – rain or shine, wet and cold, is an Engineer who only wears a leather while riding his Road King because he understands the consequences of road rash, he enjoys the ride, not the circus. I believe he represents a much larger group than you consider.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “I do highly recommend humility”

            And brevity.

          • rerun says:

            Humility? You mean like you, Cool Beans, or like an engineer? I’ve met alot of engineers in my life, and I can say, that few if any of them were what you could call humble. They tend to be fact based, rote memory type creatures who tend to equate being good at math, or being highly technical with being highly intelligent. Let me show you that’s not always the case.

            I’m guessing you are fairly good at the art of mathematics, yet notice how in a real world argument, you simply cannot get the main point through that thick, mathematically orientated skull of yours, even though it has been sent to you over and over again in a myriad of different forms. My point above is that the self by its very nature is a show off, that it was formed from the very start as an effort to impress others. And so, just as no matter how fast you ride around a race track, or in your case, how lame and understated you dress maybe, the self still is making a show of it for others and cannot be legitimated.

            You got that. That’s the main point of my argument. That the self by its very nature on a theoretical basis alone cannot be legitimated, that it is always fatally flawed in this way. Now, what you and alang are saying is that on an empirical and factual basis, you are seeing someone, like a fast rider or a lame dresser, who because he is so fast and competent, or so lame and boring, that they can’t possibly be posing for another. And my response is that on a theoretical basis they are and the theoretical trumps the empirical. In other words, the theoretical is an absolutely precise way of viewing a problem while the empirical is only an approximate way of doing so, which is why it tends to be speculative and can be fooled by an illusion so easily.

            Got that? Are we clear on this now? By the way, as we get older our forms of bragging become more and more subtle. Instead of outwardly voicing how great we are, as we do when we are young, when we are older, we just drive an understated but high priced car with a luxury symbol on it, or we buy a large house in a known neighborhood. It’s less loud and more subtle, but it’s still bragging all the same. Given how repressed and unexpressive engineers tend to be, them wearing even a leather bracelet is equivalent to a normal person going hog wild on the Harley clothing thing.

            By the way also, I don’t mind Harleys. I’m just saying it’s mainly for show. I like Harleys. I like the way they look. And I don’t mind how their riders dress, and I don’t even mind their meaningless loud most of the time. Yea, whatever. I’m just saying it’s for show, just as the sportriders and their garbs.

            And hey, who am I to judge. I basically ride naked myself.

          • Tom K. says:

            Only one, tiny bit of unsolicitated advice: If you ever get arrested, and the cop says, “You have the right to remain silent”?

            Exercise that right.

          • mickey says:


            Got to be post of the day!

          • rerun says:

            Testing 1, 2, 3.

          • rerun says:

            You should at least let me defend myself.

          • rerun says:

            I would write a response, but evidently MD will not let me, cause I guess they know I would win.

        • mickey says:

          I am seeing an increasing number of Harley riders wearing plaid shirts, shorts and deck shoes ( along with no helmets no jackets and no gloves) . Just said to my brother the other day..” Don’t know what is happening to Harley riders, you could at least always count on them to wear jeans and boots”.

          BTW I am for freedom of choice, don’t want to wear anything? Fine with me. that’s the riders choice as long as he is over 18.

  11. takehikes says:

    They never were more than a segment of the market. They go up and down. I don’t think they will ever go back where they were as much of their target demographic has no interest. The bikes were too small, uncomfortable and good for nothing other than blasting around playing at boy racer until you wrecked it. Damn few ever did track days. The come back of so called standards is a good thing.

  12. JPJ says:

    Sportbikes will not make a comeback. As noted first obstacle is the price $11,000+ for a new 600cc class sportbike. This new bike not much advanced from a bike 8-10 years ago. Second obstacle is the insurance for younger riders on same bike. Last is the monetary exchange rate. So in closing, pricing not much less than premium European counterparts in the class of 1000cc sportbikes.

    • DaveA says:

      $11000 in 2015 = about $4900 in 1985, which is what I paid for an 86 VFR700, so the price thing is not basaed in fact. Also, the dollar is quite strong v. the Yen, riding an 8 year high, so this is also not based in fact.

      The insurance thing is the killer IMO…you’re onto something there.

      • Dave says:

        That they cost $11k isn’t as much a problem as how much the rest of an individual’s cost of living expenses have climbed against stagnant wages so the price objection is still real. $5k in 1995 didn’t seem to be nearly as big a sum of money to a young person as $11k does now.

  13. Superbiker600 says:

    Bitching about riding position and too much power on a sport bike is a lot like bitching about g-force and noise in a F-16. It’s all about performance. That’s why the riders that are serious buy them….and the squids buy them to show them off. I have ridden sport bikes not for the perceived attention from others but rather because I want the sharpest scalpel on the back roads. I don’t want my corner speed to be dictated by the front end feel and running gear the bike comes with. I would rather have the bike be “limitless” in my mere mortal hands and the limiting factors are my own skill, technique and discipline and road factors like seasonal dirt, condition etc. It’s part of the challenge and yes, there is inherent risk…but I’ve never had an achy back in the twisties….just anytime you have to go in a straight line for more than 30 minutes. If that is my main motivation for what to ride, then I need to buy something else.

  14. jim bottomley says:

    I’ve done 3 dozen track days with a highly modified Hawk and a GSXR 600. Even the Hawk was too fast for the street, not feeling alive till hitting 100 mph. For street riding I’ve been loving a ’71 Yamaha R5 350 cafe. It’s fun at realistic public road speeds and the drum brakes are a great reality check. Modern sport bikes are total overkill on the street but perfect track day weapons. Unfortunately, track day clubs like SportBikeTrackTime and TeamProMotion have suffered big enrollment declines in the past few years and may not survive in the current environment. On the plus side, a dedicated track bike can be found for half the cost of a new bike. Reliability is generally excellent. Costs are mainly tires and sign up fees. (you already have leathers, right?) Track days are the most fun one can have standing up, and pretty much any sport bike from the current century will allow you to test your outer limits in relative safety.

    Jim B

  15. ChrisRR says:

    Sport bikes have never pretended to be anything but what they are – street legal track bikes. Few guys can tolerate the raw power, the incredible braking, the handling like on rails and the stiff ergos that they offer. And they are better and more focused than ever. But i’m 52 and have put less miles on my sport bike in the last few years than ever before. Age is catching up and I hate to admit that they’re a young man’s game. But there’s nothing like them in motorcycling, and if you can handle it nothing awakens the senses, not cruisers, not adventure bikes, not nakeds.

    Oh, and hot chicks prefer to be on the back of sport bikes. Sorry guys. It’s true :=D

  16. Gary says:

    After decades of cutting edge sport bike ownership, I found my nirvana in an air-cooled two-valve Ducati Monster. All of the fun with none of the physical/mental tax. Plus, it looks like what it’s supposed to be; a motorcycle for the road without pretense.

    • Slob says:

      That’s what I thought when I bought my S2R1000 Monster 3 years ago… Now I want to go back to a sportsbike… Ahh how fickle is the motorcyclist’s heart…

  17. Put a fork in it, it’s done.

  18. Blackcayman says:

    I know it must never have occurred to many motorcyclists to take their Superbikes, Sportbikes and Standards to the track. You cruisers just keep enjoying what you’re doing!

    Personally I didn’t do my first track day until the ripe old age of 47, after 29 years of riding standards and sportbikes.

    Please know that there are capable, experienced, non-professional track-day-junkies from every demographic out at their local track.

    Many have dedicated Sportbikes that have been converted to track only service as they run race plastics and in many cases race slicks. They have trailers full of tools, spare wheels, tires, leathers and gear coming out the wazoo, all so they can go run their bikes on the track 5 – 10 – 20 or more days a year. Because it’s their passion, they dedicate time and significant resources to their sport.

    Many of these same individuals (yes many are women) try their hands at amateur racing as well.

    Some of them even run expensive exotic European Superbikes right off the show room floor. Yes, they do.

    Perhaps instead of endlessly blathering on about how Superbikes have too much power and don’t make any sense (to you), you should take your bike to the track?

    Because… there is no traffic headed in the opposite direction 6’ away on the other side of the yellow line like there is in canyon riding. There are no police, speed limits or traffic cameras. No cell phone addicted SUV drivers, no semi-trucks and no intersections. Just beautiful ribbons of pavement laid out before you, waiting to be exploited. As the turns come back around in the next lap, you gain familiarity and that allows you to comfortable increase your speed. Work on your form, get some coaching and enjoy the exhilaration. There’s nothing like it, if you love motorcycling.

    This is what these bikes were made to do. You can’t experience the same thing on the streets.

    As far as answering the original question posed by Dirck, who knows? As long as the manufacturers and racers race, many will follow.

    • Dave says:

      Sounds great, but it’s too expensive and impractical for a most people. Even if you did 10x track days a year, unless you’re one of the aforementioned “junkies”, it’s pretty hard to justify owning a $10-15k sport bike that gets mostly ridden on the street.

      While the market has many choices made to be track capable, a tiny percentage of these bikes will ever see a track. People who ride sportbikes ride them because that’s the type of bike they like. That is who the motorcycle has as it’s customer for this type of bike (not racers or track day users). If their numbers continue to dwindle, so will innovation and choices in this segment.

    • kjazz says:

      Track days are indeed awesome. Everyone should try it someday. But all the racers in the world plus all the track day riders added together wouldn’t come close to amounting to the number of sport bike riders (street riders) who’ve never been on the track, and won’t ever likely go. Those are the new bike buying, riding folks that will drive the segment. So, if….that’s “IF”, the sport bike riding world at large DOES back off in demand, I think we could easily have already witnessed the golden age of sport bikes as they continue to fade from fashion into a boutique category that gets a lot less attention from all participants of our beloved sport. I don’t wish for that….. because they are such an ideal laboratory for development of new technology that is applicable across all the various types of motorcycles. But again, the new era of moto-standards (Adv’s, SUVs etc.) are just so much more fun, practical, versatile, while remaining plenty fast and quick handling, etc. etc.

      I believe this trend is already well on its way….almost no longer an argument. Lengthening development (product) cycles is an indicator. Changes in underlying demand (demographic, economic, product choices) characteristics are also a clue. Young folks in the Millennial group just aren’t the “gearheads” that my generation were (IMO). And the furthering of our litigiousness (is that a word?) and society’s complete loss of patience for breaking the laws and generally irresponsible behaviors doesn’t help matters either.

      The sportbike is dead. Long live the sportbike….!!!!

    • azi says:

      I’ve done several track days in the past. They are fun, not everyone is willing to spend the cost of entry whilst running the risk of riding uninsured. Not everyone can trailer their bike to the track either, and some locations just don’t have refueling points for those who rode to the track. Track days are also a time commitment that requires advance planning – this doesn’t suit the lifestyle of many people.

      The track just isn’t practical for the majority of riders.

  19. I love sportbikes. Aside from piloting a fighter jet (I imagine), nothing feels closer to being at the tip of the spear than tucking in on a superbike and pulling the trigger. And I’ve pulled longer days on my old RC51 than some people ride on their Gold Wings. That said, a few years ago I started spending my own money on bikes with more upright ergos, wider bars for more leverage, and fatter midrange torque curves. I discovered, as no doubt many have, that my more upright self can easily outride my figurative sport-bike self (time, distance, and probably speed too, due to increased confidence with more leverage at the bars). Yes, sport bikes require a certain commitment (on several levels including fitness), but that’s not my problem. I just ride better, faster (within an arm’s length of the legal limit), much farther on other kinds of bikes. Am I done with sport bikes? I don’t think so. But for a one-bike garage, it’s something else.

    • So the question remains: Can the sportbike make a comeback, or really, SHOULD it? From a pretty darn avid race fan, and a guy that has done a few (admittedly somewhat slow) track days, sport bikes should probably occupy a fairly small niche.

      • Scotty says:

        I think yes it can Curtis, but it might not be in 1000cc guise. or 600cc. What about 750, 500 250 sounds good to me.

        • Dave says:

          ^That^. The experience needs to change. The way current sportbikes have progressed, their performance is not only unusable, it’s intimidating. A Honda CBR600F3 used to be good at lots of kinds of riding, now a CBR600RR is only good for something that only a few people know how to do.

          What if the SV650 came back as a 500, 40+lbs lighter?

          • upsetter says:

            Agree entirely, although “only good for” is a bit harsh, but perhaps “only the best choice for” is fairer.

          • Sportbikes have been making the progression to increasingly specialized for a long time. Try an older Hurricane 600 or even a Suzuki 500 Gamma (500 GP replica!) and it feels a bit like a sport-tourer today. So yes, I agree there’s room for a more well-rounded street-oriented sportbike. Who would argue that, for example, Yamaha’s new 700 twin and 850 triple wouldn’t make great street-oriented sportbikes? I certainly think they would. (Then I come full circle and ask myself if I’d ride a sportbike or my FJ 09 better, and I’m truly not sure I’d go quicker, more happily, on the sportier version.)

        • It seems like you’d agree with me that the push for only 600 and 1000 cc versions, to fit with contemporary racing rules, led to machines that are not that great for the street. The 600 is too peaky and the 1000 is too much everything (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Riders who really love to ride know that there’s a tremendous amount of goodness in the 500cc to 900 cc range, maybe in a more character-ful configuration (love twins, triples, V-types, etc).

          • Scotty says:

            In 2005 I rode a CBR600RR on the track for a few laps as part of a motorcycle magazine test here in the UK. got to ride 9 other bikes too – but thats for another day! The point is I loved the CBR it was probably my second favourite on the day – but I was realistic in thinking that it would be overkill for me. To get it moving would mean license shredding speeds…and here in the UK with its speed cameras and draconian enforcement it wasn’t on. Also, could I control myself?? I wasn’t sure. 🙂

            At the end of the day after all those bikes, and taking that 600 up to 135mph on the 2 mile straight, I was happy to ride my 50hp Guzzi home those 150 miles…

  20. -D says:

    The Elderly are always being replaced by the next generation as they go out.
    This is how it has been since the beginning of time. Its just the way life is.
    The sportbike class aint goin anywhere. Just like when Derek Jeter retired from pro baseball (in the only fashion he knows how to exit) the next hotshot shortstop in baseball is probably 16 years old right now somewhere in the US or Latin America waiting to get drafted.
    MLB is not going extinct, and neither are sportbikes.
    The young, and young at heart (lets not forget athletic either) who want to ride motorcycles will most likely pick a sportbike. The class is here to stay, its riders will continue riding them for as long as their health will allow them to. My 2 cents…

  21. Rendell says:

    Economy is the worse since the Great Depression. More people on food stamps than ever before. If they used the same standards to gauge unemployment In the 1980s, 23 % oh the population today is unemployed. Most people can’t even put enough food on the table. A lot of college grads can you find jobs. There’s your sport bike sales…

    • Neal says:

      Depends on where you live. In Seattle/Puget Sound you’d never know there was ever a recession. Roads are swamped with commuters and new cars. Restaurants are full every night of the week. Mall parking lots are a nightmare. But, Seattle is a highly educated city (tech/engineering). I’ll let you figure out the correlation between that type of education and low unemployment. One guy I work with has 8 Ducati in his garage. No, I am not kidding. He’s a bit obsessed.

  22. Sean says:

    ypu have to be able to watch road racing on TV to get people into it. Currently in my region you have to pay $200 direct bill just to watch Wsbk. Back in the day you could watch on public TV.

  23. Rick says:

    I could go into a long-winded thing about how much sport bikes suck in the real world but I won’t. 🙂 Tom R nailed it when he said it was more fun to ride a slow bike fast versus a fast bike slow. I discovered this about 8 years ago when I bought my then girlfriend an SV650. It totally changed my perspective, and I am so very glad it did. It was like I was reintroduced to the “fun” of riding, and all the good things that have kept my drawn to it since I was a little kid.

  24. jim says:

    Best thread ever on MD.

  25. Neal says:

    I’ve owned 1 true sportbike (ZX-7). Absolutely hated the ZX-7. I don’t get the appeal of peaky, utterly uncomfortable sportbikes. Give me something with better ergos, and lots of torque and I will out ride 90% of posers on sportbikes, unless it’s a 3 mile straight.

    Since then I’ve owed various sport-tourers and adventure type bikes. Current one being a tuned Multistrada with full titanium system and race ECU. Kids think it’s a stupid, old man’s bike. They don’t think that later…

    It’s been about 25 years since that ZX-7, I’ll never own another true sportbike again. They are pointless for street riding.

    • Fivespeed302 says:

      Try riding a Cannondale road bike, it’ll make that ninja seem like a Cadillac.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “Try riding a Cannondale road bike, it’ll make that ninja seem like a Cadillac.”

        Eye of the beholder. As an avid cyclist, I’m more comfortable on my road racing bicycle at the end of 3 hours than I have ever been on any of my motorcycles after only one hour.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’ll never own another true sportbike again”

      don’t knock it till you “re-try” it.

      like you said, that Zed was 25 years ago. bike years are like dog years, so that’s the equivalent of 175 years of engineering and development. 🙂

    • todd says:

      I think you’re making this up or else there was something wrong with yours. The ZX-7(R) was an excellent bike. The engine had a huge, flat torque curve between 40 and 50 ft-lbs all the way from 2500 to 12500 rpm. I think the problem you’re referring to is its track gearing. Each gear being so high that it wasn’t built for stoplight to stoplight sprints. Hear the thing down for the street and it would easily out pull your multistrada.

      I do agree with you that the bike is not very comfortable to ride…

      • todd says:

        “Gear” the thing down for the streets. Really need to keep an eye on the spell changer utility.

      • Nate (Turbo329) says:

        Thank you Todd. You beat me to it. The ZX7R is my primary track bike. With a little bit of smart tweaking they go pretty well.

  26. rerun says:

    It’s a double standard. The old, fat guys riding Harley’s are attempting to project an image just as fake as the Joe Rocket boys who used to ride sport bikes when sportbikes were all the rage.

    We all laugh at a Dentist who goes and spends thousands to go and kill a lion with a bow and arrow to be more of a man. Yet we let the same Dentist off the hook when he spends thousands to ride around (very slowly and poorly I might add) on a Harley acting like he’s a Hell’s Angel and more of man. Some actually still applaud this tried and true (tired actually) attempt at image making. It still works in other words.

    With sport bikes on the other hand, this sort of bragging no longer works. Word got out that the bikes are more than the riders can handle and people just ride them to be poseurs. People know the wanna be squids are being fake, so the image no longer works and people just giggle to themselves when they see a rider attempting to brag and show off in a way that no longer works and can be easily seen through.

    When even the Ms. Fiamm’s of world are no longer impressed, when the words got out to even them that the image Joe Rocket is fake, then sure what guy in his right mind is going to spend thousands to pose on a bike when none of the good looking girls thinks its cool and wanna go for a ride?

    The pretty girls still want to go ride on a Harley, which is why it still sells and why guys still think its cool to be a Dentist faking being a blue collar Hell’s Angel who wrenches on bikes and not on teeth.

    • todd says:

      Around these parts, the only girls that like Harleys are missing most of their teeth.

      • Fivespeed302 says:

        Or weigh 300 pounds.

      • rerun says:

        Well, when you talk to the pretty girls, they still yelp at the thought of riding around on a Harley, while on a Sportbike, not so much. How about if I put it this way – the pretty girls still want to ride on a Harley, but it’s the fat, ugly who actually end up being the ones of the back seat. Hey, that’s reality. More ugly than good out there in this world.

        But that begs the question even more. If they have ugly women on their back seat, then why on Earth are the slow, slow poseur Harley riders given a pass for phoniness, when the go, go Sportbike riders are not.

        The answer to this question would explain why one class of bikes is still going strong while other has just about died out. What’s the reason for the double standard?

        • todd says:

          Each day I see between 30 and 40 motorcycles. The majority of them being sport(y) bikes. About a third are what you would call cruisers and about a third of those are actually Harleys. Yesterday, I recalled only seeing one Harley the whole day but I did hear another blast down the street when I was in the office. Just because Harleys are popular where you live does not necessarily mean they are popular everywhere.

          From what I have experienced, pretty girls do not even see or care about the difference between all the different types of bikes they only notice the guy riding them. They’re not likely want to hop on the back of a bike of an old fat guy wearing a skull mask and an eagle or howling wolf on his black tee shirt.

    • Blackcayman says:

      I thought we all agreed a long time ago that more motorcyclists in general is good for the sport. More riders gives us more visibility and more legitimacy as a group of people who use the public roads.

      So the Dentist is a poser – as it relates to being a HD Biker. Why do you care? Are you the self imposed Ultimate Decision Maker of who is an authentic Harley owner?
      So a percentage of Sportbike Riders never track their bikes and never get more than 50% of the performance out of their bikes. Why do you care.

      Did it ever occur to you that they are living their passion? Limited as it may be in your opinion?

      Maybe the Dentist can’t afford to break a knuckle while wrenching on his Street Glide because it could cost him days of work and set men, women and children back on their much needed dentistry procedures? Maybe his time is more valuable and he likes the idea of a “professional” doing the work on his bike – maybe he is the very first motorcyclist in his family, maybe he is great at drilling teeth but doesn’t know the first thing about valve adjustments? Should he just sit home to please you?

      Maybe the 35 yr old professional man who just moved from a cruiser to a Sportbike, because he heard all these guys ranting a raving on motorcycledaily about how awesome MotoGP or WSB racing is and he caught the bug after a season of watching it. Maybe he needs time to hone new more aggressive motorcycle skills before he lives up to your standards of how he should be riding HIS motorcycle.

      Maybe spend less time criticizing your fellow motorcyclists and get out there on your bike and get a much needed smile on your face.

      • GMan says:


      • DaveA says:



      • rerun says:

        My wife catches me in bed with another women in our bedroom on our anniversary day, and then she proceeds to start hitting me in the head with a baseball bat. Why is she so angry? (a) I forgot to set the toilet seat down in the morning (b) I’m not boning this other women with enough zesto in her eyes (c) she wants in on the action and this is her way of letting me know (d) or cause she caught me cheating on her in our own bed on our sacred anniversary day.

        Which one of those do you with your “maybe’s” and endless “possibilities” think it is? In other words, in any argument there is the essence of an argument, the general rule, and then the less relevant side issues, what we could call exceptions to the general rule. All you have pointed out are possible exceptions to the general rule, but have failed to address whether the general rule is true or not, which is the whole point of the argument.

        And why do I care? Cause that is the whole point of this thread – why did Sportbikes die and can they make a come back. In order to understand if they can make a comeback, we have to first understand why they died out in the first place. Hey, I’m the only one around here who hasn’t been beating around the bush about this topic. I just expressed the heart of the reason why sportbikes died out. I hit the nail on the head. Answer why Sportbike riders are made self-conscious about being fakes and poseurs while Harley riders are not – the double standard – and whalla, you have a large part of the answer of why Sportbikes died out and how the class might be resurrected.

        And better to be negative and real than positive and unreal. Your self-congratulatory overpositivity is nothing more than a rehash of “honor among thieves”, with little actual true honor in it. I’m fake, your fake, we’re all fake, but let’s not be critical around each other and put on a positive face so we don’t expose each other’s fakeness. That’s the essence of what you are whining about. It has nothing to do with you being more polite or less selfish, rather it just another sneaky, conniving way of keeping your fakeness from being exposed.

        And at least when I smile I can do it without resorting to being delusional, overly positive, and mentally incompetent, whereas it seems you can’t say the same.

        • todd says:

          That’s just you opinion, not a fact. I don’t think sport bikes have died out at all. I still see them as the most popular segment in riding, at least where I live. If manufacturers are not releasing new updates it may be because there is not much left to update. If no one can tap the potential of a bike and the only thing holding it back theoretically is physics then, what’s the point of “improving” it?

          • rerun says:

            Where to do live? The 80’s. Or more accurately when do you live? Sportbikes might be popular where you live but you have to understand how popular they once were when they first came out. Back then in the mid-80’s, if you wanted to be bad, you had to ride a sportsbike, or something similar like a V-Max, and no other.

            Back then, Harley’s were still out and still the butt of jokes. Rmemember the “Anything but Loose” movies with Clint Eastwood. The guys chasing him were the butt of jokes and they were on Harley’s or Harley like bikes. Hell, even Clyde, the orangutan, knocked out 7 of the Harley riders with a single punch while he was smiling and sitting in the pickup. That’s how much of a joke Harley riders were seen back then. Not so much now. Monkey’s are not allowed to make Harley riders look bad anymore in Hollywood. Name one negative image of a Harley rider you’ve seen in the movies ever since the 90’s. I can’t think of any. That’s how much things have changed.

            Back in the 80’s, Cruise rode a Ninja to be the ultimate cool in Top Gun. Now, he’d be riding a Harley, or at the very least a European Sportbike. The association of ultimate cool with Japanese Sportbikes died out long ago, but the movie Top Gun serves to remind us that such an association did once exist and serves as proof that all of these memories of bygone days doesn’t just exist in rerun’s head. The world of biking was once like that.

            Like the era of the Dinosaurs, the days of Sportbikes, and Sportbikes alone, ruling the biking landscape died out and went extinct.

        • Blackcayman says:

          “Hey, I’m the only one around here who hasn’t been beating around the bush about this topic. I just expressed the heart of the reason why sportbikes died out. I hit the nail on the head.”

          Talk about “self-congratulatory”.

          • rerun says:

            Again, beating around the bush and missing the central topic at hand. Need I remind you that something is only self-congratulatory, at least in the negative sense, if it is wrong, as I very efficiently showed in the previous post with regard to your post and your giddiness over how positive you were about everything. Can you do the same? Can you show how my position or claim is wrong? Not that you don’t like it, but how it is wrong.

            I’m fake, you’re fake, we’re all fake, but let’s all be artificially positive, passive, and not be critical so we can avoid exposing each other’s phoniness and dishonesty. Instead, let’s just keep beating around the bush and keep changing the subject so we never have to experience the displeasure of actually looking at reality straight in the face.

            That’s seems to be your motto, and it also serves as a pretty damn good definition of what we call “Political Correctness” and explains why so many find it so dang annoying. Mr. Political Correctness should be your title and your name.

          • rerun says:

            Again, beating around the bush and missing the central topic at hand. Need I remind you that something is only self-congratulatory, at least in the negative sense, if it is wrong, as I very efficiently showed in the previous post with regard to your post and your giddiness over how positive you were about everything. Can you do the same? Can you show how my position or claim is wrong? Not that you don’t like it, but how it is wrong.

            I’m fake, you’re fake, we’re all fake, but let’s all be artificially positive, passive, and not be critical so we can avoid exposing each other’s phoniness and dishonesty. Instead, let’s just keep beating around the bush and keep changing the subject so we never have to experience the discomfort of actually having to look at reality straight in the face.

            That’s seems to be your motto. Mr. Political Correctness should be your title and your name.

  27. Mark Pearson says:

    The Great Recession only brought a quick end to the direction the Japanese were going, which was way too far towards RR. Bikes have become so stinking specialized, small, odd looking and packed with expensive and unessential technology that it squeezed all the fun from the sport.

    There are so many bikes from the late 90’s and early ’00’s that would be such fun with minor – as in Just Inject the Damn Things – updates. The SV650, F4 and Superhawk come to mind. Sporting bikes that look great, don’t break the bank to buy and own, are fun at a track day yet comfortable enough for light sport-touring.

    The same things above could be accomplished and cash in on the retro trend at the same time. I have a brilliant idea for a ’82 GPZ 750-themed 636. I just need some financial backing and access to a Kawasaki factory.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “There are so many bikes from the late 90’s and early ’00’s that would be such fun with minor – as in Just Inject the Damn Things – updates. The SV650, F4 and Superhawk…”

      (wait for it)

      …Bimota V-Due.

    • Curly says:

      The supersport era ended in Japan in the early 90’s, long before it’s decline here. Even 400cc Supersports were overkill for a country with top speed limits of 62mph! What replaced them? Mostly scooters, under 400cc cafe racer singles and cruisers. Supersport bikes are destined to fade but will probably enjoy diminishing revivals from time to time as they are rediscovered by following generations.

  28. FastCorner says:

    I ride an EFI Honda Blackbird, and I’m a few months from 50. I’ve owned 2 GSX-Rs, a ZX-11D, and a VF500R Interceptor (1985 – best year). Of that crop of sporty bikes, I must say I probably had the most fun on the Interceptor for what many are saying: the power output is just way more friendly than the other bikes, rolling the throttle to the stop didn’t result in a launch into hyperspace. That said, I also love the Blackbird. The power is overkill, but the bike is so capable and comfortable (especially for my older bones) that I can enjoy it on many levels: sport bike, tourer, even errand runner. Bike makers need to take all this new technology and rethink things: a good sport bike need not be a torture rack. Standards can have power and handling. And maybe 750cc is still the magic number: both usable and high power, decent weight, manageable size, affordable price. Use all these new tech tricks – adjustable suspension, variable valve timing, direct injection, riding modes, ABS, TC, and so on – to create a new class of sport bikes that can do more than circle a track at a buck fifty or better. There will always be demand for the Fastest Thing Out There, but good God, 200hp in a street-legal sort bike? Must be nice for the ego (as usual), but it’s useless in the real world.

  29. Philip says:

    I thought it was dead but I really do want the new R1. It just seems like it has a lot of trickle down GP technology for a reasonable price. I probably won’t buy one but I do desire it, which for me says the class is not DOA.

  30. jim says:

    There is a glut of used sport-bikes that are so amazingly fast and cheap that there is no reason to purchase new.

  31. paul says:

    I’m a 60 year old rider and still love riding my 2003 VFR800. While it isn’t an all-out sportbike it still manages to peel 40 years of age off me everytime I ride that thing. I’ll never give it up for as long as I can.

  32. Espresso says:

    I love the fastest sport bikes available, eye candy and addictive…but below 160kph they literally are boring to ride, and the bike hates it. The law enforcement here dictates that within a very short space of time you will lose your licence (e.g. first offence of 40kph over speed limit of 100kph – walk home). Naked or upright bikes provide much of the feeling of speed, without breaking the law, too much. I still lust after R1’s as I have enjoyed riding them, but the Yamaha MT01 I have now fits in every way, ridiculously awesome power and torque, great handling and well pretty much everything. Sport bikes are awesome but with the choices available now, they are a becoming a much small(er) market.

  33. Hh says:

    Ok history has been fulfilled, you meet the nicest people on upright bikes that are practical, comfortable and now go straight quickly and handle corners plenty well so that you can learn on them, return to them and with a bit of skill run plenty fast on public why trade all that for some ethereal experience at ludicrous speeds on a full out sport bike. The leading edge has become the thin edge and closer to the cliff of small niche market.

    • TimC says:

      “you meet the nicest people on upright bikes that are practical, comfortable and now go straight quickly and handle corners plenty well” +10 sir

  34. kjazz says:

    “Older riders, it seems, have largely abandoned sport bikes in favor of more comfortable, upright mounts.

    The younger generation also has a growing interest in more traditional, upright motorcycles.”

    In regards to these two sentences…. I really question whether riders, older and/or younger, are going for upright models on the basis of increasing “comfort.” My personal belief is that upright motorcycles can be ridden faster (more sportingly) and safer, keeping the rider more alert, fresh and in touch with surrounding traffic and conditions than a traditional race-replica sport bike. It might be more comfortable, but I emphasize “might be”…. because for some riders of a certain stature and build, they may be indifferent to the seated position differences between a GSXR and a R1200GS or whichever two you compare. BUT….they will most certainly recognize and likely agree that having your head/torso upright and level gives you improved 360 degree view (allows the head full swivel). Wide(r) bars give more control and leverage if road conditions deteriorate. ADV style seat-peg-bar relationships give an enhanced ability to stand up if necessary (a typical thing motorcyclists do, if not riding a sport bike, to see past traffic, thread through some obstacles etc.)

    Anyway, comfort is not the driving reason for my switching to a moto-SUV or ADV or other upright style bike IMO. It’s the vastly enhanced ability to ride the motorcycle more fluidly, quickly, confidently and constantly informed of the surrounding conditions. A good rider on an upright bike (R1200GS, VStrom, etc. or a naked like the SpeedTriple or Tuono) can ride faster with more confidence than can a sport bike rider IMO when the road gets tight and twisty…and especially when it gets really tight and twisty and road surface becomes a challenge in itself.

    My $0.02

    • kjazz says:

      I expect the manufacturers will increasingly translate the technological gains made primarily in the sports category over to the Upright bikes (for lack of a better inclusive term). The moto-SUV is the future of motorcycling. This has been apparent since 10 or 15 years ago to me.

  35. Neil says:

    For me, the insurance is not worth it. Too many fools driving up insurance prices wearing no gear and riding like there is nothing but air inside their helmet. It’s not worth essentially paying for THEIR insurance needs and THEIR stupidity and ignorance of how much saving their life and limbs costs. The bikes are high tech and fun. Can be made more comfortable. But the insurance. So many under and unemployed these days as well. Naked bikes are MUCH cheaper all the way around and frankly (2014 CB500F), really fun as well after owning larger machines.

  36. Skido says:

    I think the fun has gone from the class. The litre bikes demand respect and caution. Something smaller you can actually thrash is far more satisfying. Is there really any point in more horsepower when you have traction control to tame it?

    Years ago I had ultra light sports bikes, RGV250 and GSXR400, and they were extreme fun. At the end of the day you had the satisfaction of knowing that you rode the wheels off it.

    • kjazz says:

      I think that’s a great point. Why build 150+hp motor and then tame it. When do you really use that level of output in typical riding situations? Most likely never, unless you’re doing track days regularly. It is more fun for me personally to thrash less horsepower than to be consumed by worry with a hugely powerful motor IMO and dealing with the prospects of it getting away from me. We all got caught up in more more more trend….maybe we will always be that way as an overall population. But on an individual basis, I expect more riders mature out of that fairly early and realize fun and HP are not necessarily in a direct relationship. At least for those that have nothing to prove, no image to maintain.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      I’m on record for championing a manufacturers’ arms race in the 400 class. Power wise, with modern tech, they should be about where 600s were in the early 90s, when they took over the world, ushered in a massive boom in cycle sales, and largely defined what a sporting motorcycle could be.

      BMW has now solidly demonstrated competitiveness in the traditionally Japanese transverse I4 segment. But have NO sportbike with less than a rather silly 200hp. They should seriously fire the first shot: S400RR. The Japanese will love to respond, guaranteed. It’s a class they can sell to increasingly affluent asians as well. And then Triumph and/or Yamaha can do a 450 triple; which, along with Duc and KTM (and a resurgent Buell??) doing 500 twins, will ensure we have an aurally diverse and exciting grid at local tracks. It’s fun watching aliens ride bikes with 200+hp. But when riding themselves, most people worldwide will have more fun with 90.

    • dman says:

      Good observations. And we’re starting to see a bit of this in the car world, where Porsche has just introduced a turbo 4 after decades of only 6 and 8 cylinder engines. Mercedes, BMW and Audi have also slightly downsized their big motors. Of course, the automotive analogy isn’t perfect as these cars are big and the HP is still high, but at least we’re seeing a sweet spot around 2 liters vs 5 or 6+, so 400 and 500cc bikes might be next.

  37. mg3 says:

    Here in the North-East section of the country it’s really hard to enjoy all the power and handling these new sport bikes offer, without getting into some kind of trouble. It is like putting a Lamborghini onto a bumper-car track at the carnival. Just makes no sense at all. So as far as street riding is concerned, I think the sport bike has already passed it’s zenith. However, if you live near a good racetrack you might be able to safely enjoy a whole different side of motorcycling. I’m an aging baby-boomer and I do think more about comfort these days, but for me the attraction of bikes was never totally about speed. For me it was always about freedom, mobility, exploration, and a little bit of carefully calculated risk taking. More power is always a good thing until it starts to drive you, instead of the other way around.

  38. Glen says:

    I used to get a new sportbike every 3-4 years to keep up with the changing performance and technology. But without really thinking about it, I stopped that with the purchase of the first generation Aprilia RSV Tuono 1000. It appears I arrived at the place where I felt more power and/or technology was not necessarily needed or wanted.

  39. OFWG says:

    As someone who purchased sportbikes pre-2005, I think that segment will remain limited.

    The naked models (GSX-X, FZ-07, etc) are simply more suited to street riding. I never really enjoyed riding my R6 thru the city the way I enjoyed riding my SV650, and the comfort was more important than the power of the R6 that I couldn’t even use on the street. That memory was a strong factor in purchasing my new CB500F after a 5 year hiatus from motorcycling.

  40. Tom R says:

    It took me a few years, but I eventually discovered that (try not to your roll your eyes here) riding a slow(er) bike fast was more fun than riding a fast bike slow. Once I got a 500-pound bike with slightly over 100 HP-about 30 years ago-it turned out to be largely the practical limit for me.

    Since then I have had the opportunity to ride many bikes with significantly higher power-to-weight ratios. Except perhaps for long and straight sections of road that are far from populated areas (and cops), I have found the excess power to be unusable, and even frustrating to have. A 5:1 ratio of pounds to HP has been the right mix for three decades, at least for my skill level. I can satisfyingly wring it out without getting in over my head or attracting the law.

    Sport bikes have been “too much of a good thing” for a long time now, even without considering the torturous riding positions and heavy insurance costs.

  41. Grover says:

    1) Initial cost
    2) Insurance rates
    3) Lack of comfort
    4) it’s not a cruiser

  42. dan says:

    My last sports bike was a 1995 ZX6R which I loved, but compared to the new 600s was more like a VFR in terms of more feasible ergonomics. True I’m older and the knees are a bit creakler, but the new sports bikes are to uncomfortable and hard-edged now for commuting and street riding.

  43. Pacer says:

    I think that the bikes have exceeded our expectations. I can remember when an F2 was as nice a streetbike that could be bought. Cutting edge and cool. About six months or so ago I think it was this website comparing a new 650 Honda to an F2. I had an FZR1000. Badass bike. Add the correct slip-on, and she sounded mean. Ride it down a curvy road, and it was exciting and had more in the tank. You could ride all day and only have minor grips about comfort. These bikes are over 20 years old, and could go way too fast and have way too fun. New sportbikes are so over built they bore you at realistic street pace. We now have streetbikes that surpass my old FZR1000 in performance, and still offer comfort, and style. I guess my point is even if i were going to the track I would be looking at 10 year old sportbikes. I can’t make use of the latest and greatest.

  44. Michael H says:

    What is left to improve? As they are, many sportbikes are marginally streetable, and the younger riders who still ride them are at risk of losing their licenses. They aren’t comfortable, they are hard to ride well on potholed streets, etc.

    The sportbikes I see at local bike nights are mostly urban bikes with long swingarms and a lot of bling. The few stock bikes are the low-displacement units. I do see a lot of upright bikes, and the younger riders are now going back to Harleys, usually nicely fixed up 10 year old models,

  45. Syringe says:

    As an owner of an F800GS and a ZX-6R myself, I hope that sportbikes are not on their way out! Especially given the fun I had at the track this past weekend on the ZX-6R.

    However, I teach in a university, and I’m surprised by the number of 20-somethings who do not have driver’s licenses, nor have any interest in vehicles. While my 20 year old stepson does hang out in the garage and help out – as do his friends, I think they are a minority in this generation. Many bury themselves in their electronics, instead. Kind of disheartening – I cannot imagine that as much visceral excitement could ever be had from a handheld device. (Maybe I’m wrong?!)

    But, the benefits of staying more active as you age, and getting away from it all should be a consideration. Carpal tunnel from texting doesn’t count as “active.”

    Sportbikes, racebikes, enduros, standards, etc. – may their niches continue to attract riders and further the sport.

    • zx12rider says:

      My son is like that.. Turned 16 in Jan, and still no permit.. WTF, I would have killed if someone tried to stop me from getting my licence… Guess driving a car in a video game is good enough?? Going to be hard to pick a girl up from the couch…

      • Syringe says:

        Me, too. I thought it was the greatest when my dad let me pilot the bronco across a farm field at age 12. Couldn’t have been a better birthday present in my mind!

        My sister failed her license written exam, and was ridiculed for some time because of it (no studying). One of the aforementioned friends failed last year – shrugged shoulders all around.

  46. TURBOMAN says:

    New Benelli 600cc standard bike 5995.00 coming to USA soon..This will be the best bike for the money with affordable insurance ..It wont be for everyone but this is what seems to be what the new beginner riders are looking for not a 11k sportbike 600..

  47. Fitbar says:

    Most of the opinions here are probably factors. And I wonder for those that are in the market for a performance sports bike migrate to nakeds and UJM, adventure bikes etc because their performance feel on the road is so much closer to sportsbikes nowadays? This increase in alternative and appealing options with the similar thrills has diminished the sportsbikes market – maybe? As you climb the performance curve like sportsbikes have done I expect less of us (me) can benefit from the increase in performance and many of the features get transferred to alternatives that are easier to live with. This is why I have never purchased a pure sportsbike, but I still want one.

    • mickey says:

      Ooh good point. Regular bikes are going and handling nearly as well as pure sports and are way more comfy.

    • TF says:

      Yep, I’ll be the first to admit that I have no use for one whatsoever but I always keep an eye open for a gently used 1198S or even a Panigale. Follow your passion…..choices exist in our world because there is demand, and freedom. Otherwise, you could also make the argument that no one needs a 50+ inch TV screen or a 100+ watt sound system or a car that goes over 70 mph or a 30′ boat, etc. Those are not the necessities you’ll get when someone else (like a government) decides what your needs are versus your wants.

  48. GT says:

    Locally the sportbike enthusiasts are only seen parked at the numerous coffee shops. Their bikes are usually the last to appear on the roads late spring and the first to be stored in the fall. The riders have most recently graduated from a small trail bike or learners Honda.They rarely actually ride them as the roads are too rough and the bent over riding position is too extreme for any distance. These 20 somethings usually don’t have the income in the sour economy to finance the tires and maintenance required so they just pose seeing it as an evening out of the house. In contrast Harleys and their self righteous attitudes are everywhere blasting out of town every weekend wearing their pirate costumes , sporting open pipes. Any UJMs are recycled 80s and 90s uprights that are only ridden 6 times a year. (We have long winters). The Adventure crowd are rare at least locally and are older eccentrics and with an upper middle class income. I think all the Goldwingers gave up and bought Harleys.

    • Rennie says:

      Good point about road conditions. In NorCal the roads are so bad a sportsbiker would need kidney transplant after a season.

  49. Superbiker600 says:

    I’m a Suzuki fan….here’s why I don’t currently own one. In 99, I purchased a hold over brand new 1997 GSXR600….sport bike sales in MT weren’t exactly brisk at that time. That bike had all the high performance aggression, power and handling that I’d come to love from my 95 YZ250. More so, the Suzuki appealed to me in every way aesthetically. It was “love” at first sight…Suzuki made a bike that looked so damned cool, I had to own it. Next time that happened was in 05 with the GSXR-1000. Love at first sight. Then the bike gained weight….any surface that could be made pointy was and the prices started skyrocketing. There isn’t a GSXR since the 2008 GSXR-750 that I have even thought I would like to own….they look terrible and they have gained weight from the mandated exhaust systems….yes I know that is an easy fix but I don’t want a loud ass bike. Now the GSX1000s are out….holy cow, now there is a naked bike and a sport tourer that I would buy in a heart beat and they are under 11,000. Suzuki is working really hard to get my business again even if it isn’t with a full on GSXR.

    • Superbiker600 says:

      Oh and as to the heavier taller American kids…yes I am one of those. 6’2 inches and 275 bombing down highway 12/Lolo Pass on th 97 GSXR was some of the best experiences of my life. I would still right a full on Japanese repli-racer today…but my next bike will need to be as good at commuting as back roads bombing.

  50. mickey says:

    Just an observation that may not mean anything, but I just returned from a trip that started in LA and ended in Seattle. I saw a lot of sport bikes in southern California, they were everywhere and the riders were ATGATT ie serious riders well equipped ( not squids), and as I got further north in California Harleys started showing up in good numbers. Then as I got above Bodega Bay all the way to Seattle it was inundated with big ADV bikes. Mostly GS Beemers, but a surprising ( to me) number of KTMs followed by KLR’s. BTW Highway 1 from Bodega Bay up until 101 is a motorcyclists paradise. One of the top sections of road I have ever been on, and I have ridden all over this country and 5 countries in Europe. Like the Alps/ Dragon/ BRP/Cherohala, only with ocean views. Quite amazing.

  51. zx12rider says:

    Being 6’5″ and loving sportsbikes doesn’t give me a lot of options. I currently own a 2008 Triumph Sprint ST and 2004 Kawi ZZR-1200. If bikes were to get a little bigger and more comfortable while keeping weight in check they would sell a lot more. I’m not into the adventure touring bikes. BMW please update your K1300S, Honda a new Super Blackbird please, and WTH is the VFR1200 monstrosity (I was so looking forward to it until Honda screwed it up)?? Even Triumph killed the Sprint for me with the new GT, and should make both the ST and GT.

  52. Seth says:

    American kids are getting taller, heavier, and many sportsbike models seem cramped, especially the 250s and 300s

  53. gt08 says:

    Manufacturer lack imagination.
    look at this Suzuki special edition for example.
    Why not putting two front light to do a real Commemorative Edition.
    Build the Stratosphere.
    Honda bring back real Interceptor like the 84-85-86 edition. (sport but rideable)
    Yamaha take the FZ-1 and turn it looking like a 85 FZ-750

    Sportbike look like mosquitos today, they have be beautifull to be on a bedroom poster.
    Do tradionnal looking mufler, bring price back, i dont need all the electronic, etc…

  54. Ricardo says:

    I think from the major manufacturers the only one lagging development of new models is Suzuki and Honda. Look at the new Yamaha, Aprilia, Ducati, BMW, Kawasaki (1000CC or close), all of them have come up with new models or regular updates on regular basis. So I think the sport bike business is alive and well, it can get better with lower process though. On the 600 cc arena is a different story, no new models there.

  55. allworld says:

    Sport Bikes are really designed for the track, and not public roads. For a lot of riders, who only have one bike, choosing the right bike for the type of riding they do is a big factor. The rise in popularity of Adventure Style bikes, is generated by it’s “all purpose” abilities. Age, comfort, cost of ownership…… are also major factors (IMO).

  56. Tom Shields says:

    It’s hard to say if the sportbike’s days are over – these things run in cycles. (See what I did there?) I’m sure not seeing the swarms of sportbikes in my area like I used to, and that’s just as well, since many if not most younger sportbike riders give motorcycling a bad name. (<<< My opinion based on personal experience and observation, as a fellow sportbike rider. Don't hate me.)

    Sportbikes sure are spendy now. That's what has kept me on my trusty steed, a 2000 Kawa ZX-12R, since I purchased it new. It's always going to be faster than me, so I guess I'll ride it 'till it expires of old age (or limited parts availability – the most likely outcome since it has yet to break anything at 50,000 miles) and will probably buy another big-bore sportbike to replace it.

    That said, as others have commented sportbikes are not practical but damn they can be fun!

  57. Nobade says:

    They didn’t exist back when I was young enough to enjoy riding them. Now that I’m older and stiffer I can’t deal with the riding position. I’ll stick with my W650, it’s plenty fast anymore and much easier to live with.

  58. PN says:

    They’re just not practical given the current state of America’s roads, too expensive to insure for young riders, and far beyond the capabilities of most of us,

  59. Starmag says:

    I’m sure an F1 car is a blast to drive on a track but I wouldn’t want to drive one on the street. Uncomfortable, impractical, too much temptation to lose your licence, expensive insurance,etc.

    “Supersports” (racebikes) seem to appeal to the same ego center as straight pipe Harleys,that is, look at how bad a$$ I am!

    Also the ‘masochism of youth’ factor. While not all supersports are ridden by youngsters, generally when you are younger you are willing to endure some pain to be perceived as cool by your peer group.

  60. Pete Rasmussen says:

    Ha ha ha they just got tired of the journos not having enough superlatives to describe them. So why bother? Recession has to be a large part of it. When interest rates get around 17 percent again then we will see all sorts!

  61. OK here’s the deal. The problem is, Sportbikes are toys. They are incredable machines. beyond the wildest dreams of my youth when I searched for speed. But they have limited practical value, they are to uncomfortable for trips of any length and you can’t carry anything, so it would have to be a 2nd bike which I would love, but gee the 1000’s burn thru rubber like crazy and with the high insurance it becomes an expensive toy. There are so many good street bikes these days that have so much versatility and performance the need for a pure racebike for the street is just a luxery fewer and fewer people can justify.

  62. stinkywheels says:

    They and all high performance bikes are gonna fade just for the fact if you use them to half their potential your gonna land in jail with no license. Their full potential can only be used on a track (and by very few) and now they figure you need computer intervention to use it there for another price hike. I still like my RC51 and SV1000 more than all the electronic laden bikes.

  63. Patrick says:

    I’m waiting on a supercharged 400 or 600 superbike

  64. rerun says:

    Too many Americans are too tall and fat to ride sportbikes anymore. Kids today are about on average 4 inches taller and about 20lbs heavier than the generation of the 80’s when sportbikes were in their heyday. 30% of the population today are predicted to become diabetic at some point in their lives. Not exactly the sportbike riding types.

    ADV might just be a clever marketing euphemism for modern tall and fat bikes. No said going to get dialysis on a weekly basis is not an adventure unto itself.

    • Auphliam says:

      Oddly enough, that’s probably not far from the truth…and add to that, all the skinny people are into the Retro scene LOL

  65. Alex says:

    Hell, a 2008 Kawasaki ZZR600 is all any man needs, and you can probably pick one up for a song and a dance in 2015. Why spend 10K+ on a new sport bike?

  66. John says:

    Is there a problem with sport bikes not being good enough? The only reason these continue to sell is that the RIDERS aren’t good enough and they’re being crashed daily. No one needs these bikes except for their ego.

  67. beasty says:

    Sportbikes. Zzzzzzzz.

  68. Hugh says:

    SG should go to the Moto Gp website where for a hundred buck subscription he can watch all the Moto GP races live or on time delay on his computer. If he hooks his computer to his TV he can have the best seat in the house for the worlds finest road racing. Its the best hundred bucks I’ve spent all year. Well informed commentary, no ads and brilliant coverage.

    Kind regards

  69. Ron H. says:

    Oh, and notice I don’t have a cruiser. Maybe when I’m 80.

  70. Ron H. says:

    I’m 62 and have a ’99 Honda CR250 for the track, a 2009 Husaberg FE450 for the trails, a 1979 BMW R100RT for the road, a 2000 Suzuki Hayabusa for the fun of it and I ride my son’s 2009 Yamaha R1 in the canyons here in Colorado. But I’m a motorcycle guy.

    • Blackcayman says:

      Old Guys Rule!

    • TF says:

      “a 2000 Suzuki Hayabusa for the fun of it”

      No need to qualify……why else would anyone own a Hayabusa? LOL!

      I know and occasional hang with some older gentlemen (I am 53) who own some pretty awesome hi-perf machinery, because they can and because it’s fun. That’s the only justification they need to supply.

  71. NimbleAlmond says:

    I think modern 1000’s are excellent value for money if that is what you want as I can buy one now for less than I paid brand new in 2004. Perhaps different in USA but I don’t think it is price that is keeping people away.

    I believe enforcement is part of the problem. I have owned many Japanese 1000 sportbikes over 20 years of riding but I find them somewhat pointless now. In Australia at least we now face higher probability of being caught and more serious consequences for exploring the potential of our bikes. It is true that any capacity bike can exceed the speed limit but speed and acceleration are two of the main drawcards of these larger sportsbikes.

    Personally I now prefer a 600 as I find the power is more accessible and the ride is ultimately more satisfying. On a 1000 with the very tall gearing of modern bikes I find myself rarely exceeding 6000rpm and probably only utilising around 100hp anyway!
    What stops me from purchasing a new 600 is the lack of innovation. With the exception of MV Agusta, they are really not so different to what they were 8 years ago so I may as well stick to what I have. Most still don’t have a fuel gauge – what century are we living in!

  72. nillor says:

    I am a older rider now. After years of riding sportbikes, which I still love, the manufactures have basically priced them selves out of the market. For most a sportbike is for entertainment, relaxation and fun but there is a line that has been crossed in price that exceeds what I am willing to spend on one regularly. I have 3 bikes of different types and can afford to buy a sportbike but not willing to at the price they have reached. So i keep an older one now instead of a new one every of couple of years. TO many other things I enjoy doing and you have to set limits. I do not like the tiny bikes that have pushed to market. Not for the US market. It is a waste. They need to address the pricing to regain better sales. They are getting greedy. Does not work for the consumer. Between the bike and insurance cost it has gotten out of hand.

  73. CB says:

    There are so many bike segments and models these days that no one segment is going to kill it. At50, I’ve always preferred sport bikes with good motors, brakes and suspension. Now the naked bikes have all of that so if you ride 80% on the road and 20% on the track, I’m going to take my street triple R any day.
    The new sport bike prices are hard to swallow and with insurance in FL costing more than the bike payment, forget it.
    If they fixed that issue, they could sell more.

  74. azi says:

    I consider insurance premiums, not the sportbikes themselves, to be a major barrier.

    • Roadrash says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m a middle-aged guy, with a perfect driving record and no claims. Insurance is fairly expensive for me, but when younger riders are faced with the prospect of paying more for insurance than the monthly bike payment, well…’s just a deal breaker for most of them. I’ve seen many bike shops not even selling sport bikes anymore because of it. I’ve had dealers point to a two year old bike, sitting unsold on the showroom floor and tell me they sold it a dozen times until the kid got an insurance quote.

      • MGNorge says:

        It’s the old problem of the few spoiling it for the whole. If sportbikes, and perhaps the stunting craze, didn’t attract the crazies among us, the ones who ride respectfully of their surroundings could enjoy riding and owning them with reasonable insurance rates.

      • Dale says:

        Agree. And this even filters down into the Sport Touring ranks when it comes to insurance. I just bought a new Norge – full coverage including $300K uninsured motorist and $10K medical (for the helicopter when needed) for under $500 yr. Almost got the new Ninja 1000 with hard bags, but over $1200 yr. since it has the word “Ninja” attached. I’m 58 years old – how would a 21 year old be able to handle the insurance on a true sport bike, much less a fast sport touring bike?

        • Blackcayman says:

          Damm those Kwackers….

          The target audience for that bike DOESN’T want the Ninja name… To bite the bullet and get it anyway to THEN be hit with high insurance because of it really would be insult to injury.

  75. Butch says:

    “Older riders, it seems, have largely abandoned sport bikes in favor of more comfortable, upright mounts”.
    “The younger generation also has a growing interest in more traditional, upright motorcycles”.

    That pretty much sums it up.

    Kawasaki should bring over the W800 and make another stab at it.

  76. Dave Turboman says:

    I have the answer!

    The price of motorcycles went up 10% per year for a good 3 years from 2010-2013 as the Yen rose against the dollar from 2009-2012. Now we’re seeing waning interest as the top level sportbikes continue to rise in price even though the Yen has falled precipitously compared to the dollar to before 2008 levels. Combine that with the newest crop of value bikes like the FR-09, FZ09, FJ09, 390 Duke, etc and some of the new Hondas that are being built in Thailand and the price gap is separating between the value bikes and the top line Jap sportbikes.

    But as to why they aren’t being redesigned so frequently is you take the financial aspect out of the equation, I believe it is because bikes have become so advanced that they actually have to be limited. There’s less room or even need for improvement.

    Anyway, I miss seeing the bi-yearly progression of sportbikes, but it seems to be the new norm. I’d like to see the prices of the bikes actually drop due to lower development costs and falling yen, but it seems that they’re banking that money and using it to develop cheap models of motorcycles. I suppose it is all good. =)

  77. FNFAL says:

    Until Google makes a self-driving bike, the millenials won’t be on-board. And in the mean time, virtual reality bikes are so much easier to drive….;)

    • Colors says:

      I’ll second that and with the obligatory disclaimer that “not all” millennials care only about their i phone and social media, the vast majority of college and high schoolers I run into are completely disinterested in mechanized anything. They want electronic, self correcting, no effort everything. Most often not impressed in any fashion with things that move and care little for anything that isn’t completely superficial. We don’t see sport bikes cause these damn kids don’t wanna go fast anymore. Now, GET OFF OF MY LAWN! (shaking my cane above my 32 year old geriatric head.)

      • FNFAL says:

        Well said. Case in point – my last visit to the IL Railway Museum showed great examples of American ingenuity and might rusting with a dearth of volunteers to restore them to their former glory. In my youthful days (70’s 80’s) there was a waiting list to offer your services to the museum. Sad really. But now our might is in the digital realm I guess. The days of the US building things like the old school Hoover dam are behind us now.

        I would guess not just sport bikes but all bikes might suffer lower sales as we go forward, at least in developed nations.

        • Dave says:

          The European makes are still developing and investing in premium bikes and they’re not doing it for the US market. Look at Europe and see that the foundation of the 2-wheel motorized landscape is… scooters. And that’s where we’re hopefully going. If light 2-wheel transport gets a strong foothold in the US, it’ll bring back the rest of the market with it.

      • rerun says:

        “the vast majority of college and high schoolers I run into are completely disinterested in mechanized anything.”

        Are you sure this is not cause you live in a nice neighborhood and are meeting kids who are getting good grades and taking their school work seriously? Go to a bad neighborhood or meet more kids with bad grades who don’t give a crap about high school or college and who have no chance or ambition to work for Google, and I think you will find that the young are still interested in mechanized stuff.

        Of course, they are also too poor to buy any of it, but they are still interested. Wealth, privilege, and studying too much and becoming an egg head before your time tends to cause people to become a bit too artificial and technical – nerds. Remember the very first instances of Autism were among the children of the educated and the upper class, particularly the geeky, mathematical types who preferred to read books on Physics rather than go and ride a bike and test the limits of Physics firsthand.

        32 is still the millennial generation. The only reason why you probably still like to ride bikes is probably cause you made bad grades and weren’t very bright in school. You were one of the dumb ones.

  78. Rocky V says:

    Who wants a bike that goes 100 in first gear — they should at least have a street version of these bikes- with more uprite riding and better trans -ratio’s

    A Yamaha 09 type bike with a full 1000cc’s and the option for better shocks / fork from the dealer would shut down most sport bike sales

  79. rapier says:

    They were a fashion craze as much as anything. Even the modestly self aware understand that without some self control they can get you in huge trouble. Then too the little self control crowd, teens and young adults, don’t have the money. There are many other stupid fast bikes to be had that are more practical so why settle for a single purpose ride?

  80. carl says:

    Nope done, majority of riders are now around 50 and there sportbikes days are pretty much done.

  81. EZMark says:

    What’s the point of a sport bike nowadays?
    In my state of Illinois, if you get caught going 50mph over the speed limit, it’s an automatic reckless driving ticket complete with a year suspension of your license and thousands of dollars in fines.

  82. ivan says:

    For me it is not so much the price as a problem. Lots of bikes cost more than even liter bikes. Sportbikes have become too specialized. Too uncomfortable to ride. Takes concentration and focus to keep them anywhere near legal speeds. Insurance is prohibitive. Unless you can do track days what is the point?

  83. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I used to ride race reps (sport bikes), but, I got older and basically lost my taste for them.
    This was helped along somewhat when the price of a literbike broke $14,000, and a 600 passed ten grand.

    These days, my FZ-07 does it for me.
    That bike is a lot of fun.

    Watching road racing in the USA?
    Well, I USED to enjoy watching the Daytona 200…

  84. Sean says:

    As long as a sports bike costing 12-20K is as fast or faster than the supercars of the day, there will be strong demand.

  85. Dave says:

    When sport bikes were strong sellers they were less expensive and sold to young men. Today most young men don’t have the $$ for a $12k+ bike.

  86. Lisa G says:

    Checking the insurance rates on S1000R, S1000XR, R1, Tuono are enougn for me to be happy with a FJ-09… which I haven’t bought yet.

  87. SG says:

    Im in my mid 30s and sport bikes are my preference but I cant afford the price tag that goes along with them. I only paid $14,000 for my car and unfortunately I dont have $10k+ to put toward a new bike.
    I also would love more motorcycle road racing coverage in the U.S. (Only sport I like to watch) but the cost of cable or satellite packages that carry motorcycle racing is $100 or more a month uugh!!
    Its a loose loose situation.

  88. JackLange says:

    Yes! I am 63 and enjoy riding both my Ducati S2R1000 and Monster 1200 on back roads almost daily.
    My next bike is likely to be a Triumph Daytona 675 or Suzuki GSXR600. I would like a light, lean, responsive
    supersport as a means to feel connected to the riding experience.

    • Yoyodyne says:

      +1, I’m 60 and just picked up a mint-condition CBR600 F4i this spring. It is an absolute blast to ride in the twisties out in the countryside. No cruisers for this geezer!

  89. Tank says:

    I just don’t see how much fun it is to ride a larger sport bike at legal speeds. I do like the R3, but would rather have a TMax (too bad I can’t afford one).

  90. TF says:

    Is the naked bike the new sport bike?

    • Aussie M says:

      Supermotards and hypermotards are the new sports bikes. They are light, agile, quick and the most fun you can ever have on wheels. You don’t need a race track to enjoy them because they work well in the real world.

  91. jsmith778 says:

    Sport bikes are too pricy now a days. 12 to 13 grand for a 600cc sportbike? No thanks!

    I don’t get the adventurer touring stuff either. If I want to ride off road I will ride a proper bike. I don’t want the heavy over priced bmw or other POS.

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