Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders? Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.
A sportbike, or sports bike, is a motorcycle optimized for speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering on paved roads, typically at the expense of comfort and fuel economy by comparison with other motorcycles. Soichiro Honda wrote in the owner's manual of the 1959 Honda CB92 Benly Super Sport that, "Primarily, essentials of the motorcycle consists in the speed and the thrill," while Cycle World's Kevin Cameron says more prosaically that, "A sportbike is a motorcycle whose enjoyment consists mainly from its ability to perform on all types of paved highway – its cornering ability, its handling, its thrilling acceleration and braking power, even (dare I say it?) its speed."
Motorcycles are versatile and may be put to many uses as the rider sees fit. In the past there were few if any specialized types of motorcycles, but the number of types and sub-types has proliferated, particularly in the period since the 1950s. The introduction of the Honda CB750 in 1969 marked a dramatic increase in the power and speed of practical and affordable sport bikes available to the general public.
This was followed in the 1970s by improvements in suspension and braking commensurate with the power of the large inline fours that had begun to dominate the sport bike world. In the 1980s sport bikes again took a leap ahead, becoming almost indistinguishable from racing motorcycles. Since the 1990s sport bikes have become more diverse, adding new variations like the naked bike and streetfighter to the more familiar road racing style of sport bike.