Lightweight sports bikes have become increasingly popular in recent years. A combination of new A2 licencing laws, high demand in Asian countries and some new supersport racing series has seen a succession of new models and an increased interest in the category from consumers and manufacturers alike.
So if you’re in the market for some sporty new wheels but are restricted to an A2 licence, here are five of the best currently on the market…
Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki’s Ninja brand has become synonymous with sports bikes since being introduced on the iconic GPZ900R in 1984.
In recent years, the Ninja name has been applied to an even wider range of models, from the mighty ZX-14R to the new-for-2019 Ninja 125. Ninja models have also been the bikes to beat in production racing. Jonathan Rea has dominated world superbikes on his ZX-10R Ninja, while Kenan Sofuoglu ruled the supersport class on his ZX-6R. The Ninja 400 has also gained its world title credentials, when Ana Carrasco won the 2018 World SSP300 championship, on one.
Despite its track successes, the Ninja 400 remains an excellent road bike with its easy ergonomics and a twin-cylinder motor that’s more tractable than you would expect it to be.
While the competition have generally upped the size of their engines to unlock more performance in recent years, Yamaha has retained the R3’s 321cc capacity but added a bunch of high-end technology to keep it’s mini-sportster at the head of the class.
This year’s R3 gets aerodynamic new bodywork inspired by Yamaha’s MotoGP bikes and good quality upside down suspension for 2019 – making it one of the sportiest looking bikes in the class.
Yamaha has been one of the big players in the new Supersport 300 racing class over the last two years with the R3, and the company also makes a GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing) kit to transform the machine from an A2 licence road bike to a racer capable of winning in World SSP300. When it comes to race track credentials, this is the class king!
Honda’s popular CB500 range has been developed specifically to fit in with the European A2 licence regulations. The range consists of three models: the adventure style CB500X, the CB500F streetfighter and this, the sporty CBR500R.
All three models share the same 471cc parallel twin motor, which puts out the class limit 35kW/47bhp. The frame and running gear are more basic than the flashier models from Kawasaki and Yamaha, but as a day-to-day ride the Honda is a fantastic proposition with its smooth power delivery and bigger bike feel.
With the CBR500R’s bodywork closely mirroring that of the bigger, four-cylinder, CBR650R, it’s most grown up of our sporty A2 collection.
KTM RC 390
KTM were one of the first brands to buy into the concept of small sports bikes when they first launched the RC in 2014.
With KTM’s motto of ‘Ready to Race’ the RC 390 is unsurprisingly one of the sportiest bikes in class. It’s the only single cylinder bike in the category, but the 44bhp, 373cc, motor has plenty of punch to it.
The RC 390 was a fairly common sight on race tracks as the control bike for the KTM RC 390 Cup, before the other manufacturers joined the party and the multi-brand Supersport 300 series was created.
The trellis frame, WP suspension and Brembo brakes give the KTM a premium feel and, make for a motorcycle with sharp handling. As a road bike, it’s arguably the least practical model here but when it comes to grin factor it easily provides ten out of ten.
Suzuki have so far resisted building a bike for the supersporty A2 category, but for new riders looking for an inexpensive new bike with a fairing and some sporting credentials, the GSX250R may well tick the boxes.
Marketed as ‘the everyday sportsbike’ the GSX shares its 25bhp, 248cc parallel-twin engine with the V-Strom 250 adventure bike and is an easy to ride and handsome all-rounder.
Over £1000 less than most of the others in the class, and comes with the option of a MotoGP replica paint scheme, which gives the GSX250R a racy look in line with the famous GSX-R1000 superbike.
Do you have a number of bikes like the ones above? why not check out our Multibike insurance.