The sight of a beautiful stretch of road calls out to motorcyclists of all types. But when you're just starting out, how do you know where you fit into the two-wheeled world?
It's a lot like falling in love: Sometimes you know right away, and sometimes you need to work your way through a few bikes before you find that one true two-wheeled love . (And maybe you just like playing the field, and you'll never stop either stuffing more bikes in your garage or selling your old ones to buy new ones you haven't ridden yet. You do you. ? All we can say is that usually your motorcycle won't kick all your stuff to the curb when it gets mad at you.)
YOU PREFER CROUCHING TO RECLINING
Image: USAF/R.J. Oriez
While individual riding positions differ between models and setups, in general all sportbikes put riders in more aggressive riding positions. Your foot controls won't be far forward, but you'll probably be leaning your upper body down over the tank more to reach the throttle and hand controls.
Some motorcyclists look at a position like that of the rider above and think it looks like something they'd like. Others prefer a more relaxed stance. If you're the former, you should probably think about a sportbike.
NOTHING IS MORE APPEALING THAN NAILING A PERFECT CORNER
Image: Maverick Octane
Going fast in a straight line is all well and good, but in your opinion, everyone knows the true test of skill is how well you can take a corner. Bonus points for dragging knee, and extra bonus points for dragging elbow (although you should definitely keep that kind of thing on the track, not the street).
If this sounds like you, you should definitely get your butt on a sportbike. Or off it, if you're trying to keep your cornering skills ?.
YOU CAN'T STAND SLOW VEHICLES, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE OTHER MOTORCYCLES
No matter what you're doing, you have to do it FAST. Grocery store? ON MISSION, IN AND OUT. There's no time for meandering, and if you're driving, you yell out the window long and loud at anyone parked in the left lane on a highway and doing even 5 under the posted speed limit.
Naturally, if you get on a motorcycle, your speed tendencies will be stoked. Even if you don't live somewhere that lane splitting (also called lane filtering) is legal, you may find yourself itching to do it, just so you can get ahead of slower traffic.
YOU WANNA BE STUNTING MORE THAN ANYTHING
Maybe you just want to pop an occasional wheelie (please do so responsibly, not while doing 110 and lanesplitting down the 101), or maybe you want to go further and learn how to do crazy tricks and launch an all-out stunt career.
Either way, relatively low weight + power + decent tires/brakes are necessities. Sure, it's technically possible to do a wheelie with a big, heavy bagger, but a) it's harder, and b) you're gonna cry when you scrape that paint (and even more if you drop it and mess up your chrome).
You'll need more than just a standard model of any sportbike if you're truly serious about stunting, but that's what mods are for!
THE MODS YOU TEND TO DREAM ABOUT ARE PERFORMANCE MODS
Most sportbike riders value performance over cosmetics. While it's true that both things are important to all motorcyclists (who wants to ride an ugly bike, unless it's at a track day so you don't care if you drop it?), sportbike riders tend to prioritize performance over things like pinstriping.
In practice, that means that braided stainless steel brake lines that improve your stock brake responsiveness and feel (until and unless you plan on completely upgrading your entire braking system, of course) are more important to you than shiny, spike-shaped chrome footpegs.
If that sounds like you, welcome to the international sportbike tribe. Let's gas up and go!