If you have been around motorcycles for any time or are currently a rider, I’m sure some of the following will ring true. If not, please pass this on to your riding buddies anyway; they’ll appreciate it. After all, motorcyclists tend to be an opinionated bunch who like their bikes ‘just so.’ Most of the commentary below is aimed at naked bikes, but it also applies to adventure-tourers, sport-tourers, and dual sports – in fact, any bike with a fairing, you can find at any exclusive motorcycle dealership, like at MV Agusta, for example.
They are much easier to ‘ride in comfort’
Most motorcycles have a seat that’s at least an inch above the engine. This means that the rider’s legs are twisted around a lump of metal and their pelvises are bunched up by an inch or more, just to get comfortable. The only way to achieve any kind of comfort is to adopt a position similar to what you’d expect from intensive care patients who have been propped up in bed for too long.
Most naked bikes have the rider sitting much lower, his/her knees bent over the front of the tank or engine, exactly how it should be for proper control and comfort.
The seating position gives a better view ahead
With most sports bikes, you are hunched up behind your fairing, trying to peer through the gap between your handlebars and fairing. You can’t see very much, so you keep your head in a constant swivel looking for traffic coming up behind you. With a naked bike, your body is about an inch above the front wheel, and although you still can’t really see what’s coming (after all, that’s what the mirrors are for) the view ahead is much clearer. You might even see that pesky car trying to squeeze between you and the rider in front of you, just as it tries to run up your backside.
Naked bikes handle better
Most sports bikes have clip-on handlebars which place your hands in front of your shoulders. This makes you lean forward and twist your back instead of leaning into the corner like a real motorcyclist does (at least when they’re riding well). With a naked bike, your weight is spread over the bike and you only have to lean a little bit to get it turning. You can actually stay on top of the bike instead of being perched above it, so steering becomes automatic.
Naked bikes are cheaper
Let’s face facts here – most learner riders simply can’t afford a sports bike, and even if they could, no self-respecting insurance company is going to insure them. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to ride motorcycles; it just means we need to make something affordable for them. Most naked bikes cost far less than their fairing-clad counterparts, making them a lot more affordable as a second or third bike. You also have far less to insure, so your insurance will be cheaper too.
Naked bikes are easier to work on
The days of stripping down an engine and rebuilding it in your back garden are long gone for most riders, but if you own a sports bike you don’t have much choice. There simply isn’t enough room in most modern sports bikes to work on them, so when something goes wrong, it’s off to the mechanic with it. Naked bikes are usually simpler than their fairing cousins, so there is more room for your sausage fingers, and even if something does go wrong, you probably won’t need to take it to a mechanic. You can fix it yourself, and if you’re not capable of doing that, your friends probably are.
Naked bikes go better in the rain
The thought of riding a sports bike in the wet fills most people with fear and dread, so they simply won’t do it. The sports bike will slide around all over the place, and you’ll spend most of your time applying the brakes and hoping for the best. Naked bikes don’t have any bodywork to speak of, so they’re just as happy in a downpour as they are on a sunny day. In fact, because you’re lower down on the bike, you’ll probably stay drier too, and if it does rain, then no one is going to see you coming anyway.
Naked bikes go faster
The thing is, the difference in speed boils down to a few mph on a fast bike. It doesn’t take long before you’re going past that anyway and if you really need more speed, get a sports bike or an R1 or something, but for most situations, a naked bike will do the job nicely. Most naked bikes are faster than sports bikes because they have less weight to carry around. They also have smaller engines, which means the power has less distance to travel between being used and being wasted as heat.
Naked bikes are comfier
There is one thing you can do on a sports bike that you can’t do on a naked bike, and that’s put your feet down. Not everyone has the flexibility of The Hulk so riding with your legs tucked under you all the time isn’t always an option. It is possible to buy aftermarket accessory feet that go on some sports bikes, but this usually involves taking off the bodywork and it’s only really worth doing on track bikes. On a naked bike, you’ve got nice wide foot-pegs that are easy to plant your feet on when you stop, so even short legs will have no problem putting their feet down.
Naked bikes are easier to park
If you live in a city, you probably know how hard it can be to park your bike. You need parking permits or motorbike garages and even then there’s no guarantee that your pride and joy will come back untouched by thieves. Naked bikes don’t have bodywork which gets in the way when you’re parking them, so they’re easier to manouvre into tight spots and if they do get nicked then at least they’ll look like every other old banger out there.
Naked bikes are better for dating
There is nothing worse than being on a date when all she wants to do is snog your face off, only to have her hand get stuck in your helmet strap or accidentally be squished between you and the bike.
Not only are naked bikes easier to ride, they’re also much more pleasant to snog on. No awkward straps, no cold hard tank-slappers trying to ruin the mood, how could you not want one?