We all lust after motorcycles with a fairing, because Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez ride one for their day jobs. However, not many of us have the physical fitness of a MotoGP rider, nor do we have access to a racetrack as often. We have to settle for a sport bike that isn’t as aggressive and that can let us handle the commute as well as the open road with equanimity. Here, then, are the top six comfortable sportbikes one can buy in the Indian market today.
1. Honda CBR250R
Honda saw the popularity of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R and knew that a fully-faired but affordable bike would be a hit with most of the world, from beginner riders in developed markets to intermediate riders in markets like ours. Ergo the CBR250R, with its full fairing and yet relaxed ergonomics mated to a 25bhp liquid-cooled single-cylinder motor and six-speed gearbox. If you want mile munching on a budget, you can’t do much better than this.
2. Kawasaki Ninja 650
It wasn’t too long ago that a 600cc fully-faired machine meant a hyper-aggressive track tool with a specific output that would put a litre-class sportbike to shame, but things have moved on from there. The Ninja 650’s power output is modest, at 67bhp, but it has useable power and the motor’s power delivery lets you use it without fear of it biting back.
3. Kawasaki Ninja 1000
The Ninja 1000 isn’t the same as the ZX-10R. It is, in fact, a fully faired Z1000. It now has a full suite of electronics, and that allows the rider to use the 140bhp available to him with confidence, no matter the conditions. It also has a lot of touring-related accessories available, which coupled with the value for money pricing make it one of the best choices for a sportbike, period.
4. Ducati Supersport
‘Ducati’ isn’t a name usually synonymous with ‘comfort’, but the Supersport tries to bridge the gap between its supersport machines and streetbikes. With a relatively upright seating position and a twin cylinder motor that is derived from the streetbikes and therefore relaxed, offering 110bhp, the Supersport is the Italian brand’s sport-touring offering.
5. Suzuki GSX-S1000F
The GSX-S1000F is an old GSX-R1000 that has been tuned more for the street than the track. However, that doesn’t mean it is dumbed down; sure, the motor is far more tractable than a supersport 1000 four-pot, and the power figure is lower at 144bhp, but it still retains most of the sharp handling of a track tool without the nervousness that usually accompanies it. If you like your touring machine to be sharp when it comes to the corners, the GSX-SF is your best bet.
6. Suzuki Hayabusa
We all know why the name is a household word, and it isn’t because it is a good tourer. However, the ‘Bus really does have a side to it that allows you to ride it all day long in comfort. That large, tractable engine that is capable of hurtling you down the road and right through the pearly gates also lets you leave it in a high gear for as long as you want at low revs without complaining. There’s something to be said about having nearly 200bhp available at your right wrist – it can be intoxicating. Look closely, and the large, wide seat, the non-aggressive seating posture, the bungee points... they all point to the Hayabusa being more than just a top-speed machine.