• HONDA CBR300R MSRP: $4,699
  • KTM RC 390 MSRP: $4,999
  • SUZUKI GSX 250R MSRP: $4,899
  • YAMAHA YZF-R3 MSRP: $5,299
  • HYOSUNG GD250R MSRP: $ 4,099
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 400 MSRP: $4,999

If you want to look fast while you still learn the tricks, these machines could be your pick

Starting with a sportsbike as your first might seem off-putting. Still, with technology and the manufacturers’ ability to make bikes as user-friendly as possible, it might just be the right entry for your motorcycling adventures. They are sleek with aerodynamic bodywork, top-spec suspension and braking setups, and ride with aggressive riding positions.

There are plenty of affordable bikes out there for every skill level matching the size of small wallets. These are our recommendations for young riders itching to feel the wind in the most stylish and flashy manner. And occasionally maybe want to drop a knee on a racetrack or zoom around your local canyon road.

Honda CBR300R

Top Speed Top Six Sportsbikes to consider for beginners
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MSRP: $4,699

This machine is Honda’s way of showing that always big isn’t better. This baby sports machine from Japan has the aggressiveness and the looks to keep things flashy enough and is a stepping stone on your way up the displacement ladder. Powering it will be a liquid-cooled, 286cc, single-cylinder engine bolted onto the tubular pressed-steel frame.

The CBR300R, although it comes in as entry points to the motorcycling segments, they do however get kitted up with high specification 37mm forks, twin-piston-and-anvil front brake calipers and several other features more usually found on much larger machines such as LCD instrument display, and twin-channel ABS. It will be priced at $4,699 MSRP, with a $300 premium for those who like the notion of ABS.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Top Speed Top Six Sportsbikes to consider for beginners Exterior
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MSRP: $4,999

This ninja 400 replaced the Ninja 300 as the brand’s entry-level sportsbike when launched, having greater performance, better-structured chassis, better features, more rider aids, and top-quality fit and finish. It is also 17 lbs lighter. It carries styling influences of the chin spoilers and the tail cowl from the mighty Ninja H2 along with the swingarm mounting plate and the lightweight steel trellis frame.

The newly built 399cc powerplant will pump out 45 hp of peak power compared to the 38 hp from the Ninja 300. It gets a new Assist & Slipper clutch for effortless gear shifts, and aggressive downshifts without the rear wheel chatter. The 41mm forks replace the 37mms’ used on the previous editions and are there to give the rider precise feel and action. The bike comes equipped with the latest ABS unit from Nissin, clamping down on a 310mm semi-floating disc (the largest in its class). MSRP: $4,999.

Yamaha YZF-R3

Top Speed Top Six Sportsbikes to consider for beginners Exterior
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MSRP: $5,299

The new YZF-R3 is a light and practical everyday useable motorcycle. The R3 too looks similar to the R25, and its styling has been heavily borrowed from its elder brother, the mighty YZF-R1.

Powered by a 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, four valves 321 cc engine, this motorcycle produces about 42 bhp of peak power and 20 lb-ft of torque. A set of 41 mm, KYB front forks provides a plush ride with monoshock on the swingarm. A two-pot, piston-and-anvil caliper bites a single, 298 mm front disc, and a one-pot caliper binds the 220 mm rear disc. MSRP: $5,299.

Suzuki GSX 250R

Top Speed Top Six Sportsbikes to consider for beginners Exterior
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MSRP: $4,899

Bringing the satisfaction of Suzuki’s sportbike heritage to a broader audience, the GSX 250R introduces fun and reliability to new riders. A cyclops headlight leads the way at the peak of the beak below the cut-down flyscreen. Short, clip-on bars and jockey-mount footpegs force the rider into an aggressive riding position.

Suzuki powers the GSX250R with a 248cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine that makes 25 horses and claims 17.3 pounds of grunt. Tubular steel members make up the semi-double-cradle frame that comes set up to resist the forces. RWU KYB front forks likewise do the job, while at the rear, a monoshock handles business well. Petal-cut discs work with the calipers to slow the wheels with ABS coming in as an option. MSRP: $4,899.

KTM RC 390

Top Speed Top Six Sportsbikes to consider for beginners Exterior
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KTM RC 390
MSRP: $4,999
Source: photographer: A. Barbanti, Image Source: ktm.com

It’s been seven years since KTM introduced the Duke and RC series, and since their launch, they’ve sold like hotcakes. It inevitably attracted all the attention because of its aggressive new sharper styling and plenty of exciting features. There is hardly any fault regarding the overall packaging of KTM with their RC for its approach towards performance-oriented segments of motorcycles. Dual headlights lead the way from their recesses at the entry of the front fairing.

The RC 390 will continue with the same 373cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine which is capable of producing about 44 hp and 26.5 lb-ft of torque. A new ride-by-wire system ensured excellent throttle response and smoother acceleration. It borrows the adjustable brake & clutch levers to suit every individual’s tastes. At the front, the RC comes fitted with open cartridge adjustable 43mm inverted hydraulic telescopic forks. In contrast, at the rear, it comes with a fully adjustable hydraulic mono-shock with a rear aluminum swingarm, both of which are sourced from WP. The pads are now sintered, and at the front, the bike gets a 320 mm disc and a 230 mm unit at the rear, Brembo units, by the way. The ABS is made by Bosch and is switchable. MSRP: $4,999.

Hyosung GD250R

Top Speed Top Six Sportsbikes to consider for beginners Exterior
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MSRP: $ 4,099

The launch of this GD250R is like a breather for the poor performing Hyosung in the country. It looks like many liter-class bikes and runs a refined and raunchy engine. The sharp and aggressive lines carry the motorcycle’s features really well. LED lights and LCD instrumentation keeps things fresh. A 250cc single-cylinder, water-cooled engine with electronic fuel injection provides improved fuel efficiency while it punches a healthy 28.4 hp and 17.8 lb-ft torque.

Given the sporty figure of this motorcycle, you get wide clip-on handlebars for that sport riding position with a bend recess. 37mm USD Telescopic forks handle suspension duties at the front and a pre-load adjustable dual side aluminum swingarm with a gas-charged hydraulic shock absorber at the rear. High-efficiency steel braided brake lines are made use for constant, efficient braking performances. Four-piston caliper with 300 mm and twin caliper 230 mm petal disc brakes are installed on both the front and rear for adequate control and greater stopping power. ABS is missing on this motorcycle. MSRP: $ 4,099.

Sagar Patil
Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read full bio
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