Our selection of motorcycle travel literature
- 29 January 2021
The current conditions are still not optimal for motorbike riding (that’s quite an understatement). And some of you may have dropped their…Read More
In a previous article (here), we proved to you by A + B that trail motorcycles were the best bikes out there.
In this article, always subjective objective, we will show you that roadsters are the only motorcycles you should have in your garage. We will review the main arguments that speak in favour of naked bike and tell you why roadsters are the best road bikes.
Also known under the name “naked bike”, a roadster is a motorcycle, halfway between a sport and a touring bike, which is characterized above all by its absence of fairing. Thanks to their minimalist architecture (roughly an engine and a chassis) the roadsters are manoeuvrable, light and offer strong sensations.
However, this lack of fairing also means exposing the rider to inclement weather as well as air pressure, which ultimately increases the sensations.
And while roadsters aren’t designed to be comfortable, they do offer some versatility for sporting to (peri) urban use, depending on their build, of course.
Note that some manufacturers offer semi-faired versions of their roadster (eg Suzuki Bandit 600s) and that the equipment manufacturers have developed a series of accessories to compensate for certain shortcomings: comfort saddle, windshield, etc..
The roadster is, in our eyes, the ultimate motorcycle by definition. And the heart/soul of the beast, namely the engine, is on display for all to see. In short, there are no frills, and manufacturers must perfect every detail, since they cannot hide them behind a fairing. And so, they invest a lot in the design, in order to stand out.
Triumph with its neo-retro models (Thruxton for example) or BMW with its R-NineT surf for example. on nostalgia for the past. Whilst we have the feeling, that Kawasaki come straight from Japanese Manga with their futuristic designs.
In addition, roadster owners like to customize their bike to their liking, and often invest considerable money to make their bike unique.
First, a choice of engine architecture: Twin, 3 or 4 cylinders, there is something for (almost) every need. Whether you’re looking for low-end torque, or higher revs, you’ll find what you’re looking for. On some models (BMW S1000R, Yamaha MT-10, etc.), the manufacturers take neither more nor less than the engines of their supersport bikes, that they adapt to make them a (little) more civilized. It is therefore no longer rare to find roadsters exceeding 200 hp (Ducati Streetfighter V4 for example).
The arrival of the electric motorcycle also marks the emergence of the first electric roadsters, which have a hell of a look.
Then, as mentioned before, there is a large choice of design. Whether you like ultra-modern, sporty, or more vintage designs, you’ll be spoiled for choice:
In short, a biker looking for a roadster will certainly find what he is looking for.
A mid-size roadster, let’s say the Yam MT07 is the perfect bike to begin with and improve. It is not for nothing that it has been the best-selling motorcycle in Switzerland for several years. Lightweight, manoeuvrable and equipped with a torquey twin cylinder, you are equipped to take on the Gymkana, learn the basics of positioning in curves, etc. And thanks to the riding position (a little) more upright than on a sports bike, your arms will no longer be aching after 300km.
And, once your license is in your pocket, and with a little practice, you can switch to a bigger engine, which will allow you to further develop your skills and progress.
Thanks to technological innovations (often inherited from competition) and other driving aids, sports roadsters offer performance (almost) worthy of sports bike with relative safety (curve ABS, anti-wheeling, traction control, shifter, etc.). In short, the roadster is the sports bike built for the road.
In addition, some mid-size roadsters find their place perfectly on a race track. We will cite for example. the Triumph Street Triple RS which often comes to tickle equivalent sports bike (Yamaha R6 for example) on their favorite playground.
Does a roadster cost less to buy than a (super) sports one? It is not possible to answer this question without nuance! Indeed, many parameters come into play: what type of roadster (engine size), what brand, etc.
But as an indication, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 starts at 20’995 CHF (without options), when its (big) sister, the Panigale V4, starts at 24’890 CHF. Which doesn’t make a huge difference, considering the level of performance these two monsters boast (they share the same DNA and engine). But yes, a roadster often costs a little less to buy.
So are there any flaws ?
So a roadster is really the best road bike I can have in my garage? Because, a roadster is ultimately not as efficient as a (super) sporty, and not as comfortable as a trail or a GT. So in the end, it does the job halfway? It’s one way of looking at it. But not everyone can own two motorcycles. And the roadster is a way of having a bit of both, performance and a look that will make people envious.
Furthermore, if you plan to go on long(er) road trips, you might consider choosing a different bike (trail or GT) or rent one on Cruizador :- )! It is certainly not impossible. The writer of this article did several 1500 km wild camping style road trips with a roadster, equipped with soft saddlebags. But frankly, this is not the handiest, as it takes time every morning to tie up the material on the bike, and if you have a sustained riding style (let’s put it this way), you will notice the mass transfer when you break or accelerate.
Then, you have to count with slightly higher ownership costs. We told you in the article on the trails that they were a little more economical in use, especially in terms of consumables. Here it will also be wise to nuance a bit, given the use and type of riding. However, roadsters tend to:
In addition, as the engines are more advanced/powerful, they often require a (little) more consistent maintenance.
And last but not least, who says more powerful engine says also higher (insurance) premiums and a bigger state tax. Impôt.
So are roadsters really the best road bikes? Want to try for yourself to get an objective idea? Did you know that we have many roadsters for rent on the platform? Browse the category to find your ride!
So much for the roadsters, in the next article, we will (try to) convince you that sports bike are the best motorcycles.