Triumph and Indian manufacturer Bajaj formally commenced plans to collaborate on a range of mid-capacity motorcycles. The key word there is “formally,” as the partnership between the two companies was first announced in August 2017, but nothing had come of it in the last 29 months. Today, however, the two companies say their partnership has officially begun, with plans for a new engine and vehicle platform spanning from 200cc to 750cc displacements.
What’s the sweet spot for small displacement motorcycles? Is it 250cc? Perhaps 400cc? Ask any internet forum and you’ll likely hear some BS like, 600cc sportbikes are the smallest I would EVER recommend for a beginner. Idiots. Darwinism at its finest. What do we think? We think there are a lot of variables to consider for this question, but the 300cc category is still filled with solid options of bitchin’ motorcycles. Many look at these small-displacement bikes as great options for beginners as well. Which motorcycle is best for a beginner? It all depends on what kind of riding you’d like to do. Any of the options on this list provide a great starting point for new riders. What’s even better is that there are plenty of great bikes in this category that spans multiple genres of motorcycling such as sportbikes, adventure motorcycles, and naked bikes. If you’re interested in entering the world of two wheels check out these great starting points.
Each time we post a story or video around a small-displacement motorcycle, inevitably we’ll see a comment along the lines of, “That bike sucks! It’s way too slow. 1,000cc or nothing, bro!” If you’re one of those people, you’re absolutely going to hate this list. Longtime readers already know this, but if you’re new to Motorcycle.com, you should know that, while we clearly enjoy riding big bikes, we absolutely love riding little bikes – minibikes, even! There are a variety of reasons why, and here we’ve gathered six of them for your consideration. If after reading all six you’re still not convinced, come out with us to give it a try. Really.
Honda’s all-in when it comes to the small-displacement category, perhaps more so than any other manufacturer out there. With the popularity of the Grom, CBR250R, CBR300R, CB300F, and Rebel lines – and recent introductions of the forthcoming Monkey and Super Cub – it’s no wonder Team Red is proud to introduce its latest addition – the 2018 CB300R.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, we – err, at least I – really love the Kawasaki Ninja 400. Ryan came off the bike at its press intro and was happy as could be. He’s such a fan that he pointed out the 10 things he specifically likes about it. Then, once we stacked it up against the KTM RC390 and Honda CBR500R in our 2018 Lightweight Sportbike Shootout, the Ninja 400 came away a winner, yet again. As far as lightweight sportbikes go, this one is sweet. It’s a great entry-level motorcycle for the new or returning rider, but has plenty of performance for the experienced rider to exploit.
KTM updated this little rascal for 2017, but we’re just now getting our hands on the new bike. Basically it’s got even more of the things we liked and less of the ones we didn’t – more accel and decel, and therefore the RC’s an even bigger bargain than before if minimalist corner-carving is your thing.
Before you begin wondering if you’ve taken your medication this morning, let me preface this review of the new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 with the fact that it will share a lot of thoughts and observations with last week’s review of the Rebel 500 that was introduced simultaneously. These two bikes share everything in common, except for the sewing machine some little old lady left inside the chassis of the 300.
There’s an old saying that aptly describes the Hyosung GD250R: A day late and a dollar short. The 250cc beginner bike market went strong for years without much of an update, as the Kawasaki EX/Ninja 250, and later the Honda CBR250, practically owned the category for nearly three decades. Hyosung wasn’t absent in the market, since it persisted with its GT250R (and the naked GT250, no R).
What’s up with Hyosung? The Korean bike builder just seems to do things its own way. If there’s a marketing department, it’s a secretive one that’s careful not to divulge sensitive information. When there’s a new model, it sort of just arrives… the new GD250R did make an appearance at last November’s EICMA show, but we must’ve overlooked it? Is this thing from North or South Korea? Is it a threat to national security? And what is GD acronyming anyway? Grand Douring?
While Americans are still waiting for Yamaha to grace our shores with its MT-03/FZ-03, customers in India have another new small-displacement FZ model coming their way. Introduced this week by India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd., the FZ25 is designed specifically for the Indian market as an upgrade over the existing 150cc FZ and FZ-S. Yamaha expects to sell 40,000 units at a price of 119,500 rupees (about $1,755 US), a competitive price for the 250cc segment in India.
So far, we’ve had a hit-or-miss relationship when it comes to Chinese-built motorcycles. We were pleasantly surprised by the mini Ducati Monst…errr… SSR Razkull 125 when we rode it alone and amongst its peers in our 125cc Ankle Biters Shootout. The little playbike seemed to be put together moderately well and delivered impressive performance in the class, all for less than two-grand. For a price that low, we excused much of its shortcomings, especially compared to the almighty, but costly at $3,200, Honda Grom.
If you’re wondering how important the small-displacement segment is to BMW, here’s a figure to chew on: Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad’s Head of Design, estimates, on a global scale, its current model lineup, excluding the G310R, appeals to approximately one million motorcycle shoppers. This means motorcycle consumers are buying bikes in segments BMW currently is present in. That includes everything from the G650GS on the low end, all the way to the K1600GTL at the other extreme.
By now, we’ll assume you’ve read the Part 1 of the Ankle Biters test, wherein we asked some newer riders to ride the Honda Grom, Kawasaki Z125 Pro, Kymco K-Pipe 125, and SSR Motorsports Razkull 125. Their job was to give us feedback as to which bike makes the best learner for the absolute noob because it’s been awhile since any of the MO staff could call themselves one. Our riders had a lot of fun with the test, but as for us MOrons, we wanted a bit more excitement once we got a chance to throw a leg over the quartet.