What is a Naked Bike?
In the simplest terms, a naked bike is a motorcycle that is stripped of all its fairings, making it lighter, less bulky, and more minimalist. Usually, naked bikes are contrasted against sports bikes, which have extensive fairings to improve the vehicle's aerodynamics and are usually ridden on race tracks.
However, this does not necessarily mean that a naked bike is less desirable than a sportbike. The main objective of this article will be to show that a naked bike is every bit as good as a sportbike for street riders, without any of the complications that tend to plague sportbikes.
Unlike sport bikes, naked bikes are focused on the rider's ergonomics. In other words, naked bikes typically have a relaxed upright sitting position for the driver, unlike the forward-leaning postures that are dictated by sportbikes. This is because, unlike sportbikes, naked bikes are designed for everyday use on city streets and roads rather than for occasional racing on tracks.
What is the History of Naked Bikes?
For most of the history of motorcycles, these machines have consisted of very few essential parts, enough to make them functional and street legal. Notably, unlike an automobile, most of the components of a motorcycle are exposed, whether it is a standard motorcycle, a touring motorcycle, or a chopper.
Overtime, the riders of touring motorcycles began to add fairings and windshields to their vehicles to improve aerodynamics and comfort when riding for long periods. It didn't take long for manufacturers to begin adding fairings to their touring bikes after this happened. However, at the same time, motorcyclists in the U.K. were customizing their bikes with speed in mind. This included stripping excess parts and swapping engines and frames from different manufacturers. This was the birth of the sportbike, which saw its decline in the 1960s and 70s.
By the 1980s, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were creating sports bikes based on the British model for a whole new generation of riders. These were light and nimble like their predecessors but also came equipped with fairings to minimize wind resistance and make them sleeker.
However, by the 1990s, many of the owners of this new generation of sportbikes began to strip off the fairings from their bikes for various reasons, including service issues, security, a preference for minimalism, and doubtfulness about the degree to which fairings decrease drag. As these bikes were stripped down, they began to be referred to as Naked Bikes or Streetfighters. Soon, Japanese manufacturers caught on to this trend and began to produce their own versions of naked bikes, which made inroads into both the U.S and European markets.
Main Features of Naked Bikes
Below are some of the main features found on naked bikes that you should look out for when purchasing a motorcycle.
Naked bikes typically have their foot controls set in the center while the handlebars are mounted on the triple tee. In other words, naked bikes usually have high rising handlebars and centrally positioned foot controls, thereby straightening up the rider's stance.
This makes naked bikes very different from sports bikes, which typically have lower handlebars and rear set foot controls, thereby making the rider's posture more forwardly inclined.
2. Comfort and Ergonomics
As mentioned, the positioning of a naked bike's handlebars and foot controls makes the rider's seating position more upright, especially when compared to the rider of a sports bike. Not only does this give the rider of a naked bike a better view of the road, but it also allows them to ride for long periods without much discomfort.
This sets naked bikes apart from sports bikes in a big way, as although the inclined seating position on a sportbike comes with advantages, it is not very ergonomic and can take a huge toll on your body.
Sports bikes are designed for speed, aerodynamic efficiency, and extraordinary handling at high speeds. On the other hand, naked bikes are designed for usage on actual roads, and although they sometimes have the same engines as their sports counterparts, they are tuned differently.
More specifically, naked bike engines are tuned to give more torque in the mid-range of speeds resulting in a more tamed performance in terms of power output with everyday road conditions in mind.
Advantages of Naked Bikes
Below are some of the advantages of naked bikes, specifically in comparison to other types of motorcycles such as sports bikes.
One of the biggest advantages of a naked bike is that a naked bike is very affordable compared to other types of motorcycles. For this reason, naked bikes are recommended for beginner riders and first-time motorcycle buyers because you get all the features of a standard motorcycle without the premium price tag.
What's more, a naked bike generally has fewer maintenance costs in the long run, thereby making the overall cost of a naked bike much more affordable than any other type of motorcycle.
Naked bikes are designed with daily riding and real-life road conditions in mind. To this end, the placement of the foot controls and the positioning of the handlebars on a naked bike is designed to keep the rider in a relaxed upright position that does not take a huge toll on the body during long rides. What's more, the upright seating position offers the most commanding possible view of the road ahead.
Although practicality is not something that people normally associate with motorcycles, the smaller size and specific engine tuning of a naked bike make it a very practical mode of transportation. Naked bikes tend to fit very easily in a small garage due to their practical size. What's more, the engine is tuned with everyday riding in mind, thereby making them economically practical and practical in terms of their use.
Naked bikes do not require too much skill to control due to the ideal power to weight ratio that they are designed to embody. Their lightweight makes them incredibly fast while the engine is tuned to provide the most torque in the mid-range, making for a smooth and highly responsive ride, even at high speeds.
5. Latest Technology
Since naked bikes are built for everyday use, rather than touring or racing on tracks, they are highly popular and come equipped with the latest technological improvements that make modern motorcycles what they are.
Some of the latest technologies that modern naked bikes come equipped with include fuel injection, digital displays, ABS, traction control options, cruise control, throttle by wire, and so much more. Of course, depending on the brand and model of the naked bike you choose, the technology will vary.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley