REMEMBER when superbikes or 600cc supersports bikes were the default choice at the showroom? It wasn’t that long ago that those classes dominated UK sales but these days the picture couldn’t be more different.
A glance at the latest official Government registration figures, covering the first quarter of 2018, reveals that the picture for sports bikes isn’t a happy one.
In fact, while 1000cc superbikes are still seen as the pinnacle of motorcycling performance, and hence manage to keep a steady stream of sales, there isn’t one 600cc machine in our top 10 (Yamaha’s R6 – the most modern machine in that class – missed out by a smidge, with only 50 registered between January and March.)
These are the sports bikes that do make the cut:
10: Honda CBR125R – 56 new UK registrations, Jan-Mar 2018
Honda’s littlest CBR, the learner-legal CBR125R, is getting pretty long in the tooth these days and it’s surely in the firing line for an update in 2019 – as we understand it the current model isn’t Euro4 legal, which means it’s set for the axe by the end of the year. But the combination of affordability, Blade-like looks (albeit of an earlier generation) and that Honda reputation for reliability means there’s still a steady demand for them.
9: Kawasaki ZX-10R - 57 new UK registrations, Jan-Mar 2018
Really? Struggling into 9 th place in the sports bike sales chart seems scant reward for a string of WSB titles. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday? It seems not. At least a good lump of the 57 people laying down money for ZX 10R’s this year are doing it with an eye to racing, since more than half of those newly registered bikes (35, to be precise) were KRT Replica versions.
8: Suzuki GSX-R125 – 70 new UK registrations, Jan-Mar 2018
Suzuki’s GSX-R125 is supposed to offer the best power-to-weight and performance in its class, and with 70 registrations in the first three months it’s not doing too badly in comparison to its rivals. But it’s still not the best-selling 125 in the class.
7: Yamaha YZF-R125 – 105 new UK registrations, Jan-Mar 2018
No, the best-selling 125cc sports bike is (still) the Yamaha R125, which seems to be unshakable the learner legal sports bike to own. It’s still a looker, despite being released back in 2008 and barely altered since then.
6: Honda CBR500R – 115 new UK registrations, Jan-Mar 2018
Spec-wise, the CBR500R doesn’t really tick many sports bike boxes. It’s not that fast or powerful, it hasn’t got strings of three-letter acronyms on its spec sheet referring to the latest electronics tech, nor race-style radial brakes or upside-down forks. But as a cheap, sporty-looking machine (and one that, thanks to the WSS300 series, is now also race-proven), it’s clearly a tempting proposition.