Aspiring Middle Class | Top 10 BEST Mid-Size Naked Motorcycles of 2023

Where do the new Honda CB750 Hornet and Suzuki GSX-8S feature in our Top 10 Best Mid-Size Naked Motorcycles of 2023 ranking?

2023 Suzuki GSX-8S.jpg

Things have been heating up in what is normally a very humdrum Mid-Size Naked Motorcycle segment.

A class where function has generally triumphed over form, Mid-Size Nakeds developed a reputation of being exactly what it said on the tin... rather middle of the road. But that was then and this is now...

First came the Triumph Trident 660, which led to the Yamaha MT-07 getting a major overhaul to fend it off in the sales charts, before the Aprilia Tuono 660 arrived to bring a bit of racing-inspired royalty to the sector.

And now, as we delve into 2023, two more big hitters are waiting in the wings to shake things up further; the Honda CB750 Hornet and Suzuki GSX-8S.

Two of the year's most anticipated new motorcycle launches, can Honda and Suzuki reign supreme in Visordown's Top 10 BEST Mid-Size Naked Motorcycle ranking? Only one way to find out...

10 - Suzuki SV650

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£6,999645cc72bhp64Nm @6800rpm200kg785mm14.5 L

The Suzuki SV650 is a little bit like Stone Henge; instantly recognisable and unchanged for what seems like millennia!

While that seems like an insult, it’s simply down to the venerable SV650 just being so enduringly impressive - it's no coincidence Suzuki is keeping it on sale for a bit longer despite the launch of its de facto successor, the GSX-8S.

The proven 650cc V-twin - a rarity in this sector now - remains a peach, and the chassis is capable enough (in the right hands and with some subtle mods) to hang out with a 1,000cc bike on a UK trackday.

On the flip-side, the SV650 offers predictable handling in stock form means it’s an ideal bike for first-timers and newer riders, and the SV650 remains the motorcycle of choice for many UK motorcycle training centres.

Yes it feels its age compared with other options in the class, but - even in the face of newer opposition - the SV650 remains very likeable in its refreshingly honest, no-nonsense way.

Visordown Long-Term Review | Suzuki SV650

9 - CFMoto 700CL-X Sport

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£7,349693cc70bhp61Nm @6500rpm205kg795mm13 L

The CFMOTO 700CL-X burst onto the UK motorcycle scene in 2021, receiving a warm welcome from the media for the effort made to address those lingering perceptions attached to Chinese-made motorcycles.

Like many bikes on this list, its aim was to take the fight to the mighty MT-07, and on the spec sheet at least, it proves competitive. Similar in power, torque and weight to the MT-07, the 700CL-X even has some attractive design touche.

Out on the road, it’s a similar story, decent suspension provides a sporty but comfortable ride, and the Kawasaki Z650-derived motor delivers ample performance and usability.

We have chosen the more contemporary 700CL-X Sport variant here, but 'neo-retro' Heritage and scrambler-inspired ADV versions are also on offer.

Whichever you prefer, while there is still room for improvement to transform the image of all Chinese motorcycles coming our way, the 700CL-X is arguably the most convincing effort yet.

Visordown Review | CFMoto 700CL-X Heritage [2021]

8 - Honda CB650R

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel 
£7,699649cc94bhp63Nm @9500rpm203kg810mm15 L

While the Honda CB650R may seem somewhat surplus to requirement with the launch of the newer, more limber Honda CB750 Hornet, it remains a worthy discerning choice in this company.

Still standing out still as the only inline four-cylinder naked in the middleweight pack, the 'Neo Sports Café' styling still turns heads, while the 649cc engine offers an appealingly different character to its rivals here.

Point the CB650R to the countryside and its chassis really comes alive, with Showa Separate Function Big Piston forks, and a balance-free rear shock providing a sporty yet composed ride.

On the downside, what was already a fairly ambitious price tag - now starting at £7,699 - relative to its rivals, the arrival of the keenly-priced Hornet (£6,999) puts an even more unflattering spotlight on its cousin

With this in mind, unless you're really sold on those looks relative to the somewhat dowdier Hornet, save the cash and get the newer Honda twin.

Visordown Review | Honda CB650R [2019]

7 - Moto Morini Seiemmezzo STR

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£6,999649cc61bhp54Nm @7000rpm213kg810mm15.5 L

The new Moto Morini Seiemmezzo may be difficult to spell, but in many ways it makes a lot of sense for those who may be seeking a new mid-size motorcycle on a budget.

Meaning 'Six-and-a-half' in Italian in a nod to its 650cc engine, the Seiemmezzo comes in two understated yet attractive flavours; the STR - or Street - and SCR 'scrambler'.

Both are fairly identical beyond a few minor cosmetic and dimension tweaks, but whichever you choose, the Seiemmezzo looks tempting on paper with some surprisingly premium kit thrown in, such as aluminium swingarm, Pirelli rubber, adjustable Kayaba suspension, and Brembo Brakes with Bosch ABS.

While the handling won't blow you away and - at 61bhp - it feels a touch underpowered, they are compromises that are probably worth making to get such a well-equipped motorcycle at starting price of just £6,999.

Visordown Review | Moto Morini Seiemmezzo STR & SCR [2022]

6 - Kawasaki Z650

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£7,499649cc67bhp64Nm @6700rpm188kg790mm15 L

While it’s true that the Kawasaki Z650 is due for an update in the next year or so, this highly entertaining naked is still well worth a closer look.

It may be down on power compared to some of the competition, but what it lacks in grunt it makes up for in rideability and that unmistakable Kawasaki Sugomi styling.

Power comes from a 649cc 8-valve engine that produces 67bhp @ 8,000rpm. It’s a punchy motor, and unlike many on this list has an old-school charm thanks to the conventional 180-degree crank design.

Performance though is thoroughly modern, and the engine really comes into its own on a twisty B-road.

It’s backed up by suspension that might seem budget-looking, but the set-up is ideal for spirit road riding. Comfort is also excellent, with the contoured seat and sculpted fuel tank seeming to envelop you as you ride.

Visordown Review | Kawasaki Z650 [2020]

5 - Yamaha MT-07

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£7,510689cc72bhp67Nm @6500rpm184kg805mm14 L

The middle child in Yamaha's 'Masters of Torque' line-up - the Yamaha MT-07 - received a major  update in 2021, with conversation-starting new styling and a host of other internal updates.

In terms of sales, the MT-07 has held firm as the model to beat for rivals and it isn't hard to understand why, proving enjoyable to ride, well-equipped and endowed with Yamaha's signature engineering quality.

While it strikes for the middle in terms of power and handling in what is now a very competitive segment, there remains little to fault of the MT-07 - divisive design treatment notwithstanding - even if its once 'default choice' status is deflating...

Visordown Review | Yamaha MT-07 [2021]

4 - Aprilia Tuono 660

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£8,950659cc94bhp67Nm @8500rpm183kg820mm15 L

While the Aprilia Tuono 660 stands apart from rivals here by striking for a demographic that is less novice commuter and more experienced track day enthusiast, if you can stretch to the premium it demands, it is a quality mid-size naked to consider regardless.

Available in standard and more honed Factory trim, the Tuono 660 feels every penny of its (admittedly sizeable) mark up of almost £9k.

For that you get a motorcycle that feels like a closer relation to the Tuono V4 than you'd think, while its low weight, high-end electronics package and fantastic 659cc parallel twin engine make it an irresistibly fun play thing both on the open road and the race track.

Objectively it is the best motorcycle here when it comes to riding and nothing raise a smile so readily... but it's still a VIP purchase in a category built around Bob Everyman, so it can't be our winner

Visordown Review | Aprilia Tuono 660 [2021]

3 - Suzuki GSX-8S

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£7,999776cc82bhp78Nm @6800rpm202kg810mm14 L

The keenly-anticipated, (very) long awaited successor to the venerable SV650, the Suzuki GSX-8S is not merely a significant addition to the mid-size naked segment, it's a huge moment for Suzuki too.

Ushering in a new era for Suzuki, the GSX-8S not only has to defeat its rivals but it has to live up to a much loved predecessor at the same time.

For this reason, it is clear Suzuki has worked hard on the finer details of the new GSX-8S and the result is indeed an accomplished model that succeeds in breathing a bit of fresh air into the firm's line-up.

While the stripped-back - albeit fussy - design won't be to everyone's taste, it makes a statement here, while the quality and finish is en pointe too.

At its heart is a brand new 776cc parallel-twin engine boasting 82bhp. While it loses some ponies to the Hornet, the GSX-8S has been set-up to feel more useable in the mid-range, while the riding experience is enhanced by Suzuki's new cutting-edge electronics package, which successfully treads a balance between refined and fun.

On the flip-side, the Suzuki's attempts to position the GSX-8S in both the mid-size and upper-mid naked categories leaves it a little awkwardly straddled, being neither as fun as a Triumph Trident 660 or as refined as a Triumph Street Triple 765. This is also reflected in a £7,999 that flies in the face of Suzuki's value-orientated image.

Visordown Review | Suzuki GSX-8S [2023]

2 - Honda CB750 Hornet

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£6,999755cc91bhp74Nm @7000rpm190kg795mm15 L

You might not think it when you look at it, but the Honda CB750 Hornet is one of the most significant new motorcycles the Japanese powerhouse has launched in years.

Setting the foundation for an expansive range of models that will sit on its new twin-cylinder, middleweight platform, the CB750 Hornet is a motorcycle that Honda has very clearly done its homework with.

Featuring an all-new frame that has been designed with the particular aim of keeping weight down, with just 190kg of machine underneath you, the Hornet feels sprightly and nimble, making light work of urban journeys.

It's not overwhelmed on the open road either thanks to its punchy new 755cc parallel-twin engine, which produces a chunky 91bhp. It helps to keep things going at a nice tempo when pushing on, though a snatchy throttle at low speeds and over-eager ABS irritate.

What sets the Hornet apart from its targeted rivals, however, is its surprising value-for-money, the welcome effect of Honda coming in lower so as not to overlap with the similarly positioned CB650R. Whatever the reason, at £6,999, the Hornet comfortably undercuts the Trident 660, MT-07 and GSX-8S yet offers more power and is generously equipped.

We just wish Honda hadn't played it so safe with the design...

Visordown Review | Honda CB750 Hornet [2023]

1 - Triumph Trident 660

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel.
£7,895660cc80bhp64Nm @6250rpm189kg805mm14 L

Triumph's first attempt at striking for the middle ground of younger, newer riders, the Triumph Trident 660 brings the Hinckley firm's distinctive 'sporty premium' values to a more affordable price point.

Featuring a reworked 660cc configuration of its iconic triple-cylinder engine architecture, the Trident 660 displays a certain fizzy charisma on the road unlike any other motorcycle in this class.

While the Trident 660 represents the entry point into Triumph's range, it retains the same supply of quality components from long-time partners Showa and Nissin, which help it feels assured and eager on the road, as though it is a more easy-going, less intimidating take on the Street Twin.

A shade under £8k is a fair chunk of money to part with for a supposed ‘starter bike’, although, for new riders who want a bit of kudos with their purchase, it remains a tempting prospect. Quick, classy, and brimming with quality attention to detail, the Triumph Trident 660 will make you feel just that bit more special when you throw a leg over it, compared to its rivals here. Which is why the Triumph Trident 660 remains the best Mid-Size Naked Motorcycle you can buy right now.

Visordown Review | Triumph Trident 660 [2020]

* Prices correct at time of writing [April 2023]

 Top 10 Mid-size Naked Motorcycles of 2023 | Key Specifications and Technical Details Comparison

 Price fromEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
10Suzuki SV650£6,999645cc72bhp64Nm @6800rpm200kg785mm14.5 L
9CFMoto 700CL-X Sport£7,349693cc70bhp61Nm @6500rpm205kg795mm13 L
8Honda CB650R£7,699649cc94bhp63Nm @9500rpm203kg810mm15 L
7Moto Morini Seiemmezzo£6,999649cc61bhp54Nm @7000rpm213kg810mm15.5 L
6Kawasaki Z650£7,499649cc67bhp64Nm @6700rpm188kg790mm15 L
5Yamaha MT-07£7,510689cc72bhp67Nm @6500rpm184kg805mm14 L
4Aprilia Tuono 660£8,950659cc94bhp67Nm @8500rpm183kg820mm15 L
3Suzuki GSX-8S£7,999776cc82bhp78Nm @6800rpm202kg810mm14 L
2Honda CB750 Hornet£6,999755cc91bhp74Nm @7000rpm190kg795mm15 L
1Triumph Trident 660£7,895660cc80bhp64Nm @6250rpm189kg805mm14 L

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