Top 10 skinniest bikes

Got a tight back passage? These might be the machines for you!

Yamaha R1M

GIVEN THAT some of the main attractions of bikes are their ability to sneak through traffic and the fact you can squeeze a surprisingly large collection into a typical suburban garage it’s surprising that their width is a dimension that’s rarely discussed.

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Sure, it’s not as sexy as a peak power figure, but in the real world, how wide a bike is can make all the difference. While you’re unlikely to notice an extra 5bhp or 5kg in weight, if your bike is 5mm too wide to fit into whatever space you have available, it’s a deal-breaker.

So we’ve trawled the spec sheets to come up with the 10 slimmest bikes ('proper' machines - some mopeds are skinnier still) currently on sale. Here goes…

10: Ducati 959 Panigale – 732mm

Ducati doesn’t actually mention its bikes widths on its online specs, but official EU type-approval figures put the 959 Panigale down as 732mm across the beam. That’s pretty slim, and we’re guessing it’s with the mirrors folded, but the benefit of V-twins is traditionally their slenderness, so it’s a believable number.

9: Ducati Supersport – 728mm

Perhaps unsurprisingly, sports bikes, with their narrow, clip-on bars, dominate this list, but there are a couple of exceptions. The more sports-touring-oriented (and as-such ill-named) Supersport is one of them. At 728mm it’s even narrower than the V-twin Panigale.

8: MV F3 800 – 725mm

MV Agusta’s F3 800 has always been a svelte machine, and at a snake-hipped 725mm it’s going to fit through most garden gates and doorways. Handy, as it’s not the sort of bike that you’d really want to street-park.

7: Ducati Panigale V4 – 723mm

Ducati’s Panigale V4 never ceases to amaze. Theoretically, the downside of a V4 compared to a V-twin is that it’s a wider arrangement, but the latest-and-greatest Ducati superbike is actually its narrowest yet. Of course, the bars, rather than the engine, really define breadth on most bikes, and Ducati has clearly tucked them in even further on the V4.

6: Honda CBR1000RR – 720mm

For all the narrowness of V4s and V-twins, the inline-four Fireblade still manages to be a surprisingly skinny machine. At 720mm across it might be a mere 3mm slimmer than the Panigale V4, but if that 3mm is the bit that hits a gatepost or a car that you’re filtering past, it might as well be a mile.

4=: Honda CBR1000RR SP/SP2 – 715mm

Need an excuse to trade up from the basic Fireblade to the more drool-worthy SP or SP2 version? Get a narrower garage door. The sportier Blade derivatives are 5mm thinner across their widest point than the entry-level machine.

4=: Triumph Bonneville T120/T100 – 715mm

You might have thought that a sit-up-and-beg retro bike like the Bonneville would be far too wide-barred to make this list, but in both T100 and T120 forms the classic Triumph is a mere 715mm across, the same as a Fireblade SP. Surprisingly, it’s also narrower than the clip-on-barred Thuxton.

3: Suzuki GSX-R1000 – 705mm

Another superbike takes the final podium slot on our slimmer-of-the-year listing, in the form of the latest Suzuki GSX-R1000. At only 705mm across it’s one of the narrowest bikes currently on the market. Allied to 202hp, that’s a formula for some seriously high-speed filtering.

2: Yamaha R6  - 695mm

The R6 might be a pretty old design under its recently-revamped skin, but the only 600cc four-cylinder supersport machine remaining on sale in Europe, it’s currently one of the narrowest bikes available.

1: Yamaha R1 – 690mm

But not as narrow as its bigger brother – despite an extra 400cc in capacity the R1 is 5mm slimmer than the R6 thanks to an even racier riding position. That means it’s very nearly skinny enough to slip through the narrowest of UK standard door sizes (686mm or 2’3”). As far as we know, there’s nothing on the market at the moment that’s any narrower.

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