When you are new to riding, the most important thing is to get the right bike for you, the right sports bike will aid your learning.
In that spirit while there are no gender specific motorcycles there are some sports bikes that are more suited to women than others.
The key thing I found was that some sports bikes were ergonomically a better fit for me as a woman than others and therefore they were more comfortable and confidence inspiring when I was out riding.
In this post I cover the best beginner sports bikes specifically for women riders and everything you should look out for to make sure you make the right choice for your two-wheeled dream.
What Is The Best Beginner Sportsbike Motorcycle For Women?
Aside from being a motorcycle that you love, feel confident and comfortable on
the best beginner sports bike for women is one which has the following properties:
- Is lightweight
- Has a low seat height
- Has reasonably neutral ergonomics
- Is not too powerful
- Comes with safety features like ABS
- Meets your budget for your initial outlay, running costs and repairs should you drop the bike at some point
To go into more depth with the best sportbike for all beginners take a look at our post which is the definitive guide for just this topic, check it out here.
Let’s take a look at the features that make an excellent beginner sports bike for women, then we will cover some of the best options currently available and finish up with a shortlist of your best sportbike options.
Weight matters for female riders because if a motorcycle is lightweight it is easier to maneuver at slow speeds, easier to handle when at a stop, easier to push around the garage or driveway and even easier to keep upright if you can’t flat foot both sides of the bike.
Generally women are built different to men, with men being the stronger sex, a lighter weight bike therefore makes more sense for women particularly as beginners; you don’t want to be worrying about wrestling a heavy beast every time you come to a stop light.
Fortunately sports bikes are much lighter than other styles of motorcycle, for example compared to the heavy V-twin cruisers from Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle.
Sports bikes are meticulously produced to reduce as much weight as possible, as this increases the power-weight ratio and simply put, they go faster.
However, going out and picking the lightest bike isn’t the best thing to do as a beginner.
There are some very powerful light weight machines and for a new rider, however insane amounts of power doesn’t need to be on your agenda, we cover this in more depth a little later.
Here are some of the best light sports bikes that make would a good option based on being small capacity machines*:
- Honda CBR300R – 354 lb
- KTM RC390 – 365 lb
- Kawasaki Ninja 400 – 366 lb
- Yamaha YZF-R3 – 375 lb
- Suzuki GSX-R250 ABS – 399 lb
However, if you are looking for a bit more power and bigger engine capacity you might want to check these bikes out, listed from lightest to heaviest:
- Honda CBR600RR – 410 lb
- Suzuki GSX-R600 – 412 lb
- Yamaha YZF-R7 – 414 lb
- Kawasaki Ninja 650 – 423 lb
*Weights listed are the curb weight for each model. The bike is presumed to be full of fluids, with standard equipment and over 90% of the tank is full of fuel.
With women riders on the whole being shorter than their male counterparts, things like handlebar width and seat height are all essential factors to consider. The weight of the bike goes hand in hand with the riding position and ergonomics in terms of affecting the rideability of the bike.
Make sure you are comfortable on the bike, and know where all the controls are.
It is even as simple as making sure the clutch lever is easy enough to pull and not too stiff, as after a long day riding this can cause problems in your hand and be a distraction.
There are some key things to think about when it comes to riding positions and ergonomics particularly for women, and also specifically if you’re a new rider:
If your motorcycle has a lower seat height you will be able to comfortably reach the floor on both sides and this will help you keep stabilized when stationary.
It is also great when doing slow speed maneuvers such as a ‘u-turn’, as you have the knowledge that you can pop your foot down if needed to keep you upright if you lose your balance.
For beginner riders confidence is key and being close to the ground will boost your confidence significantly.
While some women are quite tall and undoubtedly can handle a taller motorcycle, many of us are on the shorter side compared to our male counterparts, so bikes with lower seats will certainly help us out.
It is also possible now to get lowering kits for many modern models, so if you have your heart set on a particular model, speak to the dealer about the possibility of having it lowered to suit.
For a much more thorough review of sportsbikes that suit short riders check out our detailed articles here.
The traditional sports bike will put you into a hunched over position, reaching for those clip-on bars, with your feet behind you, knees tucked in and body close to flat over the tank.
While you might want to pretend you are the next superbike world champion, that might not be so practical if you’re a new or low experience rider.
When starting out a more neutral riding position where you are upright with less extremes in dimensions of the bars and pegs is much better.
Visibility of the road is increased, maneuverability is easier in everyday traffic situations and you are in command of the bike’s controls and handling.
Furthermore that stretched position over a longer tank with wide bars may not be suited to some women riders, if you are struggling to reach, you will not have full control of the bike which can be dangerous.
You will find you are also concentrating on basic handling to stay upright as opposed to honing your craft and progressing as a rider.
Starting out as a new rider you want to be comfortable, in control and confident in your bike.
If you are comfortable your confidence will increase as will your riding ability, so avoid a bike that is extreme in its layout, such as one that is more of a production racer built for serious track riding.
Some manufacturers produce a very track focused version and then another similar model that has more road going qualities.
For example Kawasaki has the ZX-6R which is very sporty in its riding position, whereas its sibling the Ninja 650 has raised bars and seats the rider into a more upright position for the road.
Here is a selection of sports bikes with lower seat heights and more neutral ergonomics:
- Triumph Street Triple R Low – Seat Height, 30.7”
- Kawasaki Ninja 400 – Seat Height, 30.9”
- Kawasaki Ninja 650 – Seat Height, 31.1”
- Honda CBR500R – Seat Height, 31.1”
- Suzuki GSX-R250 ABS – Seat Height, 31.1”
The Aprilia Tuono 660 has a slighter taller seat height of 32.2” however, it does have neutral ergonomics and therefore may be suited to a taller female new rider on this basis.
A motorcycle with an engine capacity in the range of 250cc up to around 750cc will suit most new riders in terms of the power they deliver. However, when it comes to how much power you ‘need’ it all comes down to how confident you are, how comfortable you are and how much respect you have for the bike you’re riding.
When it comes to buying your first sports bike, you want one that has enough power for you to grow into, but not so much torque that the front wheel lifts every time you pull on the throttle.
I am hopelessly in love with small capacity machines, there is no thrill quite like chasing the red line on a small bike, because let’s face it unless you spend your weekends at the track, you are never going to hit that red line on the latest Panigale V4.
Small capacity bikes mean you can learn how to use your gears properly, how to master your engine and get the most out of it. These skills then translate into riding bigger more powerful machines later on.
The problem with many liter bikes is that you can ride it all day without leaving first gear and so if you jump straight on to something like a Honda Fireblade, you will not grasp the basic foundational skills of riding a motorcycle which can make all the difference in your abilities as a rider.
However, for each person the actual amount of power you need will vary.
If you plan on riding everyday to work and that involves some highway riding, you are going to want a bike that can keep up with the flow of traffic.
If you are planning on doing some long tours then a bigger engine with healthy mid-range torque is what you need to carry you and luggage through all the scenarios you will come across.
The Suzuki GSX-R250 is going to be a good choice for riding around town and back roads, with 24.7 horsepower and 23.3 Nm of torque.
Something like the Ninja 400 is a competent bike for some short highway work to practice, with around 45 horsepower and 38 Nm of torque.
Whereas the YZF-R7 produces 74.8 horsepower and 68 Nm of torque, so will easily soak up the highway miles and carry heavy luggage.
For a highly detailed review of how much horsepower is perfect for ‘you’, check out our article on the topic here.
Motorcycle safety starts with the rider’s mental state with their concentration and confidence, then it filters down to safety features on the bike like ABS and Traction Control. Irrespective of a bike’s weight, ergonomics or power the most important thing is the rider’s safety and this is most important for new riders with less experience.
If you are riding a bike that you love, you are comfortable on, feel like you can handle with ease and are not afraid of then you have made the right choice.
As a new rider the last thing you need is to be distracted by a fancy control system that has sat nav, bluetooth connectivity for music etc.
You need to be focused on learning the controls of the motorcycle, learning how to take bends, and how to safely ride on different roads and surfaces.
All of the tech is great but you do not need wheelie control, launch control, or to be able to listen to your favorite podcast on your ride, they are distractions from riding and your skills are not yet developed to master all of that at the same time.
So while your dealer may highlight this stuff as a sales point, please don’t get sucked into it, none of that makes you a better rider and certainly not as a beginner.
On the flip side useful tech on new motorcycles are safety features like ABS and Traction Control so you should keep an eye out for these.
ABS is great because it is a system that adjusts the braking pressure to prevent the wheels locking up, causing a skid and potential accident.
It assists with overall stability. New riders have a tendency to grab a little more front brake than they should, so a bike with ABS will prevent this from being an issue.
Do not feel pressured to ride faster than you are comfortable or on roads you are not yet experienced on.
Sports bikes are by nature built to go fast and perform; however, that doesn’t mean you have to jump on and pretend you are in MotoGP from day one.
As a woman I have many male riding friends and when I first got started it was a daunting experience riding out with some of these, as they had more experience they could take bends in the road much more quickly than I could.
I stopped riding out with the guys until I had built up my skills to a safe standard that I was happy with and even now if I think someone is riding too fast I will just go at my own pace and catch them later.
Make sure your priority is your own safety.
This includes riding with your partner. Many women get their start into bikes by riding pillion with their partner or a male influence in their life, then when they start riding their own it makes sense for them to ride with this person.
However, sometimes this can be a bad choice, as you want to impress them and not hold them back, which could cause you to ride a little recklessly.
My partner has been riding a lot longer than myself, so when I started out I refused to go out with him initially just because I knew he would be worried about me and it would make me more nervous.
Now we ride together all the time but I had to build my own confidence and riding skills to get comfortable to do so, so neither of us worry about the other.
The best thing to do is get in touch with other local women riders and ride with them.
We live in a time where there has been a surge in female led initiatives that put female riders in touch with each other and form a network.
You will be surprised how many new riders are out there that will be all too happy to ride with you to build your skills up.
A great example of this is the Lita’s who have branches across the US and Babes Ride Out who organize motorcycle camping trips focused solely on women riders.
Here is the thing if you purchase a motorcycle that you love, that inspires you and makes you want to ride, then you are already winning.
If all the other factors we have discussed come together and increase your confidence in riding, then from a safety point all you have to do now is concentrate on the ride.
By having a bike you know you can flat foot at a stop, with great visibility, that has enough power to get you away from danger but not enough to catapult you like a rocket, then you are as safe as you can possibly be, and you are set up to start to really enjoy riding.
With all things considered then here are some of my favorite sports bike options for beginner women riders:
- Kawasaki Ninja 400 – Lightweight, neutral riding position, enough power
- Honda CB500R – Upright riding position, neutral ergonomics
- Suzuki GSX-R250 ABS – Lightweight, small capacity, ABS, comfortable
- Yamaha YZF-R7 – Mid-range power for longer trips, quite light
- Aprilia Tuono 660 – Comfortable ergonomics