Riders have been stripping it down and embracing the look of a naked bike for years. Manufacturers have taken notice and are now producing bikes that lack the traditional fairings and body we’re used to seeing on sport bikes.
Naked bikes are a modern trend that sacrifices wind aerodynamics for the ability to show off the motorcycle’s engine and inner workings. These street bikes are all about performance on short local trips. The handlebars tend to be flatter; there’s a lot of low-end torque, and a less aggressive riding position.
Check out these 10 naked bikes that represent the best of the best in this emerging trend.
Why Go Naked?
These stripped-down bikes give you a chance to get up close and personal with your machine. Gone are the slick, shiny fairings and perfectly shaped plastics that turn sport bikes into aerodynamic rockets. What you’re left with is a bare frame and tucked-away wires. The engine gets louder without the muffling. The exposed parts have a raw beauty of their own as you can see every component.
Without all of the extra parts, you’ll notice a reduction in more than just the weight. The price of naked bikes tends to be lower than their full-dressed counterparts. Many of the top performers are available for under $10,000.
If you’re an experienced rider who has a history of riding sport bikes, you’ll know the frustration of working on these machines. There are several fairings, and you need to take them off in a certain order to be able to get to the engine. Getting to the engine on the Kawasaki ZX14 is like an annoying game of real-life Tetris as you try to figure out which piece goes on and off next. With a naked bike, there’s nothing there but the engine, so working on and performing regular maintenance is a breeze.
Some bikes perform best during high-speed racing around a track. Others are best suited for long-distance touring. Still more perform at their peak out on an adventure wilderness ride. Your naked bike will be able to take you from your weekly commute to your weekend cruise. Their relaxed styling makes them versatile enough to be enjoyable both on the city streets and on your Saturday all-day ride.
Here are the 10 best naked bikes you can buy.
1. Yamaha FZ-10 SP
You’ll find the wind protection surprisingly effective on this bike, despite the fact that it’s missing almost all of its fairings. It’s no surprise that the FZ-10 SP (internationally called the MT-10) is the bike Yamaha chose to turn into a naked bike. The original version is immensely popular. This special version features a limited edition color scheme, new styled dash, and Ohlins NIX30/TTX36 electronic suspension.
One complaint about this bike is the sacrifice in fuel economy. This is because Yamaha simply took the original bike and removed the plastics. While the engine isn’t the most powerful, it’s capable enough to satisfy. Think of it as a less aggressive riding experience than the R1. You’ll have an adjustable suspension, full engine control, traction control, cruise control, and ABS brakes.
2. Kawasaki Z H2
This naked bike is the next model build from the H2 SX SE superbike, which is a powerhouse of a bike with a supercharged engine. That same engine is in this naked version of the bike. Some other features Kawasaki includes are Brembo front brakes, a quick-shifter, and custom color TFT dash.
If you’re looking for a tough and aggressive aesthetic, you’ve got it here with the murdered out styling and accents of that classic Kawasaki green on the frame. In true Kawasaki style, the bike is full of angles and edges. For the engine, it’s a 998cc inline-four. It’s capable of producing 197 horsepower and 101 pounds of torque. The tuning of this engine is going to give you a powerful mid-range burst that will have you outperforming other similarly sized aspirated models.
3. Ducati Streetfighter V4 S
When it comes to naked bikes, purists may argue that this Italian one barely qualifies. It has more plastics than the majority of bikes on this list. Many say that the Ducati Monster looks more like a naked bike. But when compared to the Streetfighter to Ducati’s Panigale V4, you’ll see that a significant amount of fairings have been removed. The riding position for the Streetfighter is a bit more relaxed and cushions you more with a more comfortable seat.
The engine is detuned slightly to optimize it for road riding. The fairings left on the bike are there for a purpose. Those double wings create much-needed downforce when you take the bike up to 100 miles per hour or more.
4. BMW S1000R
BMW could be one of the pioneers of the naked bike look with its 2013 S1000R. The stripped-down bike had an impressively low weight while sporting a powerful engine. The retro look of the bike received an update in 2017, but some consider it not enough to keep up with the younger and fresher naked bike models offered by BMW’s competitors.
BMW’s naked bike is more aggressive and race-inspired than others that tend to go in the opposite direction of more relaxation. The engine is a 999cc inline-four that can produce 83 pounds of torque and 165 horsepower. This enables you to top out at 160 miles per hour.
5. Triumph Speed Triple RS
The Speed Triple is a mainstay in the Triumph lineup, and with its devoted following in the UK, it’s helping to save this historic motorcycle brand. Unlike other manufacturers that are just getting into the naked bike game, Triumph focused on the evolution of theirs. The naked Speed Triple first made its way onto the scene in 1994.
Recent developments include a more refined engine, weight reduction, improved ABS, and more precise cornering. The engine is a powerful 1050cc that can produce 148 horsepower and 86 pounds of torque. It’s capable of performing well at both high and low speeds. You have two models to choose from, the base “S” model, or the slightly improved specs of the “RS” model.
6. Yamaha FZ-09 SP
Yamaha chose to strip down its current bike lineup instead of developing a wholly new and unique naked motorcycles lineup. This model follows the same path as the MT-10 SP; it’s a stripped-down version of its immensely popular FZ-09 (internationally called the MT-09). They’ve added a few details to make this special edition bike have a bit more details and desirability. You’ll find an Ohlins/KYB suspension upgrade and a custom color scheme.
7. Kawasaki Z900
Introduced in 2017, Kawakasaki went modern and tough with this naked Z900. Its introduction replaced the Z800 that was considered aged and soon to be outdated. This one is packed with performance features, which is notable for a naked bike. You’ll find upgraded tires, a comfy seat, TFT dash, traction control, two power modes, and LED throughout.
Kawasaki tuned the liquid-cooled, 16-valve DOHC inline-four to have a reconfigured stroke and bore. This gives it a displacement of 948cc. You’ll find that it has impressive mid-high range torque power.
8. KTM 1290 Super Duke R
This aggressive and sporty looking bike stays true to the KTM aesthetic while embracing the naked bike trend. Similar to Kawasaki, KTM dedicated itself to creating a naked bike that was fun to ride, performance focused, and full of features. The Duke has LED lighting throughout, TFT dash, quick shifter, lean angle sensing traction control, and an advanced track riding mode.
This bike hits 60 miles per hour in under 2.6 seconds thanks to its 177-horsepower engine. This 1301cc engine is a beast when it comes to performance but is still rideable for the average rider. To stretch out this toque power range, it’s paired with staggered intake lengths and a newly shaped airbox. These features also give the bike an appealing intake sound that excites the senses while riding.
9. Yamaha MT-07 (FZ-07)
Yamaha made the smart choice of taking a much-loved bike and simply tweaking it to make it even better. The latest model sports a new headlight design, a contoured seat to improve comfort, and a more blacked-out style. The result is an urban, aggressive-looking naked bike that’s perfect for prowling the city streets.
These bikes are responsive and sharp, which makes them a pleasure to ride. Giving this middleweight bike its impressive power for its size is an inline parallel twin-cylinder 689cc engine. It can produce 74 horsepower and 50 pounds of torque that can propel you to 133 miles per hour. You’ll love the fast throttle response that makes the bike nimble as you navigate the roads.
10. Triumph Street Triple 765
Another naked bike from the Triumph lineup, it has also gone through evolution and improvement. The latest version sports a new LED headlight, mirrors, exhaust, quick shifter, and bodywork. The tweaked engine provides improved mid-range performance.
While this isn’t the fastest or most powerful bike on the list, it’s attractive to look at and has enough performance to keep most riders satisfied. The engine is Triumph’s Daytona triple engine that packs 126 horsepower and 59 pounds of torque. Improving the engine’s performance are ABS, Brembo brakes, traction control, Ohlins and Showa suspension, and five selectable riding modes.
Try Naked Riding
Naked motorcycles have become mainstream and are now a category of their own. Their rise in popularity is thanks to their aggressive looks and ease of maintenance. So if you’re tired of the perfectly crafted sport bikes with their numerous plastic fairings, then naked may be ideal.
Try one of these naked bikes today, and give your riding style a tough, streetwise feel.