The naked motorcycle category has always been tremendously popular and the last few years have seen something of a revolution in terms of the way these bikes look and perform. I think part of what makes them so popular is the sheer versatility they offer.

The typical torquey performance delivers a high fun factor but with a comfortable upright riding position and a cool stripped down look. Great on commutes, ride outs and inner city cruising just the same.

In this blog we are going to be looking at lightweight naked bikes, meaning both in terms of actual bike weight & size of the engine - with these being on the smaller end of the naked bike market. Therefore, these are the bikes designed to be as accessible as possible, aimed at providing new riders with a great first motorcycle experience as well as giving veterans a fun machine that is easy on the wallet! All of these bikes can be ridden with an A2 licence and I have tried to include something for everyone.

So in no particular order here are my top 5 lightweight naked bikes for 2020!

Yamaha MT-03

The MT-03 has been given a fresh update for 2020 and it has never been better. Similar to how the R3 was updated last year, Yamaha have improved almost everything about their lightweight naked bike with the aim of offering new riders an excellent first 'big bike' experience.

First up, the visuals have been overhauled this year with a sleek new front end being the most noticeable change with its triple light set up. The rest of the bike follows the signature MT family aesthetics with a futuristic 'super-naked' look which is very pleasing to the eye.

The ride position has also been adjusted with slightly raised bars and a more forward leaning stance. It still has the comfort of an upright naked, just with a bit more added aggression. New USD forks not only complete its high quality looks, but offer increased feedback with the road.

The 2020 MT-03 has the same high quality LCD display, frame and engine introduced in the R3. Yamaha have put a lot of technology into the 2-cylinder 321cc engine to make sure it runs as economically as possible, while also staying true to the MT brand with plenty of torque and performance.

The new MT-03 starts at £5,197 and makes for a great naked for beginner and experienced riders alike.

Engine Type Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC 4-valve
Engine Size 321cc
Power 30.9 kW
Front Suspension Telescopic forks, Ø37.0 mm inner tube
Rear Suspension Swingarm
Front Brake Hydraulic single disc, Ø298 mm
Rear Brake Hydraulic single disc, Ø220 mm
Seat height 780mm
Weight 168 kg (wet)
Tank Capacity 14 Litres

 

KTM 390 Duke

KTM's 390 Duke is something of a repeat offender in these lists. It just happens to be a bike that offers a great mix of value for money, leading performance and high tech features, making it easy to recommend.

The 390 Duke has been around for a long time now, making its debut back in 2013. The bike received a significant update back in 2017 when it was given a full overhaul to make it a top competitor in today's market. I expect a new update to be on the way soon, however the current version is still a fantastic machine.

As I said earlier, its greatest strength is in how many boxes it manages to tick. A great visual design based on the Super Duke R with a matching supermoto-esque riding position and 830mm seat height. A 373cc single cylinder engine that can put out 44hp, a host of high quality features including slipper clutch, ride-by-wire and ride modes as well as a budget price of around £4,700.

This is definitely a lightweight naked bike that will appeal to a wide range of riders.

Engine Type Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder
Engine Size 373.2cc
Power 32 kW
Front Suspension WP upside-down forks, 43 mm
Rear Suspension WP monoshock
Front Brake Four-piston radial fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 320mm
Rear Brake Single-piston floating caliper, Ø 230mm
Seat height 830mm
Weight 149 kg (dry)
Tank Capacity 13.4 Litres

 

Kawasaki Z400

Kawasaki released the Z400 last year as a replacement for the previous Z300, improving on that bike across the board.

As with all these A2 machines, the manufacturers have recognised that riders still want a bike that looks cool despite the smaller size. As a result the Z400 is designed to fit right in alongside the other bikes in the Z range and shares the aggressive angular design that works so well.

The performance of this bike has been upped to fit in alongside its peers with an improved 399cc engine and 44.7hp maximum power. It remains one of the heavier bikes here at 167 kilos however, that is still pretty light and despite the increased engine size, Kawasaki have managed to shave 3kg off compared to the previous Z300.

Kawasaki's ERGO-FIT system allows the Z400 to be adjusted to fit a range of rider sizes and it comes with ABS and a slipper clutch as standard. The price starts at £4,999 placing it right in the middle of the group.

Engine Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, parallel twin
Engine Size 399cc
Power 33.4 kW
Front Suspension Telescopic forks 41mm
Rear Suspension Bottom-link Ui-trak, gas-charged shock (preload adjustable)
Front Brake Single semi-floating Ø 310mm petal discs, dual-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single Ø 220mm petal disc, dual-piston caliper
Seat height 785mm
Weight 167 kg
Tank Capacity 14 Litres

 

Honda CB300R Neo Sports Cafe

Although Honda have always produced amazing naked motorcycles, the CB300R is a relatively new addition to their line-up. First arriving at the end of 2018, Honda themselves style this as the ideal first 'big bike'.

The first thing that stands out is the way this bike looks - based on the awesome CB1000R, this is one stylish motorcycle. It follows the current trend of combining retro and modern design elements to create something pretty unique and the USD forks with gold finish are a nice touch.

In terms of performance the CB300R comes in around the middle of the list. Its 286cc single cylinder engine won't offer the most thrilling experience but a very light weight of 143 kilos means it is still surprisingly nippy and can easily cruise at 75 mph speeds.

The Honda CB300R Neo Sport Cafe starts at £4,579 and as intended makes for a great beginner bike with economical performance.

Engine Type Liquid-cooled single cylinder
Engine Size 286cc
Power 23.1 kW
Front Suspension 37mm telescopic fork, 130mm stroke
Rear Suspension Monoshock damper, pro-link swingarm, 107mm travel
Front Brake Hubless floating disc Ø 296mm with radial-mount Nissin 4-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single Ø 220mm disc with single piston caliper
Seat height 799mm
Weight 143 kg
Tank Capacity 10 Litres

 

Husqvarna Svartpilen 401

The Svartpilen 401 is one of the newer motorcycles in this category, first appearing in 2018, it now receives its first update for 2020. It is a relatively minor update but the original was already pretty darn good!

It uses the same 373cc single cylinder engine as the KTM 390 Duke, so you can expect the same agile and nippy performance when combined with its lightweight frame and 835mm seat height. Speaking of the frame, that is the main change for the 2020 model, with the rear end extended by 40mm to create a bit more space and comfort for pillion passengers.

The slightly longer tail actually improves the overall look for me and combined with the new 2020 paint-jobs, the Svartpilen 401 remains one of the most stylish lightweight bikes on the market.

Previously this was a bike that felt like a bit of a fashion statement with its price a bit on the high side compared to its rivals. However, from what I can see the 2020 pre-orders are going for around the 5 grand mark which indicates this one is going to be a lot more competitive, especially as it retains all of its premium features like the slipper clutch, Bosch ABS and ride by wire.

Engine Type Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke
Engine Size 373cc
Power 32 kW
Front Suspension WP upside-down 43mm
Rear Suspension WP monoshock
Front Brake Radial fixed disc Ø 300mm, four-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single disc Ø 230mm, single-piston floating caliper
Seat height 835mm
Weight 152 kg (dry)
Tank Capacity 9.5 Litres