10 motorcycles we most want to ride this summer
Kawasaki Ninja 300
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Kawasaki Ninja 300: Entry-level bikes have seen significant improvements of late, becoming destinations, not just starting points. This new model combines the look of larger Ninja sport-bikes in a lighter package with a relatively low 30.9-inch seat height. Adding beginner appeal, the 300 features a novice rider friendly "slipper" clutch, which Kawasaki says requires less effort and can help prevent rear wheel lockup when downshifting. Powered by a 296cc, liquid-cooled and fuel-injected two-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed transmission, the 300 is more powerful than the long-running Ninja 250 it replaces. Base price is $4,799, with the ABS models priced at $5,499. Fun and affordable-sounds like a winning combination.
Honda CB500F/CB500X: Midsized fun, the new CB500F is a "naked" sport bike. Built for agility, the CB500F takes a pass on the dramatic fairing of the CBR500R, granting it a different visual attitude and slightly more approachable price, starting at $5,499. ABS is offered solely with a black variation for $5,999. (There is a certain irony that the safety-minded model doesn't come in a more visible color.)
Given a different twist, there is also the CB500X adventure bike. It may look similar to the other Honda CB500s, but it has a number of enhancements, such as longer suspension travel (4.9 inches) and wider handle bars, to suit it for the expanding adventure class. Pricing starts at $5,999. And again, ABS is available.