While I may have retired from riding sport bikes, there are a few that stand out in my mind from the past decade, including the 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R. This is the perfect bike for a rider who's relatively new to the two-wheel lifestyle because it's extremely versatile. The second generation of this bike has a modest amount of power, decent fuel economy and it's built for everyday riding, so riders will be able to practice their newfound skill as often as they please.
Sport bikes tend to handle much differently than touring bikes. They are built to corner more sharply and handle winding roads at much faster speeds without losing stability. That's exactly what this Ninja does. With a low center of gravity and a compact 650cc parallel twin engine, the motorcycle rides smoothly, but these bikes do tend to vibrate noticeably between 4 and 6 RPMs. Depending on how well you handle the bike, you're looking at getting anywhere from 45 to 75 miles per gallon, which means less time wasted stopping at gas stations since the tank holds just over four gallons of fuel.
However, when you do pull the bike over, you'll probably get at least a few compliments from passersby. The Kawasaki's design is slick, using bold side panels that cover the engine, low-profile mirrors and an aerodynamic windscreen that help riders cut through the air as they zip along the road. However, the design is not flawless, and the ride tends to get a bit noisy when you pass the 40 mph-mark.
When the bike first came out on the market, it sold for a starting price of around $6,400, which means a used model will now be even more affordable. Plus, this particular motorcycle tends to be relatively inexpensive to insure, so riders have more money to put toward upgrades and other street bike accessories to enhance their bikes. This model can be found in black, silver and red, but a flashy, saturated blue is the most popular color choice for this motorcycle.