The term “middleweight naked bike” is thrown around quite a lot lately, and for good reason. Manufacturers now more than ever are focusing on this segment of motorcycles, as they’ve determined it to be the most competitive and lucrative segment. This is understandable, as middleweight bikes, usually with displacements ranging from 650cc to 800cc occupy what we refer to as the “Goldilocks Zone” in the sense that they’re not too small, and not too big; by no means slow, but not ridiculously fast.
Indeed, today’s crop of middleweight bikes, particularly naked bikes, have evolved to feature some truly cutting edge technology. This is the result of the trickle-down effect where tech from top-tier bikes, which first came into existence in the world of racing, are gradually adapted into smaller, more affordable models. These days, features like cornering ABS, traction control, and multiple ride modes are commonplace in middleweight naked bikes. As such, we reason to argue that today’s crop of naked bikes is undoubtedly the best it’s ever been. Let’s take a closer look as to why.
Bikes you can grow into
Back in the day, a 650cc motorcycle like the Kawasaki Z650 was considered an intermediate machine. These days, the Z650, more refined than ever before, is much more approachable to beginners, while maintaining its capable platform for seasoned, intermediate riders. The addition of KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control System) in the 2023 model, as well as dual-channel ABS, has made the bike much more forgiving. On the flipside, these aids can be switched off for a more visceral experience.
Thanks to the addition of technology, middleweight naked bikes are much more beginner-friendly, and can be considered as machines riders can grow into as they advance in their skills.
More than enough power to have a good time
This brings us to our next point, and that’s performance. As you move up the ladder in the mid-sized segment, you’ll find bigger, more powerful machines like the KTM 790 Duke. While this bike is indeed a powerful machine meant for intermediate to advanced riders, thanks to its cutting-edge suite of electronics, it can be set to lower power modes, allowing less experienced riders to safely ride it. As such, you could argue that bikes like this are now suitable as a second, maybe third bike, as riders advance in terms of skill.
Typically, middleweight naked bikes produce anywhere between 60 to 100 horsepower, with the exception of a few models that are much more powerful and performance oriented. When looked at in comparison to the 150 to 200 horsepower outputs of their liter-class counterparts, middleweights just make more sense, as they offer much more usable power all across the rev range. Mind you, they’re by no means slow, and can easily out-accelerate and outrun fancy sports cars.
Wide selection of models to choose from
This brings us to our last point, and it’s that now more than ever, there are tons of models to choose from. Established Japanese manufacturers continue selling their naked bikes like hotcakes. Yamaha’s MT-07 continues to be a popular choice among folks looking for a torquey and raw naked bike bereft of cutting edge tech. On the flipside, the Triumph Trident 660 shakes up the competition with its incredibly attractive price tag, and impressive slew of electronic rider aids. Of course, performance-oriented models like the Aprilia Tuono 660 and Triumph Street Triple RS are there for riders looking for a lightweight, razor-sharp platform to thrash around on the track or twisty road.