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The Best New Superbikes You Can Buy Off The Lot in 2023

Best Superbikes 01 Hero
Photo: Ducati Panigale V4 SP2

Superbikes unequivocally represent the absolute pinnacle of performance in the two-wheeled realm, with these machines almost always being derived from track-focused race bikes. As such, superbikes and supersports are the most technologically advanced motorcycles on the planet, benefitting from cutting-edge features and components that have trickled down from top-level race programs like those competing in WSBK or MotoGP. This has ultimately culminated in an ultra-refined class with ever-increasing top speeds and performance capabilities that are able to go toe-to-toe with six and seven-figure hypercars.

Because this is such a competitive segment, superbikes tend to evolve at a markedly quicker rate than other classes of scoot, and while this means there’s no shortage of thoroughly state-of-the-art models to choose from, it can also make shopping in this space an intimidating process, especially to the uninitiated. So, with this in mind, we’ve scoured the entire supersport and superbike markets to not only highlight the best superbike motorcycles that you can currently buy, but also to explain some of the finer points of the sector including their intended use, how to find the model that’s right for you, and what to look for when shopping.

The Best New Superbikes & SuperSports

  • KTM RC 390

    Best Entry-Level Bike

    KTM RC 390

  • Kawasaki Ninja ZX25R Special Edition

    Best Small-Displacement Bike

    Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R Special Edition

  • Aprilia RS 660

    Best Commuter Bike

    Aprilia RS 660

  • Yamaha YZF R6 Race

    Best SuperSport

    Yamaha YZF-R6 Race

  • MV Agusta Superveloce 800

    Best Retro-Inspired Bike

    MV Agusta Superveloce 800

  • Show more

Two-Wheeled Track Weapons

What To Consider When Purchasing A New Superbike

As ultra-advanced high-performance machines, the process of shopping around for a new superbike can be a rather daunting one. Recognizing this, we’ve briefly broken down the half-dozen most important aspects to consider when buying a supersport or superbike.

Aero & Bodywork: Alongside powerful engines, clip-on handlebars, and high-mounted rear-sets (i.e. foot-pegs), full fairings are one of the main defining qualities of a superbike. Designed to help the motorcycle cut through the wind and achieve a more slippery drag coefficient, these full sets of bodywork are an important area to consider when buying a model in this class. In addition to the material used to construct it and its visual design, it’s also worth exploring if a model’s fairing is equipped with down-force-generating aerodynamic winglets as these items — which were derived from MotoGP bikes — have become increasingly commonplace in the superbike segment over the last few years.

Powertrain: As the heart of the motorcycle, a bike’s powertrain is another wildly important area to consider when shopping around. Typically utilizing four-cylinder engine configurations — though twins and triples are also fairly common, and even singles on some smaller models — superbikes usually possess the most potent and powerful engines of any class of motorcycle, with current flagship models routinely putting down more than 200hp. As a result, when shopping, you’ll want to look at factors such as an engine’s number of cylinders and displacement, as well as finer points such as cooling and cam setup.

Power Output: One area that separates superbikes from other classes of motorcycle is the segment’s unparalleled horsepower and torque figures — many of which are on par with modern production cars despite tipping the scales at only a fraction of the weight of their four-wheeled counterparts. This is ultimately what affords these machines their phenomenal speed and acceleration, making this an extremely important area to look into before pulling the trigger on your purchase. A model’s power figures should also help clue newer riders into whether or not a specific bike is appropriate relative to their skill and experience level.

Running Gear: While a superbike’s raw speed and acceleration are largely owed to the engine at the heart of the bike, handling and stopping abilities boil down to the running gear — or components — present on a given model. Because these parts need to assist in exacting maximum levels of performance, they too tend to be derived from race programs and are often of the GP-spec variety. As some of the most top-shelf componentry that money can buy, these elements typically account for a decent portion of a model’s MSRP. And while they’re almost always adjustable, superbike suspension setups are mainly intended for the track, and as such almost always fall on the tighter end of the spectrum. Likewise, the braking hardware that these machines possess is also GP-grade and is designed for hard and late braking.

Technology: Even the most talented professional racers would seriously struggle with keeping a superbike’s more than 200 horses in check, which is why modern sportbikes almost always come equipped with advanced electronic rider aid packages. These include common staples like ABS and traction control, as well as more elaborate systems like anti-wheelie and slide control, launch control, adjustable engine braking control, and rear-wheel lift mitigation systems, just to name a few. On top of smartphone connectivity, most of these models also feature multiple power modes (i.e. fuel maps) — which on superbikes typically include dedicated race/track and rain modes.

Price: Wrapping one’s head around superbike pricing can admittedly be a bit tricky. While it’s true that spending more will almost always get you a better bike, a $30,000 model is by no means twice as good as a $15,000 bike. As prices go up, you start having to pay a considerable amount for what are only minor differences. This can best be seen with homologation specials — aka race-spec bikes that require a minimum number of units to be produced in order to qualify for certain types of competition — as they come heavily upgraded in their stock form and more often than not sport some of the most top-shelf components that money can buy.

Superbike Shortcomings

The Reality Of Riding Sportbikes On The Street

Sportbikes are specifically engineered to go around a race track as quickly as possible, having been largely derived from race bikes. As a result, closed-circuit courses are where supersports and superbikes perform best. And while it’s true that production sportbikes have been modified by their manufacturers to better lend themselves to riding on the street, any rider that’s spent a decent amount of time in the saddle can tell you that sportbikes simply aren’t very conducive to road use.

This is for a myriad of reasons including the fact that they possess full suites of bodywork that can easily get scuffed up or thrashed if one drops the bike — or if it gets knocked over while parked — and super aggressive ergonomic setups that favor a tight, hunched-over riding position over more relaxed upright configurations, making these bikes fairly uncomfortable when ridden for more than a few miles. Superbikes’ biggest problem with street riding is undoubtedly their engines, which typically make most of their power just before redline, requiring riders to be nearly bouncing off the rev ceiling in order to make the most of these machine’s power bands.

There’s an old saying that it’s “more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow,” and superbikes epitomize this phrase better than any other class of motorcycle. Because they’re developed specifically for use on the race track, superbikes also tend to boast some pretty remarkable performance capabilities, with lightning fast acceleration and hair-raising top speeds — attributes that can’t be taken advantage of when riding on public roads — at least not legally. Add to this the fact that some liter-sized superbikes are capable of nearly reaching triple-digit speeds while in first gear, and you should start to be able to get a sense of how the immense performance capabilities of these bikes are very much wasted on the street and can’t be used to anywhere even near their full potential.

Sportbike Shopping 101

How To Find The Superbike That's Right For You

There’s no denying that superbikes are ridiculously fun — to put it mildly — though the reality is that these are incredibly powerful motorcycles that are extremely unforgiving, offering a very minimal margin for error and boasting ridiculously sensitive controls. As such, superbikes are quite possibly the worst choice for novice bikers to start their riding careers on – not unlike how it would be an equally terrible idea to learn how to drive behind the wheel of a new supercar or hypercar. Even with the benefit and added security afforded by electronic rider aids like traction control, ABS, and watered-down power modes, riders still have to contend with the full weight of these machines, making them difficult to control, and an all-around atrocious choice for a new rider.

The good news is that sportbikes are produced in a wide variety of sizes, including small-displacement models that are beginner-friendly, as well as mid-sized supersports and big-bore liter-bikes. With options available across a wide variety of displacements, one’s skill level – or lack thereof — should ultimately be the main guiding factor when searching for a sportbike. Not only will a bike that’s appropriate for your skill and experience level be safer and easier to pilot, but it will also be markedly more conducive to learning and evolving as a rider, making it simpler to develop the fundamental skills needed for riding on two-wheels.

Riders will always have the option of upgrading to a larger or more powerful model later on down the road once their skills are more refined, so just because you can legally buy a race replica superbike as your first motorcycle doesn’t mean you should. In fact, in some countries outside of America, newly-licensed motorcyclists are prohibited from legally piloting full-size superbikes, and have to start on smaller machines, gaining experience in the saddle before being able to get an endorsement for riding more powerful, larger-displacement bikes. It’s also worth noting that naked superbikes — or “street fighters” — can be a great alternative to traditional sportbikes as they’re designed to better lend themselves to use on the street.

The Best New Superbikes 

KTM RC 390

KTM RC 390
Photo: KTM
Why It Made The Cut
  • A thoroughly top-shelf, Austrian-built, beginner-friendly supersport that’s forgiving while still providing a solid platform for rider growth.

Best Entry-Level Bike: The recipient of a recent major visual redesign, a new chassis, and a revised powertrain, KTM’s latest RC 390 is a small-displacement, high-performance sportbike that’s plenty forgiving, while still packing enough speed and power to allow a novice rider to grow and evolve their skills for quite some time. Despite being an entry-level model, the RC 390 boasts high-end features like a slipper clutch, WP APEX suspension, a TFT display, cornering ABS with a supermoto mode, LED lighting, traction control, a quick-shifter, and connectivity to the KTM MY RIDE app. Best of all, this motorcycle is forgiving enough to be approachable to new riders, while still being powerful enough to provide a great platform to grow and progress as a rider — as well as enough power to seriously have a blast in the canyons or at your local track. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 373cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 43.5HP & 27.3FT-LBS
Top Speed: 115MPH
Dry Weight: 341LBs
MSRP: $5,899

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R Special Edition

Kawasaki Ninja ZX25R Special Edition
Photo: Kawasaki
Why It Made The Cut
  • A special edition version of a quarter-liter inline-four supersport that revs higher than an F1 car.

Best Small-Displacement Bike: Harkening back to the small displacement multi-cylinder superbikes of decades past, Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-25R is unlike anything else on the road, with the Japanese-made moto being powered by a 250cc inline-four that spins at up to 17,000rpm — 5,000 more than a Formula 1 race car. Though still fairly svelte with a roughly 400lb wet weight, this little Ninja legitimately boasts the character of a big-bore superbike in a more manageable — yet still thoroughly thrilling — package. Sadly, this motorcycle isn’t sold in the U.S. In addition to a Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) livery, this special edition model also comes loaded with a smoked windscreen, frame-sliders, wheel decals, a USB socket, an adjustable fork, and a bi-directional quick-shifter — all as standard. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 250cc Inline-Four
Power: 43.5HP & 15.6FT-LBS
Top Speed: 117MPH
Curb Weight: 396LBS
MSRP: $8,915

Aprilia RS 660

Aprilia RS 660
Photo: Aprilia
Why It Made The Cut
  • A fully-faired supersport with an engine & riding position that make for a markedly more practical choice than almost any other sportbike.

Best Commuter Bike: Looking similar to its V4-powered big-sibling — the RSV4 — the Aprilia RS 660 is a mid-sized supersport that was engineered to be a more practical fully-faired sport bike, with a relatively upright riding position and a 659cc twin-cylinder engine with markedly more tractable power compared to a four-cylinder 600cc or 1,000cc superbike. Also offered in a more high-performance Extrema-spec, the RS 660 also features a full suite of electronic rider aids including traction and wheelie control, a quick-shifter, cruise control, adjustable multi-map cornering ABS, and multiple ride modes. And, while it was designed for more practical street use, the RS 660 is still an immensely competent machine on the race track — as evidenced by its slew of recent wins in the MotoAmerica Twins class. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 659cc Parallel-Twi
Power: 100HP & 49.4FT-LBs
Top Speed: 143MPH
Curb Weight: 403LBs
MSRP: $11,499

Yamaha YZF-R6 Race

Yamaha YZF R6 Race
Photo: Yamaha
Why It Made The Cut
  • An upgraded, track-only variant of what’s widely considered the quickest & most high-performance supersport in the 600 class.

Best SuperSport: There are quite a few models to choose from in the 600cc i4 race replica class, though when it comes to on-track performance and pedigree, nothing beats the mighty YZF-R6. The Tuning Fork Company did treat the model to a sleek new set of bodywork and a cutting-edge rider aids package a few years ago, but at its core, it has remained largely unchanged since 2006, with its thoroughly-proven engine and frame being about as close to perfect as it gets. So, while it may not be the most practical machine on the street, it’s objectively the best track weapon in its class. Sadly, Yamaha recently pulled the plug on the road-going version of this long-running model, though the company does still offer an even sharper track-only version known as the Yamaha YZF-R6 Race that comes standard in track/race-ready condition with a host of upgrades. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 599cc Inline-Four
Power: 116.8HP & 45.5FT-LBS
Top Speed: 165+MPH
Curb Weight: 418.8LBS
MSRP: $12,699

MV Agusta Superveloce 800

MV Agusta Superveloce 800
Photo: MV Agusta
Why It Made The Cut
  • An absolutely gorgeous retro cafe racer-inspired full-faired supersport constructed around MV Agusta’s F3 800 triple platform.

Best Retro-Inspired Bike: Arguably the best-looking modern-retro-style motorcycle ever penned, MV Agusta’s Superveloce 800 is an absolutely stunning fully-faired superbike that’s built around the Varese marque’s tried-and-true F3 800 platform — another stellar supersport model in its own right. As such the SV800 features an advanced trellis frame paired with a single-sided swing-arm, a top-shelf array of running gear, and a potent 798cc triple that puts down 147hp — all hidden beneath a truly gorgeous suite of vintage GP-inspired bodywork. This model comes admittedly come at a fairly steep price, but between its idiosyncratic throwback-inspired appearance and legitimately razor-sharp performance, there really is nothing else on the planet quite like the SuperVeloce 800. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 798cc Inline-Three
Power: 147HP & 72.1FT-LBS
Top Speed: 149MPH
Dry Weight: 381.4LBS
MSRP: $24,598

Energica Ego+ RS

Energica Ego Plus RS
Photo: Energica
Why It Made The Cut
  • A fully-faired fully-electric superbike that benefits from a software update unlocking a supercar-esque 2.6-second 0-60mph time.

Best EV: While the Italian EV brand’s regular Ego is already one of the world’s most capable electric superbikes, the firm has nonetheless opted to roll out an even quicker variant — for its customers that seemingly weren’t satisfied with a 2.8-second 0-60mph time. In addition to a beefed-up chain final drive and special RS decals, the Energica Ego+ RS has had numerous changes made to the software that regulates its liquid-cooled three-phase hybrid synchronous motor and adaptive control inverter. In addition to a top speed that’s now been electronically listed to 150mph, these tweaks to the software also unlock a 0-60mph time of just 2.6 seconds — placing the Ego+ RS on par with some of the world’s fastest supercars. Requiring minimal maintenance and boasting extended service intervals, this fully-electric motorcycle also offers a range of up to 261 miles plus can receive a 0-80% recharge in as little as 40 minutes. 

Engine: Electric Liquid-Cooled 3-Phase Hybrid Synchronous Motor
Power: 126kW (171.3HP) & 163.7FT-LBs
Top Speed: 150MPH
Curb Weight: 573LBs
MSRP: $26,650

BMW M 1000 RR

BMW M 1000 RR
Photo: BMW Motorrad
Why It Made The Cut
  • BMW’s first-ever M class motorcycle that features an advanced carbon aero kit, a 200-hp i4, and a wildly advanced suite of electronics.

Best Literbike: Though BMW has been producing high-performance, track-bred M cars since the late 1970s, it wasn’t until much more recently that the Bavarian brand unleashed its first official M class two-wheeler with the BMW M 1000 RR. An M-spec of the already immensely-capable S 1000 RR, the M 1000 RR benefits from a slew of WSBK-derived features and sports a full suite of all-carbon bodywork with a massive aero kit, an M chassis kit, and what’s almost certainly one of, if not the single most advanced electronics system ever seen on a production motorcycle. Despite having over 200hp on tap and being able to achieve a nearly-200-mph top speed in its stock form, BMW offers a range of optional upgrades for the M1K double-R including an M Competition package and an M billet package. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 999cc Inline-Four
Power: 205HP & 83FT-LBS
Top Speed: 189MPH
Dry Weight: 375LBS
MSRP: $33,345

Ducati Panigale V4 SP2

Ducati Panigale V4 SP2
Photo: Ducati
Why It Made The Cut
  • An ultra-premium 2nd-gen Sport Production version of Ducati’s flagship V4 superbike with all carbon wheels & bodywork & 210hp on tap.

Best Overall Superbike: Derived from the Italian firm’s Desmosedici GP MotoGP racer while also benefitting from its WSBK team experience, this ultra-high-end version of Ducati;s flagship superbike features an insanely-advanced chassis design paired with an equally elaborate V4 engine and some of the finest componentry that money can buy. Equipped with carbon fiber bodywork complete with carbon aero winglets and Ducati’s Winter Test livery, the Panigale V4 SP2 comes straight from the factory with carbon fiber wheels, a brushed aluminum tank, an  STM-EVO SBK dry clutch with an open carbon cover, and the latest and greatest from Brembo and Ohlins. Full road-legal, this range-topper also has a whopping 210hp and 90.6ft-lbs of torque on tap — figures that earn it a roughly 185-mph top speed and a 0-60mph time of just over 3 seconds. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,103cc V4
Power: 210HP & 90.6FT-LBs
Top Speed: 186MPH
Curb Weight: 428.7LBs
MSRP: $40,495

Norton V4SV

Norton V4SV
Photo: Norton Motorcycles
Why It Made The Cut
  • A super high-performance, hand-made V4-powered superbike made to compete at the Isle of Man TT.

Best Boutique-Made Bike: Made by a now-revived, legendary British marque, the Norton V4SV is a modern superbike that was developed to compete at the infamous Isle of Man TT. Top-shelf through and through, the bike is constructed around a handcrafted, TIG-welded aluminum tube frame that’s been polished to a mirror finish before being draped in a suite of carbon fiber bodywork. Offered in Manx and Carbon variants, the V4SV is powered by a 185-hp, proprietary liquid-cooled 1,200cc 72° V4 with chain-driven cams, titanium inlet valves, electronic fuel-injection, and a slipper clutch. Brimming with top-shelf componentry, this model also gets billet yokes, Brembo brakes and Öhlins suspension fore and aft, an Öhlins damper, and either forged OZ Racing wheels or carbon fiber BST rims (depending on the model variant). Tech on this British-built superbike includes a 6” display, all-LED lighting, a suite of electronic rider aids, a keyless ignition, a multi-directional quick-shifter, and multiple ride modes. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,200cc V4
Power: 185HP 92.2FT-LBs
Top Speed: N/A
Curb Weight: 454LBs
MSRP: $56,000

The Best Track Motorcycles For Closed-Circuit Riding

Best Track Only Motorcycles 0 Hero
Photo: KTM RC 8C

Looking for some bikes with even greater performance capabilties? Then be sure to cruise on over to our guide to the best track-only motorcycles for the fastest and best-handling two-wheeled track weapons currently available in turnkey form.