Five Small Motorcycles You Can Be Proud To Ride

Why is it pride of ownership is so often connected to engine size in the motorcycle world? Are we compensating for other shortcomings? Not only are these small motorcycles you can be proud of, but often, they're much more fun to ride than their super-sized counterparts.

For the purposes of point proving, let's cap capacity at 499cc (I just really wanted to include the Enfield) and use the criteria that all of these machines must be the absolute best at their respective roles. No caveats, these are small bikes that are better than their larger counterparts.

Yamaha WR250R

Yamaha WR250R

Yamaha WR250R
Hands down, this is the most capable dual sport motorcycle sold by a Japanese company. The WR is just as fast as its 650cc rivals and comes standard with higher quality suspension. Believe it or not, but the 30 bhp motor is better at highway cruising than those larger rivals too, largely because its DOHC design is far more modern than other Japanese dual sports as well as higher spec; this little 250 even has Titanium inlet valves.

Suzuki DR-Z400SM

Suzuki DR-Z400SM

Suzuki DR-Z400SM
This is the only real supermoto available as a stock bike right now and it will destroy pretty much any other motorcycle — regardless of size or performance — through city streets or down a tight mountain road. The best part? A little tuning work can make this thing genuinely fast in a straight line too.

Honda CB500X

Honda CB500X

Honda CB500X
Our workhorse of choice right now is all day comfortable, good at carrying passengers and a blast to ride through heavy traffic. We've been tempted to describe it as having 75 percent of the capability of an R 1200 GS for a third of the price, but then remembered that this little Honda is actually far better for city riding. Yeah...

KTM RC390

KTM RC390

KTM RC390
No one's ridden the RC390 yet, but man does it promise to be an absolute blast. Know what's the enemy of sportbike handling? Weight. You can throw all the Ohlins you want on a heavy bike, but all that's going to do is redress some of that inherent problem. And the RC390 weighs just 324 lbs (wet, without fuel). I get paid to ride fast motorcycles and this is the bike I'm mostly likely going to buy next.

Honda Grom

Honda Grom

Honda Grom
I don't think I've ever had more positive reactions from non-riders to a bike than I've had on the Honda Grom. Heck, even Kanye West asked to borrow it to display in his pop-up store a few weeks ago. When it's not ripping its way around city streets, you can park it on the front porch as an objet d'art.

Do you ride a small bike? Which one? Why do you think pride of ownership is so often connected to engine size in the motorcycle world?

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