Big Naked bikes - A new phenomenon?


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"Naked bike” is a phrase that came up a few years ago. It describes a category of machines which are actually just big, conventional motorcycles without fairings or plastic covers. What is so special about them?

Just an archetypal motorcycle
From an engineering point of view there is nothing extraordinary about a naked bike.
30 years ago most new motorcycles were naked. Fairings and clip-on handlebars for street bikes were available as accessories, and these were only found on specialised machines owned by real enthusiasts. As technology advanced, the performance and top speed of these big bikes increased, and the manufacturers realised they had to offer wind protection. At first some manufacturers introduced a half fairing on the faster machines, and when the supersport class grew rapidly in the middle of the eighties, full fairings started to be fitted as standard equipment in this segment. And riders did appreciate it.

Japanese bikers started it
However, although fully faired bikes were quite special back in the eighties, their popularity grew rapidly and they became a common sight. Riders looking for individuality wanted to go back to "real metal machines”, with their simple and elementary looks. Japanese bikers modified their supersport machines in the early nineties by removing the fairing, fitting higher handlebars and making other modifications. The manufacturers soon recognised this new trend and launched bikes like the Yamaha XJR400 and Suzuki Bandit 400 which became extremely popular. This fashion for naked bikes reached Europe a few years later, and the leading manufacturers launched a range of naked big bikes.

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