Sport bike (vehicle class)
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Sport bikes, commonly known as inside drifting bikes or inward drifting bikes, are a class of bikes that commit to the turn instead of actually drifting. Introduced as hang-on type (「ハングオンタイプ」) bikes in Mario Kart Wii, they have become one of the four body classes in Mario Kart 8, distinguished from standard bikes.
Since they don't drift, but rather commit to the turn when the player attempts to manually drift or autodrift, they handle in a significantly different way from every other vehicle class in the Mario Kart series. In both Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8, they can be distinguished from standard bikes by looking at the usually less upright and more aerodynamic posture of the character riding them.
Sport bikes are introduced as hang-on type (「ハングオンタイプ」) bikes in Mario Kart Wii, from the name used in Japan to refer to the technique in which bikers hang off their bikes when they turn. They are not explicitly distinguished from standard bikes in the vehicle selection screen, requiring the player to look at the posture of the rider to understand whether the selected bike is a sport bike or a standard bike.
The main distinguishing feature of sport bikes is that as soon as the player attempts to start drifting with them, they instead commit to the turn. Furthermore, when the player tries to start drifting after landing from a jump they quickly make a sharp turn toward the inside of turn and then start commiting to the turn. This latter aspect leads to them being able to take sharp turns despite their lower turning capability (angular velocity) while they commit to the turn, compared to that of karts when they drift, and results in them having in general relatively high Drift statistics in the vehicle selection screen despite said actual low turning capability, the only exception being that of Dolphin Dasher which is given a low Drift statistics despite its turning capability being actually higher than that of the Sneakster.
When characters ride sport bikes, they usually perform the same tricks performed on standard bikes, with the exception of the medium-sized characters, whom perform unique tricks when riding sport bikes.
Sport bikes return as one of the four body classes of Mario Kart 8, alongside karts, standard bikes, and ATVs. Like the standard bikes, in this game sport bikes are given a proper name and a distinct icon on the vehicle customization screen that allows them to be distinguished from standard bikes ().
Just like in Mario Kart Wii, sport bikes commit to the turn when the player attempts to drift with them; unlike in said game, however, in Mario Kart 8 they actually turn only when they are leaning and not as soon as they land after a jump. In addition, compared to the other vehicle classes having the same Handling and Speed statistics when the player manually drifts, when the sport bikes commit to the turn as a consequence of the player attempting a manual drift they charge their Boost counter as fast as the drifting vehicles, but their turning capability is inferior while their top speed is higher. Importantly, these different properties are not applied when autodrifting, even though they still commit to the turn instead of actually drifting.
Interestingly, even though the exploit known as firehopping doesn't require the vehicle to drift, sport bikes are completely unable to perform said exploit. Much like standard bikes, sport bikes are able to charge Super Mini-Turbos, and unlike in Mario Kart Wii, players cannot perform wheelies with them, although the racers will perform purely cosmetic wheelies during mushroom and dash panel boosts. Sport bikes are also given unique statistics not shared with bodies pertaining to other vehicle classes, leading to them having strong handling statistics, with the non-DLC sport bikes having the highest handling and lowest traction statistics in the game, possibly compensating for their lower turning capability when the player attempts a manual drift.
When riding sport bikes, the characters perform the same tricking animations they perform on standard bikes and ATVs, with the sole exception of Larry, Peach and Baby Daisy, whom perform a different tricking animation each while riding them (the secondary trick in the case of Larry and Princess Peach, and the anti-gravity trick in the case of Baby Daisy). In addition, only two CPU-controlled characters are able to ride sport bikes: Mario, who can ride on his Comet equipped with Slim tires, and Link, who can ride on his Master Cycle paired up with the Triforce Tires and Hylian Kite.
In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, sport bikes are able to charge Ultra Mini-Turbos like the other vehicle classes, but they no longer have their distinctive unique statistics not shared with bodies of other classes, as the Sport Bike and Jet Bike share their stats with the Prancer kart body, the Comet and Yoshi Bike share their stats with the Cat Cruiser kart body and the Teddy Buggy ATV body, and the Master Cycle shares its stats with the Sneeker and Gold Standard kart bodies instead. This results in them no longer having the best handling and worst traction in the game. Furthermore, more CPU-controlled characters (i.e. Peach, Rosalina, Koopa Troopa, Metal Mario, Pink Gold Peach, Larry, Ludwig, Toad and Baby Mario) are now able to ride sport bikes.
Names in parenthesis are European variants.
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart 8