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Upgrading - should weight be a deciding factor?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Meags, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. I was out on a ride with some girlfriends the other day and during lunch the subject of upgrading came up. Weight was one of the deciding factors and it got me thinking about how difficult it can be to handle a large heavy bike on the ground or at slow speed. It seems it’s just a technique thing (rather than an upper body male strength thing) but I know that it’s an issue with me and my current bike. I much prefer to sit on the bike and manoeuvre it around rather than stand next to it and push/pull it.

    My plan is to move onto something no bigger than an 800 as anything bigger is a complete waste of bike on me. Having said that, there’s a big weight difference in many of the bikes between the 600 and 800 ranges. I’d love to hear how others have managed with larger bikes and the experiences they’ve had. Is it reasonable to only choose a bike based on its weight, or should you get what you like and then get on it, ride it and get used to it.

    This post is not gender specific, but I’m thinking there’s probably plenty of women out there that have gone through the upgrade process and can relate. Having said that I’m really interested in people’s thoughts in general. Cheers.
  2. well for me, my 600 is easier to handle at low speed than my 250, but i think that may have something to do with my being too big for the 250. there's only 50kg difference between the 2, and sadly i've already proven that i can pick the 6 up even though it's more than double my weight. i might be a fat bastard but i'm pretty weak 8-[

    your criteria for picking a bike is yours, noone can say "you picked that bike for the wrong reasons" unless that reason was to impress someone other than yourself. and if they try, tell them to fvck off.
    pick what you like the feel of. pick what you like the look of. there is no wrong answer
  3. Low speed riding is more to do with skill/technique than the weight of the bike

    (Try doing that with your current bike ;)).
  4. That was great riding
  5. I agree, but it's always good to hear from more experienced riders who've had different bikes. I guess I'm less interested in bike suggestions and more interested in other's experiences with their bikes. A friend has a CBR 600R (I think?) and I struggled to help pick that up. Thanks.
  6. It wouldn't just be overall weight alone but also how it is distributed over the bike. If the bike has a lower centre of gravity the it should be a lot more stable at low speed plus easier to move around while pushing.

    My bike is 270kg and I'm by no means buff. No problems at all with low speed maneuvering though. You won't know for sure till you ride them and find out how well balanced a bike is.
  7. It's really a technique thing, isn't it? That was an amazing clip, it almost looked like the bike had a mind of it's own and the rider was just along for the ride. I think I might pass on trying to do that with my current bike jd (y)
  8. The clip I posted was from the test that all motorcycle cops in Japan have to pass. Just to prove the rider in that last clip wasn't a one-off, more awesomeness:

    If you search for motorcycle gymkhana there's a heap of clips showing how maneuverable large bikes can be (you can also try searching for American police testing to see what large HDs are capable of).
  9. So would it be fair to say that the CB400 is fairly stable at slow speed given it's quite low? It feels that way but I haven't ridden many other bikes to be able to get a basis for comparison.

    I've got a 250 and while it's lighter than the 400, the higher centre of gravity seems (to me) to make it feel less stable. This could also have something to do with the fact that I suck at the more technical off-road riding. I've got jumping/diving/stepping off the bike down to a fine art. My best effort yet has been grabbing a tree branch and letting the bike disappear in a gurgling cloud of steam beneath what seemed (at speed) like a 5mm deep water hole, but was in fact a hip deep mud hole......never going to live that one down :D
  10. Haven't ridden one so can't say for sure. Weight distribution is only a portion of the overall handling package.

    I guess the only point I'm trying to make is that you would be doing yourself a great dis-service if your first step in assessing a bikes suitability is checking it's curb mass and writing it off if above x kg.
  11. are your girlfriends hot?
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Understood, thanks.
  13. It's nice to see that you're not just trawling the 'new girl rider' posts crisis.

    They are - all hot, that is.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. A few years back we ran a noob day and included lifting up a fallen bike, a heavy ex police bike. Everyone did it, even the smallest chicky babe, it's just a matter of technique.
  15. Wholeheartedly agree. My last bike was a 330kg cruiser with a low centre of gravity and I could throw it around in traffic like it was nothing.

    Now i'm on a BMW thats about 80kg's lighter, but has a much higher centre of gravity. I dropped it in the first week. Never dropped the cruiser in the two years I had it.

    Just make sure you youtube plenty of vids on picking bikes up just in case.
  16. Meags, I've had my suzuki gsr750 for 7 months now. Went from zzr250 to honda cb400 to the gsr. It's a lot more top heavy than the 400 however I feel much more planted on the road and at slow speeds in traffic with the fatter rear tyre it handles really well. Also with new Pilot road 3 tyres on it makes it even better.

    It didn't take me long to feel comfortable with the extra weight, and after 7 months I feel like I have bonded quite well and am much better with manouvering the bike on and off it. I had it lowered, I'm only 5'3" so really needed to lower it as otherwise it would have been almost impossible to ride. Yes it has bottomed out once or twice on those pissy little mini speed humps, but I just take extra care on them and with the new tyres doesnt seem to be so bad...

    but as for weight etc... it took me about a month to get comfy, but really used to it now and am loving it..what are you looking at getting??? :D

    Oh, here's a pic of me when I first got the bike... I'm so short, lol... (me on left with arms out hahahah)... yeah it's a technique thing with bikes and manouvering, less so with strength, even though that could help a little..

  17. Picking a dropped bike from the ground is a matter of technique.

    Slow riding is a matter of technique (though low centre of gravity does come into it)

    What *isn't* a matter of technique is supporting your bike with your leg when you have to push it around, or if you happen to come to a stop in less-than-perfect way or on an unexpected slope. Of course some posters here *are* perfect, so that would never happen to them... But for the rest of us, lighter is better in this regard.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. I've picked up the 250 on my own - the sit-on-it-use-your-legs technique - is that the one you mean Rob? Got the bike up no worries, but the irony is that when I drop that bike it's always on some godforsaken goat track, in a rut or in a creek or mud hole and luckily there is always someone else with me. I've yet to lay the CB down and try to pick that up, but I should practice.
  19. I dropped the 250 several times lol, picked it up on my own once cause no-one else was around and I was too embarrassed to let anyone see me as I dropped it backing out the garage. One time I had three peopl,e to pick it up cause it was lying nose downhill on the grass off my driveway (this was years ago mind you when I first started riding, hahahah I was dropping that thing like there was no tomorrow.)

    Otherwise dropped the honda once and had someone rush over to help... men like a damsel in distress as I've come to discover.. Gallantry hasn't died away which is kinda nice in this day and age...thanks boys xoxoxo :angel:
  20. Nice bike SS.

    I have been looking into a VFR800 but to be honest I really don't know. They are a 'nice' bike but I don't think they really grab me. I like the gsr and the fz8 but I haven't ridden either so they'll be top of my list to test ride. I won't be making any sort of decision until the new year so I've got plenty of time.

    This topic came up the other day with some girlfriends (about bike weights) and it got me thinking as there's been some discussion on NR as well. I've possibly been focusing too much on weight and less on ergonomics and bike type. With the VFR I can get my feet on the ground (I'm 5'8") but it still 'feels' big.

    Thanks for the info. It's good to hear from someone who's moved from a CB to a bigger bike. My girlfriend suggested I just keep the CB but I find on long rides it bunches up my legs and I've got a left leg injury (old horse riding accident) which I really notice after a couple of hours. I guess you can't have it all - but you can try (y)

    Cheers and thanks again for the feedback.