There’s no easy way to answer the question, “How much does a motorcycle weigh?” but we’re going to break down some things to look for to help you make a choice if you’re considering purchasing a new motorcycle.
The Weighing Game
Motorcycles are fast, open, and far more fun than cars. Escaping “the cage” is a liberating experience, especially for those who have only driven traditional four-wheeled motor vehicles.
There’s a lot more that goes into learning how to drive and operate a motorcycle safely. If you’re considering purchasing a motorcycle for the first time, there are two key metrics that you need to keep in mind: the seat height and the weight of the motorcycle.
Seat height is a measure of how far the seat is from the ground. If you aren’t tall enough, it will be very difficult and could even be dangerous to ride. As a rule of thumb, your feet should be able to rest flat on the ground while you’re holding the motorcycle in an upright position.
Weight is an even more complicated metric because there are so many variations between motorcycles. How much is too much? Is there a “right” weight that you should look for? Does the weight affect the behavior of the motorcycle?
How Much Does a Motorcycle Weigh?
To get the obvious question out of the way, if you’re on the fence about purchasing a motorcycle, you absolutely should. Once you experience the open road the way it was meant to be experienced, it’s very hard to go back.
A motorcycle’s weight depends on the type of motorcycle. If you search online, you’ll see seemingly random, conflicting information like “the average motorcycle weighs between 300 and 500 pounds” or “the average motorcycle weighs 700 pounds” without any context.
We promise it’s easier than you think to get an accurate understanding of how much modern motorcycles weigh. Let’s look at the major types of motorcycles first.
Most motorcycles you’ve probably seen on the road will fall into this category. Standard motorcycles are jacks of all trades, have simple designs, and are suited for almost any purpose, although they don’t excel in any given specialty area. The lighter bikes can have engines as small as 125cc while heavier engines have 1,000cc.
Standard bikes have a simple and attractive profile. The rider sits upright (unlike a sports bike, for example), and the handles are comfortably located directly in front of the rider’s abdomen. The older SR400 is a great example of a common and popular standard bike. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, it’s a favorite of new and more experienced riders alike.
If you’re looking in the standard category, you’ll likely fall into the 300 to 500-pound range, although this can vary significantly based on the bike options. While customizations and chassis modifications can add some weight, they aren’t the main cause of a bike’s weight.
Engine weight is a primary driver of overall bike weight. The heaviest bikes will have the heaviest and most powerful engines. Engines take up a lot of space as they grow in power, and their weights can increase.
Extra weight can of course be added through accessories and other parts of the bike, but the majority of the weight is going to come from the engine in every case. If you’re looking for a lighter bike, you’ll have to sacrifice some engine power.
You may have guessed from the name that motorcycles in the cruiser class are for cruising! Great for getting around town, going to and from work, or for a long weekend getaway (with the addition of some gear bags), cruisers are adventure bikes that are comfortable for long rides.
Cruisers usually have a lower seat height, which makes them a great choice for shorter riders, but these aren’t the lightest motorcycles on the block. While you can definitely find cruisers with smaller engines, standard cruisers start in the 500cc to 1000cc range and can go up from there depending on the manufacturer.
These bikes offer a lot more customization options, some of which will add extra weight (like your gear bags), but they can travel for miles on end with ease. Cruisers embody the open road experience that draws many would-be riders to motorcycles in the first place.
Cruisers on average are going to weigh heavier than bikes in the standard category, and the average bike in the cruiser class will likely fall somewhere between 500 and 700 pounds. The weight of these touring bikes might be a little confusing when paired against the lower seat height and might scare off some riders concerned with the extra weight.
If you can handle the heavier weight, cruisers are an excellent choice for novice or experienced riders. The iconic Harley Davidson brand makes one of the best cruisers on the market. While more expensive and heavier than the standard class, it’s hard to beat a good cruiser if you’re looking for a more versatile bike.
Sport bikes are loud, exciting, and really fast. These bikes are built for speed and not much else. They usually contain a forward-leaning center of gravity, which makes the rider sit with a forward lean.
While these bikes are nimble and agile, they aren’t known for being the most comfortable for extended rides, although you can make some modifications that will make them a little more comfortable for extended riding. Outside the design, the most noticeable difference is the weight.
Sport bikes are made to be much lighter than their cousins in other classes. They achieve this primarily by using aluminum and other lightweight components in the chassis to strip as much extra weight as possible. The engines are still heavy and fast, but the offsetting weight reduction in these street bikes makes a much more lightweight bike design overall.
Lightweight motorcycles have much greater side-to-side maneuverability and can hug corners at high speeds (although you should always be safe and exercise caution when riding, no matter how fancy your motorcycle is), and the higher seat heights allow the rider to lean further without scraping parts on the pavement.
Sport bikes will weigh around 400 pounds, although many lighter models can be found. Unfortunately, the taller seat height might make these bikes too uncomfortable to ride for shorter riders without some level of modification to the seat. Suzuki is the undisputed king of these types of bikes, and they have been making quality sports bikes for decades.
Flashy, colorful, and amazingly fast, these lightweight bikes are a favorite for riders who want high speeds and high performance in short rides.
The last major category of bike we will cover is the touring class. These are larger and heavier bikes than any of the other categories because they’re designed for extreme long-range driving. These are adventure bikes in the purest sense.
The heaviest motorcycles are designed to go for hundreds of miles at a time and usually have large and powerful engines that can haul a lot of gear for your extended ride. Touring motorcycles have large storage containers and are designed for comfort, power, and ergonomics.
The downside to these extra amenities is that touring motorcycles are very heavy bikes. Unfortunately, there’s no way around that. The chassis is big and bulky, and the engines are equally as large and powerful. On average, touring motorcycles will weigh around 900 pounds and can easily tip the scales to over a ton.
You’ll need to hit the gym regularly if you want to master the weight of a touring motorcycle because even the minimum weights can get to eye-popping sums. Honda makes one of the most iconic touring motorcycles of the class, the Gold Wing. This will give you a great idea of the specs of a touring class motorcycle.
Wrapping It Up and Hitting the Road
The good news for prospective new riders and experienced riders looking for a new bike is that there are many classes and options that offer a wide range of weights that cater to almost anyone. If you find a bike you really love, there are ways you can customize the bike to tweak the weight and seat height slightly.
It’s important to try not to get stuck on a single model. There are many great manufacturers who make a wide range of amazing motorcycles. It’s a matter of time before you find the perfect one to fit your wants and body type.
When it comes down to how much does a motorcycle weigh, there’s no singular answer, but that’s the best part. There’s a motorcycle out there for everyone. You just have to get out and find it.