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Mailbag: Engine Size

By James - 9/22/2005

I am bying(sic) a motorcycle to commute to work and for the occasional weekend . I have a 35 minutes driving each way. I am 5′10″ and weight around 230. My wife is 5′7″ and weights around 210. I will like to buy a standard or sport touring bike but a sports bike who feels confortable (without leaning forward too much) will do. My wife believes that a 500cc can do the trick. I keep telling her that even tough I am not looking for a racing bike, I believe that a 500 will not accelerate with my weight and size in order to pass a vehicle at 55 MPH. Not taking in consideration if she goes along for a ride. Please, reply and let me know if I am right or my wife is right. I don’t want to make a mistake that will cost me thousands of dollars.

Rafael C.

I started with a Vulcan 500 and found it fast enough for commuting and touring. Passing at 55 mph was no problem. When I did ride with my girlfriends, one of which is now my wife, it was noticeably slower but not horrible. For reference I am 5′10″ 190 and my girlfriends were between 110-140 pounds. The biggest problem with a passenger is at low speed, not at 55mph. The trick is with a passenger to keep your revs higher and shift later to give yourself more power. Some creative clutchwork will also be needed if you ride in the hills. While I think you could definately get a 500 and be happy with it, I would probably reccomend the 600/750cc class, especially if you can find a good deal on a used one. It really comes down to how much you will be riding 2-up and the price you want to pay. I am sure there is a happy balance in there and if I have learned anything from being married, it usually means listening to the wife.

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Off to Vegas

By James - 9/16/2005

It is 6:30am. Almost ready to take off, the sun is not up yet. I just have to load my duffle on my bike then I am off for the bright lights of Bakersfield, then the brighter lights of Vegas. I will take 580 right from my house to I-5 until Bakersfield. Then I will cut over through farms to I-15 and take that all the way to the Riviera. Should take about 8-10 hours, depending how fast I feel like driving. I am going to take the back way home along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas and by Mono Lake and through Yosemite. I will only have my phone so I will be blogging through text messages.

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