WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

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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  1. For just solo commuting, a 500 would probably do the trick. But since the two of them want to do some occasional weekend “two-upping", it just isn’t gonna work out.

    A 750 will work, but if his wife is 5′7″ and weighs 210 lbs, then she’s got some rear-end issues. Get a cruiser-class bike in the 1100-1500 range, but a wide comfy seat on the back with a backrest, and she won’t be pounding the back of his helmet complaining about butt pain.

    Oh, and if they plan to ride together to places, then they’re going to need saddlebags, because, everybody always needs saddlebags in those cases.

    Yahama V-Star 1100
    Honda Sabre 1100
    Suzuki Boulevard 1500

    All great choices.

    Comment by Steve — 10/1/2005 @ 7:37 pm

  2. How about an exercise bike? If you plan on riding two up, anything under 1000 is going to be disapointing. A 750 would be fine for you to commute with, but the two up weekend ride is going to suck.

    Comment by Gail — 10/20/2005 @ 10:50 am

  3. If you want a sport tourer consider a Honda VFR, or Yamaha FJR1300. The Suzuki bandits have been around forever and you could maybe pick up a 1200 for cheap, people swear by that for daily commuting + 2-up touring. It’s not cutting edge but they’re solid and well supported

    Comment by Rachel — 11/9/2005 @ 3:48 pm

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