What size motorcycle is best for urban riding?

January 29, 2015

To really determine what size motorcycle is best for urban riding for you and your city there are a couple questions you should address.

What size motorcycle is best for urban riding?

When trying to decide what size motorcycle is best for urban riding, it is good to think about where most riding will take place, who will be riding and how often the bike will be used.

Motorcycles come in a variety of different sizes defined by the cubic centimetres (cc) of their engines. While large sizes are usually considered the best for long-distance highway riding and small sizes are usually used for off-road or short-distance city riding, medium sized bikes that are most popular for urban riding. This is because they offer both the power and the manoeuvrability necessary for navigating city traffic. But to really determine what size motorcycle is best for urban riding for you, ask these questions.

Will I be riding on the highway?

If you'll be spending a lot of time highway riding, you will want to get a motorcycle that has enough power to reach high speeds, accelerate quickly and stay comfortable at the same time. For most people, a 600 to 700 cc bike is about right for frequent highway riding because it's versatile and powerful. Go larger if highway riding is going to be the absolute majority of your riding experience and smaller if there will be more street riding. Smaller bikes do better in the chaotic traffic of urban streets, as they're easier to manoeuvre and have faster braking speeds.

How much do I weigh?

How much weight a bike is going to carry also determines the appropriate motorcycle size for urban riding. Larger people are, of course, going to want larger bikes, and a motorcycle that's going to transport two people a majority of the time should also be on the heavier end of the scale. Most motorcycle dealers will give proper motorcycle size recommendations based on the measurements and weight of the primary rider plus considerations of any passenger use.

To commute or not?

There is a big difference between choosing a bike that will be used as a primary form of transportation on a daily basis and one that will just be brought out on the weekends for a Sunday cruise around town. In general, commuter bikes should be smaller in order to provide the quick response needed for heavy traffic during rush hour and to ensure a more accurate match to your body size. Oversized bikes, which provide more comfort yet less precision in terms of riding, are fine for weekend riders who value fun over functionality.

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