Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bigger is not always better

Observations of a rider:

I would say in the last year I have taken a more active role on Facebook and joined several motorcycle groups exclusively for women. I like these exclusive groups because they are extremely supportive and for the most part keep the ‘drama’ under strict control. 

One of the most common posts I notice regularly are women wanting to move up to a bigger motorcycle after a year or so of riding. Another theme posted along the same lines is how their current ride cannot “keep up” in large group rides and this also seems to be what is fueling their desire to get a bigger bike. So I thought I would give my two cents worth on this subject.

I admit that I do not ride in large groups, and probably never will, I have an aversion to crowds. Although the one time I did ride with six other bikers and the thought of “keeping up” didn’t even cross my mind. I had never met them before but they seemed to accept my somewhat newbie skills of a first time group rider at the time. At least they never said anything directly to me. I thought they were a great bunch and as far as I knew had accepted me for me. Even if they didn’t that would be okay with me too, I am not here to impress. I just firmly believe that you should be completely happy and comfortable with what you ride. Don't try to keep up with anyone, and always ride to your own abilities. If you do ride in a group that does not understand or accepts your abilities, then maybe you are with the wrong group.

As for wanting or even thinking you need a ‘bigger’ bike I have pretty much the same thoughts. I think sometimes the pressure of other riders might be the only influence that someone starts to think that they need to move up.  Peer pressure can happen at any age. Your decision shouldn’t be based on what others think you should be riding. You really should first decide if you are even ready to make the move by taking into consideration if your rider skills at this point in time can handle a larger bike.

Plain old common sense dictates that if you are comfortable and perfectly happy with your current ride then moving on to bigger just for the sake of having a “big bike” probably isn’t better. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you shouldn't if the time is right. I moved up from my first motorcycle that was a 250 Yamaha V-star, but I have to admit I was very content riding on her for four years before I did. Some might think that was too long to keep riding such a small bike. But for me I was content. Eventually I realized I did need and wanted something with a little more oomph. No external influences, just me surpassing the “newbie” stage at my own pace. The 250 was a perfect beginner bike, learning to ride on it was easy because of it being lightweight and small. Although when I started expanding my horizons and started riding on roads that I had to share with huge tractor trailers, I realized that having such a lightweight motorcycle impacted me greatly. I was at a huge disadvantage and it was downright terrifying having the feeling like I would literally fly off the bike when a truck passed by! 

When it was time for me to move up I considered my vertically challenged height at 5’ 1” and the fact that I am sort of a “lightweight”. The Harley Davidson Sportster 883 XL was quite a larger bike to the Yamaha and was definitely plenty of bike for me to handle. In fact, just having to adjust to the heavy weight of it at 579 lbs., in comparison to my 250 that was only 324 lbs. was a challenge. In retrospect if I had tried different motorcycles maybe I wouldn’t have went with a Harley at all. But alas I chose a Sportster. To be honest maybe I was unknowingly influenced by outside forces, given that Harleys are known as “the legend” in the biker world, but let’s be real, there are other motorcycles out there and maybe just another brand would have been a better fit for me.

I have no regrets about my choice and have been quite content with my Sportster 883 for the last 5 years. Maybe it is just me, but I have no desire to ‘move up’ or ‘go bigger’ and I am certainly not going to be influenced by anyone around me telling me to do so. 

Strangely, lately I am considering downsizing. Weird I know, but I am on the strange side so it is perfectly normal for me. I find as I am getting older my Harley is just getting too heavy, or maybe I am just getting weak. Last year I had the opportunity to sit on a Honda Rebel 500. Wow! I think I am in LOVE. Not to mention how DANG SEXY it looks. Now that bike is all I think about. (Sorry Sporty Blue) The seat height at 27” is perfect for my condensed size and it weighs in at 408 lbs. I haven’t test rode it yet, but I think it would be substantial enough to “hug” the road.  It felt like lifting a feather when I got on and positioned it in an upright position.  Okay, that was a little bit of an exaggeration, but it was truly much easier to lift upright than my Harley.

Yes, this ole gal is seriously considering the Rebel over a Harley. This of course is my personal preference and for all you die hard Harley fans I make no apologies for uttering those words. Although there will always be a special place in my heart for my Harley. Besides, my Harley lives in Florida so who is to say I can't have a Rebel here in Canada. <sly grin>

After all, we are all bikers no matter what we choose to ride and we all share that common bond that gets our hearts revving as we ride the open roads. 

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...


  1. Nothing wrong with a smaller bike. What is that saying? Never let anyone tell you what to ride.

    I started on a Suzuki TU250 and moved up to a Suzuki Gladius 650 a year later. I held on to that bike for 6 years and last year sold it for my current ride which is a Kawasaki Versys 300x. Yes it is only a 300 cc bike, but it is the size of a full size bike and is lighter with better gas mileage than my 650 was.

    Sure I miss my torquey v-twin but I am actually enjoying riding this bike more than the other.

    I like your idea of having the Rebel in Canada. Although after being on it for a while the Harley will seem even heavier.

  2. My point exactly! I agree, about the Harley going to feel even heavier if I am zipping around on a Rebel here. I may just have to trade it in too LOL. Always a pleasure T!