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Old 12-01-2014, 02:45 PM   #1
fjmitchell OP
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Location: Philadelphia PA, USA
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Weight Concerns

Hey, complete newbie here (don't kill me), have been checking out several bikes for current purchase and haven't made a decision yet (all large bikes like the 1200 GS). One of the big catalysts is the ability to have my girlfriend on the back, gear, and travel (obviously). I'm a little concerned about weight, can anyone elaborate about how much weight they've had on a bike, effects on riding, challenges, etc.? I weigh about 190, my girlfriend probably 140 lbs. My background is riding sport bikes (much lighter). Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2014, 04:28 PM   #2
High Country Herb
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Generally, you don't want to outweigh your bike, because the bike will struggle. We (400 lbs total) rode 2-up on my XL600, and it was tough. The motor struggled, and the suspension felt rubbery. The furthest we went like that was 1.5 hours at 60 mph.

I now have a 750 that weighs about 410 lbs, and it will handle us plus a small amount of luggage OK. Seating is a bit cramped, and the 90+ hp motor will lug if I don't watch my rpm's. The suspension is far more advanced, and is just fine with the right preload.

There are a number of bikes in the 800cc range that would work fine for the two of you, but you won't be breaking any speed records. Riding solo, the lighter bike will be welcome.

The big touring bikes will be unfazed by the weight of two people. BMW, KTM, Aprilia, Ducati, Triumph, and Yamaha all have bikes that can handle off roading. (there are probably more I'm missing). The limitation here is tires. Most tires are rated at 800 lbs or so. With metal luggage filled to rim, crash protection, and two people, it becomes important to make sure the tires are in good condition, and aired up appropriately for the weight. Its not that big of a deal, but running an under inflated tire on a hot day could mean a blowout.
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Old 12-01-2014, 08:17 PM   #3
fjmitchell OP
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Laugh

I mean, maybe it sounds like a stupid question, but I've been fine on smaller bikes with no luggage or light luggage and my girlfriend (well various girls as passengers). I just feel like riding those larger bikes (and knowing how my current girl packs) its going to be pretty heavy (heavier bike, heavier luggage, heavier driver ). Just wondering how all that plays a role, people change riding style, air pressure, just overall thoughts, etc. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:00 PM   #4
boatpuller
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Heavy is not an issue, if the motorcycle is designed for it. It does require more of the rider than a light bike, because poor slow speed riding habits are not as forgiven on a heavy bike. So, learn how to ride slow the right way, and you'll soon not even think of the heavy weight.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:14 PM   #5
High Country Herb
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On most modern bikes, the weight seems to disappear once you are rolling. Like boatpuller said; it is the low speed
maneuvering that will be the biggest challenge.

You will need to be careful when stopped or moving very slowly. Once the bike starts to lean, it will be very difficult to save it from dropping. That isn't a huge deal, even if it is embarrassing. You may want to warn your girlfriend that if the bike starts to fall at a stop sign, she should make sure her foot or leg isn't under it. The two of you should have no problem picking it up, especially if the side cases keep it from laying flat.

So what causes a drop?

1. You put your foot down on loose gravel, and it slips out from under you.
2. You put your foot down on the low side of the road, and the bike leans way over before your foot touches down.
3. You come to a jerky stop, and simply lose your balance.
4. You are making a sharp turn in a parking lot, and use the front brake, causing the bike to rotate around the front wheel and go down.

All that said; don't worry. If smaller riders than you can handle a Harley with an additional 200 lbs, you can handle a big adventure bike. Just ride it solo a few times first, and ease into more challenging terrain with a passenger/luggage. If the parking lot looks like it is going to be difficult, have your passenger dismount before you try to back up.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:23 AM   #6
StuckinPark
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Practice

Just put a little practice time in & all should be A-OK
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:20 PM   #7
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I'm also a fan of the 800's. They're plenty big enough to go anywhere with passengers + gear but weigh 100lbs less. Weight matters, but the biggest thing I noticed between my 800 and the 1200GS was the width. This could be important to you since coming from a sport bike, you're used to a narrower bike. The 800 is my first adventure bike having started on dirt bikes, then sport bikes, then smaller <650cc dual sports. It felt like I was straddling a fat pig the first few times I got on. I sat on a 1200 and I felt like I was doing the splits. I never looked at the other 1200ish bikes since that's more money/bike than I wanted to mess with so other brands might be narrower.

I think as somebody else mentioned, the weight won't be as noticeable as you might think under normal riding conditions. At slow speeds and/or technical terrain, the weight will become a disadvantage. On the highway or a graded gravel road, you won't notice it. Of course when you have to pick it up, you'll swear at every damn pound.
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:57 PM   #8
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I just switched from a Tiger 800XC, which I rode for 20k miles, to the Triumph Explorer XC 1200. While the published 100 pound difference in weight didn't sound like a huge deal to me (which it isn't) it is definitely a much heavier feeling bike. I dont know if it's simply 100 pounds or where it carries the weight. One thing for sure, the 1200 is a lot of bike. I'm 220 and my wife is 130. We were comfortable on the 800. No speed records being set, but that's alright. I wont be riding the 1200 in the dirt like I did the 800, I'll tell you that!
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:03 PM   #9
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Not all bikes 'feel' as heavy as they're advertised. In other words, some bikes handle their weight better than others. I woudln't go by the numbers, best to try out ones you have in mind and see how they are balanced.

This also holds true to how well a bike does with a lot of weight on it. Not just a passenger, but full luggage with gear. Unfortunately, no dealer is going to have a fully cased bike that they'll let you cram up for a test ride. Best to assume that full adventure and touring bikes will be better loaded up than others. I know I used to tour with a VFR many moons ago, and that was a different bike with passenger and bags; front got really light and not fun to ride. My 1190 Adv doesn't ride much different with luggage and passenger.

I test rode a few, and the deciding factor on the KTM 1190 Adv was how well it handled its weight. Does not feel like a 480lb bike at all, especially when moving it around off the bike. My guess is that most of the weight is down low so you don't get that top heavy/gonna tip feeling.

I've also found that Adv bikes do better with loading/unloading a passenger; not exactly sure why. We sat on a RT1200, and I had to brace my legs much harder when my wife was getting on, vs the GS. Maybe it's physiological, who knows.
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:12 PM   #10
Okeedokee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antirich5 View Post
Not all bikes 'feel' as heavy as they're advertised. In other words, some bikes handle their weight better than others. I woudln't go by the numbers, best to try out ones you have in mind and see how they are balanced.

This also holds true to how well a bike does with a lot of weight on it. Not just a passenger, but full luggage with gear. Unfortunately, no dealer is going to have a fully cased bike that they'll let you cram up for a test ride. Best to assume that full adventure and touring bikes will be better loaded up than others. I know I used to tour with a VFR many moons ago, and that was a different bike with passenger and bags; front got really light and not fun to ride. My 1190 Adv doesn't ride much different with luggage and passenger.

I test rode a few, and the deciding factor on the KTM 1190 Adv was how well it handled its weight. Does not feel like a 480lb bike at all, especially when moving it around off the bike. My guess is that most of the weight is down low so you don't get that top heavy/gonna tip feeling.

I've also found that Adv bikes do better with loading/unloading a passenger; not exactly sure why. We sat on a RT1200, and I had to brace my legs much harder when my wife was getting on, vs the GS. Maybe it's physiological, who knows.
I think it's simply that some of us can't help but feel like a real bad-ass when we climb on our big ADV bikes!
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:33 AM   #11
Maggot12
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I have an FJR, I'm 180 and the wife 120. Loaded down for camping, the bike is heavy to move around and walking/parking lot speeds are a little cumbersome.

Once move the bike doesn't know it's carrying anything. Extremely smooth and stable at any speed.
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