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Big bike versus small bike: which one is better for your lifestyle?

If you’re new to motorcycles and struggling to decide whether going big is worth it, read on to learn more.

Kawasaki Versys 650

There's no disputing the cool factor a brand-new, flashy high-displacement tourer or sportbike, or the nostalgic appeal of a restored vintage motorcycle provide.On any given Sunday morning, visit one of the many gas stations strewn throughout the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and you're guaranteed to see a wide selection of big motorcycles of different styles and configurations.

Conversely, small bikes have their perks, too, and when traffic slows down in Mania’s heavily congested roads, small bikes and scooters are the kings of the road. On top of that, parking is easy in most establishments, as scooters and underbone motorcycles can very easily squeeze into tight parking spaces. Having said all that, let’s talk about a few points to determine whether a big bike or small bike is better suited to your lifestyle:

Big bikes: Pros

Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX

The clear advantage of big bikes is that they are allowed to ride on expressways. The ability to use the expressway for transportation can allow you to save minutes, if not hours, off of your daily trip. Having said that, purchasing a big bike is recommended for individuals who want to maximize their time and enjoyment in their journey to and from work, as well as embark on long-distance journeys on the weekends.

Of course, this also applies to those who reside outside of the city, such as in Alabang or elsewhere in the south, or alternatively in Bulacan, Pampanga, and other regions in the north. Of course, naked bikes are one of the more well-liked big bike options for applications focused on commuting. We could go on and on about how adaptable naked bikes like the Yamaha MT-07 are, so take some time to read some of our other articles to help you determine which bike is best for you.

Big bikes: Cons

Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Big bikes are, as their name indicates, big and heavy—at least in comparison to scooters and underbones, especially adventure bikes like the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Particularly for those who are new to the world of two wheels, this extra weight and power may not be optimal for all sorts of commuting. In fact, a 5 kilometer commute to work does not require more than 100 horsepower in between your legs. Similarly, controlling a big bike—even one that is lighter in weight—in dense traffic is much more difficult than it would be for, say, a Vespa.

The price of upkeep and repairs is another factor to take into account. Multiple big bikes, particularly the high-end models made by the Big Four Japanese manufacturers, not to mention European bikes, have a tendency to cost more to maintain and repair than compact family automobiles. The difference in gas mileage is also astronomical, with 1,000cc and larger bikes like the Yamaha MT-10 and Ducati Streetfighter V4 achieving kilometer-per-liter ratios that are sometimes even worse than those of small cars and hatchbacks.

Small bikes: Pros

Peugeot Django 150

In developing countries where two-wheel mobility is critical for people to get around and have their necessities delivered to them, scooters and underbones are without a question the champions of swift and easy transportation. As a result, they are provided at prices that appeal to both the wealthy and the thrifty. Between P70,000 and P85,000 may be spent on a good budget scooter, such as the Honda BeAT 110 and the Yamaha Mio family of scooters. They are lightweight, easy to maintain, and have a twist-and-go throttle.

On the other side, those on a tighter budget would benefit from underbone bikes like the Yamaha Sight, which can be had for between P59,900 and P62,900. The robust Suzuki Raider 150, on the other hand, is just one of the numerous options offered and costs P97,900. It boasts a manual 6-speed transmission and a strong engine.

Small bikes: Cons

Aprilia SR GT 200

The biggest and most obvious drawback to getting a commuter-focused scooter comes in the form of limitations to roads you can access. Naturally, given the fact that scooters have much smaller engines, they’re not allowed on the highway. This means going on trips to far-flung places can be a challenge, as you’ll need to navigate your way through backroads and barrios. 

Of course, you could also say that the lack of performance and fun factor brought to the table by scooters and underbones is something to consider, too. Small bikes produce a fraction of the horsepower of their high-cc counterparts, but they make up for it in low maintenance costs and frugal fuel consumption. At the end of the day, it’s always a give and take scenario, and choosing between a small and big bike is dependent on many factors such as where you ride, what budget you’re on, and your confidence level when it comes to the type of vehicle you can safely ride. 

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