There’s no denying the cool factor brought about by a shiny new big bike, or the retro flair by a restored classic bike. Head over to the numerous gas stations scattered across the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) on any given Sunday morning, and you’re surely in for a feast for the eyes when it comes to big bikes of all shapes and sizes.
Now, as cool and eye-catching as they may be, it isn’t really surprising to ask yourself if bikes like those would make for good commuters—especially if you’re one who’s been thinking of pulling the trigger on their first big bike. Well, today, let’s talk about the daily commuting ability of big bikes, as well as whether or not you really need a big bike for commuting.
They’re big and heavy
As the name suggests, big bikes are, well, big and heavy—at least compared to scooters and underbones, especially adventure bikes like the Harley-Davidson Pan America. This added heft and power may not be ideal for all types of commuting, especially for beginners in the world of two wheels. Indeed, one doesn’t really need close to 100 horsepower for a 5 kilometer commute to the office. Likewise, maneuvering even the lighter weight big bikes in heavy traffic is a lot more challenging than, say, a Vespa would be in the same situation.
Needless to say, there are a few benefits to the added weight and power of a big bike. One of these would be the stability offered by the heavier setup and wider contact patch. The high power output also has a major benefit, especially in scenarios wherein you have to overtake quickly, or when your route involves long, steep climbs.
Ideal for cross-city commuting
The undeniable benefit that big bikes bring to the table is the fact that they’re expressway-legal. For all intents and purposes, we will consider all motorcycles with displacements of 400cc and above as big bikes. The fact that you can ride on the expressway can save you precious minutes, if not hours, on your daily commute. That being said, getting a big bike is ideal for those who wish to make the most of their time and enjoy their commute to and from the office.
Of course, this is applicable to those who live in the outskirts of town, say Alabang, or further down south, or conversely, in Bulacan, Pampanga, and other areas up north. Some popular big bike options when it comes to commuting-centered applications are, of course, naked bikes. We’ve gone on and on as to why naked bikes like the Yamaha MT-07 are extremely versatile machines, so be sure to take some time to read our other articles to better help you decide which bike is right for you.
A give-and-take scenario
As is the case with all things in life, riding a big bike on a daily basis is a give-and-take scenario. Yes, you get the power and performance, as well as the ability to ride on the highway, but you also get the weight and added difficulty in weaving through traffic. A lot of malls and commercial establishments allow big bikes to park in parking slots designated for cars, too, so that’s an added convenience.
Another thing to consider is the cost of maintenance and repairs. A lot of big bikes, especially the premium machines of the Japanese big four, not to mention European bikes, tend to be more expensive to maintain and repair than economy cars and family vehicles. Gas mileage isn’t that much of a difference either, as 1,000cc and above bikes like the Yamaha MT-10 and Ducati Streetfighter V4 get only slightly higher, or even just the same kilometer-per-liter ratios as compact sedans and hatchbacks.
At the end of the day, whether or not you ride a big bike on a daily basis is entirely up to you. Riding a heavy machine around the city is challenging, but it certainly isn’t impossible. In fact, it can even be fun when looked at as an opportunity to improve your riding skills. If you’re looking to buy a new big bike, it helps to be sure of what it is you want and how you’re going to ride it, in order to avoid the dreaded feeling of buyer’s remorse.