If you’re an eagle-eyed observer on the street, you’ve probably noticed that less than one percent of all motorcycles on the road at any given time are big bikes. With nearly all two-wheeled vehicles bearing displacements of 150cc or less, seeing a big bike roll down the street will undoubtedly turn some heads. Of course, with the ever-growing number of new high displacement offerings popping up, the chances of you coming across a big bike on the street are pretty high, as compared to a decade ago.
That being said, perhaps you’re beginning to consider swinging a leg over a big bike for the first time. Maybe you seek to add a little more thrill to your daily commute to and from work. Or perhaps, you want to broaden your socially-distant circle by going on weekend rides with your friends. Well, here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not owning and riding a big bike, especially here in the Philippines, is a thing for you.
What kind of rider are you?
Before even thinking of what kind of big bike you’re going to get, ask yourself what kind of rider you want to be—and answer this question realistically. A few things to consider would be your riding experience. Are you a total two-wheeled newbie? Have you ridden scooters before? Are you particularly skilled on a bicycle? Of course, it goes without saying that being well versed in the art of two-wheels will make hopping onto a big bike a total cinch.
The next thing you should ask yourself is what kind of riding you’ll be doing. Do you plan on using your big bike as a daily commuter, or are you going to be a weekend warrior and take your machine to the track? Do you fancy long adventures across hundreds of kilometers with your buddies? Factoring all these in will surely give you an idea of what type of big bike is best for you, and hopefully, land you a purchase you’ll enjoy for many years to come.
Big bikes aren’t easy to commute with
If you’re in the market for a big bike with the intention of riding it to work on a daily basis, we highly recommend you to stay on the smaller side of things—perhaps a bike like a KTM 390 Duke, or a Kawasaki Z400. Now we’re not saying it’s impossible to commute with a big bike, in fact, our writer daily rides a 650cc naked sportbike. Is it easy? No. Is it something He enjoys, nonetheless? Absolutely.
Of course, even the most lightweight big bike pales in comparison to a Yamaha NMAX in terms of commuting ability. That being said, be sure to pack an extra t-shirt, a towel, and a bottle of water, because you’ll be in for quite a workout.
Owning a big bike won’t save you money
It’s easy to believe that owning a big bike will save you time, and more importantly money. Of course, logic tells you that with only two wheels, a smaller engine, and the lack of all other amenities found in cars, that you’re bound to amass substantial savings by making the shift to two wheels. While this is absolutely true for commuter bikes and scooters, it’s the exact opposite of high-performance motorcycles designed to maximize performance.
Big bikes commonly have engines that rev past 10,000 RPM and produce nearly as much power as your subcompact hatchback. As such it’s no surprise that their service intervals can be as low as 3,000 kilometers—less than half that of our four-wheeled counterparts. Not to mention, the sophisticated engineering and delicate components found in high-end machines drive the labor cost through the roof. To put that into context, a Desmo service for a Ducati Monster 821 can cost you close to P30,000.
With great power comes great responsibility
As mentioned above, big bikes are fast. Even the most beginner-friendly big bikes have the power to weight ratios comparable to that of entry-level sports cars. As such, it isn’t uncommon for the first time big bikers to be intimidated by the sudden surge of power. To put this into context, a Honda CB650R produces around the same power as a Toyota Vios but weighs just 455 lbs. That means it can go from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in just 3.5 seconds—faster than a BMW M4.
That being said, getting into big bikes entails a lot of self-control and discipline from the rider. As the saying goes, you need to respect the power and ride within your limits. Big bikes are a completely different breed as compared to their small-displacement cousins, so choose wisely, have fun, and be safe!