Big bikes are often perceived as motorcycles that are meant for weekend rides. Taking a big bike through the hellish traffic of Metro Manila and other major cities is seen as a difficult task for some. Big bikes are generally heavy, they are also physically larger, and produce a substantial amount of heat– all of which will be detrimental for day-to-day commuting.
What if we told you that not all bikes are a pain to commute with? Many big bikes out there actually have great capabilities and features that make for a more pleasant commuting experience, and if you’re in the market for a big bike that is more than capable of handling commuting duties, you’ve come to the right place.
While there is no scientific definition of what a “big bike” or “small bike” should be exactly, motorcycles with an engine displacement of about 400cc and up on paper will be referred to as big bikes for the sake of this article. Without further ado, check out our top 7 big bikes you can definitely commute with.
CFMoto 400 NK
The CFMoto 400 NK is a sport naked motorcycle, which has a 400cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine producing 41 horsepower and 34 nm of torque. Despite having a wet weight of 206kg, the 400 NK has a friendly seat height of 780 mm or 32 inches, making it easy to get a planted foot down when commuting through traffic. The upright ergonomics of a naked bike, wide front, and rear tires, and an overall low seat height of 780 mm, make the bike very planted, surefooted, and manageable to ride. Clutch and throttle response is also very friendly, making stop-and-go traffic an easy task. Starting at just P219,800 pesos, the CFMoto 400 NK is one of the most affordable big bikes you can get your hands on. Hard to go wrong with this choice especially given that it is one of the most affordable entries on the list and in the market. The only con is that the motorcycle is a bit on the heavy side, tipping the scales at a wet weight of 206 kg, but it is still manageable with that low seat height.
KTM 390 Duke
The KTM 390 Duke has been a staple big bike for many daily riders out there for the past half-decade, and it’s no surprise why. The 390 Duke is powered by a 373cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine, with a manageable 43 horsepower and 35 nm of torque being sent to the ground through a 6-speed manual transmission. The Duke is a fairly compact bike, with a 1,367mm wheelbase and 873mm total width – it’s almost as compact as your standard 150cc dual-sport motorcycle. Coming in at just 153kg, the 390 Duke is a very lightweight bike and combined with the overall dimensions and powertrain, the 390 Duke can surely take on the busy streets of the metropolis with as much ease as a small displacement motorcycle. Priced at P289,000, it is also an affordable option for the value-seeking riders out there looking for a bike that can do it all.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 401
The Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is a brand new motorcycle to the Philippine market and is currently being sold by KTM Philippines at just P295,000. The bike is fitted with the same liquid-cooled thumper from the KTM 390 Duke and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Weighing in at just 157kg, the Svartpilen 401 is one of the lightest bikes on the list and will be of great help when maneuvering through tight spots around the city. The seat height, however, might be intimidating to some, at 830mm or 33 inches, but for many of average stature, this will be quite manageable. It is also relatively compact, sharing similar dimensions to the KTM 390 Duke, and the upright ergonomics from this beautiful little scrambler also makes for a comfortable and enjoyable time for long hours on the road, and if you encounter some light trails on your way to work or on your way home, this bike can take it better than most.
The Kawasaki Ninja and Z series of motorcycles has been a crowd favorite for many riders in the Philippines. It comes as no surprise that the Kawasaki Z400 is favored by many of the daily riders out there for many lovable reasons. The Z400 starts out at just P298,000 and features a liquid-cooled 399cc parallel-twin engine, producing an easy-to-manage 45 horsepower and 38 nm of torque, and because of this setup, heat issues on the Z400 are often zero to none. The Z400 also features a very low 785mm seat height, which is perfect for shorter riders and stop-and-go traffic situations. The bike also weighs in at just 168kg, making it an easy bike to manage for all kinds of lane filtering and tight maneuvering.
Suzuki SV 650A
The Suzuki SV 650A holds a global reputation for being one of the most friendly beginner motorcycles in the 650cc class. Many of the reasons why are also reasons to love the SV 650A as a commuter motorcycle. Just like the KTM 390 Duke, the SV 650A is a compact motorcycle for the class it sits in, with a total width of 760mm and a wheelbase of just 1445mm. It also is an accommodating motorcycle, height-wise, with a friendly seat height of just 785mm, which is exactly the same as the Kawasaki Z400. Despite having a 650cc V-twin engine, the 74.9 horsepower and 64 nm of torque are produced mostly at the top of the rev range, making it a relaxed motorcycle to commute with. The ergonomics are relatively upright as well, which allows for a comfortable seating position in all riding conditions. Coming in at just P399,000, the SV 650A is one of the better big bikes you can get for commuting and spirited riding.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more muscle than any of the options above, the Yamaha MT-07 is the bike to get. The 689cc parallel-twin engine produces a healthy 74 horsepower and 68 nm of torque. Despite similar power figures to the SV650, the MT-07 is known to produce a ton of its power at the lower part of the RPM range, making it a zippy motorcycle for highway and city rides. The wet weight of just 181kg also makes it a very nimble motorcycle to take through the urban jungle, and with a total width of just 745mm, you will be able to filter through lanes as easily as a KTM 390 Duke or Kawasaki Z400. It’s also hard to beat Yamaha’s superior reliability standard, and for just P439,000, you are getting a very usable motorcycle that will be happy to traverse any kind of road your heart desires.
Triumph Street Triple R LRH
The Triumph Street Triple R LRH is pretty much the bike that can execute nearly all kinds of road riding styles with flying colors. Phenomenal handling for track days, power for spirited riding, and compactness for day-to-day commuting– the Street Triple R LRH can do it all. LRH stands for Low Ride Height, where this particular model gets a friendlier seat height of 780mm or 30.7 inches (versus the 825mm or 32.5 inches of the RS model). Because the seat height is so friendly, commuters will find an easier time in situations where a planted foot may be needed, like stop-and-go traffic and slow lane filtering.
Apart from this, a total width of 735mm and a wheelbase of 1410mm makes this bike fairly compact, which is ideal for busy commuting. The upright ergonomics of this naked bike also allows riders to have a good amount of leverage when muscling the bike around is needed. The Street Triple sends 116 horsepower and 77 nm of torque to the ground through its 765cc liquid-cooled inline triple – a power figure that many riders will know to be more than enough for our roads. All in all, the Triumph Street Triple R LHR provides superbike performance with an ergonomics package that is near-perfect for day-to-day commuting. For P695,000, you are going to get one of the best motorcycles money can buy for almost any kind of ride.