How Much Is Too Much?

How much is too much?

I’m not talking about the amount of time you ride, how many motorcycles you have or even the price of a motorcycle.  No, I’m talking about power!  Power to get you around town comfortably or push your eyes to the back of your skull.  How much is too much?

The modern motorcycle is a marvel in performance compared to its counterpart on the road, the automobile.  As an example my Kawasaki KLR650, which would be considered low on the performance motorcycle scale, has a better power to weight ratio then most of the cars on road today. At the other end of the scale, the Kawasaki ZX14, which is arguably the most powerful production motorcycle on the market (no offence to the Suzuki enthusiasts out there).  To find a car that will even come close to the speed and power to weight ratio of the ZX14, you will be shopping for something over $400,000 US and may have to wait several years to get one, unless you go with something used.  In the case of the big Kawasaki, all you need to do is visit your local Kawasaki dealer and ride one out the door for under $13,000 US.

Again, how much is too much?

If you’re like my wife, anything bigger then a 50cc scooter has too much power and if you are a law abiding citizen, that Kawasaki ZX14 may never see gears 5 or 6. However if want to boast that you ride the fastest production motorcycle on the planet then you will be very happy with this beast.

If you love the sound of a V-Twin engine thundering down the road or want to shred the corners on a mountain road then you will gladly sacrifice horsepower in favor of a broad torque curve and high torque at low rpm.

So how much is too much?  It depends.

It depends on your riding skill.  If your motorcycle has more power then what your skill level can manage, at the very least you won’t have fun, as it’s tough to have fun on something that frightens you.  At the very most, you could be seriously hurt or killed.

It depends how and where you ride.  If you're one who likes to cruse around, then top speed and horsepower may not be as important as comfort.  If you like to travel long distance then something with more power could be an advantage, especially if riding with a passenger.

More motorcycles sit parked in garages or are for sale because their owners didn’t give enough thought to how or where going to be riding.  For some it was because of too little power, for others it was too much and for a few it was the right power, but not at the right engine rpm.

In the end the right amount of power is a function of your skill, how you ride and where you ride the most.  So before you go out and spend your hard earned money on a new, or used motorcycle, take some time and evaluate you’re riding style and then look for the motorcycles that match that style.  Take these motorcycles out for a test ride or if you can, rent one for a day to see if it is truly what you're looking for.

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