What Size Motorcycle Do I Need for My Height and Weight?

What Size Motorcycle Do I Need for My Height and Weight?

When buying a new motorcycle, people tend to consider the cost, performance, style, and usage. But, there is one fact that is always ignored, and that is getting the right size motorcycle.

Some individuals discover too late that their new bikes are too low, too high, or simply don’t feel right after purchasing them. So, when buying a motorcycle, you should look for one that is ideal for your size and height.

After all, riding a motorcycle with any amount of skill is all about feel and comfort. And without these critical components, the ride can be very unsettling, and dangerous even, that you might end up injuring yourself. To get the most out of your riding experience, you need a bike that can comfortably carry your weight and maintain a good balance. So, if you are wondering what size motorcycle you need for your weight, please read on…

How to Know the Right Motorcycle Size for Your Weight and Height

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all motorcycle because most makes and models are built with a specified height and weight restriction in mind. Some motorcycles, such as Harleys, can carry greater loads, but others are built for lesser loads. So, if you’re a big rider, you should be aware of a bike’s weight capacity before purchasing it.

Luckily, many motorcycles like Ducati Monster 1200 S are specifically designed for chunkier bikers. But before settling on a particular model, do test it and find out if it’s a good fit for you. After all, comfort is more important than style when looking for the right bike. So here are a few factors to consider when looking for the right size motorcycle.

Body Weight

man in a motorcycle

The weight of a rider plays a key role when purchasing a motorcycle. So before you even consider maneuverability and the engine capacity, you need to determine the carrying capacity. After all, a smaller bike driven by a heavy guy can struggle to accelerate faster when pushed to the limit. Knowing the weight limit of a particular bike will help you get the right bike to support your weight.

How to Determine the Weight Limit of a Motorcycle

The weight limit of most motorcycles is usually calculated using an elaborate formula. However, for most models, the weight limit is between 350 and 450 pounds. The carrying capacity is determined by subtracting the bike’s weight from its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The outcome of this calculation shows you what weight the manufacturer left for you and any passenger or cargo.

The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) can help you determine how much weight a bike can safely hold when fully loaded. This figure is normally indicated on the service manual, owner’s manual, or the VIN. The VIN is found on the steering head or the frame of the bike.

You will also need to determine the wet and dry weight of the motorcycle. The dry weight is the post-factory weight which doesn’t include the fluids and fuel. The dry weight is normally indicated on the user manual. So, you can add another 50 pounds, which accounts for the fluids and fuel, to the dry weight to get an estimate of the wet weight. To get a bike’s carrying capacity, you need to subtract the wet weight from the GVWR.

The carrying capacity of a bike is not determined by doubling the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating). Doubling the GAWR won’t guarantee you that the weight will be evenly distributed. When determining your bike’s carrying capacity, you should also account for a passenger or gear that you might carry. This means that if you weigh about 350 pounds, you should get a bike with a carrying capacity of over 450 pounds.

Engine Capacity

For heavy riders, any motorcycle can get you moving, even a bike with a 125cc engine size. However, it won’t be comfortable or as efficient as a bike with a higher displacement engine. Therefore, the best starting point for a heavy rider is a bike with a huge weight limit and an engine capacity of about 600cc. Remember, with a powerful engine; you get more power, so your adventure bikes will be more efficient and last longer.


Motorbikes are purpose-specific machines, which is the reason why they have different designs. The way a bike’s chassis and wheelbase are designed, engines are tuned, and suspension setups align with a certain purpose. So despite your weight, you need to purchase the right machine for its intended usage.

If you’re planning on commuting with a motorcycle, you should get a narrow, light, and fuel-efficient unit like a Honda CB500X. When touring with a pillion, you need a powerful bike that can haul two people; therefore, go for any bike with an engine capacity of over 900cc. On the other hand, if you are touring long distances, then you need a bike with a bigger engine size, a larger fuel tank, and sturdier chassis.


black motorcycle

A huge percentage of bikes in the market are designed for both tall and short people. Others come with adjustable suspension, which you can adjust to your height. Some bikes are not ideal for people below the height of 5 ft. 2 inches. On the other hand, there are some bikes that huge tall people cannot handle comfortably. In that case, it might be best if you bought only the best motorcycles for tall riders. So it’s good to get a bike that can support your weight and height comfortably.

Sizing Things up

Once you have determined the best capacity of you engine and the carrying capacity for your bike, the next step is sizing things up. So I suggest that you visit any local dealer and get on your potential choice and try and find out if it’s comfortable for you.

When a motorcycle is upright, it will feel lighter despite its weight, but when it leans, it gets heavier. Therefore, reaching the grounds with both feet is crucial, as it can help you keep it upright when stopping. So when sizing up your potential new bike, you should ensure that both your feet can reach the ground.

Once you have ascertained that your feet can reach the ground, the next step is confirming if you can reach the controls. While seated on the bike at the dealer’s shop, you should ensure that you can comfortably reach the handlebars and pedals. If you find yourself stretching to reach the controls or the pedals, then it’s not the best bike for you.

If you’re still unsure what size to purchase for your first motorcycle, the easiest and safest method is getting a 300cc or 250cc motorcycle. If you’re a heavy rider, you should go for something powerful, like a 600cc bike. Practice on it until you get used to it. If you get a 700cc or 600cc bike as your first bike, you should ensure that it has rider modes. It is powerful enough, so consider choosing the best 600cc motorcycles, which can easily support a heavy rider without getting damaged or straining.

The Importance of Selecting the Right Motorcycle Size

Riding a bike that is not the right size for you can be quite dangerous. And that is because motorcycling is all about balance. So your feet should be able to touch the ground when you mount the bike. If you can only reach the ground with the tip of your toes, then you will have balancing issues. So never purchase a machine that you can’t sit on with both your feet touching the ground.

The carrying capacity of a bike also matters a lot when buying a motorcycle. As a heavy rider, you should find out the carrying capacity of a bike and make sure it can support you comfortably before making a purchase. After all, bikes with huge carry capacities also have big bike engines, so you will never have to worry about overstraining your machine.

Riding when you can’t easily access the controls is another crucial indicator that a bike is not ideal for you. Stretching too far to access the foot and hand controls and feeling awkward while seated on a bike can cause back problems. This will also make it hard for you to ride your motorcycle comfortably.

Final Thoughts

So if you’re asking the question, “What size motorcycle do I need for my weight?”— the trick is prioritizing the joy of riding over the pride of owning a trophy model. Pick a bike that you’re compatible with, not one that’ll just be some kind of trophy that will make you look good.

So if you are a newbie and haven’t spent more than two years riding around with 500cc motorcycle engine, you should avoid over 1000cc bikes. If you already own a lightweight bike and you have gained some weight, you should consider getting a powerful bike with a huge carrying capacity.

If you own a huge bike and are not comfortable riding it because it’s too heavy, you should consider getting a middleweight bike. Your ego might be affected, but you will be surprised by how much fun you will have with a middleweight bike.

After all, the whole idea behind riding a motorcycle is comfort, maneuverability, fun, and adventure. Riding an uncomfortable bike for an extended period can be quite dangerous. You might end up hurting yourself or overworking your motorcycle.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!

Avatar for Kay

Hi I’m not even sure I can get a bike but I’ve always loved riding them

I’m 5’0 maybe around 95-98 pounds

I know most bikes will be way to big for me but it would be cool if anyone could tell me if there are any put there for smaller riders

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