It's really NOT all about the CC's...

by Darcy
(Sacramento, CA, USA)

I'm a new rider and just got my first bike a month ago; a Ducati SS 750... yep, a BIG bike. Never thought I'd get one that big or powerful, and had fully intended on getting something much smaller, but I am absolutely thrilled with it (after the initial fear wore off, of course!) and have been absolutely shocked and thrilled to find it to be far easier to handle than the Kawi 250's we rode in class.

The thing is, most of us are stuck in the mindset that more cc's = more danger, or harder to handle. This is NOT the case. You can pop the clutch on a 250 and get bounced off (as I did in my MSC!), or be just fine on a 900.

What matters is:
-How you handle the clutch and throttle; smoothness is key and is something that only comes with practice - yanking on either one is a bad thing.

-How the bike fits you - be able to comfortably reach the ground and handlebars. A too-small bike can cause as much problems as a too-big one as you won't be able to comfortably and safely operate the bike if you are contorted to fit on it.

-How the bike handles. Some bikes are just way too sensitive for new riders and some respond more gently. To a degree, these things can be adjusted, but low cc's or high, do your research and make sure it responds in a way that is comfortable for YOU.

-Center of gravity. Some bikes are top heavy and will be harder to hold up while others have a lower center of gravity and won't fight you as much. Either way, it's easier once you're moving. My bike, though a sport bike, has surprisingly low center of gravity and is also relatively light at 400 pounds. I notice a lot of women automatically going for the big, low, heavy cruisers; nothing wrong with that, but they are much tougher to control in slow maneuvers. Sport bikes are light because it helps them go faster. But keep in mind: riding a bike that CAN go fast, does not mean you MUST go fast!

There is nothing wrong at all with getting a bike with lower cc's if that's what you really want. Just know that it does NOT mean you are safer! Not having enough power to get out of the way of danger is just as bad as 'too much' power. It's all in how you and the bike work together.

Comments for It's really NOT all about the CC's...

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Sep 04, 2011
Buy the right bike
by: Susanne

I am a woman. Plain and simple I can't lift a nine hundred pound motorcycle off of it's side. A four hundred pound bike is not a problem. I don't care for the handling of the full cruiser bikes. I like the nimble handling of a sport bike. I don't race around on my Ducati Diavel any more than if I had a Harley. My little Ducati dealer employs about ten people so I am supporting a local business and economy but also getting the bike that I like. Buy the bike that fits you power wise/handling and not just a brand.

Sep 03, 2011
Confidence is what matters
by: Allie

I think you're right about the engine size not being what dictates the correct bike for someone. My first bike is a top-heavy triumph thruxton 900. I'll be the first to admit that it's too much bike for someone my size (5'3", not a big person) and after a month of misgivings I went and got a little 81 twinstar cm200. I could throw that bike around all I wanted and got the confidence I needed after mastering that bike to get back on the thruxton and feel better. I noticed that an underpowered bike masks your errors a lot less and a high performance machine can make you think you're a better rider than you are. But as long as you feel good on it, then it doesn't matter what size it is! The important thing is that you love to ride it :-)

Aug 17, 2011
by: Robin

Thanks for this post! I'm looking to move up from Honda CB250 Nighthawk, which is a great fit for me. My brother told me I'm not ready for a 900 (Honda 919) I'm looking at. But I don't ride like I have a deathwish, like he does.

Does it make sense to move up to 400-600 first, or is each bike so unique that fit and handling are more important to get right than to worry about engine size?

I'm going to have to go out on some test rides see for myself. But I don't know how much I need to listen to my brother.

Aug 14, 2011
by: Lois

Your right it's not about the CC but about you and the bike. I love sport bikes and Ducati makes some awful nice bikes, there is such a range of bikes in the 650/750 range it's hard to choose a favorite. I have a Moto Guzzi v7 cafe but I also have a Ninja 500r both bikes have all the power I've needed and I truely enjoy the ride of both. Both bikes weigh in around 400lbs and thats OK with me I can pick up either one on my own without help. As far as buying American I support my "local" motorcycle dealers in this global economy.

Aug 13, 2011
by: Anonymous

You don't sound like a new rider you soung like a know it. 750cc's is not a big bike 1800cc's is a big bike 800to 900lbs is a big bike you people keep buying that over seas junk with americans out of work. BUY AND RIDE AMERICAN!!!!!!!

Aug 13, 2011

Thanks for the great post.

I've been riding comfy on my Ultra deluxe 'two wheeled' sofa for the past 55K miles and looking to a change to either a dual sport or sport tour.

My first bikes were smaller cruisers. My very first bike was way too top heavy for a beginner and had me scared of sport bikes for awhile.

Funny thing is comments from some of my sport bike riding friends is "You'll kill yourself on one of those"...an echo of what I used to hear from non riding friends and family when I was first learning to ride.

Question...most of my riding is long distance. Any tips on determining if a seat is going to make the grade, especially with longer riding ranges?

Thanks again for all the tips.

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