5 Narrowest and 5 Widest Motorcycles

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narrowest-top-2

The Widest

bmw-hp4
The 2013 BMW HP4 is the widest sportbike with a width of 32.4 in., which is absolutely massive for a sportbike. It’s an incredibly capable motorcycle, meant to rip up race tracks and fast canyon roads. This one makes no apologies about being designed without any thought given to your using it to sit in traffic.

 

Dorsoduro
The 2013 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 is the widest streetfighter/supermoto, with a stock handlebar width of 36.4 in. That’s massive for a motorcycle also capable of triple-digit speed, but necessary for a bike we found rather piggish. Everything about this bike just feels huge.

 

2014 KLR650_action_g.med
The 2013 Kawasaki KLR 650 is the widest dual sport at 37.8 in. Most dual sports come in around the 34-36 in. range as you need as much leverage as possible over the bars when riding off-road, and the KLR really shines here with its extra width.

 

Vulcan-Vaquero-ABS-SE_action-f.med
The 2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero is the widest cruiser, with a stock handlebar width of 38.2 in. That width is necessary to help you steer this 835-pound behemoth. We can’t imagine trying to maneuver this thing around any major metropolitan area, you’ll want to keep the Vaquero out on the open road.

 

super-tenere
The 2013 Yamaha Super Tenere is the widest bike on our list, with a handlebar width of 38.6 in. As we mentioned earlier, you need that width for leverage over the bars off-road, and the need is multiplied when your off-road bike is as large and heavy as a full-sized adventure bike.

What do you prefer, a narrow or wide motorcycle? What bikes do you think are too narrow or too wide?

Related Links:
Lists: 12 High Torque Motorcycles
Year Close: The Best Motorcycles Of 2013
Lists: Best Dual Sport Motorcycles
Lists: The 5 Best Touring Motorcycles

  • Justin McClintock

    The FJR…is is wider at the bars than the bags? Or is that taking into account that the bags are removable? I would have thought for sure that it would be wider at the bags (assuming they’re on it when measuring).

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      It’s wider at the bags. No official word, but forums list it at about 38 inches. We didn’t use that for the final number because the bags are removeable and width is usually more important when commuting or riding around town (times you’d ride sans bags) than it is touring.

      • jonoabq

        Triumph has always been pretty good about making hard bags (slightly) narrower than the bars. If you can get the front half of the bike through you don’t have to worry about the back. Sounds somewhat trivial, but over time you come to appreciate the details.

      • Michael Roell

        I don’t know about you guys, but every FJR I see in SoCal has the bags on when commuting. Where else do you put your laptop and lunch? This is one of the great things about the ST1100/1300, the mirrors are the widest point and they aren’t that wide. So if your mirrors make it, your bags will make it. No worries of wedging yourself like those FJR fatties.

  • maxkohl

    I like my bikes like my women. Slim, light and foreign.

    • Lee Scuppers

      And full of gas.

    • Currahee101st

      Oh good I thought you were going to say 12 years old and locked in the garage.

  • Rosenfeld8

    You forgot to mention the narrowest Dual Sport, Supermoto and Adventure bikes

  • Caleb

    wow the hp4 is wider than the r1? doesnt look it in person

    • Stuki

      BMW quotes width including mirrors. The japs don’t.

    • Marc

      The clipons on the S1000RR are pretty wide and rotated outwards (making them awesome, BTW). Pretty much every other measurement on the bike is narrower than the R1.

  • runnermatt

    You forgot the widest and narrowest dirt bikes.

  • Stuki

    Almost all bikes, particularly sportbikes, have mirrors 3-4 inches wider than quoted width. BMW is the exception. They quote width including mirrors.

    For lane splitting, mirror and handlebar height is as important as peak width. Sportbikes slip under SUV and Pickup mirrors, while Adv bikes have mirors and/or bars exactly at the same height that their 4 wheel brethren does. On a sportbike, you can sometimes split between SUVs close enough together that you have to duck your helmet under a “bridge” of towmirrors.

    Also, for splitting in a bend, taller bikes take much more horizontal space when leaned over than low sportikes.

    The GS/GSA is about as bad as it gets for splitting. Mirrors and bars right at SUV mirror height, cylinder heads right at car fender height. And bars making you ride around like someone playing airplane… The RT, OTOH, has it’s mirrors way low, and attached to the fairing. Along with a substantially narrower bar. The old ST1100 took that to an extreme. It split like a sportbike. The FJR is similar.

    The more forward lean and weight on the bars, the less you need width for leverage. And the faster you go, the less you want to have your appendages hanging outside the fairing, generating air resistance, and having turbulence cause inadvertent steering inputs.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      There are TONS of bikes who’s mirrors don’t extend past the end of the bars

      • Stuki

        That would seem like a surefire recipe for giving you a view of your arms and elbows in the mirrors……

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          There are TONS of motorcycles that only give you a view of your arms and elbows :)

          (there are also bikes which have mirrors above the bars, so you see over your arms/elbows)

  • Michael Howard

    So basically this is about the narrowest and widest handlebars,

    • jonoabq

      And yet, you are still reading it…

      • Michael Howard

        I finished reading the article hours ago. Now I’m just reading the dumb comments. ;)

        • Davidabl2

          It can be fun to just read the comments..

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      that’s the widest part on the bike (excluding the bags since they’re removable)

      • Michael Howard

        But not all saddlebags are removable (ie, Gold Wings, some HDs & BMWs, etc). And some full-size touring fairings are also wider than the handlebars.

      • Abraham Pinto

        but you can always change your handlebars. So the real limiting factor is the widest part of the body and how much indentation for your legs. Bec sportbikes look a lot wider than streetbikes but ppl dont take into account the fact that when you add the width of the bike AND the rider they r not much diff.

    • Disinterested_in_D1

      Not a very meaningful comparison. So I saw the ends off my Triumph Tiger Explorer’s bars but that does nothing to change the way the width affects riding comfort, the ability to put both feet on the ground, or the relationship between width and CofG.

    • Marc

      Yeah, an arbitrary and strange measurement. Width at the seat and the knees plays a HUGE role in the feel of a motorcycle and is much more relevant than handlebars or clipons which are easily rotated and/or swapped. A Multistrada has ridiculously wide bars, but is by far the narrowest chassis in the touring space and as a result narrowest feel, and an ability to reach the ground that belies its crazy tall seat height. And if you don’t like the wide bars, you can swap them for under $100.

  • ThinkingInImages

    Slim, always. Thanks for the info on the FJR. It’s on my “someday” list.

    • Phil Mills

      “excluding the bags”, says Sean in a comment above.
      It’s a great motorcycle (I have an ’06) but I think you really have to count the bags for width since (I would imagine) you’re looking at in no small part because it’s got factory-standard luggage.

  • Robert Santos

    The V-Strom 650 adventure overall width is 45 in.

    • Stuki

      Just like a Mini Cooper :)

  • Kr Tong

    Mirror width doesn’t matter because with experience you’ll know when to fold in your mirrors before you smack them. And handlebar width doesn’t matter if they are above side mirrors.

    If you want a skinny bike get a v-twin or v4.

  • jonoabq

    CRG Arrow bar end mirrors, work when you want them, fold when you don’t.

  • Aaron

    the answer, everywhere there is no lane splitting is ” the same as a car”

    • Sasha K-S

      And the places where lane splitting is impossible are to be found only in other dimensions with different rules of physics.

  • ccc40821

    Wot? No Boss Hoss?

  • Craig L

    I love my D675. Being of average size I fit perfectly on it. The GSXR600 I rode one time, not so much.

    • JD

      Its a little uncomfortable on longer rides, im looking into a set of heli bars and a new seat.

  • Vracktal

    Should do a follow up on the best and worst turning circles. I’m pretty sure my BMW R12r would take a trophy there, the handlebar yaw is dire.

  • M. Dubé

    I’m curious to know what is the narrowest adventure bike out there?

    This type of bike use wider bars than regular bikes but still, this category is a hot seller in urban environment. The width of this type of bike can be a huge argument when it’s time to chose your new ride.

  • Krish

    Whaaat. And I thought Aprilia is the narrowest … and Gixxer always looks wide to me :)