Bikes and Gear For Big Guys


Category: Gear

Are you 300 lbs, plus? If so, average motorcycles and gear aren’t going to work for you. They’ll be too small, too light and incapable of dealing with your size. What to do? This topic has been requested countless times via email and twitter, so without further adieu, here is bikes and gear for big guys.

What To Look For In A Motorcycle

Understandably, most motorcycles are designed for your average-size male. In America, that’s 178 lbs and 5’ 10”. Don’t feel left out in the cold if you’re much larger, those who are smaller than average have an equally hard time finding bikes they can ride and gear they can wear.

Having said that, there are motorcycles on the market that come stock with more spacious ergonomics. Even if you still have to modify those to fit, those modifications are going to be easier to make and your weight will have less of an impact on the motorcycle’s dynamics. We’ll list those bikes below.

What To Look For In Motorcycle Gear

Whether you’re big boned, an NBA player or simply just bigger than the average bear, finding gear is going to be challenging. Again, most off-the-rack stuff is just going to cluster around the most common sizes or a few degrees of departure from the norm.

Having said that, you have the same needs as everyone else does — total protection and comfort. To get that, you may need to go custom. We’ll detail those options below too.

The First Bike

Honda CB500X
Honda CB500X

Honda CB500X — $6,000

Big boy looking to learn on something reasonable? The excellent CB500X has spacious ergonomics as stock, combined with manageable overall dimensions. You’ll be able to flat foot it even if you’re wider than you are tall and the engine will only be slightly limited by your weight. The big limitation is going to be in the suspension. You can probably get away with heavier oil in the unadjustable forks to increase damping rates, but the shock is going to be overwhelmed. Get the dealer to put its preload on max (it’s seriously difficult to adjust) and see if you can pull that off. If not, like the other bikes on the list, you’re going to need to have it rebuilt to suit your weight.

The Budget All-Rounder

Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure
Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure

Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure — $10,049

A little bigger than the CB500X, but that marginal increase in size pays dividends for space and comfort. The increased torque — the Honda makes 32 lb.-ft. and the Suzuki 44 lb.-ft. — will move your weight without issue, but you may have to work the gearbox hard to keep up with fast riders or to climb long, steep inclines. The Adventure model fits a much more supportive seat (crucial for heavier riders) and a tall, adjustable windscreen, good for you tall guys. The suspension should manage your weight just fine, but if you plan on taking it off-road or doing anything similarly extreme, upgrade the fork internals and replace the shock first.

The Ultimate

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure — $21,000

Here’s one bike that, no matter how large you are, will have no problems and no limitations as stock. Its electronically adjustable suspension features not just preload adjustment, but variable spring rates and push-button damping adjustment. Its ergonomics should fit you and the 125 bhp motor will haul you as fast as you want to go. By separating braking and steering forces, the Telelever front end will also mean your weight will have less of an impact on the handling. Buy it to ride around the world, commute to work, or to pass sportbikes on weekends.

The Sportbike

Suzuki Hayabusa
Suzuki Hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa — $14,599

In other countries, this thing is billed as the Aston Martin of motorcycles. It’s designed to cross continents at speeds that would make Cannonball Run types weep. Here in America, it’s billed a sportbike for big boys for a reason — it’s spacious, comfortable and, because it already weighs a ton (586 lbs), your weight will effect its dynamics far less than much lighter bikes. You’ll probably want a custom seat to further support you, lower pegs and higher bars. Plan on a big ol’ windscreen for the more upright riding position those mods will create, too.


The Helmet

Arai Helmet
Arai Helmet

Arai — Price Varies

Look, we’re actually recommending an Arai for once! That’s because every model they make comes in five shell sizes and they cover all head shapes. You’ll find something you can squeeze that noggin into. The greater number of shell sizes means that, when you do find one that fits, its overall size will be closer to your actual head size, without the difference being made up by padding.

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