Before heading to your local dealer to shop for a motorcycle, weigh yourself. No, seriously, you need to know how much you weigh. How motorcycle maneuvers and the ability of its engine to perform at peak capacity depend on the amount of weight it carries.
You may not be close to the carrying capacity of a particular motorcycle, but your motorcycle will be carrying more than just your own body weight. Gear that you pack into saddle bags or carry in a backpack needs to be considered, and don’t forget to add the weight of passengers who may be joining you.
Carrying capacity or weight limits range from 350 to 450 pounds. An easy method to determine the carrying capacity of any motorcycle is to subtract a motorcycle’s weight from its gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR.
We’re not quite done with carrying capacity. Motorcycles have two weights: Dry weight and wet weight. Dry weight is found in the owner’s manual, but it does not include the weight added by gasoline and other fluids motorcycles need in order to operate, which gives you the wet weight. Use the wet weight to get the carrying capacity of a motorcycle by subtracting it from the GVWR. Here’s a hint to make the calculation easier: Those fluids weigh about 50 pounds.
Now that you know how much carrying capacity you need, use it to determine the size of the engine. Smaller engines work well when carrying lighter loads. If you plan to carry heavier loads, opt for a larger engine for more power and better efficiency.