Lose weight. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is also one of the best low cost methods of boosting the performance of your motorcycle. Cars weigh in anywhere from maybe 3000 to 5000 pounds or more and power to weight ratios need a big change from either power or weight to make much difference. Looking at the average car, you don’t know where to start if you really want to drop weight, there’s so much there, yet gutting the interior and replacing all of the metal with fiberglass are the kinds of changes necessary before you make a major difference in the numbers that will pay off on the track. You need to cut several hundred pounds before performance makes that dramatic leap.
Now, look at the numbers of a high performance sport bike. Since Yamaha posts both weight and horsepower numbers on their website, lets use the R1 as an example. They claim 381 pounds dry weight and 183 horsepower. Fill the bike with all of the necessary fluids and let’s round the final weight to 400 pounds. That is one tenth the weight of many cars.
A 200 pound driver is five percent of the weight of a 4000 pound car. A 200 pound rider is fifty percent of the weight of a 400 pound sportbike. Think about that. Ever look at the MotoGP riders? Check out the best Superbike guys. Lean, light and usually a bit smaller than average. Weight on a bike is a major determinant in the performance potential of the rider and bike package. OK, look at yourself in the mirror and get on the scales, then get an honest weight on your bike and do some quick math. If you were riding this hypothetical Yamaha R1 and you weigh say 200, total weight is 600, if you weigh 180, total weight is 580. That weight loss wouldn’t register with a car, on a bike, that’s over 3 percent of the total combination weight. I would also guess that many of us are over 200 pounds and compared to a sportbike’s weight these days, that’s a lot.
You can ride all day at a leisurely pace and not be concerned about any of this. If you’re on a cruiser or chopper, forget the whole idea. But if performance is important to you and you’re wondering what to do next, fewer trips to the kitchen and more trips to the gym will give you the edge. Now how’s that for a little New Year’s incentive to stick with it?