Is It Safe For Overweight People To Ride Motorcycles?

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Key Takeaways

  • With a motorcycle's average weight limit between 450-500 pounds, most people can ride as long as they possess the required skills.
  • Overloading a motorcycle can cause the brakes to fail, put the tires at risk, and make the bike harder to control.
  • One of the best bikes for overweight riders is the Harley Davidson CVO Tri Glide.

When it comes time to ride a motorcycle, riders may ask if they are too overweight to ride. Unfortunately, motorcycle weight capacity is a limiting factor.

No, being overweight does not automatically disqualify you from riding a motorcycle. However, it is crucial to consider your motorcycle's weight capacity. The standard motorcycle has a weight limit of 450-500 pounds, so riders over this limit likely need to get their bikes modified before riding.

We will explore how to determine if a particular motorcycle is suited for an overweight rider, some recommendations for the best motorcycles for those carrying extra weight, and additional considerations tailored for the comfort and safety of overweight motorcyclists. Let's dive in and find the perfect ride for you.

In this article...


Is It Safe For Overweight People To Ride Motorcycles?

Knowing if you are too overweight to ride motorcycles depends on the vehicle. Each motorcycle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) that determines the weight capacity. The standard motorcycle has a weight limit of 450-500 pounds.

Every bike has a specific weight limit. As long as you choose a suitable one, it should be safe. However, exceeding the motorcycle's weight limit can cause problems. For instance, too much weight on the rear end may affect handling and push the rider forward, creating an unsafe riding situation.

There are many overweight individuals who ride motorcycles successfully. The key is to find the right bike. As an overweight rider, you should research and compare models with a sturdy frame, strong suspension, and a higher GVWR before making a decision.

The motorcycling community is generally quite accepting and supportive of riders of all shapes and sizes. If you choose the right motorcycle and adhere to safety measures, being overweight should not be a barrier to enjoying the excitement of motorcycling.

Understanding Motorcycle Weight Limits

Riding a motorcycle safely involves understanding and adhering to its weight limits. These limits vary depending on the make and model and can impact the bike's overall performance.

It’s also common for riders to add luggage weight while riding. If you are heavier, riding a motorcycle with just you on board is recommended. Here’s a full explanation of motorcycle weight limits.

Manufacturer Specifications

Every motorcycle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating assigned by the manufacturer, which indicates the maximum weight it can safely carry. This includes the rider, passenger, and any cargo.

Motorcycles typically have weight limits ranging from 350 to 450 pounds, but some larger bikes may have GVWRs closer to 1300 pounds. Calculating your motorcycle's maximum load is straightforward: simply subtract the bike's curb weight from its GVWR.

The result is the maximum safe rider weight, including any passenger and cargo. Always abide by the recommended passenger weight listed by your motorcycle’s specifications. The weight limits also assume a full gas tank too.

Effect on Performance

Exceeding the weight limit of a motorcycle can have serious consequences, such as increased strain on the bike, decreased performance, and even legal penalties. It can also lead to premature deterioration and create hazardous riding conditions.

Therefore, it's essential to stay within the manufacturer's guidelines when it comes to weight limits. When shopping for a motorcycle, be mindful of your height and weight, and choose a bike that can accommodate your needs.

Selecting an appropriate motorcycle not only ensures a more comfortable ride but also promotes safety and prolongs the life of your bike. Excess weight can work fine with proper weight distribution.

When considering whether you're too overweight to ride a motorcycle, it's essential to evaluate your personal weight and safety. If you exceed the weight limit of a motorcycle, it could damage the brakes, put the tires at risk of a blowout, and cause the bike to lose control.

Modifying Motorcycles for Heavier Riders

Big guys looking for the perfect motorcycle need to do more than just choose the right bike. Modifying your motorcycle to handle the extra weight can make a significant difference in comfort, handling, and overall riding experience.

Suspension Upgrades

Upgrading your motorcycle's suspension is crucial for improving handling and supporting additional weight. Stock suspension systems on sport bikes often lack the necessary adjustments for heavier riders, making it difficult to achieve a smooth and comfortable ride.

Consider investing in stiffer springs and upgrading to aftermarket shock absorbers specifically designed for increased weight capacity. This will provide better support, stabilize your motorcycle during cornering, and help maintain optimal traction.

Additionally, you'll want to adjust your preload settings. This will help maintain bike balance while motorcycle riding to prevent excessive sagging. An overloaded motorcycle lacks stability at faster speeds with a stock suspension.

Seat Adjustments

Ensuring a comfortable seating position is paramount for heavier riders, optimizing both riding comfort and bike control. To achieve this, you can make a few adjustments to your motorcycle seat.

Upgrading to a more supportive and cushioned seat can make a world of difference for long rides. In addition, you may want to consider installing a taller seat for easier mounting and dismounting or adjusting the tilt angle to accommodate your body shape.

Remember, these modifications are all about making your motorcycle the perfect fit for you and how much weight it can handle. By upgrading your suspension and adjusting your seat, you'll be well on your way to enjoying a more comfortable, enjoyable, and safer riding experience.

What Are The Best Motorcycle Models For Fat Guys?

Bigger bikes are recommended for fat people looking to ride a motorcycle. This is the best way to avoid a motorcycle accident and still enjoy your time riding.

Whether you prefer a sports bike or something more like traditional touring bikes, there are plenty of motorcycle options tailored toward the riding style of a fat person. Here are some bikes we recommend that work well.

  • Triumph Tiger Sport Bike 660
  • Harley Davidson FXDR 114
  • Suzuki V-Strom 650XT
  • Ducati Monster 821 Stealth
  • Harley Davidson CVO Tri Glide

If we were to choose one of these bikes, it would be the Harley Davidson CVO Tri Glide. This is one of the best Harley touring bikes. Harley riders consistently report how great these motorcycles do with extra weight too.

Riding Techniques for Overweight Riders

When it comes to motorcycle riding, being overweight doesn't have to mean that you can't enjoy the thrills and excitement of being on two wheels. With the right techniques, you can learn to ride safely and comfortably.

Balance and Confidence

Mastering balance is crucial for all riders, especially for those carrying extra weight. One way to improve balance is practicing slow-speed maneuvers to gain better control over your bike.

Additionally, confidence plays a significant role in maintaining balance. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don't hesitate to spend more time on your bike to build your skills.

Managing Curves & Turns

When approaching curves, proper body positioning can help you maintain control over your motorcycle. Lean slightly into the curve while keeping your body centered on the seat.


Braking is another essential skill for overweight riders. Remember that your motorcycle may require more stopping distance due to the added weight. Always be mindful of your speed and give yourself ample time to slow down or stop.

To improve braking, consider investing in a bike with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) or upgrading your existing brake system.