Are you 300 lbs, plus? This comprehensive list outlines the best bikes and gear for big guys. Everyone can ride a motorcycle, big guys too.
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 — $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 — $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.
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.
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.
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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Aerostich Roadcrafter — $967+
The most versatile riding suit out there is also available in custom sizes. Prices start at close to a thousand bucks, but budget half that again for all the custom work you’ll need. This is a do-it-all solution, working equally well on ADV rides as it will commuting to work in the rain. Tick the boxes for the chest protector, TF5 Hip Pads and Hip Pad sleeves for max safety.
Klim Badlands Pro
Klim Badlands Pro — $1,620
Klim stuff skews a little baggy for normal sized guys, meaning it could be just right for you husky dudes. You’ll benefit from state-of-the-art fabrics, armor and an overall versatility that justifies the price. The features list on these things is endless, but just imagine anything you could possibly want or need in a textile two-piece and it’s included.
Jackets and Pants
Icon Jacket and Pants
Icon — Price Varies
Icon’s mission is to create gear for people who are left out in the cold by traditional players in the market. And, luckily for you big guys, that includes some products in generous cuts. Look for the products identified by the “straight cut” or similar fit nomenclature. Yeah, that language is a little disingenuous, but it’s designed specifically for you big guys with larger proportions. Icon’s quality and performance to price ratios are killer, too. We recommend starting with the Motorhead jacket and 1000 Roughshod pants, which are available in waist sizes up to 44 inches and feature a “relaxed” cut.
Vanson — $1,175+
Call our friends at Vanson and tell them we sent you. Whether you want a one or two-piece suit, they’ll make you one in unbelievable, lifetime quality in whatever size and proportions you need. It’s not cheap, but it is the absolute best.
Touratech Extreme — $1,795+
Notice how we mostly recommended ADV bikes? That’s due to their spacious ergonomics, all-round performance and ability to cope with lots of weight. If you need to take that further — and at 300+ lbs you likely do — invest in a Touratech Extreme shock sprung specifically for you. These things are not only built to handle literally anything you can throw at them, but are rebuildable and serviceable too, meaning they’ll last as long as they fit a bike you ride.
Ohlins, Penske, RaceTech et al — Price Varies
Need more from your motorcycle’s suspension? Ask you dealer about fitting something made just for you. The effect will be trans-formative — we’ve seen 350 lbs dudes pass skinny kids on track — making your bike work right for your weight. You may even be surprised by how low the outlay may be, particularly when it comes to simply rebuilding your stock equipment.
Don’t think you can’t ride a bike just because you’re big. Yeah, you’re not going to have as many options as average-sized folk, but everything listed here works exceptionally well, regardless of weight and size. Heck, riding an R 1200 GS in a custom Vanson suit should be aspirational for everyone.
Are you a big guy? What bikes, riding gear and other products work best for you?