Does a smaller bike make you a better rider?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by TheQ, Sep 11, 2021.

  1. MATTY

    MATTY BORDER RAIDER

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    Small or large a bike is a bike, The trouble starts when you get sloppy with your riding. This can be down to any number of things.
    But Generally the physical weight of a small bike makes it easier to get away with sloppy riding . This Is not to say bad technique is acceptable on small bikes its just that if things get out of shape its possible to avoid the off by simple bossing the bike and staying on it.
    Obviously the bigger/ heavier the bike the less you tend to get away with.
    Experience as in most things is all important in motorcycling, learning from an early age progressively, is a good thing and the lessons learned will never leave you. But not all have the luxury of learning from childhood, and its not always an option or a necessary pre requisite to be an accomplished rider at the end of the day.
    The basic control of any bike is the same generally, and i think fine if you have a 125 or a 250 as a beginner you will learn the basics of say stopping and setting off safely in any direction or incline with less drama on a small bike. But you still need to get a feel for the potential pitfalls and learn from your experience. this will sharpen up your riding skills and make the transition to a bigger heavier bike less problematic.
    This basic control experience i talk about here is at the slower speeds here many of the heavy bike complications i talk of here are encountered.
    Drawing to a halt at slow smooth and higher speeds, is where the bigger bikes can be a bit of a handful if you don't approach the manoeuvre properly.
    Stay smooth is the two words which never go out of fashion in motorcycling, smooth is fast and its precise which in turn is safe.
    If your learning on a heavy bike, Be precise with your technique, because with a heavy bike, get it wrong past its point of no return if you like and believe me your going down.
    Every type of riding from MX to touring or fast road or race, all need good basic control, the type of control learned at slower speeds like say in motorcycle trials. trials in my opinion is a good basic foundation for motorcycling whatever type you care to participate in.
    #21
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  2. Meriden

    Meriden Yea whatever

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    I wonder how many people buy, then sell, a trials bike because it shows just how bad they suck as a rider. After decades of riding dirt and street I spent hours on my new trials bike trying to do simple figure eights in the ditch by the road in front of my house. I may sell most of my bikes, but I'll keep the Sherco, if only because I can't best it.
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  3. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    many of the pros still train on small displacement machines and smaller machines dimensionally.
    There are several of the pros that race with us in the formula 6 and 7 and Grom classes.
    less horsepower teaches you to carry more corner speed. smaller wheel base and less mass teaches you more fine control of front to rear weight distribution.
    There there is the cost per seat time. Fewer tires to go through, less gas, cheaper track time, and less damage to equipment when you push over limit. Not to mention the reduced damage to rider.

    Some former champions training on formula 7 bikes


    Some current MotoAmerica top riders training on formula 6/7 bikes


    Some of the top current riders in the world including Bagnia and Morbedeli (and of course Rossi)


    I will never be a Lawson, Rainy, or Rossi, but I figure if these guys get better by doing it then it will probably make me better too.
    It is funny, that when I do meet really fast riders, they either already know about this or get really excited when they hear about it.
    I mean, for instance our class has 4 and 6 hour endurance races you can compete in for a 135 dollar track fee. That is wheel to wheel racing for under 35 bucks an hour. The sprint races are just as cheap. Not to mention the awesome people you get to hang out with and race against.
    #23
  4. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    My constant recommendation for everyone. Used to be XR100 now TTR125. One time I passed Chris Carr.....he was standing inside turn one.

    www.americansupercamp.com
    #24
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  5. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    When I did dirt wars up at Collin Edwards Texas Tornado, he uses TTR125 as well.
    IMG_4412.jpg IMG_4413.jpg
    #25
  6. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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  7. steingar

    steingar higher life form

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    I think a bigger bike is harder to ride. More mass to control. Only bike I ever crashed was a Goldwing.
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  8. TheQ

    TheQ Been here awhile

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    Can't thank all of you enough for your valuable inputs, which all make sense the one way or the other. Didn't know eg. that racer do training on much smaller bikes.

    Cheers
    Q
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  9. MauiCowie

    MauiCowie Long timer

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    SOME big bikes are easier to ride. I bought a K1600GT a couple of years ago and one of my biggest "complaints" about it is that it's too easy to ride. I look through a turn and it just magically goes where I want it to with very little effort. Of course at 850 pounds with 160 HP it's certainly not a beginner bike but I've got a several hundred thousand miles under my belt so I am not intimidated by it.

    When I ride a K75 or K1100 I have to work and think a little harder when I ride.

    JM02
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  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    So what you're saying is you gave to think more and learn more to ride the smaller K75...

    Which should make you a better rider... :lol3
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  11. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    IMHO, everyone should learn to ride on a 125cc bike, you can then use the basic skills you have mastered on larger bikes to great advantage.

    When an emergency situation arises you will have the basic skills, in the dirt the big bike will make you work to keep it upright, the small bike will make it fun!
    #31
  12. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    The fact is no bike makes you a better rider. Except my '04 Tuono. :D
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  13. DR Donk

    DR Donk Long timer

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    When I started riding back in '81 I started on a TS 125 a Suzuki dual sport. I rode it a lot that first year both on and off road. I learned a lot and became comfortable when tires would slip a little bit whether crossing a bridge with metal grating or wet leaves in the fall. My older brother crossed that same metal grated bridge on his bike and asked if it bothered me to go over it. It didn't but it did him. :uhoh He rode twenty something miles out of his way to avoid it.

    I was, however, a 18 year old knucklehead and can't imagine starting off on a large sportbike. It would have been a short riding career :grim
    #33
  14. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    While I am constantly trying to improve my riding skills, the reason I ride is because it is fun. After starting on a relatively small bike and then moving up the displacement scale I started moving back down the displacement scale to smaller and lighter bikes. I just find small bikes to be more fun for the type of riding I prefer to do. Many people buy into the "bigger is better" philosophy but I don't.

    Ultimately one of the most important things in becoming a better rider is to get plenty of seat time and practice. The more fun a bike is the more you are likely to ride it. I have four bikes but the two I ride the most are my two smallest bikes.

    150cc:

    [​IMG]

    250cc:

    [​IMG]

    My two big bikes? They are 400cc and 650cc!
    #34
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  15. ZiaThunder

    ZiaThunder Go big or go home

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    I feel your pain on this...

    I am still struggling to do things on my Beta 200 that I can do with my KTM 450. For me it's the ribbon. It's all stuff I can do, I just can't do it in that small of a space. (I'd like another foot or two) The friggin super tight turns they set for trials events are sometimes absurd.
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  16. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    Nothing could make me a better rider. Alas...
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  17. davenowherejones

    davenowherejones short old guy

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    I was the greatest race car driver ever until a bunch of seven years old beat me in carting. But I had a hundred pound weight penalty. I will get them later once they discover beer.
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  18. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    Know what makes you a better rider? Riding.

    You can be king of the 125 two strokes on the mx track but what about when you're on a 400lb, 150rwhp sport bike in some nasty sweepers. It doesn't translate.

    Riding a smaller bike makes you better at riding a smaller bike.

    Ride what you got. Ride it a lot. You'll be a better rider.
    #38
  19. MotoChris521

    MotoChris521 motominded

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    Learning HOW to ride is easier on a small bike. After that, there are to many variables. That 400lb 150rwhp sport bike can be humbled by a low hp SM in the right set of "nasty sweepers".
    I do agree that seat time does improve skill set.
    #39
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  20. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    I'm in the market right now for a Ninja 400 to complement my XSR900 in the garage precisely because the little 400 can be wrung out and rode hard in ways I can't do with my Yammy without risking reckless driving citations.
    #40
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