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-   -   Small New Bike vs Big Old Bike (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/small-new-bike-vs-big-37986)

Alexlebrit 23 Sep 2008 11:53

Small New Bike vs Big Old Bike
Are smaller engined bikes such a disadvantage? I have a feeling the answer's no. First off there's the weight advantage, not only is it less to pick up, but it's less for the engine to push about, that we can all work out. But let's say you're on a budget (like the bloke who wants to source bikes in France on here). You could buy a big old bike or a smaller newer bike. If you've ever seen a Top Gear old car test you'll have seen them cocking about on a dyno and being hugely disappointed at the escaped horses. We buy our engines and wear them in and from then on we start wearing them out. So I'm thinking is there such a power advantage after all between a new small bike and a big old bike.

Lets say something like an old XT (picking on the girls) When it was new it had 44hp but that was in 1989. How many of those horses have fled since then? Or a Serow in 2002 it had 20hp, but how many now? I'll compare that to my new Terra Adventure, its 125cc produces 15hp and in theory they're all still in there.

But that's all theory, has anyone got any practical thoughts, I'm getting more and more convinced that as big bikes get heavier and more complicated and as petrol gets more expensive small, light and simple is going to be the way to go.

Xander 23 Sep 2008 16:31


Originally Posted by Alexlebrit (Post 207959)
I'm getting more and more convinced that as big bikes get heavier and more complicated and as petrol gets more expensive small, light and simple is going to be the way to go.

Your theory sounds sound to me!

Your last statement is 100% correct IMHO!! Regardless of how many horses escaped... surely there comes a point when the extra weight of a big CC engine is just extra weigh cus you cant use the power that it may (or may not) bring with it anyway.
However i dont have any idea where that point may be...

For example (an extreme one).. the Dodge Tomahawk motorcycle concept car in review

Dodge V10... it weighs in at 1,500 lb (681kg) 8277 cc and its top speed is only 300mph (estimated cus no one can ride it)...

The hayabusa is 1300 cc and can reach above 200mph... so by simple power ration 8277/1300 =6.3 x bigger the tomahawk should be able to go 1274mph.. but it don't...


mollydog 24 Sep 2008 00:11

Or, get an Aussie Postie! Sounds like a cool little bike.

pecha72 24 Sep 2008 08:45

Ive personally exploded an engine on a rented DRZ400. We had been riding offroad in Cambodia, and were returning to the place where the bikes had been rented in Thailand, riding on motorway, when the conrod cracked.

I later heard that this same bike had had its cylinder head worked on a little before this, and that was done ´on the road´, or in some small village in Cambodia, so they had probably used some gasket glue, which has been known to block oil channels before, dont know if it contributed to this or not. Thats why they never said a word about repairs either, I think.

But I was riding the thing as hard as it could go, probably 120-130 kms per hour, to keep up with my mates on bigger bikes, and I feel this partly makes it my fault. Just 10 minutes before, when we stopped, I said the engine doesnt like to be revved like this constantly. Indeed it didnt.

Even if it hadnt blown up, I think a 400cc is not good for sustained highway travel, it feels exhausted even without much luggage. It is great for offroad, and any small roads, but if you do a lot of highways, you want something that cruises easily at those speeds.

Nigel Marx 24 Sep 2008 08:53


Originally Posted by pecha72 (Post 208111)
Ive personally exploded an engine on a rented DRZ400. I think a 400cc is not good for sustained highway travel, it feels exhausted even without much luggage. It is great for offroad, and any small roads, but if you do a lot of highways, you want something that cruises easily at those speeds.

.....or ride slower....:smartass:


Nigel in NZ

Threewheelbonnie 24 Sep 2008 09:35

I'll sit on the fence here and say everyone should have a medium sized bike :helpsmilie:

What medium is of course is up to you and how you use it. Power to weight ratio's are just too much like maths to cretins like Clarkson, Hamster the other one. They want to play top trumps and make a lot of noise on the Dyno, hence the ultimate is some 200 mph V10 that won't take you to the shops and back in any sort of style. As a rough rule there is a 2:1 relationship between power and speed, double the power add 50% to the speed, but this changes as things get bigger. The naval designers know about this, to make your battleship go 3 knots faster you needed to take off most of the armour, carry loads of fuel and fit another engine or two!

The 10 year old XT in part used condition will make say 30 hp. It's heavier, so with a 75 kg bloke on the seat and 30 kg of luggage the power:weight and hence performance won't be much better than a new 125. To me though how long does the 125 stay new? A 12 month old 125 that's spent all it's life at 100% output will wear quickly and every kg of luggage you add is a bigger proportion of the bikes weight. How soon will it start to wear out and blow up when taken above 40 on the mototway?

IMHO, a big capacity, low compression, low tech engine is the way to go. Getting 30 hp from 600cc with 600cc sized components should make it reliable for longer. Having owned MZ's for years I can confirm this, a 294cc zed will outdrag anything up to 500cc, you just have to expect to rebuild the engine a lot more often. Keep the 300 zed to 300 speeds and it'll work for a long time. The trouble with having the power though is that you tend yo use it if roads allow. In Cambodia I'd say the new 125 at 40 mph will work just fine, but turn me loose in the UK and I'll blow it up.

If you want efficiency, compare old brit 500's at 70+ MPG with late '90's sports 600 at 40. It's not the capacity it's how it's used.

Think I'll give up now before I go off and buy a Harley :(


pecha72 24 Sep 2008 12:27


Originally Posted by Nigel Marx (Post 208113)
.....or ride slower....:smartass:


Nigel in NZ

Riding slow (or slower) is a often good advice, in many ways. But it does not apply every time. Like if you´re on a fast expressway, and you ride considerably slower than other road-users, thats not good. Especially if you go slow enough for trucks to start coming past you, thats when it starts to get scary.

On quiet roads on the countryside, I´ll go as slow as I like, but on busy highways, I try to keep at least such a speed, that Im not getting passed constantly.

Blowing up the engine was stupid of me, I know.

Threewheelbonnie 24 Sep 2008 17:05

Better to blow up an engine than end up with Volvo/Scania/DAF/MACK permanantly imprinted on your rear :(

Of course having a bike that'll keep up with the traffic works too. I got rid of my Enfield as it just felt too stressful at motorway speeds and here abouts there is little except motorway to get anywhere.


ggandy 24 Sep 2008 21:51

Older big Transalp works for us just fine:scooter:

The Cameraman 25 Sep 2008 06:44


I changed from a BMW R1200GS to a Yamaha XT250 Serow and was really glad I did.

The Yam's covered over 55,000 miles in under 3 years and still rides well. The Beemer was riddled with problems, where as the Yammy's been trouble free.

OK I cruise slower at around 56-60 mph but at those speeds I'm getting over 90mpg. She carries loads of camping and camera kit, is at ease on the trails and can easily be picked up when dropped.

What would I replace it with? Simply another one but I'm hoping to get past 100,000 miles before I need to.

discoenduro 25 Sep 2008 07:21

Slow is definitely the rule in Kiwiland. I used to live there and noticed that people there are hard wired to drive no more than 60 mph. They're certain their roads are unsafe and their road safety films constantly show people losing control of their vehicles at laughably slow speeds. Anyone who's used to the winding roads of Britain or the rest of Europe would love the New Zealand twisties, only don't mention that to the speed-disabled locals:D.

Generally, 60mph is the average top speed that i ride around developing countries on my XT600E; usually road conditions are such that I go no more than 40-50 mph. But back in Blighty, on a sports bike...whoooooosh:scooter:

mollydog 25 Sep 2008 18:06

Hope it makes 100K miles! :thumbup1:

The Cameraman 26 Sep 2008 20:37

Hi Patrick,

for the first year of her life, my trusty Serow was purely used for pleasure. Then during the second year my commute was extended to 60 miles per day and has been for the last two years. The Serow's used for everything, from 500 miles plus in under 24 hours, regular runs of over 200 miles, with only a single fuel stop, green laning with the TRF and anything else that comes up. Extended camping tours have also been a joy.

I agree the suspension's soft but suits my slower off road type style.

As I'm only short (in height) the ergonomics fit me well.

xfiltrate 27 Sep 2008 06:19

the Honda NX400 Falcon loaded on the beach!
Please See "Honda NX falcon Information" under HONDA TECH for my suggestion... xfiltrate

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