Best Sportbike Heavy Riders

Best Sportbike Motorcycle For Overweight Riders

It is safe to say that the majority of sportbikes are produced with the average sized male rider in mind, which means that for those of us that are female, taller, shorter, or heavier the bike can be a little uncomfortable or more challenging to ride.

Today we are focusing on the best sportbike for those of us that are a little heavier than average, we have some of the best options on the market and what you should look out for to make sure you are comfortable, confident and enjoy riding your motorcycle.

What Is The Best Sportbike For Overweight Riders?

Some of the best sportbikes for overweight riders include:

  • Yamaha YZF-R3 – Beginner Riders
  • Honda CBR500R – Sportbike
  • Kawasaki Ninja 650 – Sportbike
  • Yamaha YZF-R7 – Sportbike
  • Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R – Supersport
  • Ducati Panigale V2 – Supersport
  • Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa – Supersport
  • Yamaha FJR1300AE – Sports Tourer
  • Triumph Tiger Sport 660 – Sports Tourer

A good sportbike for overweight riders will have the following key features:

  • Adjustable Suspension
  • Adequate power
  • Comfortable riding position
  • Wide seat
  • Spacious

Why Does Weight Matter On A Motorcycle?

Weight matters on a motorcycle because the power to weight ratio will be affected for different bodyweights of riders. The lower the weight of the rider the better power to weight ratio (and vice-versa), and the more acceleration and top speed performance you’ll get out of the motorcycle.

Additionally, a heavier rider means that the handling and braking performance of the motorcycle will be negatively impacted

Manufacturers of sportbikes spend a lot of time reducing the weight of their motorcycles, to increase the power-weight ratio.

The theory is simply the lighter the bike the more performance can be gained from the engine and sportbike overall.

So, if a manufacturer is factoring in an average sized rider when they run all of their performance tests, and many use ex-professional racers to do such tests (who generally will be of an athletic build), they are not compensating for riders who may be heavier than average.

Those extra kilograms, and even grams, have the potential to change the final performance level achieved, and this can be particularly noticeable with the acceleration of your bike.

Although, this should only be an issue on lightweight sub-300cc machines where a rider might notice a power difference, and also at peak performance speeds on a track.

What may be more evident to the heavier rider is the impact on the handling, suspension and braking of the bike. 

Sportbikes are engineered to be extremely precise for accurate handling helped by low and tight suspension, rapid acceleration, and competent braking.

If you were to put an average sized rider and overweight rider on the same bike, these are the things that will most likely be notably different.

So, to account for this a heavier rider is best to opt for a slightly larger sportbike and more powerful engine, with the caveat that it needs to be of a capacity that the rider can control and be confident riding.

Smaller capacity bikes are going to be more prone to notable riding differences for heavier riders as the power is not on tap to compensate for the extra weight. Something like a Yamaha YZF-R7 will be less affected by a heavier rider.

I test rode a Kawasaki Vulcan last year, it was comfortable, felt big to me, power was delivered nicely and it ticked all the boxes. My partner took it out afterwards who is much bulkier than myself and he found it to be a bit sluggish and cramped.

Every rider is going to have a different experience, so it is imperative you test ride the bike yourself and base it off your own experience.

Supersport motorcycles like the Ducati Superleggera, Kawasaki H2 etc. are also going to be impacted by a heavier rider, despite having adequate power. These bikes are the best of the best, top of the class, engineered to perfection with a focus on performance.

Suspension is built with limited travel for the best handling, the body of the bike is narrow, aerodynamic, the seat thin and in line with the bodywork, the riding position aggressive and you get hunched over in a racer pose.

Comfort is not important on a supersport, it is last on the agenda, so for a non-average sized rider this can make things even more uncomfortable. 

With all that said, let’s look at the features that can make a sportbike great for heavier riders.

Features In A Sportbike To Consider for Overweight Riders


Traditionally sportbikes have limited suspension travel, this is particularly true with race focused supersport models, however road bikes are a little more lenient.

The problem with limited travel is that a heavier rider will already put a load on the travel so you run the risk of bottoming out if you hit a bump in the road etc.

To counteract this issue if you are a significantly heavier rider you should make sure the suspension is adjustable, allowing you to set it so that it helps significantly with positive handling.


Power is important for you to have an enjoyable riding experience. As I’ve mentioned bikes below 300cc run the risk of being affected by higher rider weights, this can show in their acceleration performance and top speed.

125cc and 250cc bikes are super light weight machines and the small engines producing around 12hp to 21hp are prone to reduced useable performance by the extra weight.

Unless you are a new rider, in which case performance takes a back seat to safety, as a heavier rider you are better off with at least a 300cc sportbike.

Yamaha YZF-R3

For a guide on how to pick the right sportbike for you based on engine capacity, check out our guide here.

Middleweight sportbikes with 600cc-1000cc engines should not see their power affected by extra weight, at least not noticeably in everyday riding situations, and the same applies to the heavyweight flagship models.

However, it is imperative you choose a motorcycle not based on performance specs alone,  going for the R1 over the R6 because you are worried your weight will affect performance is not a good reason, if you don’t have the experience to handle such a powerful sportbike safely.

Riding Position

With regards to riding position you are best looking for a motorcycle that is spacious, in that the tank isn’t too far back into the seat, you need a wide seat, wide handle bars, and a comfortable stance.

Depending on your height too you will want to think about the seat height, seat width, bar width and the handlebar reach. It is worth checking out our height guide for sportbikes as there are some relevant key points to consider there that work in conjunction with this post.

Taller, heavier riders can feel cramped on sportbikes as the riding positions tend to be tucked in, knees in the tank and with clip on bars your elbows can stick out at funny angles.

Equally shorter riders can struggle to reach the footpegs and handlebars and may find themselves stretched out across the tank, if you are a bit heavier as well with a bit of a belly this isn’t a good comfortable combination.

Supersports are more extreme in their riding positions, with standard sportbikes being less extreme and more road orientated and comfort-friendly.

The best thing to do is to try bikes out for the riding position, look at bikes that are neutral and road focused, where rider comfort has been considered as opposed to just straight performance.

Sports tourers tend to be more accommodating for bigger riders and compensate for extra weight as you are expected to be carrying luggage around.

Quite often manufacturers will build a tourer based around their flagship sportbike and so you can have the best of the both worlds in terms of comfort and performance.

Best Sportbike Options

Here are some of the best sportbike options for heavier riders:

  • Yamaha YZF-R3 – Beginners
  • Honda CBR500R – Sportbike
  • Kawasaki Ninja 650 – Sportbike
  • Yamaha YZF-R7LA – Sportbike
  • Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R – Supersport
  • Ducati Panigale V2 – Supersport
  • Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa – Supersport
  • Yamaha FJR1300AE – Sports Tourer
  • Triumph Tiger Sport 660 – Sports Tourer

With all of that information gathered we have put together a chart of the best sportbikes for heavier riders and have rated them based on what they have to offer.

We have given them an overall rating using a 1-5 star rating system.

MotorcyclePowerSeat HeightMotorcycle Weight (curb)Riding Position and Comfort RatingType of MotorcycleOverall Rating
Yamaha YZF-R3321cc 50hp30.7 in.375lbsSporty/Upright ★★★Beginner Sportbike★★★
Honda CBR500R471cc 44hp31.1 in.423lbsUpright ★★★★Sportbike★★★
Kawasaki Ninja 650649cc 61hp31.1 in.423.4lbsSporty/Upright ★★★★Sportbike★★★★
Yamaha YZF-R7689cc 74hp32.9 in.414lbsSporty ★★Sportbike★★★
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R636cc 134hp32.7 in.430lbsSporty ★★Supersport★★★
Ducati Panigale V2955cc 155hp33.1 in.388lbsSporty ★Supersport★★
Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa1340cc 197hp31.5 in.582lbsSports/Neutral ★★★★Supersport★★★★
Yamaha FJR13001298cc 141hp31.7 in.642lbsUpright ★★★★★Sports Tourer★★★★★
Triumph Tiger Sport 660660cc 80hp32.8 in.455lbsUpright ★★★★Sports Tourer★★★

When you consider a motorcycle’s power, comfort, riding position, height, weight, and everything else we have discussed for a heavier rider the overall winner has come out as the Yamaha FJR1300 sports tourer.

Sure it is a big heavy lump and is packing a lot of power in that engine, but the power delivery is smooth, useable, and there to assist with longer rides as opposed to being a powerful beast to throw into corners.

You have a lot of space, an upright riding position and guaranteed comfort on this sports tourer.

However, that might not suit everyone so the best straight up “sportbike” is the Ninja 650 and as for a supersport, well who doesn’t love the Hayabusa?

Final Thoughts

There it is… everything you need to know about sportbikes for heavier riders, what you need to look out for, what you need out of a motorcycle, and some of the best options that are currently on the market.

There is a motorcycle out there for everyone regardless of height or weight and any other factor that makes us all individuals.

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