Why everyone needs a small capacity motorbike

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When you’re in the market for a new bike, the temptation for a lot of us is to go for the biggest, fastest thing we can afford. And it’s really hard to ignore it, with so many super sexy superbikes to choose from. But if you can be persuaded to think a little differently, you might find that a small capacity motorbike ticks all the right boxes for you. You might even find it ticks a few more, compared to the rocket-ship you were previously considering. So to help you think outside the box, and possibly consider something a little different when it’s time for a new bike, here are a handful of reasons not to rule out a small capacity motorbike…

You’ll save a bunch of money

First of all, think how much cash you could save yourself by buying a small capacity motorbike. It’s no secret that superbikes are getting more and more expensive by the year. In fact it’s becoming fairly silly. Your talking about the thick end of £20k, if you want a top spec litre sportsbike to call your own. It would be lovely to be able to afford to spunk that kind of cash on a new bike, but not many people can. Certainly not without selling your soul to a finance company.

But for less than half of that, you could buy yourself a proper little weapon, brand new, still with a few bells and whistles. For less than £10,000 you could have a Kawasaki ZX-6R (£9,699). Or you could have an MT-07 (£6,899). And that’s just for a new one. Imagine what you can pick up in the used bike market.

And you’re not just going to save on the purchase price. You’re insurance will be cheaper for a start. You definitely won’t get through tyres as fast as you would on a big bike, and you’ll probably use less fuel too. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

You can really give it the berries

But smaller bikes are too slow and too boring, aren’t they? Well that’s where your wrong! You can have a right laugh on a smaller, slower bike precisely because it’s just that. Most people can’t hold the throttle wide open on a 200bhp bike for very long. I know I can’t. Big bikes these days are beyond fast. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thrill of riding a big superbike, but you can’t really ring ones neck. Not on the road anyway. And that does take a little bit of the fun out of it.

Give me something with 60bhp though, and it’s a different story. You can really stretch the cables on one of those. And what a laugh you’ll have whilst you’re doing it. Some of the most fun I’ve had on a bike, has been on bikes with barely any power.

Small capacity motorbike racing

If you’re racing, of course you need to be on something with comparable power to the rest of the field. But if you’re not, you don’t. Even if you’re on a trackday, nobody really cares how fast you are. As long as you enjoy yourself.

Your license is safer

But for me, it’s when I’m riding on the road that a small capacity motorbike really comes into its own. And not least of all because I know my license is a lot safer. When you’ve got 200bhp+, if you’re not careful, you don’t just break the speed limit, you annihilate it. You might be innocently sitting at 70mph one moment, and then doing 170mph the next. And if the old bill catch you doing that, you’re in serious, serious trouble. It’s so easy to do though, that you’re never far away from loosing your license on a superbike.

With half the power, it’s a different story altogether. Sure, you can still do 100mph on most production sportsbikes, but the smaller the bike is, the harder you’ve got to try. And if you ask me, that’s what riding a motorbike is all about.

There are still some trick little bikes

And don’t be fooled into thinking that a baby bike has to be the poor relation. Oh no. Some of the trickest bikes going have only got small engines in them. Take the Aprilia RS660, with it’s full factory electronics suite. If that isn’t trick, I don’t know what is.

And besides, with the cash you’ll save when you decide not to go down the superbike route, you could bling any bike out to the max. You could splash out on some decent suspension, a full system and some lightweight wheels, and still be in pocket.

Your mates will hate it

But the thing that’ll probably make you smile the most about owning a small capacity motorbike, is how much your mates will hate it. When they have all paid top dollar for their all-singing-all-dancing, streak-of-lightening superbikes, and you’re keeping them honest on a bike with half the power, that cost half the money, they’ll be incandescent with rage. It’ll be brilliant. Because you can keep up with most big bikes on a small capacity bike, if you’re prepared to give it some extra berries.

And you’ll definitely find that slower sportsbikes are capable of fast group trackday pace (with the right rider onboard). So don’t let your love for trackdays put you off. You might even find you can lap quicker on a slower, easier bike to ride. You wouldn’t be the only one.

So don’t be a CC snob. If you’re ready for a change, don’t write off the possibility of trying something a little bit different. Something a little bit smaller and a little bit slower. It might be the best decision you’ve ever made.


7 Responses

  1. Why don’t ypu guys do stuff with low capacity bikes to show people. 600’s vs 1000’s obviously used as most have stopped making em?

    The manufacturer puts their best stuff on superbikes and that’s what people want even if they couldn’t even push a 125cc let alone a 200 bhp beast

    Like having u on the channel boothy you bring some northern charm tut channel

  2. Its definitely interesting article and discussion. But a problem that most advert and videos showing top class bikes. And we missing videos about small bikes.
    I enjoyed 44teeth videos about racing on 125. Would be great to see a video we you are going around UK or in Europe (if we ever be free from Covid) with small bikes

  3. True, That’s why I’m yet to upgrade my 2011 Fireblade.
    It’s not losing much value now, and it’s got far less tech to go wrong.
    So alternatively buy a 10 year old super bike, and there are loads out there that have hardly ever been used.

  4. Excited by the headline, yet a bit let down by the read. The “small capacity” bikes being mentioned here make 70-100+hp at the wheel which is still plenty to earn tickets quick (3+ seconds of full beans will break any posted limit). As an owner of a “low capacity” 650cc bike, I myself have been considering an actual low capacity (300-400cc) bike as the next purchase. That’s what I’d like to hear about; how much fun (long-term) are 1/3+ liter bikes when your other bike(s) is a 650cc? Thanks.

  5. Here here, I started down the road with lower cap bikes. The only time I feel the lack of ponies is on the track, but it’s soooo much fun on the brakes and apex…my 765RS is a winner. I was gonna chop it in for the new speed, but after riding it post winter hibernation. I realised I was just nursing my ego. But round my way the local A & B roads it’s just peachy perfect. I did run firebaldes, GSXR, RC8 on road and track…For my level which I am realistic about. I am with you boothy.

  6. I have them all, a real variety I ride scooters, mopeds and motorcycles no one nods anymore because their heads are so far up their proverbials.

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