Does Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) mean anything to you as a motorcycle rider? It should, since it’s one of the most important specifications about your motorcycle that you should be aware of before you ride. It’s especially critical when you start packing for a long-distance tour.
By understanding your bike’s GVWR, you know how much you can carry without risking your safety or damaging your bike. It starts with understanding your bike’s specs.
Motorcycle manufacturers carefully design their motorcycles to meet many technical standards for performance and safety. The popular selling points of performance—like acceleration and braking—are directly related to the motorcycle’s weight when tested. Unfortunately, of all the specs we look at, GVWR is likely to go unnoticed. Yet this motorcycle weight number affects every ride you go on.
So, how much does a motorcycle weigh? It depends on the bike. The GVWR is the maximum safe weight limit of a motorcycle's design. This measurement includes the weight of the motorcycle, fluids, rider, passenger, and gear packed on the motorcycle. To know how much you can load onto your motorcycle safely, it's important to understand the weight numbers manufacturer specs provide:
Just about everybody is sensitive about his or her weight—it’s simply part of our culture. For many folks, stepping on the bathroom scale is done wearing only our birthday suit. To understand the true weight of a rider or passenger, we need to go in the opposite direction and step on the scale wearing your full riding gear, including boots and helmet.
Once you’ve determined how much gear you can carry beyond the weight of rider and passenger, it’s time to balance the load. An unbalanced load can move the center of mass or gravity. That can adversely affect the handling of a motorcycle.
If watching out for overloading your bike seems like a hassle, consider that there's more to the effects of overloading your bike than taking it easy on steering and breaking and otherwise adjusting the way you ride. Since every component on a motorcycle is designed to perform correctly up to the stated GVWR, it's realistic to expect adverse results to critical systems. Let's take a deeper look:
By understanding and respecting weight limits, you can get the most performance, safety, and longevity from your motorcycle.
Of course, in addition to protecting yourself from the dangers of accidents and crashes, it’s also important to protect your bike. A number of insurance coverages like roadside assistance are out there to protect you while you’re on your ride. Discounts can also help make insurance coverage even more affordable.
Till next time, ride safe!
If you enjoyed this piece on motorcycle safety, we have other motorcycle safety tips featured in our Safety section.
Want a little extra protection for incidentals while enjoying the ride? Trip interruption is just one of the many coverage options we offer.