Practical weight limit

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by Michael, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    OK, I've bought my first bike - a 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic.
    I've had no problems finding the dry weight on the web (518 lbs) - but
    I can't find a maximum weight anywhere. The bike didn't come with a
    manual - that was lost long ago. Anyone have a clue?

    I've also heard that most bikes have a maximum payload of about 350 lbs
    - be they 200 cc or 800, primarily for corporate CYA reasons. Any
    truth to that?

    It's a bit early to be carrying a passenger, but at some time it's
    going to happen. How much total weight can I reasonably carry? Would
    it depend on whether I wanted to go out on the freeway at 75, take a
    trip on the back roads at 40-50, or just take someone around the block
    at 30 mph?

    Would the major issues be power, stability, or control problems? In
    other words - would overloading it be mostly a matter of not having
    enough acceleration to safely merge onto the freeway, problems keeping
    it going straight on both wheels, or problems with cornering and
    emergency stops and swerves?

    Michael, Sep 7, 2005
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  2. Am thinking there might be a sticker somewhere with gross vehicle
    weight. My '79 SR500 has a "GVWR" of 805 lbs on a decal next to the
    VIN on the neck of the frame along with tire size/pressure info.

    toecutter1962, Sep 8, 2005
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  3. Michael

    LJ Guest

    Get good and comfortable with your new bike. When you feel confident that
    you can safely manage riding with a passenger, give it a go but as always,
    ride within your limitations. Your bike is probably rated to haul 400-450
    lbs over the wet weight of the bike, but it will behave differently with a
    passenger then it does when you ride alone, even if you aren't at the max.
    Sure it will be slower, the engine has to work harder and an 800 Vulcan,
    while not a bad bike, is certainly no powerhouse. You can adjust your
    suspension (if I remember correctly) to compensate for the extra weight, but
    it will ride differently, require a greater braking distance and corner
    differently, especially if your rider is inexperienced as well.

    Have fun, be safe and google Vulcan riders or something like that and you'll
    find forums with fellow riders who can give you all the information you need
    to know specific to the bike including maintenance, aftermarket parts, group
    rides, used stuff, etc.
    LJ, Sep 8, 2005
  4. Michael

    Richard Guest

    The manual for my 750 Shadow says maximum carrying load is 375 lbs. I just
    got it in June, so I haven't tried riding two-up yet.

    Richard, Sep 8, 2005
  5. Michael

    Ray Curry Guest

    The stock rating is based upon stock components. There's two aspects in
    any vehicle, maximum rating based upon the design and one based upon the
    setup. IE take your one ton pickup with a 2400 lb. max payload and load
    it to 2200 lb. If the local cop thinks your springs are too soft or
    tires too small, he can ticket you. On a bike, the rider/load weight is
    more important in relation to the bike's total so a stock suspension has
    a limited adjustment range. If you load the bike up and bottom the
    shock, obviously that's bad. If you increase the shock spring rate, you
    can carry more. It's a game between carrying full laod and minimum. Drop
    off the passenger, is it too stiff? Anyway you can figure your max. Look
    at the tires, add max weight rating of the tires at max pressure,
    subtract the weight of the bike, usually dry weight plus about 50 to 60
    lbs., the result is the payload. Find a spring rate calculator like at
    RaceTech and set yours springs accordingly. Now for real practicality,
    if your load is more than 350 to 375, you probably should consider
    alternatives. Even a Goldwing with air shocks and all that luggage space
    won't have a lot more capability. Then again, all those pickups with
    camper shells, they're really mostly overloaded for the real capability
    of suspension and brakes, but they're out there.

    My advice is free and worth every penny.
    Ray Curry, Sep 9, 2005
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