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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Is Bigger Really Better?

Why is it that manufacturers keep making their street bike motors bigger? When it comes down to it, are we all just horsepower junkies?

The Gold Wing becomes an 1800. Honda also introduces an 1800cc v-twin cruiser. Kawasaki punches out the ZRX1100 to make the ZRX1200. Yamaha brings out a 1000cc Fazer to compliment its 600. After years at 900cc, Honda punches out its flagship sportbike to a 929.

The only thing bigger engines get in the way of is light weight. Light weight has its own virtues, and may ultimately lend itself to greater fun on a motorcycle than mega-horsepower. But we want both. The success of Yamaha’s R1 proves it.

Even the new Gold Wing is lighter and more powerful than the version it replaces. With an aluminum frame replacing steel, Honda gives us the best of both worlds — bigger, more powerful, more luxurious bike, but lighter and better handling.

As long as you can have big power, and big motors (if that’s how you got the big power) with relatively light weight, bigger is better. As soon as engine size leads to unwieldy handling, however, the best part of motorcycling is lost. Look at automobile enthusiasts, for example. The best cars don’t always have big-block V-8s in them. They are efficient designs — optimizing both handling and power. I guess that’s what motorcycle manufacturers are aiming at, as well. Lately, they are doing it with more cubic inches, however.