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Basem Wasef

The Lure of Lightweight Motorcycles

By July 15, 2008

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Kawasaki Ninja 250R, Ducati Monster 696, Yamaha R6

Thanks to my job I'm lucky enough to see quite a few motorcycles pass through my garage, and every once in a while an interesting group of bikes gets me thinking. Last week, while the ginormous Triumph Rocket III touring graced the garage of guest reviewer Jason Fogelson, I was looking at the Kawasaki Ninja 250R (333 lbs dry), Ducati Monster 696 (359 lbs dry), and the Yamaha R6 (366 lbs dry.) Their common thread? Their featherweight footprints.

While there's a time and place for everything (like the 787 lb Suzuki C109R or virtually any Harley), the latest array reminds me of how great it feels to throw around a compact little whisp of a bike. I'm sure a few of you disagree…

Photo © Basem Wasef
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July 16, 2008 at 1:15 am
(1) Les says:

I have to agree. There is just something to be said about flinging the bike back and forth with ease in the twisties. Also living in Japan I am limited to 400cc and under. My “heavy” bike is a Honda CB400SF at a 370 lbs. (dry), while my lean mean fighting machine is a ’92 Honda NSR 250 SE at a featherlight 290 lbs. (dry). I have riden some bigger and heavier bikes and don’t get me wrong I know their merits too.

July 16, 2008 at 1:26 am
(2) motorcycles says:


Heavier bikes certainly have their merits– especially when it comes to longer distance rides– but it’s hard to beat a lightweight motorcycle around town.

Even a Harley Sportster, while not a true lightweight by any stretch of the imagination, is fun to ride because of its low center of gravity and maneuverability.

That said, there’s also a time and a place for big bikes, as you’ll see in the next post…


July 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm
(3) truxton says:

I have a kawasaki KLR650 and at 330 LBS dry, it’s a blast to ride. The 60mpg is nice too.

April 17, 2011 at 1:46 am
(4) Neil says:

When I lived in India I think I had the most light weight bike you could buy. In india though, I haven’t really seen any sports bikes over 250 cc, just because the roads are so bad over there.

Mine was a bajaj 125cc XCD in long beach blue, I think it weighed in close to 250 lbs. Its in the guiness world records for having the highest mpg for a production bike. I got mine tested at the store after using it for a about a year and it was getting 87 kilometers per liter which is close to 205 miles per gallon. Apparently people have been able to get 250 out of it, but those were probably really light people. It could only hold 9 liters of fuel though. It was really shitty when I sold it, because I got really cut on the price. I paid something like $1.5 grand for it brand new, but could only get half of that when I sold it :(

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