A Weighty Issue

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

OEM's offer clarity and consistency to curb weight

For as long as I can remember, motorcycle manufacturers have been playing fast and loose with regard to what they claim for the weight of their bikes. The “dry weights” they foisted upon us had little basis in reality.

The “dry” part of that claim meant that listed weights on a spec chart were the result of all fluids being MIA from the bike, including necessities like engine oil, coolant and fork fluid (not to mention fuel), but even that didn’t fully explain the overly optimistic specs. Sometimes the weights were simply the result of doing a sum total of all the individual parts on a bike. Sometimes the number was attained by subtracting consumable items like tires and brake pads.

Anyway, those days are now a thing of the past, at least for the Japanese OEMs. I recently found out they now have a new gentleman’s agreement to state actual wet weights (including fuel), not the pie-in-the-sky dry weights they formerly tried to deceive us with. Honda was the first to treat us with actual ready-to-ride, full-of-fuel weights a year or so ago.

This has resulted in some shocking increases in the OEM-provided weights listed on spec charts. For example, the V-Star 650’s wet weight is now listed on Star’s website at 544 pounds, a sharp upturn of 69 pounds over the claimed dry weight for the 2008 model. The ’09 ZX-10R is now listed by Kawasaki at 459 pounds compared to the ’08’s claimed dry weight of 394 pounds. Keep in mind that gasoline weighs about 6 pounds per gallon, so that accounts for a major part of the bigger numbers.

Anyway, consumers will be much better served by the real-world weight numbers stated by the Japanese manufacturers. We all can now make accurate comparisons based upon spec charts instead of the bogus dry weight figures we regarded with such disdain.

Thanks, guys, for finally giving us the real-deal numbers!

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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