When Should I Upgrade to a Bigger Motorcycle?

Apr 1, 2024

Tags:buyersguide

man looking at different motorcycles in a bike shop when to upgrade motorcycle

Are you at a crossroads with your current motorcycle, feeling like you're just going through the motions rather than truly riding? It might be a sign that you're ready to level up to a bigger bike. Upgrading isn't just about seeking more power; it's about aligning your ride with your growing skills and changing needs. Whether it's for the thrill of more advanced performance, the desire for new features, or the need to meet evolving riding goals, recognizing when it's time to upgrade is crucial. Dive into our insights below for a clear perspective on making this significant transition.

Our Honest Thoughts On When to Upgrade to a Bigger Bike

It boils down to whether your current ride doesn't challenge you anymore—meaning you're ready for something with more oomph. But, keep in mind, being able to ride without crashing doesn't mean you're a pro. Real skill is about handling tough situations smoothly. If your current bike feels just right for your daily commute or occasional races, and you handle it like a champ, maybe it's time to consider stepping up. Don't stress too much over how many miles you've clocked or where you've ridden; what really matters is how engaged and present you feel while riding. Ready for a bigger bike? Try one out and see how it feels. Trust your gut and your skills. After all, some riders skip the smaller bikes altogether. The decision is all yours—no hard rules on when to make the leap.

Read below for more information and important questions to ask yourself before making the upgrade:

9 Signs You’re Ready to Upgrade

1. You've Outgrown Your Current Bike's Performance

If your current motorcycle no longer challenges you or feels underwhelming in terms of power and capability, it's a clear sign you might be ready for something more robust.

2. You're Looking for More Advanced Features

Modern motorcycles come with advanced technology and features for safety, comfort, and performance. If you find yourself craving these upgrades, it might be time for a change.

3. Your Riding Goals Have Evolved

As your riding skills improve, your goals might change. If you're transitioning from commuting to more adventurous riding or track days, a more capable bike might better suit your new ambitions.

4. You've Maximized Your Skill Level on Your Current Bike

If you feel completely comfortable and in control of your current bike in all situations, and you're no longer being challenged or learning, an upgrade could offer new learning opportunities and challenges.

5. You're Not Just “Adequate”, But Proficient

It's one thing to ride without crashing, but another to handle your bike proficiently, actively preventing accidents even in extreme conditions. If you've reached this level of skill, a more powerful bike might be a reasonable next step.

7. Engagement Over Time and Mileage

It's not just about how long you've ridden or the miles you've covered, but how engaged you are with the riding experience. If you're deeply involved and always looking to improve, an upgrade could be the next step in your riding journey.

8. Personal Comfort and Confidence

Ultimately, your comfort and confidence on the bike matter most. If you feel ready and confident to handle a bigger, more powerful motorcycle, it might be time to consider an upgrade.

9. You've Tried a Higher-Performance Bike

Sometimes, riding a more powerful motorcycle can be a revelation, showing you what you're missing. If you've had a taste of a better bike and can't stop thinking about it, it's a strong indication you're ready to move up.

Remember, upgrading your motorcycle is a personal decision that should be based on your skill level, confidence, and the type of riding you intend to do. There's no universal "right time" to upgrade, so trust your judgment and ensure any new bike matches your current abilities and riding style.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Determining if You Should Upgrade:

Did You Outgrow Your Current Motorcycle?

Skill Level and Comfort

Reflect on your comfort and skill level with your current motorcycle. Have you mastered its controls, handling, and feel confident in various riding conditions? If you find your current bike no longer challenging and consistently riding within its limits, it might be time to consider an upgrade.

Physical Fit

Consider whether your current motorcycle physically fits you. Riders grow, and what once was a perfect fit might now feel cramped or too lightweight. An upgrade can improve ergonomics and comfort, enhancing your overall riding experience.

What Are Your Riding Needs and Goals?

Riding Style

Evaluate how your riding style or preferences might have evolved. Are you looking to venture into longer tours, requiring a bike with greater comfort and luggage capacity? Or are you leaning towards a more performance-oriented riding style that a bigger, more powerful bike could better accommodate?

Usage

Think about your primary use for the motorcycle. If you’ve transitioned from short commutes to more highway riding or touring, a larger motorcycle can offer a smoother, more stable ride with the power to overtake and handle higher speeds confidently.

Can You Handle a Bigger Motorcycle?

Physical Control

Bigger motorcycles have increased weight and power, which can significantly impact handling. Assess whether you have the physical strength and skill to maneuver a larger bike, especially in low-speed situations or when parking.

Riding Skills

Consider if your riding skills are up to par with a more powerful and potentially more challenging bike to control. It might be beneficial to take advanced riding courses before deciding to upgrade.

What’s Your Budget?

Initial Cost and Maintenance

Upgrading to a bigger motorcycle often involves a higher initial purchase price and potentially greater maintenance costs. Assess your budget to determine if you can comfortably afford the purchase, upkeep, insurance, and any necessary gear upgrades.

Resale Value

Consider the resale value of your current bike and how it will contribute to your upgrade. Sometimes, the market for used bikes can significantly offset the cost of a new purchase.

Consider Renting Your Current Motorcycle with Riders Share for Extra Cash

Looking for an upgrade but unsure what to do with your current bike? By renting it on Riders Share, make some extra cash to help pay for your new motorcycle. Top owners can make a few thousand dollars per month! It takes 10 minutes to list your bike

Have You Researched Potential Upgrades or Scheduled a Test Ride?

Research

Spend time researching potential upgrades. Look into bike reviews, forums, and manufacturer specs to understand the features and performance of different models.

Test Rides

Most importantly, arrange test rides for a few models you’re interested in. Direct experience will give you the best insight into whether a bigger motorcycle suits your riding style and comfort preferences. If the typical test ride is too short for you to feel comfortable deciding, consider renting a few motorcycles with Riders Share and test ride in real-world conditions for a few days. 

man in bike shop looking at the handle bars and fit of a motorcycle when to upgrade your motorcycle

Bottom Line

Making the leap to upgrade to a bigger motorcycle is a decision that intertwines with your personal journey as a rider. It's not just about the bike's size or power but about how well it matches your skill level, confidence, and the type of adventures you aim to undertake. While the appeal of a more powerful bike is undeniable, it's essential to approach this decision with mindfulness and self-awareness. Reflect on your riding experiences, consider your needs and goals, and most importantly, trust your instincts. An upgrade should be a step towards enriching your riding experience, offering new challenges, and enabling you to grow as a rider. So, if you've ticked all the boxes on our list and feel a magnetic pull towards a bigger bike, perhaps it's time to embrace that next chapter in your riding life.