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How to choose the most appropriate motorcycle for my trip?

With a fleet of over 20 different models, this is a question that many customers ask us and we have always tried to answer as precisely as possible. ESPAÑA EN MOTO has prepared this unique study in the field to help you choose the best model for you. Specifically, we have examined and analysed various factors that affect comfort and safety. We are confident that this information will help you make the right choice.

1.- Riding postures.

2.- Height and Weight of the motorcycle

2.1.- Ergonomic height survey.

2.2.- Models for each height.

2.3.- Changes in height.

2.4.- The weight of the bike.

2.5.- Model comparison.

3.- Luggage Capacity.

4.- Road Quality.

5.- Weather.

1.- Riding Postures

Basically, there are three positions when riding a motorcycle:

Sportbike-style, with the feet placed behind the head: This makes you lean forward giving you greater control of the bike when cornering, but is somewhat tiring on long trips, especially for the shoulders and arms, as we are supporting part of our weight on the handlebars.

Touring/Trail, with the feet, more or less, in line with the head: This position provides optimum control when for trail riding and the style is best suited to extending the leg when riding off-road, but gives less control on asphalted curves than the sport stance. However, this is the most comfortable position for long trips, and many large touring bikes resort to this position.

Lastly, the Custom bike, or cruisers, force you into a more relaxed riding posture and provides the least control on curves. It can seem the most comfortable, and is on short trips, but on long trips it generates more stress on the legs and hips. This is because of the force that air exercises over our legs and tends to open them. In fact, large cruisers, like the Harley Electra Glide, have footboards that allow us to pull the foot back.

In the ergonomic study included below, we measured the three parameters that influence the comfort when facing a long journey:

a.- the angle of inclination of the back indicates that part of our weight is on our forearms. The lower it is, the more comfortable the posture will be on the bike. Ideally it would be 0º.

b.- The angle of the hip tells us how we are sitting on the bike, the higher it is, the more comfortable the posture. 75º and higher is a good value for touring.
c.- The angle of knee, and the higher it is, the less the knees are bent and consequently the more comfortable the posture.

The riding position depends on individual taste, but when choosing a bike, in addition to personal tastes, we must also take into account other factors, as we explain throughout this article: up

2.- How to choose the most suitable WEIGHT and HEIGHT of the bike for me.

This is one of the most important questions. Many customers ask for bikes that are not a good fit for them, but there are so many factors involved, it is difficult, a priori, to give an opinion. We will analyse the different aspects that influence the handling of a motorcycle.

The Weight is not an obstacle while moving and neither is height as long as you can reach the pegs. The difficulties arise when we are about to stop and you have to place your feet on the ground, especially on a hill, or when manoeuvring the bike to park, and it is at this point when a poor choice of model can cause you to drop the bike.

So, when manoeuvring a motorcycle we have two enemies, its weight and height. People generally fear weight more than height, when it should be the other way around, because not matter how heavy the bike is, a suitable height will allow us to maintain the pivot point and control the weight.

And since height is the most relevant element causing us to drop the bike when stopping, have dedicated many a lot of time to an in-depth Ergonomic Study of each of our models. The "Our Fleet" section of this website contains drawings showing the positions for both stationary and in motion for people of different heights for each of our models. Specifically, we use 7 models with different colours representing the heights ranging from 152 cm to 198 cm. With these pictures you can see how you will look on the bike and choose the one that best suits your height, with important information such as the angle of inclination of the feet when stopped and the angles your knees, hips and back when riding, which are the determinants of a comfortable ride. up

2.1.- If the angle of inclination of the foot to support the bike is greater than 20° we consider the model inadvisable for the height of the rider, and mark the angle value in red, if less than 10°, we consider the inclination acceptable and mark the angle value in yellow, and if the inclination is between 10° and 20°, we mark the value in orange and leave the decision up to the customer based on their riding experience.

For example on the BMW R1200RTLC, we have the following results:

The pink pilot (152 cm) cannot reach the ground while standing with both feet, so was not included in the study, the next pilot, red, 160 cm tall, reaches the ground, but on tip toes, (21° angle of inclination), which makes this model clearly inadvisable for her or him, so the riding position is not studied. Starting with the orange (168 cm), the rider reaches the ground with an acceptable foot inclination, and therefore we begin to study the riding position. As the bike has two seat positions, 805 and 825 mm, we see that the yellow pilot (175 cm) puts the whole foot on the ground at the lower position and the green pilot (183 cm) can put the entire foot flat on the ground with the high position. Obviously all taller colours can also do so (blue, (191 cm) and purple (198 cm)) so the drawings are not included.

However, for the study, we look at the posture while riding, in which the three angles discussed above come into play and here we can see why the higher seat also has advantages. As we can see, the higher the pilot the lower the angles of the knees, and hip (i.e., more bent). A seat a few inches higher will increase these angles and make the ride more comfortable.

Lastly, we include the position of the passenger, but keep in mind that ALL our bikes have back support for the passenger, which do not appear in the study, so passengers can even lean back (negative angle). up

2.2.- With the data obtained for each model we can sort these by the minimum height required to put your feet fully on the ground when standing, in other words we can classify the recommended models for each height as follows:

For any height, as it is not necessary to set the feet foot on the ground, we have two Can Am Spyder model tricycles. 

For people measuring 152 cm, we have four models that allow them to place the fee flat on the ground.

For people 160 cm tall, three other models are added, of course, in addition to the above.

For customers that are 168 cm in height, another three models are added.

Starting at 175 cm in height, another three models are added.

For customers at 183 cm, a large group of seven models is added

And lastly, we have what we call the "horses", bikes so high that to put you foot flat on the ground requires a height well above average, 191 cm for the BMW R1200GS and Ducati Multiestrada and even 198 cm for the BMW F800GS.

However, please note that we are showing the height needed to put BOTH feet flat on the ground. But we consider an inclination of less than 10º acceptable, and an inclination of between 10° and 20° may also be acceptable for an experienced rider. up

2.3.- One request we frequently get is to lower the height of a motorcycle and there are basically two ways to do this, installing a low seat, or reducing the suspension.

The first, install a low seat, is simple but has the disadvantage that it significantly reduces the comfort of the bike, since low seats simply have thinner padding. However, at España en Moto have low seats for our BMW GS models, though we do not recommend their use on long trips.

The second, shorter shocks, seems simple, but is not, since reducing the suspension not only influences the height of the bike, it also changes the position of the centre of gravity, and therefore the dynamic behaviour of the bike. When we reduce the suspension of a motorcycle, we are altering the design of the engineers and consequently the motorcycle may become unstable, which is obviously dangerous. That is why WE NEVER DO IT. When a client asks us to we reduce the suspension, our answer is simple; "Choose a lower bike, one that is more appropriate for your height."

To the right we show the two most typical cases in which we are asked to lower the seat, the BMW R1200GSLC that as seen in the example of a pilot of 168 cm, has a good alternative in the 1200RTLC, and for those who ask us for the tallest motorcycle in our fleet, the F800GS, and ask us to lower the seat, the choice is clear, the Triumph Tiger 800, lower and more comfortable for their needs.

A particularly important case is that of our customers with lower height and weight and ask us for the lowest possible bike. We understand that this request is very logical and in this sense, we chose the model that we consider ideal, the Harley Davidson Street. The image shows the position both standing and rolling for this model compared to the two bikes preferred by these customers, the Honda CB 500F and BMW G650GS. We see that with the Harley a person of 152 cm perfectly reaches the ground while with the other two, they barely do so on tiptoes. Nevertheless, most importantly, the riding position of the Harley is very similar to that of the BMW, because not all Harleys are cruisers. up

2.4.- We have talked a lot of height and little about weight, the reason, as I said, is that the height is a more of a handicap than weight, but weight is important and we should also talk about the weight of the bike.

For example, in our recommended models for each height we noted the Harley Davidson Road Glide as a suitable bike for a person 152 cm tall. The reason given was that this person at 152 cm tall was able to put both feet on the ground when the bike was standing and vertical, but we have to keep in mind that for a person 152 cm in height and weighing approximately 50 kg, it is going to be almost impossible to lift the Road Glide to vertical as it weighs about 400 kg.

So, of course the weight of the bike is important to see if a model is suitable or not for a particular person. The heavier the bike that more likely that you will drop the bike when stopped.

But what really makes a bike fall to the ground is the force that is exerted when it is tilted, and this depends not only on weight but also the height of the centre of gravity of the bike, so again height enters the game. There is also another very important factor, it is not the same for the bike to be tilted 5° as it is at 10°, the more the bike its tilted the more force you have to compensate. So when we use a very tall bike for our height, just to put one foot on the ground we have to tip the bike and if you are on any kid of an incline or are carrying a passenger, etc., the bike leans even further, the strength needed will increase significantly and it becomes quite easy to drop the bike.

In short, the weight is only a concern when combined with the height of the bike, because the moment of force that we have to compensate depends on the weight and the height of centre of gravity (which will be greater, the higher the bike), and the angle of inclination.

This is also reflected in motion, the heavier the bike, the greater the centrifugal force that pushes us to the outside of a curve, but if the height of its centre of gravity is lower, it will partially offset this overweight. For this reason, Custom cruisers do not need aluminium racks to lower the weight of the bike, because their centres of gravity and the height of their seats are so low that it offsets the greater weight of the bike, however off-road bikes do need aluminium to reduce weight. up

2.5 .- These studies can be useful to establish a comparison between models, and see, for example, the comparison between two of our most popular models, the BMW R1200 GS and RT. The BMW R1200GSLC is definitely the king of Maxi-trail segment worldwide. It is the best selling BMW and in many countries, especially in Latin America, it is undoubtedly the top bike. Its versatility on all types of roads, together with its glide and manageability make it the optimal model to roll on compacted soil or very rough roads, but this scenario is not the one we see often in Spain, so the BMW R1200RTLC can be an excellent alternative. Basically both bikes are similar, they have the same mechanics, including the exchange ratio, and most of the differences are in the "dressing", the GS is more for off-road, designed to roll on any surface, while the RT is a touring bike designed to roll on well-paved roads. As shown in the ergonomic study, the riding posture, for green pilot (183 cm), is very similar because the angle of the knee is practically the same, and inclination of the back and hip is quite similar. However, this similarity in riding position occurs when the RT is in the high seat position.

Placing the feet on the ground for parking or holding the bike on a hill is not a problem for a person 183 cm tall. But this changes for anyone shorter. For example, for the yellow pilot at 175 cm, the RT allows for the feet to be flat on the ground, while the GS will leave a 12 degree tilt. 12º does not seem like much, but on a sloping street, or going over a curb, it may cause us to drop the bike. As seen in the image, a 12º tilt foot on flat ground becomes 28º with the front wheel on a 10 cm curb.

The following table shows the different models, on the left by seat height and on the right by weight:

Model Seat height Weight, Kg
HD Dyna Switchback
Triumph Thunderbird LT
700 349
HD Street 750 710 235
HD Road King
715 380
HD Road Glide Ultra 735 425
HD Electra Ultra Limited 740 413
Honda Goldwing GL1800
740 413
BMW K1600GTL 750 348
Honda Pan-European 790 339
Triumph Trophy SE 800-820 330
BMW R1200RT Liquid-Cooled 805-825 286
Triumph Tiger 800XR 810-830 233
Honda Deauville 700ABS
810 267
Honda VFR800X Crossrunner 815-835 242
BMW F700GS 820 232
Ducati Multistrada 1200 825-845 255
Honda NC750X 830 240
Triumph 1200 Explorer 837-857 289
BMW S1000XR 840 248
Kawasaki Versys 650 840 256
BMW R1200GS Liquid Cooled 850-870 264
Honda Crosstourer 1200 850 297
880 237
BMW R1200GS Adventure 890-910 279


Model Weight, Kg Seat height
BMW F700GS 232
Triumph Tiger 800XR 233 810-830
HD Street 750 235 710
BMW F800GS 237 880
Honda NC750X 240 830
Honda VFR800X Crossrunner
242 815-835
Ducati Multistrada 1200 255 825-845
Kawasaki Versys 650
256 840
BMW R1200GS Liquid Cooled 264 850-870
Honda Deauville 700ABS
BMW R1200GS Adventure 279 890-910
BMW R1200RT Liquid Cooled 286 805-825
Triumph 1200 Explorer
289 837-857
Honda Crosstourer 1200
HD Dyna Switchback
326 696
Triumph Trophy SE 330 800-820
Honda Pan-European 339 790
BMW K1600GTL 348 750
Triumph Thunderbird LT 349 700
HD Road King 380 715
HD Ultra Limited 413 740
Honda Goldwing GL1800 413 740
HD Road Glide Ultra
425 735

You will see that there are slight differences between the order by seat height and what we saw in the ergonomic study. This is due to the design of the seats, although it is largely irrelevant, since all brands design their seats in the most optimal manner. up

3.- Luggage Capacity.

A trip of several days makes luggage capacity a key element and in España en Moto is one of our main concerns and we ensure that all our bikes have the maximum possible storage space. The table below shows the storage capacity of each model. In motorcycles with a rack, you can add a backpack attached with a net that we can provide. Therefore, with these models you can add to the capacity of your backpack to that of the bike, which can reach approx. 40 litres. This is why we offer with or without Extra capacity.

Model Capacity with extras Capacity without extras Sidecases Topcase Other
Honda NC750X (Givi)
52 Frontal 12 l
Honda Crosstourer 1200 (Givi)
156 144 92
Can Am Spyder RT
155 155 52
Frontal 60L
Honda Goldwing GL1800
150 150
HD Electra Ultra Limited
132 132 80 52
HD Road Glide Ultra 132 132 80
BMW R1200RT Liquid Cooled 126 115 66 49 11
BMW R1200GS Adventure
124 112 80 32 12
Triumph Trophy SE 117 117
62 55
Triumph Tiger 800XR 116 98
62 36
Honda Deauville 700ABS 116 116 71
45 0
49 0
BMW R1200GS Liquid Cooled
114 103 68 35
BMW S1000XR 112 92 62 30 20
BMW F700/800GS 107 90 60 30 17
Triumph 1200 Explorer 98 98 62 36 0
Honda VFR800X Crossrunner 89 89 58 31 0
Ducati Multistrada 1200
88 88 58 30 0
HD Street 750
70 50 50 Grill 20
Triumph Thunderbird LT 52 52 52 Grill 0
HD Road King 52 52 52 Grill 0
HD Dyna Switchback 50 50 50 Grill 0

4.- Road quality.  

In Spain, we have a fantastic road network. ALL of our highways are paved and the vast majority, if not almost all, have very good quality or, at least, correct asphalt. The vast majority of them are in good condition, although, exceptionally, and only on minor roads, you will find a bumpy surface. This means that an off-road style bike is never absolutely required, as can occur in other places, where there are dirt roads, or where some paved roads are in such disrepair that it is as if were not.

We can say that most highways have asphalt like the first picture, but in some high mountain areas due to cold winter, some roads have cracks as shown in picture 2. Lastly, there are only a very small percentage of roads, usually with very little traffic, that are in very bad shape according to European standards, as in picture 3. But don't worry about them, we will help you avoid them.

This distribution is valid for all of Western Europe, although some areas of some countries particularly affected by the economic situation are in slightly worse condition, such as Italy and Portugal, which has led to a lower frequency in road maintenance.

So if you are going to ride in Spain or Western Europe you can do so without problems in a touring bike or cruiser, but if you prefer off-road, we have several models in our fleet. up

5.- Weather

When choosing a bike model, we must take into account the weather that we will face. If our journey has a high risk of rain, we must choose a bike that protects us as much as possible, because rain, aside from the obvious risks, also tires the pilot a lot more, which is worse if we lack protection.

Basically, the only protection we have against rain on a motorcycle is what we have in front us, i.e. the windscreen and fairing. The wind tunnel takes care of the rest. However, the type of windscreen and fairing varies widely among motorcycle styles. This includes:

a) Naked bikes.- no windshield, bodywork or fairing and, logically, no protection against rain.

b) Off-road bike.- carry a small screen and sometimes a small fairing, but its purpose is not to protect from rain, but rather to facilitate wind flow when the bike moves at high speeds. As seen in the image, a well-designed screen and fairing significantly reduce turbulence formed at the pilot's back.

c) Custom cruisers.- usually have a windshield and sometimes greater fairing, as in the case of the Road Glide, but the windshield is very far from the pilot and the rain protection is relative or practically non-existent. Moreover, the legs usually have no protection, so we can say that do not protect against rain. The purpose of the windshield, as the name implies, is to reduce the wind pressure on the pilot's body when riding.

d) Touring.- These are the bakes that most offer good protection in case of rain. The fairing is designed so that rainwater passes over the pilot and along the sides, and barely touches the pilot. Manufacturers spend many hours in wind tunnels to analyse the fluid dynamics occurring while riding, and make the necessary corrections to design of the fairing for maximum protection. In the picture we can see a rain test performed by BMW on their RT model. At España en Moto we have several models of this style, including Honda Goldwing, BMW K1600GT/GTL, BMW R1200RT, Triumph Trophy, Honda ST 1300 Paneuropean and Honda NT700 Deauville. Although not properly included within this group, the Can Am Spyder RT and HD Electra Glide Ultra Limited. They also offer good protection against rain.

And speaking of rain and cold, below we have included maps showing the weather situation in Spain in different seasons. The top maps show the expected temperature at solar noon and the lower maps show the number of days of expected rain each month. We start with SPRING, the preferred season of our customers.

We can see that the spring in Spain is quite nice, but somewhat rainy, especially in northern Spain. The SUMMER is said to be very hot in Spain, and that's not entirely true. In the south it is, but in the north we will find fantastic riding temperatures around 25 degrees, even in the Pyrenees, although there we will have to suit up a bit.

AUTUMN is highly variable from one month to another, note that each month temperatures drop by 5º. Actually, September can still be considered Summer, October is a very nice month, the best of the year for riding in the south, and November is already quite autumnal. The rain, as shown, is not a problem except in November on the Cantabrian coast.

And lastly, WINTER, which does not pose any barrier to riding. In fact, we see that in southern Spain, the daytime temperatures remain around 15 degrees, more than acceptable, and there is very little rainy in winter in southern Spain. Snow is not a problem in the southern half, except in high mountain areas, which are easily avoidable.

http://www.sage.wisc.edu/atlas/maps/avgsprtemp/atl_avgsprtemp_eur.jpghttp://www.sage.wisc.edu/atlas/maps/avgfaltemp/atl_avgfaltemp_eur.jpgBut the temperature and rain are relative parameters, since a climate can only be good or bad compared to other climates. So we should compare the data for Spain with the rest of Europe. In annual terms, these maps show temperature differences in each season and the annual rainfall throughout Europe. You will see that we have good arguments that Spain has the best climate in Europe for motorcycle riding.


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