Is a 1100CC Motorcycle Too Much for a Beginner? (A Quick Guide)

The engine size of motorcycles is one of the commonly used ways to categorize them. A lot of people use the size of the motorcycle’s engine as a way to determine what the capabilities of the motorcycle are.

This can be particularly important when it comes to beginner riders looking to get their first motorcycle.

Is 1100cc too much for a beginner? A 1100cc motorcycle is too much for a beginner. Most 1100cc sportbikes will be very powerful and difficult to handle for new riders. In contrast, 1100cc cruisers will be slower and easier to handle, but they can be large and heavy for beginner riders.

The cc of the motorcycle cannot give us the whole picture, though.

There are a lot of caveats and tiny little details that should be understood and considered first.

Is a 1100cc motorcycle too much for a beginner?

Generally, a 1100cc motorcycle can be too much for a beginner to handle. Depending on the motorcycle, a 1100cc motorcycle can be either too fast or too heavy, which can put a new rider at risk.

There are some common recommendations as to what cc motorcycle beginners should start on, but let’s take a quick look here. To make things a little simpler, when we are discussing engine size, and for the sake of simplicity, we can put motorcycles into two very broad categories; sportbikes and cruisers.

1100cc Sportbikes

Street motorcycles with 250cc up to 500cc are usually safer choices for beginners. Larger individuals can also start on 650cc v-twins, which are usually really good motorcycles suitable for new riders. A good example is the Suzuki SV650, which is regarded as one of the best 650cc motorcycles out there.

A 1100cc sportbike will be too powerful for new riders. Of course, this does not mean a beginner cannot start on a 1100cc motorcycle. It means that there is a higher likelihood of something going wrong.

As a quick example:

  • The Kawasaki ZZR1100 has about 147 hp and a top speed of 172 mph (276 km/h).
  • The Suzuki GSX-R1100 has a top speed of 163 mph (262 km/h).
  • The Kawasaki ZZR-1100 has a top speed of 172 mph (276.81 km/h)

Some 1100cc motorcycles go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. A slight distraction or a mistake and the rider can get in a whole world of trouble.

1100cc Cruisers

Cruisers generally have larger engines. But that does not mean they are as powerful and dangerous as similarly sized street motorcycles.

This is why it is not uncommon for beginners to start on 250 to 750cc cruisers.

In fact, many riders spend their whole life on some of these. A good example is the Honda Shadow 750. A motorcycle with plenty of power. It is relatively small and lightweight too.

Taller riders may feel a little cramped on the smaller cruisers, in which case going with a bigger motorcycle can be a good idea.

A 1100cc cruiser is not generally considered beginner friendly motorcycle as it can be too much for beginners to handle. These can be pretty heavy, making maneuvering very challenging for new riders, especially at low speeds.

The problem with 1100cc motorcycles

The biggest problem is that 1100cc sportbikes can be very fast and powerful, and 1100cc cruises can be very heavy and difficult to maneuver at low speeds.

You can expect most 1100cc motorcycles to be capable of reaching top speeds of 100 to 140 mph, with certain superbikes being capable of reaching more than 180 mph.

They also accelerate very quickly, which means that they can put the rider in danger very quickly.

On the other hand, 1100cc cruisers will not be too powerful, but the problem with them is how heavy and difficult to maneuver they can be.

As a new rider, you will have a lot of new information to learn, techniques to master, and factors to pay attention to while in traffic. A heavy motorcycle that you are not used to can make matters harder.

For example, the wet weight of the Honda Shadow 1100 is about 612 lb (277.6 kg). The Yamaha V Star 1100 weighs about 634 lb (288kg).

But there are some lightweight cruisers in the 1100cc range. For example, Honda Rebel 1100 weighs about 491.63 lb (223 kg).

That said, depending on the size of the rider, these heavy motorcycles may not really be a problem.

Key takeaways

There are several things that new riders have to consider, such as:

  • The type of riding they will do.
  • How much weight they can physically handle and feel comfortable dealing with.
  • The type of bike do they feel comfortable on.
  • Whether or not they intend to sell the bike soon.

The most important thing is to pick a bike that you feel comfortable riding.

Usually, the power is not a concern with 1100cc cruisers. The concern is the weight and how good you are at managing it.

It may be worth practicing slow maneuvers on lighter motorcycles before moving on a larger and heavier cruiser.

There are riders that have started on a 1100cc cruiser and have done just fine. The good thing about these cruisers is that it is very unlikely to outgrow them in the foreseeable future.

However, the first bike people buy often not the only bike they buy.

Often the first bike is considered a learning bike intended to improve your riding skills. It is not uncommon for beginners to drop a few times their first bike.

And dropping a heavy motorcycle is something to keep in mind. In this case, having engine guars is recommended in the beginning to minimize damage, and potentially make it a bit easier to pick up.

So it is worth considering that it is not always worth getting your dream bike from the very beginning.

When it comes to 1100cc sportbikes, they are often regarded as too powerful for new riders. These motorcycles are very fast and respond very quickly too. They do not leave much room for error.

Even some 650cc sportibkes can be too much for beginners. And most 600cc motorcycles are not even recommended for beginners to start on due to their engines.

That said the cc of the bike is just a part of the bigger picture. There are a lot of other factors that should be considered as well such as:

  • Model and production date. Older motorcycles tend to be less powerful than newer motorcycles.
  • The type of the engine: That includes two-stroke vs. four-stroke, the number of pistons, carbureted vs. fuel injected, and more.
  • Transmission.
  • HP.
  • The actual engine displacement.
  • Mods and customizations.
  • Model-specific differences. This includes the dry and wet weight, overall design, aerodynamics, built quality, and other unique features.

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