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Hi Fellas
This is a question that is asking how much power is really needed to enjoy motorcycling.
Back in the seventies the average 750cc motorcycle like mine suzuki gs 750 produced 60.7 Hp.
At the time being young I wanted more so rebuilt the engine as a 850 cc which gave me around 75 Hp. that was fine and never scared the life out of me. It could blast mountain roads, cruise all day two up and never had a throttle that was ready to flip you or throw you unexpectantly over the speed limit.
My 650 vstrom excels at being a fully capable similarly to the old gs750.
Now I also have a Suzuki gsx 1250 FA that is rated at 97 Hp. This damn thing has the torque curve of a tractor and will wheelie in an instant if you grab a handful of throttle. In Oz we have a country wide maximum speed in most states of 110km /Hr on selected rural freeways and 100 Km/Hr elsewhere. This bike is doing that at 3500 rpm and a muscle twitch will add 15-20 Km/hr in a second and as its has a quite exhaust it is barely audible doing so. Quite simply it is a pain in the ase to ride without being booked for speeding. It has to much power for the twisty mountain roads and would only out accelerate the vstrom in the straights but never outpace the storm in the corners. If we stick to the speed limit I doubt if the FA would beat the vstrom over the mountain loop from Omeo to Mt Beauty.
Some riders may say l am getting to old and an element of that could be true but isn't being in control at all times our aim and public roads are not race tracks and avoiding running off them or being hit by oncoming vehicles should be our primary goal.
 

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2015 DL650 A ... Blue ...
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This will be interesting.
I fully agree with your thinking, to an extent.
Even off road I sometimes wish my 650 had more grunt, sometimes.......
 

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A 70ish horse power bike is enough. It gets the job done without begging to speed all the time. Higher hp doesn't really get used that much in real world conditions.

In a side note, aren't you glad old Mr. Watt used a horse and not a mule for his experiment? Imagine talking about how much ass power our bikes had.
Here's a nice write up on the actual use of hp.
 

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2002 1000 V-Strom
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No Such Thing!.. in cars or motorcycles! .. my GSXR is 1246cc on spray .. will literally pull your arms from their sockets.. but makes me smile like no other😁
 

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2011 DL650
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I don’t feel underpowered riding my 650 but do enjoy the 100 HP range. At 450lbs, that’s about 1 HP for every 4.5 pounds of bike. I like the way it comes out of the corners and accelerates. It is possible to enjoy it without getting into trouble. Anything over that is for the track heavy two up, stunts or status.
 

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My 1000 certainly has more power than I need and on the right roads I've had no problems with high spec sports bikes (i.e. roads where there are enough bends the top speed differential doesn't come into play). I do like the torque and the more relaxed riding (i.e. less gear changes) and I'm probably one of the few people that appreciates the extra weight and stability over the 650. On the really tight stuff I suspect the 650 is actualy quicker than the 1000, you do have to really push the 650 though where the 1000 you can be lazier and make ground on the straights.

I found I was doing more and more long road k's and the return legs on motorways were fairly tiring on the 650. It's a LOT easier on the 1000. Other than that I still think that overall the 650 is probably the better bike.
 

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2011 650
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50-70 has always been plenty for me. I totally see the point of more power for people who like interstates, but for me, I've never needed more on "blue top" two-lane roads. I'll take the better fuel economy, too.

As far as "too much," I think about BMW, whose shaft drives and final drives were pretty well bulletproof until they began upping the HP. Then you saw spline problems and final drives detonating. The oilheads were pretty much resurrected after much bellyaching from the purists after the inline bricks came out, and so may have been rushed a bit.

They went to chain drive for the S1000RR and some of the non-boxer adv bikes (for lots of reasons) and seem to have solved for the extra power in the newest shaft models. My rambling, long-winded point here is sometimes "too much" horsepower can expose weaknesses in design. Then it can become "too much."
 

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It's more about how the power is delivered to me anyway. I like my 1000 Strom much more than the 650 I had.

The motor is more relaxed at the same speeds. On the highway a twist of the throttle is enough to pass where on the 650 I would need to downshift. Same thing up hills or into a strong headwind.

Dirt bikes though, a 60 horsepower 450 is tough to ride aggressively. Same with 500cc 2 strokes!
 

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This might be the only bike I have seen with too much horsepower. Beyond that the 100ish HP my dl1000 had was not enough. The 140 and 150 my current bikes have is nice, more would be fine too.

 

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I think what the right amount of power is depends on the rider more than anything else. The most powerful bike I've owned was a Yamaha FZ6, coming in a 97 Horsepower if I remember correctly. It was SO MUCH fun to ride, but I felt like I wanted to play with all that power every time, and I didn't feel like my riding skills were up to the task. The real problem may have been that at 52 years old I just wasn't mature enough to be trusted with that sort of speed. I sold it in favour of my second VStrom 650. It's a different kind of fun, lacks the sheer exhilaration of the FZ6, but I've never been bored with it. For me, 97 horsepower was definitely too much, the VStrom 650 seems about right.

One of my regular riding partners is on a 2021 BMW K1600B. He find's it's 160 horsepower to be quite comfortable, and isn't even tempted to "find out what it can do". He's a different character from me completely, and a much more experienced rider. I doubt that he would find any bike to be too much power.
 

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I totally see the point of more power for people who like interstates, but for me, I've never needed more on "blue top" two-lane roads.
My experience is quite the opposite. Horsepower is about acceleration at speed. On interstates, it's just not that important. You'll get to your target speed eventually, maybe slower on some bikes than others, but plenty fast enough. There's seldom a need to accelerate briskly on interstates. You're just cruising. All you need is a vehicle that can maintain an appropriate speed, with some to spare.

The place where horsepower to weight ratio (which is what we really should be talking about) really matters to me is when I'm passing a dawdler on 2 lane roads. "Enough" for me is whatever it takes to make a brisk, authoritative pass with no drama, in whatever space my sight line safely affords -- which in mountainous areas, may not be much -- without spending more time in the oncoming lane than absolutely necessary.

For that, my Wee is more than adequate; its acceleration is plenty authoritative when it needs to be, and definitely faster than most 4 wheelers. Any more would unnecessary to me. If I ever pulled a wheelie, I'm quite sure I would sh*t my pants.

That's just me. There are as many answers as there are people here. :cool:
 

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Someone here or maybe on another moto site once said that there is no upper limit to desired HP because what ever you have you will always feel that 10 more HP will be perfect. I found this sage observation to be true. I had a Gen2 Wee that has about 65HP and thought of ways to get it to 75. I was reading an SV650 site, which have about 75HP, and they were saying that the bike would be perfect if they could only get it to 85HP. I gave up my quest and accepted that 65HP was fine for my use.
 
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As far as "too much," I think about BMW, whose shaft drives and final drives were pretty well bulletproof until they began upping the HP. Then you saw spline problems and final drives detonating. The oilheads were pretty much resurrected after much bellyaching from the purists after the inline bricks came out, and so may have been rushed a bit.
I owned one of the bricks ('91 K75S), and lordy, did it ever have driveline issues. I rode it for 18000 miles (from around 72k to 90k or so, and when I finally parted it out, I calculated that it had cost me over US$.80 per mile to ride (counting fuel and all consumables, as well as endless repairs). Insane. I didn't know the backstory. Maybe if I'd ridden it gently...?
 
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2004 DL650
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My Ninja 500 made around 50HP and it was fine for me. Enough power to get up to speed quick and react to any situation around me (though I did want a little more oomph at freeway speeds). Now that I have the 650, its 65HP feels like more than enough. Already went up to a 16/47 sprocket combo and am considering going up even more teeth to further lower cruising RPMs, because the low-end torque is still enough to feel a little jumpy to me when getting on the throttle in 1st (still getting used to the bike, of course). Probably also helps that I weigh nothing compared to the average rider.
 

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I swore I'd never bother with a liter bike - the various 650s providing fun, some thrills in the twists and decent fuel mileage plus outstanding reliability.

Well I caved for an 1993 ST1100 that was by far the most comfortable bike at 150 kph and a nice rush with a throttle twist ....but damn it was top heavy and broiling in the tropics in traffic ...filtering not allowed then and $45 for fillup !!!. :eek:

Stuck with the midrange then succumbed again wanting to keep up with my son's FZ8 and a CB1000F sure allowed that ...damn the thing pulled in any gear - detuned Fireblade motor. Thrills but no tendancy to lift the front end so easy to ride in town, relatively light for a liter bike and not much could run away in raw acceration.
But fuel mileage sucked big time and no range 300 km on a good day and not as comfortable as either the Vstrom 650 or the Burgman 650 on the slab. It did not handle as well as either.
Both liter bikes were very reliable as were the 650s.

Since then I gave up the thrill throttle moving to a CB500x which was surprisingly stable at slab speeds and then to CB300F which is light and fun and zero throttle thrill but both go forever on little fuel 60 mpg and 70 mpg respectively and real world.
57 years riding I'm nearing the end of the riding arc but hoping a CB EV that is in the works might give me a good rush. 😈
 
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I was going to post, "Too much is never enough," however In the late 70's I had a Suzi T500 that I travelled a lot on. Tough bike! Then I bought a 'warmed' Gt750 that I thought was ridiculously quick. I couldn't believe people wanted 1000's, especially as they were being written off running up the back of cars. After 6-9 months I thought the 750 wasn't really that fast so I wanted a 1000. After a while I ended up with a Kwaka 1000.
Fast forward 40 years and the dl650 has about the same power but better performance. There's so many revenue raisers out there now that the I can really only use the acceleration between 0 and 120kph without fines and loss of points. As I don't pillion people, I just use the gearbox for the rare mad overtake and as a 'mature aged rider,' the 650 is fine. We all know that horse power doesn't neccesarily make you faster through corners though.
 

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If HP did not come with a penalty, we'd all want infinite HP. But realistically to produce more HP the manufacturer needs more cylinder volume (bore*stroke) and/or more cylinders and/or turbocharging and/or higher compression. Which all have their drawbacks, in particular weight. Especially for an off-road/adventure bike, less weight means more versatility.

So it depends on your use case. For blasting down the highway, 100+ HP is great. But for serious off-road work I would not want to bring the weight of a DL1000 or 1250GS.
 
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