Significance of Wheelbase in Two-Wheeler

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 11/09/2023

In racing tracks, the length of the wheelbase can be a deciding factor in choosing a champion. So, engineers are always trying their best to strike the perfect ratio in the bike’s wheelbase and maintain the ideal symmetry between balance and performance. But when it comes to daily riding a commuter bike, such engineering nuances are often ignored, but they should not be. Knowing about wheelbase helps people choose the right motorcycle to serve their purpose.

But before you hop on your bike, ensure you wear a helmet, have valid insurance and carry your licence with you. A helmet will keep you safe while having a valid licence and bike insurance policy is a legal mandate. Plying on Indian roads without valid insurance for 2-wheelers is a punishable offence. So, if you are planning to buy a bike, purchase insurance for your 2-wheeler from Tata AIG, a name synonymous with trust.

Getting back to the point.

What is a Wheelbase in Bikes?

Technically, the wheelbase is the distance between the centre points of two wheels. Some bikes are smaller with short wheelbases, and some are long with long wheelbases. Clearly, you can make out that the wheelbase defines whether the bike will appear longer or shorter. But that is not the significance of wheelbase.

What is the Significance of Wheelbase in Bikes?

Both short and long wheelbase have their drawbacks and advantages. Bikes with a long wheelbase offer better on-road stability, meaning the bike can easily maintain a straight line on the highway and not wobble. However, long-wheelbase bikes lose out on manoeuvrability.

It is the opposite for the short-wheelbase bikes, meaning they are very nimble on the roads but not that stable. They also tend to have a sportier stance.

So, if you are looking for a nimble and sporty motorcycle, look for the wheelbase of the bike on its spec sheet. The shorter, the nimbler. On the other hand, if you are looking for a highway cruiser that can glide through the wind without breaking a sweat, choose a long-wheelbase bike.

What is the Ideal Wheelbase of a Bike?

Understand that no pre-calculations were made to determine the ideal wheelbase in bikes. Probably there is no such concept. It all rests on the type of bike and its objective. Other factors, like the tyre sizes, the aesthetic appeal, and the ground clearance, also play a major role in determining the bike wheelbase in that particular bike model.

So, if the company is making a bike for city commutes, it will have a shorter wheelbase because short-wheelbase bikes are best for filtering through tight traffic.

We can take another example to identify the purpose of the wheelbase of bikes.

Bajar Avenger and Pulsar NS160, are both products of Bajaj, but they cater to different customers. The Pulsar NS160 is a funky-looking motorcycle with a sporty attitude designed for young people. This bike has a shorter wheelbase as compared to the Avenger, and it can filter through traffic and take sharp turns. On the other hand, the Avenger has a longer wheelbase and is an ideal highway cruiser.

If you have watched any drag race, you probably have noticed that the bikes are modified to have absurdly long wheelbases. It is done to achieve better stability as they can reach astounding speeds. And any wobble in those speeds can have catastrophic outcomes.

Here are the Top 3 Bikes with Longer Wheelbases

  • Bajaj Pulsar NS160

  • Yamaha MT15

  • KTM Duke 390

These three bikes are top sellers in the Indian market and are preferred by youngsters for their appearance, characteristics, and handling.

Here are the Top 3 Bikes with Shorter Wheelbases

  • Bajaj Avenger

  • Renegade Commando

  • Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350

These bikes are the top sellers in the cruiser segment. They offer great high-speed stability and riding comfort.

To Sum it Up

It all boils down to you and your purpose behind buying a motorcycle. If you want speed and agility, go with a short-wheelbase bike. But if you want to have a comfortable sitting posture with low seat height and, of course, highway cruising stability, go with a long-wheelbase bike. No matter what you choose, do not forget to buy comprehensive insurance for your 2-wheeler from Tata AIG. And also, do not forget to compare two-wheeler insurance before buying.

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