The wheelbase of a two wheeler vehicle is defined as the radial distance between the front and rear tyre. In other words, the wheelbase is the distance between the centre points where the front and rear wheels touch the ground. Understanding the importance of wheelbase can be very useful while selecting a bike. Wheelbase plays a significant role in the stability and steering control of the two wheeler. Different types of bikes have different wheelbases. For example, cruising bikes such as a Harley-Davidson will have a longer wheelbase while sports bikes such as a Yamaha R15 will have a shorter wheelbase.
Let us take a detailed look into the wheelbase and how it affects the performance of a two wheeler.
Wheelbase is a part of the frame design of the two wheeler. It has a significant impact on the weight distribution of the vehicle. That is why wheelbase dimensions are very important to the balance and steering. Wheelbase also has an effect on a vehicle's turning radius (or turning circle). This is the smallest circle an automobile can turn or U-turn within. Both long and short wheelbases have their advantages and disadvantages.
A longer wheelbase allows you to produce a strong, stable and comfortable frame which results in better stability on the road. This allows the bike to be run at high speed but only on a straight road. Due to a longer wheelbase, the overall length of the bike also increases. This makes the bike a bit difficult to turn at sharp angles.
On the other hand, a shorter wheelbase produces a sturdy and responsive frame. This means that you can easily turn the bike at sharp angles but it loses stability at high speeds. A short wheelbase vehicle is usually able to corner faster but may be less aerodynamic and can wobble at high speeds.
So, as the wheelbase increases, you gain stability and lose maneuverability. Conversely, as the wheelbase decreases, you gain maneuverability but lose the stability of the bike.
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Factors Affecting Wheelbase Selection for a Bike
1. Intended Purpose
This is the most important factor to be considered while selecting the wheelbase. If you want to go on a long tour then a bike with a longer wheelbase will provide you more stability and a comfortable riding experience. Whereas, if you want to have a racing adventure then a bike with a shorter wheelbase that provides agility and maneuverability will be a better choice.
2. Aesthetic Appeal
A bike's wheelbase affects its balance and proportion. It contributes to the overall aesthetic appeal of the bike.
3. Manufacturing Cost
A bike with a longer wheelbase will have a longer frame and a heavy body. This will automatically increase the overall manufacturing cost of the bike.
4. Weight Distribution
A two-wheeler's wheelbase is essential for evenly spreading the weight. Because more weight is concentrated in the front, vehicles with longer wheelbases tend to be heavier, while those with shorter wheelbases tend to be lighter.For example, drag racing bikes have very lengthy wheelbases. The bike becomes forward biased as a result of the weight distribution change, and as a result, the bike eventually remains travelling straight and does not perform a wheelie. On the other hand, racing bikes like those used in MotoGP have a shorter wheelbase that makes the bikes more lightweight and compact, and it also makes it much easier for the bike to maneuver and turn at faster speeds.
Manufacturers choose the design and wheelbase while taking into account a variety of elements, including the purpose, aesthetics, ground clearance, and wheel size. One of the most important aspects that the manufacturers take into account is the ground clearance since it determines how the bike will handle. On some motorcycles, shifting the rear wheel axle forward tightens the chain while regulating the chain slackness. The bike's wheelbase plays a crucial role in how the bike handles due to this slight but significant movement.
Finally, choose a bike with the wheelbase that suits your needs and fits well within your budget.
Safety Recommendations for Two-wheeler Owners
- Always wear a helmet while riding a bike
- Make sure the pillion rider also wears a helmet
- Do not use a mobile phone while riding a bike. If it is important then stop the bike on the side of the road and then use it.
- Service your bike on a regular basis without fail
- Maintain a safe distance from other riders when on the road
- Do not overtake from the wrong side
- Do not overspeed on crowded roads
- Be careful at turns and crossings.
- Give way to pedestrians
- Avoid riding in blind spots of other vehicles
- Get an appropriate two wheeler insurance policy for your bike
- Always have a valid driving licence
Thus, we have understood the significance of wheelbase while selecting a bike. It is very important to not change or tamper with the bike settings as it may affect the wheelbase length. This may impact the stability and handling capabilities of the bike. No matter what bike you ride, make sure you have a valid bike insurance policy to protect yourself from financial liabilities. Although it is compulsory to have at least a third party bike insurance policy, it is highly advisable to have a comprehensive bike insurance policy for your bike.
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