Can you ride a 250cc Motorcycle long distance?

two 250cc motorcycles loaded for touring

Photo credited to Reddit User u/prepnready2

Regardless of the size of your motorcycle, most riders eventually dream of taking longer trips on their bike.

But what if you are on something as small as a 250cc, can you still take long trips?

You can definitely take a 250cc motorcycle on long-distance trips. They can keep up with highway and interstate speeds and are very affordable to maintain and fuel. Just keep in mind that you will need to stop more frequently for fuel, and will most likely need more breaks from interstate riding.

To further drive home this point, keep reading below for a more detailed breakdown as well as some tips for 250cc riders who want to take long trips on their bike.

Using a 250cc Motorcycle for Long Distance Trips

To reiterate, yes you can take a 250cc motorcycle on a long trip. In fact, I always reference the article about a rider taking her 250cc on over 10,000 miles of long-distance trips.

But even though it is possible, there are definitely some caveats and considerations to keep in mind.

250cc motorcycles have a few drawbacks that make them less ideal for long-distance trips compared to their more powerful counterparts.

They also have a few characteristics that put them ahead of the bigger bikes.

To give you an idea of what to expect, check out this pros and cons list that details just that.


Limited Power

The biggest drawback of taking a 250cc motorcycle on a long-distance trip is that they have limited power. This actually hits on 2 different levels. On one hand, you are not going to be able to haul as much as some of these ADV or Touring motorcycles – especially if you are a bigger rider. You will have to make stops more frequently or take less stuff on your trip. Second, you will have limited power when it comes to going up steep hills or passing slower cars.

Smaller fuel tanks

Another big hit for 250cc motorcycles is the fact that they have smaller fuel tanks. And while this may not seem like a big deal at first, it can actually become a huge problem if your trip takes you to any remote areas with gas stations that are more spread out. Not only that, you will have to be more vigilant for gas stops along your route, which can add a sense of stress to your trip.

Limited comfort at highway speeds

One of the biggest drawbacks to 250cc motorcycles on long-distance trips is their limited comfort on a highway or interstate.

While 250cc motorcycle can easily keep up with interstate speeds, you will be near the limit of capability of your bike. This means no passing power and even more limited control. And while this doesnt sound like a big deal, it can feel intimidating riding a smaller machine around the heavy and speeding cars on the interstate.

In addition, 250cc motorcycles don’t have a lot of weight behind them. And when you’re traveling at highway speeds, even the smallest amount of wind can feel like a blast pushing you every which way.

With a 250cc, you will be a lot more susceptible to the wind, which will make you more tired a lot faster than you would think. The wind has a huge impact on how fast your body will fatigue on a ride.

But don’t let me rip on 250cc’s too much, there are actually a lot of benefits to riding a 250cc motorcycle long distances.

Limited carrying capacity

The final drawback to 250cc motorcycles is their limited carrying capacity.

As a smaller bike, it will have limited space and power to carry heavy loads. In fact, any amount of weight you add to the motorcycle will have a huge impact on how it moves and handles, regardless of how light.

This can be a problem if you plan to load up on a lot of camping gear, clothes or anything else you feel you need for your long-distance trip.


As I mentioned, there are more benefits to riding a 250cc long distance than caveats.

Easier to handle

First off, 250cc motorcycles are lightweight and easy to control.

This makes things a lot easier when you’re maneuvering around a parking lot or negotiating a tricky section of the road.

Having a lightweight bike will allow you to feel confident when it comes to control of the motorcycle.

Cheaper to fuel

Another huge benefit to 250cc motorcycles is how cheap they are when it comes to fuel consumption.

I know I mentioned their smaller fuel tanks but this is quickly remedied by how 250cc’s seem to sip fuel compared to their larger counterparts.

It’s not uncommon to get 50-70 miles per gallon on a 250cc motorcycle. This saves you a lot of time and money when traveling long distances.

Easier to maintain

250cc motorcycles are also cheaper to maintain overall.

Remember that 250cc motorcycles are largely considered “beginner bikes” in the motorcycle community. This means that manufacturers will use cheaper and less sophisticated parts and technology.

While this may seem like a drawback at first, it’s actually a huge benefit when it comes to repairing or maintaining the motorcycle. If something falls and breaks, its usually cheap enough to replace without hindering your trip.

Not to mention, you will be using less oil, putting less stress on the drivetrain, and filling up with the cheapest gas you can find.

More affordable overall

Piggybacking off the last point, 250cc motorcycles are cheaper all around, which saves you money when it comes to planning trips.

You may even be able to take longer trips to see more sights with all the money you save.

Is a 250cc motorcycle fast enough for the highway?

I know I mentioned this before but a lot of riders are concerned about taking a 250cc motorcycle on the highway.

And rightfully so. There’s a good chance that if you’re planning a long-distance trip, you will spend some of that time on the interstate or highway.

250cc motorcycles can keep up with highway and interstate speeds, they are just not comfortable for the bike or rider if you are riding on an interstate for long periods of time.

At highway speeds, a 250cc motorcycle will be easily affected by wind resistance, which requires a little more work from the rider. This in turn can fatigue the rider a lot faster than if they were on a slower back road or a bigger bike.

As well, 250cc motorcycles will be topping out at interstate speeds, so don’t expect to pass anyone or speed up any steep inclines. This can also feel pretty violent on the motorcycles, as you will be feeling all the vibration from those higher RPMs. Which again…tires the rider out that much more.

Rider Considerations for Long-Distance Riding on a 250cc

When it comes to taking a long-distance trip on your motorcycle, you must also account for the other limiting factor – the rider.

Given that 250cc motorcycles are often considered for beginners, I will also go over a few rider considerations.

A. Rider’s skill and experience level

The biggest thing to consider is your skill and experience level.

Are you a newer rider with less than 1,000 miles under your belt? Well, you most likely shouldn’t plan a long and expansive trip.

Have you ever taken road trips before? Are you a competent planner? These are all things you should consider, as they will have a bigger impact on your trip than the power of your motorcycle.

B. Purpose and frequency of long-distance trips

What about the purpose and frequency of your long-distance trips? If you plan to do long rides or more frequent trips, you may be better suited to find a more powerful motorcycle.

While yeah, a 250cc can keep up with the best of them, a more powerful motorcycle will improve your trips and may even allow you to go further and more often.

C. Personal comfort and preference

Finally, you should consider your own personal comfort and preferences.

A lot of riders may find that they need more space for storage or more comfort at highway speeds.

These are all important things to consider because we all have preferences, even if we are willing to concede on them every now and then.

Tips for riding long distances on a 250cc

Now for a few tips on taking a 250cc motorcycle on a long-distance trip.

  • Plan your trip well

Just like any motorcycle trip, you need to start off with a solid plan. This will include things like route choice and stops for fuel, food, or rest.

But on a 250cc motorcycle, you may need to tweak a few things. Like more frequent fuel stops due to the smaller gas tank. Or more frequent rest breaks after longer sessions on the highway.

  • Make sure your bike is ready

Just as important as having a solid plan, you also need to make sure your motorcycle is in good enough shape to make the trip.

This means checking the tread on your tires, making sure you don’t need an oil change, checking your chain slack, etc.

Once you’re on the road, the last thing you need to worry about is getting an oil change in some random town, having to deal with a blowout on the road, or any other mechanical issues that can delay or stop your trip.

  • Try to pack light

This is actually a good tip regardless of the size of your motorcycle but if you are on a 250cc, you should definitely try to pack as light as possible.

You will have limited space and power to carry a heavy load, not to mention that any added weight will have a huge effect on how the motorcycle drives.

I actually take a lot of tips from the Ultralight Backpacking community, as they have perfected the art of packing as light as possible.

  • Bring a tool and first aid kit

Finally, make sure you bring a tool kit and a first aid kit.

This is a good tip regardless of the trip or bike you take. I keep a basic tool kit and a travel size first aid kit on every one of my rides. You never know when you may have an emergency and its best to be prepared than out on the side of the road in need of help.

Best 250cc bike for long distance

Now you may be wondering, “What is the best 250cc motorcycle for long-distance trips?”

And I can easily point to some of the comfortable options like the Yamaha Vstar 250, a cruiser. Or even a Versys 300, an adventure bike that can tackle everything from dirt roads to gravel.

But I am going to change things up and say…

The best 250cc motorcycle for long-distance trips is the motorcycle that you already have or are planning to get.

I have seen touring setups on everything from a Honda Grom to a Ducati supersport. And I bet these riders enjoyed their trips all the same, regardless of what type or size motorcycle they had.

So don’t feel limited when it comes to choosing a bike, no matter what you plan to ride, you will make it happen.


In conclusion, taking a 250cc motorcycle on a long-distance trip is more than possible and just as enjoyable as any.

Just keep in mind the limitations and drawbacks that you may face, so you can plan accordingly and enjoy your trip.

Have fun and good luck.

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