Not all motorcyclists are of average height or over. There are some shorter people out there, both male and female, who are every bit as much part of the biking fraternity. However, not all motorbikes are built with shorter riders in mind. Bikesure, the leading motorbike insurance broker, rounds up what to look for in a motorbike if you measure up around the 5ft 5in mark or under.
Tall seats and wide sides present an obstacle to the shorter rider, while for many bikes you need to be of average height to swing your leg over the seat in the first place. And it isn’t just the height of the seat, many manufacturers lower the seat but put the pegs and clutch too far forward. They don’t seem to realise that if you are short enough to need the seat lower then you need the pegs closer!
When you’re looking at bike specs remember that just because the stated seat height is low it doesn’t mean that you can securely get your feet flat on the ground. The width of the seat plays a factor, too. Even though Harleys have low seat heights they have wide seats that splay your legs out. A tip is to look for seats that are narrow up front.
Don’t be swayed by those (including the person selling you the bike) who might say as long as you can balance the bike on your toes you’ll be fine. Not necessarily. As has been voiced in forums, if you’re taller and haven’t experienced trying to walk a heavy bike up even the slightest incline using only your toes you cannot possibly know how hard it is.
Motorcycle.com has produced a list of the top ten bikes for shorter people as has RideApart, who put the top of the list. Both lists are compiled for the US market but British bikers can find corresponding UK models.
As ever many bikers’ favourites are missed off these lists, such as the Ducati Diavel, the Victory Ness Vision and the Honda Fury, which looks like a customised Harley. The Suzuki GSX-Rs have their champions as well in spite of the listed seat height – the key here is that the seat is narrow at the front.
And if all else fails then you could get some motorcycle boots with good height heels and soles. Daytona Ladystar boots are popular with women bikers – they are great boots and can jack up your height by about two inches. For men there is the Daytona M Star, not only to they give you a height boost but they are protective, durable and waterproof.
Helmet, Leathers and Kit, Motorbikes