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Rider height?

Discussion in 'Scooters' started by RaindancerAU, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Hi all - apologies if there is another thread on this, I couldn't find an obvious one when I searched.

    I've been doing research for almost a year now through netrider and other sources about bikes for vertically challenged people. I myself am between 5'9 and 5'10 with boots on so no worries for me, but my girlfriend is barely 5'2" and she desperately wants to join me when I get a bike.

    I've looked through all the options with motorbikes, but it does seem without going the cruiser route or modifying a bike that there are very few options for her.

    We plan to tour when we both have full licenses (longer wait for her than me - I'm over 30, on my second Gold License, in NSW).

    Two things I'm wondering about:

    1. Is seat height as much of a factor with scooters as it is with bikes? I mean I keep hearing that the main problem with bike seat height is how far apart the legs are splayed due to the seat width. So would 780mm on a scooter be easier to manage than 780mm on a bike?

    2. LAMS and Scooters?? I have not seen any talk on this (and admittedly I haven't searched as this only just came to me when I was typing up my license situation) and certainly haven't seen any scooters on the LAMS list.

    She likes the Aprilia Scarabeo 500 (yeah I know, Aprilia and parts supply-chain / lack thereof etc) and I've noted the Honda Silverwing has a ride height of 740mm which I think she should be ok with (I hope).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Mate, I do think that by and large, scooters tend to have lower seat heights because they are made to suit the widest range of potential riders. So yes, scooters may be a very good option.

    However you shouldnt discount bikes completely, especially if you are striving to do some touring. While its true that you can happily tour on some of the bigger "maxi" scooters, generally a well set up bike would be better.

    There is a large after market industry in seat modifications for motorbikes. Everything from softer seats, higher seats, lower seats, narrower seats, wider seats, etc etc etc. The overall ride height of virtually all bikes can be altered. With some bikes it will be enough just to adjust the rear spring pre-load to alter the height enough to get your feet on the ground, other times some simple modification will be required.

    Hopefully you can get a few replies from some vertically challenged people who can suggest what mods they have done to their bikes.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement Duffman :)

    I'm sure she will strive to get on a bike at some point, if only to conquer a very real challenge. I guess she's more the idealist and I'm more the realist and I try to prepare contingency plans.

    That said - scooters are still intriguing to me anyways :)

    I'd love to hear from any scooter riders who ride a scooter with a seat height that they could not manage on a bike.
  4. something like the Suzuki GS500 is a good little bike. Lots of instructors seem to use these because they are small, light and low seat height, and cheap.


    might be worth looking at.

    Unfortunately i'm not much help with the scooter side of things cause i was always looking for tall ones as i'm 6ft 4, so i have the opposite problem :)
  5. I believe the reason there are no scooters on the LAMS list is because ALL scooters are acceptable... or at least, that was the case until recently. Things might be changing with new large capacity scooters coming on the market. But you probably wouldn't be getting one of these as her first scoot anyway, would you?

    As far as bikes go, what about the little ones like Sachs 150cc or Yamaha Scorpio? Not much use for touring perhaps, but still... I can't remember the exact specs but I know I recently saw a Scorpio lined up alongside other bikes in front of a bike shop and I was struck by how tiny and light it seemed in comparison.

    and btw, you know, a large part of the problem is not the height as such, but the weight that rider's legs need to support. On pushbikes by design nobody flatfoots, but it isn't a problem because pushbikes are so light it's no big deal to tilt them until you reach the ground. It's a lot harder with a motorbike... and harder still with a scooter, because scooters are heavier than bikes of equal capacity.

    Edit 2: oh, there we go: Scorpio's seat height is only 77cm!
  6. Once again - thanks for the replies.

    Honestly ... I would consider it ... X8 / X9 / Nexus / Scarabeo, she's expressed interest in those scoots. From where I sit I can't see how those scoots would be any more of a handful than a LAMS 650.

    Yup, looked at a lot of the smaller ones, been as thorough as possible (really - have spent a year reading through posts and bike statistics) and inexplicably, the GPX250R still has the lower seat height of 745mm ...... Even the Moto Guzzi Breva 750 has a low seat height option of 760mm (this is the bike she wants when she graduates from restrictions). Bikes that were initially appealing like the CBR125R and the VTR250 have higher seats??

    We dropped by Scooterino yesterday and Mark (operations manager) was very helpful to us. He got her on to a Breva and she was on the tips of her toes. He was then kind enough to allow her to sit on a customer's bike in the workshop that had some work done on it for a shorter rider.
    On the custom Breva she was able to get the balls of both her feet down or flat foot one side - so it's looking like we'll go the bike route, unless I can find out more about scoots.

    I want to get her to sit on a GPX250R next, then probably a Silverwing as that has quite the low seat height.
  7. Well, if that's what she wants there should be no problem from the legal side, I'm pretty sure that even Burgman 650 is LAMS approved.

    So I take it she has no interest in cruisers whatsover? A pity. I have no great love for cruisers, but they can't be beaten when you want (or need) to get close to the ground.
  8. You will be surprised with some of scooter seat heights. Take for example the Bolwell HD200. My wife is 5'8" and pretty much could put the balls of her feet on the ground. I also noticed when we were looking at scooters the seat heights even surprised me..
  9. Hey Raindancer!

    I'm 5'2" and I have a Honda VTR250. I understand your partner's pain when it comes to all things vertical, but all is not lost! If you want to buy a new bike/scooter, talk to the dealer about lowering options. Also remember that the shocks will settle over time anyway. A dealer who says it can't be done is full of crap because they do it at Ducati.

    I'd probably recommend a naked bike rather than a sports bike to start off with - I felt really stretched out and rather uncomfortable when I sat on a few (that's just my style, though). Just get her to sit on a few different kinds. The right one will find her.
  10. Thanks for the replies again


    Wow so you ride a VTR250 just fine? Cool she loves the look of the VTR, but when we saw the seat height we all but gave up on that. Might check one out as well.

    Mark at Scooterino/Motorino was very helpful and basically assured us that her dream of owning/riding a Moto Guzzi Breva 750 was very acheivable. And when she was able to get one foot flat on the customer's modified Breva, that pretty much sealed it.

    I guess I started to look at scooters and the GPX250 because I was beginning to think the modification route might be a bit of a pain, but I'm reconsidering now .... I'm still fascinated by Scoots though pretty certain I'll end up with one or two at some point :LOL:
  11. DO IT!

    Breva is awesome mate. Trust me, you'll be pinching it from her to ride for yourself. I took one for a test ride ages ago and absolutely loved it. The one i tested was the "touring" kit with panniers and a mini screen and it wsa a black one. Fantastic bike and you'd do well to try one out.
  12. Duffman - the plan is a pair of Brevas :wink: but I'm thinking an 850 for myself as I'm up a few kg on my g/f - at least that's the excuse :LOL:
  13. Check out the Aprilia scooters. They seem to have lower seat heights for the vertically chalenged (like me!)
  14. I'm pretty much okay - it's only when I'm on a slope that I might struggle. The only thing that may take a little getting used to is the weight of a bike compared to a scooter - particularly with slow manouvers.
  15. I'm 5'2, and I ride an old 1980 CB250N, which is about 180kg and quite a bit taller than the new CB250. A taller person would get away with leaning over a bit too far when stopped, whereas a shorter person will fall over the first time they do it and never do it again.

    I sat on a Spada once, and found that although I could easily reach the ground, I could only barely reach the handlebars. There's not much point in looking at the size of bikes on the spec sheets, better to just go and sit on them.

    With scooters it doesn't matter if they're a bit tall cos you can move to one side when you stop, unlike a bike where you have to stay more central.
  16. Awesome - does that apply to Maxi Scooters as well?
  17. I've never ridden a maxi scooter. If it's still a full step-through design, then you'd be able to, but if there's anything between your legs then it could make it more tricky.

    Also, keep in mind scooters tend to have a lower centre of gravity, so they're more stable at low speed. It's quite easy to balance on one for a couple of seconds after you've stopped.