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Short riders on tall bikes

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by fruechtel, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Whilst refueling yesterday at the Shell I saw this young guy arriving on a KTM 540 trail bike. When stopped, he couldn't touch the ground and next thing rider and bike are flat on the ground. Naturally I gave him a hand to stand up his bike and when I looked at him and the tall bike next to him I couldn't help but wonder: Why for Pete's sake would you ride around on a bike that is way too tall for you? Since the guy was already way to embarrassed I did not want to ask him the question. But I do wonder what motivates riders to buy a new or used bike which they can barely control when they are standing still. And why do the manufacturers make some of their bikes so tall ?

    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  2. Theres not a huge choice for us shortarses once you get over 250cc. One of the reasons I like my current bike is that its the only 750 I rode that I could touch the ground with the tips of my toes of both feet.
    • Agree Agree x 8
  3. It's pretty easy to wind the rear shock down on those ktms to take a few inches off the ride height. Beats me why he doesn't do this
  4. This is stopping me from upgrading at the moment. The bikes with lower seat heights that I can ride are all outside the LAMS range. I don't get it.

    I know that I'm in the minority, but if BMW can make a low suspension version of both the 750 and 800 GS (outside LAMS range) you would think that they could do the same for the 650.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. fruechtelfruechtel sometimes you just have to give it your best shot.
    I know what you are saying but you know I am not tooooo sloppy when I ride my Zeddee, get the side stand with my eyes closed now but stopping, well it just takes a bit of McArthur like battle planning.
    I think I have improved quite a lot and I HAVEN'T dropped my Zeddee yet but confess to two, shit my pants, gravy bum, moments.
    Most recent was in the wet, when I took off and my right foot slipped on the peg. Seems that was a good way to get people off my arse anyway!
    But Zeddee is as lowered as he is going to be. Why shouldn't I try my best to master a tall, litre dream bike like Zeddee?
    Personally, I don't want a cruiser and don't like the riding position. I will be trying my herman munster clod hoppers on Zeddee on Wednesday when I get back to Port to see if that helps.
    I really think it is practice and confidence to manage a tall bike. I am 154 cm tall and getting smaller by the year but not going to give up my Zeddee just yet. Inside me is an amazonian 6'2" spunk -you just can't see her :)
    • Like Like x 5
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    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. True I guess, but many newbies might not think to do so, it may not have actually been his bike either. and theres a limit to how far you can lower them.
    The worst part for me is its not just the bikes. Its pants as well, Nothing made for short legs off the shelf. Much as I'd like some leathers, they'd have to be custom made. I buy Jeans and have to take off the bottom 4" :(
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. I hear you! Knee guards are ankle guards on me!
    I buy crop pants to wears as jeans...I regularly cut 6-10 inches off jeans! The waist is around my chin otherwise!
    • Funny Funny x 2
  8. Im not short (169cm) but had issues with my new bike. Swapped riding boots for work boots and all is good......
    • Like Like x 1
  9. GoldenberriGoldenberri you'll have to go test ride a Ducati Monster - stock seat height is 770mm which is about as low as it goes without riding a cruiser...
  10. Once you get up in capacity on trail/enduro bikes, seat height can be an issue for short rider, however, most I know can overcome this with the way they mount and dismount the bike, also once out in the bush, they tend to pull up against rocks /logs or just park with the wheels in a rut. Even I get lazy and rest my right foot on the kerb of the traffic island at lights.
    It also goes the other way to, for taller riders bike choice can be limited, so 'adventure style' bikes are a better choice or larger capacity bikes. (Feel sorry for those on restrictions, if they're big units)
    I am by no means a taller rider (180cm), but I've found plenty of bikes that are just to small for me. Ducati Monster and MT09 just a couple that I've had to bypass. As has been suggested to me "you don't want to look like a Greyhound humping a Chihauhau"
  11. As much as I would love a Monster chillibuttonchillibutton I just can't get over how much it looks like my current VTR250 which is also 770 stock. Mine is about 760 though. My other problem is the position of the exhausts and also that it's an expensive Italian and I would be terrified of dropping it. So I'm still unsure. CB400 is another option. But what I really want will have to wait until my restrictions are up and I know for certain I can afford to keep it. :sneaky: By then I'll have a lot more experience and less terrified of dropping something.
  12. I have to admit that I have been similarly puzzled, usually by relatively new riders, but old enough to be Ulysses Club members, who go out and buy BMW R1200GS Adventures, when they are just a poofteenth over 5 foot tall..... <shrug>

    Having said that, I also know a few ladies, of fairly short stature, but who have been riding, very competently, for years, who have just got into the "move bum over a bit" when they stop.

    I know that while I was looking at new bikes, and was offered a test ride on a Tracer, that, as standard, felt a wee bit too tall for me, I asked how the test ride worked.............. was told I'd have to follow one of the bike shop's folk, at which point I lost interest.

    If I have a need to ride a tallish bike, I can do it, but not when someone else is calling the shots.

    Are you talking about winding off the pre-load there?

    If so, you'd know that that might not be good in terms of the suspension's performance.

    Dunno if many bikes come standard with height adjustment at the rear, independent of pre-load, but some up-market after market shock/spring setups do...... Penske and some of the Ohlins.
  13. BMW G650GS has a lowered suspension option that lowers it to I think 750 mm. So unless you are really short, this should be suitable.

    As far as riding tall bikes go, you don't need to be able flat foot with both feet to control the bike. So long as you can get the ball of one foot down on one side, this should give you enough control. It is just a matter of practice and planning to feel confident doing this. Even on bikes where I can easily reach the ground, it is rare that I use both feet on the ground when I am stopped.
  14. Riding them forward is not the issue. It's backing them and maneuvering them into and out of spots. I tried to move my sons CB300 (785mm seat height) to park mine and I could barely manage despite being on the balls of my feet and this was on a flat concrete surface. Any change in level when I have to back a bike and I find it hard because I don't have the 'purchase' I need to put my weight behind it.

    I wasn't seriously considering a BMW, but I just found it interesting that they make low suspension models and wondered why they don't for their LAMS bike as a matter of course.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. I am a short lad (174cm) And I would probably not want to ride anything with a seat height of more than 82cm. At 80 on my duke I can touch the ground well enough, but that is near the limit.

    A BMW F800 with a low seat has a seat height of 77cm.....
  16. Tall people can be learners, too.

    There are more than just the "factory" lowering kits.

    Some bikes, the example I know well being the Street Triple, can be lowered a fair bit for very little money and well under an hours work..... including smoke break and beer.

    If you are interested in a particular bike model, first thing to do is fine the forum specialising in that model and have a look in there for lowering procedures.

    I guess that the biggest problem is that you can't conveniently, "try it on for size". :-(

    BTW, the Striple, well the original model, dunno about current ones, only needed two wee steel plates, each with three holes drilled in them, they bolted on in place of two similar bits, in the back suspension, the positioning of the holes could provided potential for lowering or raising the back end, as well as changing the spring's effect. Fitting time was about 20 minutes. Front end was simple, just moving front forks up through triple clamp. Added bonus was, if you got a set of Daytona foot pegs, which were about an inch higher than Striple's, they bolted straight on, and regained the "lost" cornering clearance.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. I get off and wheel my Zeddee in and out when needed. No law that says you have to sit on your bike to park :)
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Bought my CB400 for the same reason and she's an awesome ride (don't ask me why I think she's a girl :)) BUT I am still on the hunt for something a little bigger, so dead keen to hear what you are eyeing???
  19. I have tried wheeling my bike around but it's not something I feel completely comfortable with.

    My bike is 247kgs and I'm a 46kgs weakling, so unless the ground is completely level and there is no gravel etc it is near impossible for me to wheel it around. Even in my own garage when backing it into it's final spot there is one point that goes slightly up hill. If I don't already have a bit of momentum in this area then I have to stand up grab underneath the tank and use all my weight to get it over this section.

    On my Egypt trip it was a strange experience to be able to just wheel the scooter around, made up for the extra 10cm seat height difference. On some of the "roads" we were on especially going up behind the pyramids I would have to move my bum to the very front of the seat so my feet could touch the ground should I need to stop suddenly or just for the extra piece of mind.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Pssst, PSYKCPSYKC :cautious: ..... go sit on a Diavel.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1