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Short Riders Please HELP!!!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by robbieb, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Ok, so I've read a few post on here about short riders asking for suitable bikes to buy, but I haven't come across a post about short riders having problems getting their licence in the first place. My girlfriend is 5' (153cm), not particularly strong, and she could not complete the Pre-Learner course with DECA here in Tas because she simply could not physically ride any of the bikes they had. Yamaha TTR250s (which I used) were too high in the seat, and Yamaha Viragos, whilst ok seat height, were really heavy in the front end, hard to manouvre at low speed, levers that even I would have to stretch to reach (XL man glove), and even the gear lever was too far away for her smaller feet (right on the toe of her shoe, but no feet contact). They had no tools or expertise to adjust the levers to set the bike up for a short rider. In my opinion, the bikes are only set up for average to tall people, with no accommodation for short people. Quite frankly it left us both upset and for me, bloody pissed off. It didn't make my getting my licence a very happy occasion when my girlfriend didn't even want to talk about it afterwards

    I have some questions and please share any additional thoughts you have

    How tall are you?
    What training company did you go to?(Tas only DECA available, but still like to hear (was Stay Upright until DECA got the tender))
    Were they good at accommodating you as a short rider?
    What bike did you ride to get your licence?(Their bike, your own bike, make model etc)
    What was the hardest thing about getting your licence?
    How did you overcome the difficulties?
    Did it take you more than one attempt at getting your licence?

    The only thing I can think of is to find her a bike that she can fit on properly and then get them to let her do the course on it. Surely they should do the course fee a bit chaper as she isn't using their bike, so even if she drops it they don't need the insurance to repair any damage.
    She really wants to get her bike licence, and frankly I think it's discrimination if she is excluded from being able to because of her height.

  2. Get the bike she wants and mod it for her size then use that bike in the course, They should allow you to use your own bike even for the L's just talk to the right people.

    Custom seat, lowered suspension, resized levers, handle bars etc etc, all of this should be pretty easy to do and for the weight issue the bikes your learn on are really light so if your finding them heavy i suggest getting to the gym asap.
  3. hey just read your post and i ride a cbr 250RR she could always buy boots and extend them on so she can reach the floor... :grin:
    Stay Up Right is not a bad place to Do her course
  4. Thanks for your reply Cleverlie, but you haven't really told me anything I don't already know from reading other posts. We had looked at a Virago before doing the test and thought that she would be fine on this. My biggest issue is the fact that the training provider (DECA) could not provide a bike suitable for her to ride. If the levers were within easy reach I'm sure she would have been fine. She couldn't hold onto the handle bars properly to even engeage the clutch or front brake.
    The TTR250 that I rode was lighter than the Virago and easy to push and handle for me, just too tall for her.
  5. well she can always do the scooter and then when she is doing her P's she can bring her bike in
  6. If you know that stuff then why are you posting? I mean thats the best thats gonna happen and to be able to get them to let her use her own customized bike in the L's course your gonna have to pull some strings.

    As what was said she could do the scooter thing on the L's and then do the P's on her Customized bike.
  7. What about using a postie bike. Thats no too high.
  8. I agree with what you're saying about them letting her do it on her own bike, but why should we have to go to so much trouble at the beginning before she can even ride a bike? I was interested to se if short people who had acctually got their licence had any trouble getting it in the first place, or how the training provider accommodated them, as DECA (the only available provider in TAS) didn't seem up to much chop.
    I hope this exercise will help them improve in an area where they are lacking. I've already given them feedback on the course evaluation and by email and have had no response back.

    And the Scooter thing, we were told that if you do the Ls on a scooter you can only get an automatic licence, so it's doubtful she could do the Ps on a motorbike, or even buy a motorbike to customise and ride her Ls on it if she can only get an automatic licence.

    I floated the idea of a postie bike with her and she didn't seem keen. Saw one in the Honda shop so maybe she could go and have a sit on it and discuss fitting options. (sounds like a bloody dressmaker! :LOL: )Maybe you just have to sacrifice some pride in the beginning to reach the ultimate goal
  9. I'm approximately 5' 1" tall (156cm). I don't have my licence yet, but I find HART in Victoria to be quite accommodating to shorter riders. They have at least one, possibly more, CB 250's that they have altered eg. lowered seat, adjusted levers, etc.

    Even on an adjusted bike I initially found the height to be a bit of an issue, however, it has become less of an issue over time. I guess you just learn to scoot a bit over on the seat if necessary in order to at least have one foot flat on the ground, given that I can't get both feet flat.

    Are the laws regarding scooters different in Tasmania than Victoria? I was always informed I could do the learners/licence on a scooter and then swap to a bike later on if desired.

    I currently ride a VTR 250. They lowered the suspension for me a bit and I believe they could lower it even further if desired.

    I appreciate it could be a bit of a hassle, but the postie bike seems like an option. It is simply a means to an end. With experience your girlfriend will soon be able to handle taller bikes.
  10. What's the minimum height to be able to sit on a CBR and have both feet flat on the ground? Height is a worry for me too, I'm 5'6".
  11. Don't be silly, at 5'6" you won't have any problem putting both feet on the ground on a CBR unless your body is out of portion being really long body and short legs. I'm 167cm and I have no problem getting both feet down
  12. here's my thoughts and responses (but being from qld the system is a bit different so i'm not sure how this fits with the system you have in tas....)

    How tall are you?
    I'm exactly 5ft too.....

    What training company did you go to?
    in qld we have a range of training providers who can offer the qride licensing. i went to a driving school that employed a qride trainer who also taught car, truck and bus learners - on the basis that they would understand my specific needs (older learner, nervous, never ridden before, would possibly need more time than weekend courses allowed, and prefered one-on-one instruction)

    Were they good at accommodating you as a short rider?
    absolutely....they readjusted their bike for me before every lesson....but it did restrict me to a 250 on the basis that the only bike they could adjust enough for me was a 250. other training providers would have had a bigger range of bigger bikes - but i was happy to stick to the restriction til i'd got more experience anyway.

    What bike did you ride to get your licence?(Their bike, your own bike, make model etc)
    the driving school's CBR250....

    What was the hardest thing about getting your licence?
    the fcat that i had NEVER been on a bike before - starting completely from learning how to balance let alone actually be on something that moved....and my own confidence.

    How did you overcome the difficulties?
    absolute persistence on the part of myself and my riding instructors - who were incredibly patient and committed to giving older female riders every possible chance to enter the joy of the riding world

    Did it take you more than one attempt at getting your licence?
    nope, but with the qride system, and the provider i went to, it was a case of pay-by-lesson and then when all the skills were ticked off to the instructors' satisfaction, do a long ride performing all the required skills...

    apart from that, i think the biggest thing was persistence - being so keen to achieve the skill that i would look around for a provider that met my needs and was prepared to work with me - and not go to the cheapest provider, or the one who promised a licence within a weekend course, or the one who guaranteed that everyone would get their licence after only 10 hours.......and being realistic about what would be required on the part of my instructor, their company, and my own expectations in order for me to achieve my goal.

    don't know if that helps - but i reckon if she wants her licence there is no way she is going to let her height be the thing that stops her....if there's a way she'll find it (with your support of course).

  13. Nightgash, i've noticed that you seem to suggest that riding bikes that i struggle to ride at 2" (5cm) taller than you seems to be ok.

    While that may be because you are longer legged than me (possible but unlikely) DONT assume it will be the same for people 2" shorter than you (and 4" shorter than me).

    You may be giving false suggestions to people which they will base a $7-10k purchase on.

    There is no substitute for a test ride or at least a test sit.
  14. Nope I was replying to a rider that was 5'6" (I'm 5'6" too) that said he was worried about putting both feet on the ground. I took for granted it was a CBR250. At 5'6" people shouldn't have any height issue riding a CBR250. I'm not sure about a CBR1000, CBR600 sorry for being deceptive.

    As you said, have a sit on the bike before you buy it, its a no brainer and you will immediately be able to tell if its too big for you.
  15. Ok, I'm also 153cm tall and here's how the whole experience was for me. Note, I don't have my Ps yet, still on my Ls.
    I got my permit with DECA in Vic. The first bikes I started on were incredibly too tall for me... I fumbled around for a while until I decided that no way would it be safe or smart for me to continue. I then switched to the Virago and had problems similar to what you mentioned... my feet could touch the ground, but it was very tricky for me to manoeuvre... and given I'd wasted time farting around on the other bike, I had much less time to practise on it. I had similar problems with the levers, and although it was quite cumbersom, I persisted with it during the day and just kept it in mind - slowed my reaction time, but there wasn't really a lot that I could do about that. That said though, I completed the test on the Virago and passed.

    Generally, the staff were unaccommodating of my short-ness and associated problems. I was continually "told off" for example for letting the clutch out too quickly... I had no choice because to have my hand on the handle bars, my hands are too small to work the lever through the full range of motion. Also, they kept telling me to hold a couple of fingers over the front break at all times... fair enough if you have big or average sized hands, but I physically couldn't reach the break. For me, breaking was a definite two-part manoevre (let go of throttle, then grab break seperately). Of course, this set up is NOT something you want for the road... very, very UNSAFE, but for me, the only way to get my permit. So my best advice for you girlfriend is to LISTEN to what they say and remember it for when she has a bike that fits her, but just make do and practise whatever she needs to on the day to pass the test.

    In terms of BUYING a bike, I ended up purchasing at VTR250 - my toes on just reach the ground - when stopped at the lights, this is fine, unless it's a bit windy, where I then have to lean the bike to get my foot flat, and support the extra weight... takes practise, especially being short/small and having to deal with the weight too. The levers on it are fine... but if they weren't, I would have just adjusted them to suit myself anyway.

    Hope this helps.
  16. Hi! ok, I am 5'3" and found similar problems getting started! I was fortunate enough to find a mentor who let me ride around in his paddock on his 'chook chaser' which is a small 125cc dirt bike that was very light and easy to manouvre. This was important to just simply get a feel for the whole balance, weight issue whilst familiarising myself with clutch/gears/braking etc. (thanks Smack!!)

    I bought myself a Honda Rebel - a 250cc Cruiser that is nice a low but found my toes didn't comfortably reach the gear lever so I bought myself a pair of riding boots which are very narrow but essentially a size too big for me so that the toe is now long enough to change gears. I also adjusted my foot position so that the heel is not behind the peg - but resting on top! hey it's a means to an end but can now easily change gears.

    Being in TAS means it's DECA or walk for those from the mainland who don't know. Also yes, if you do your L's on a scooter you can only get your automatic licence, which I gather is different in other states.

    I failed first time I did my L's course, was a debacle in fact but I persevered and got me some experience on the 'chook chaser'. Got anyone up there who can let your girlfriend use a small farm bike in a paddock for a while?? I can't recommend this enough to simply familiarise her with the workings of riding at her own pace. THEN go and have a practise on a 250cc before doing DECA again.

    Being a shortie like me means that she will probably end up going for a cruiser for her L's??? just a guess?? but of course the Cruiser is IMHO heavy and a little daunting to learn from scratch on. I didn't like the Virago's at the course - just felt strange to me after the chook chaser and a few wee carpark goes on my Rebel but I somehow managed to scrape through and get my L's.

    Then the fun begins - it's when you are practising and riding as often as possible that the balance/weight thing kinda clicks in! I have had my L's for 4 months but don't feel at all ready to go for my P's yet - fine with riding but still cannot fathom the 'u turns' etc on the cruiser. Will be utilising DECA's one-on-one lesson soon to see what the course involves and have a go at it so I can go away and practise like crazy for a couple of months.

    I do know that DECA offers an Introduction to Riding one day course that is designed for people just seeing if they can get a feel for riding. If your girlfriend had a bit of experience on a small dirt bike and then went and did that - she would find that it all would not be too daunting to try a Virago which is the lowest bike on offer with DECA. Then she could book in for her L's when she has had some experience. They say the L's course is designed for people who have never been on a bike before but I don't think that holds true for all of us. What with time restrictions and actually being tested - I cannot recommend enough that your girlfriend get some experience and comfort before she books in again - it's just too expensive and feels crappy to fail. If she is really keen then she will take the time to learn to ride and ride well!

    hope this helps :grin:
  17. Thanks Opal, Kezza, Cameo and Fiery, this is exactly the sort of info I was after. Thanks for answering my questions.
    It was good to read your replies Fiery and Cameo, as you have been through the same sort of thing as Rachael (my girlfriend).
    Paul Reid from DECA actually got back to me last week. Apparently they have looked at the adjustable levers, but haven't implemented them because their instructors have "issues" with them, for whatever reason this may be which he didn't know. He was willing to resolve the issue by letting Rach do the course again, free of charge once we had found her a bike to ride, with no time limit. This means we can go and get her some practice on the weekends on some industrial estate.
    I'm looking now for something like a Yamaha SR250 with more standard riding position, or a single pot cruiser with better geo than the Virago. The pegs are too far away for her due to the V-twin donk I think.
    Unfortunately I don't have any relatives or friends with farms with an appropriatley sized bike. I cut my teeth riding a 50cc Honda, then onto a Suzuki DS80, then a Honda 125cc all on a farm, so I know there is no better way than that for getting a feel for two wheels.
    Even if we could have got in to one of the introductory sessions(none currently on offer) Rach still would have had the same issues.

    How much are the 1 on 1 lessons with DECA? I did not know they existed, although I remember Stay Upright saying something about them when I did my Ls a couple of years back
  18. hey every1...i have some questions...im 5`5 :cool: and doin my learners course @ Deca in may...what bike would be suited for my height, the TTR250 ot the Virago?q would i have any problems height wise on these bikes?? thank you in advance :)
  19. hey everyone,

    im 5'7 and i ride a Hyosung GT250R. Im on the balls of my feet but am comfortable with moving it around etc. I guess it just comes down to u getting use to the bike. I shift my body to one side wen slowing down so as to hav at least one foot as flat as possible on the ground.
  20. Well, I was in a similar position, however;

    I'm 5'2"

    I did my course in SA with RiderSafe (I think that's their name)

    I initially sat on a CBR250, but then they changed me to a CB250, which fitted me very well (and I reckon your girlfriend would fit too, unless she has unusually short legs in comparison with her body length)

    Most difficult thing about getting my license is, I guess, I was the "pretty chick that's only there to look cool" (ok, this isn't my opinion by the way, this is how I assume everyone else at the course viewed me. But honestly, the guy who took the course the first day was EXTREMELY rude to me, very sexist, and while there was another female there, she was more of your typical aussie 'bogan tomboy'. I was very disheartened after the first day and almost didn't go back to finish the course, that's how much the guy's attitude and rudeness towards me effected me)

    I overcame this by just sucking it up the next day and pretending I didn't care, luckily for me there was a new guy who took over when they ran the actual 'test' bit that we had to pass, and apart from some clunky gear-changing, I passed with flying colours!

    Got license first go! weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Oooo! One last thing, I actually was not strong enough to wheel the bike backwards (or maybe just to uncoordinated!) and I was definitely not strong enough to lift it onto its center-stand. I haven't been around bikes very much though, so I'm sure with some practice I would be ok with all that stuff. But if you have a bike, get your girlfriend to handle it without sitting on it so she is accustomed to it, because I found my failings rather embarrassing! hehehe

    Hope this helps. Honestly, a Cb250 should be about right, I could put my feet almost flat on the ground on one of those. Good luck!