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Top 10 Adventure Motorcycles for Shorter Riders

 Find an Adventure Bike that will let you put both feet on the ground

Published on 01.20.2014

Trying to find an Adventure Motorcycle with a reasonable seat height can be a frustrating experience. Adventure Bikes are some of the tallest motorcycles in existence. Their long-travel suspension smooths out the bumps off-road, but it also gives them a tall seat that makes it hard to touch both feet on the ground.

Some Adventure Bikes are too tall to ride even for people of average height. For example, the KTM 640 Adventure and Honda XR650L both have a seat height of 37.0 inches (940 mm) making them difficult to ride by anyone under 6 feet tall (1.83 meters).

Seat height is not the only problem. Some bikes like the Yamaha Super Ténéré or BMW R1200GS may not be too tall, but stabilizing a motorcycle that weighs over 500 lbs can be unsettling if you are of smaller stature.

These days more and more women are becoming adventure bike riders. If you are an average height woman or even an average height man with relatively short legs, your Adventure Bike options are limited. The best adventure motorcycles for short riders will be light weight and have a low seat height. You also want a seat that is not too wide. A wide seat can increase the angle of the legs and the distance to the ground. A lighter weight bike will make it much easier for you to control the bike and pick up if you fall.

Are you a smaller rider? We have compiled a list of 10 adventure motorcycles for short riders that might work for you. Bikes have been chosen that can be ridden by someone in the 5’3″ to 5’7″ (1.6-1.7 meters) height range. Your comfort level with each bike may vary based on your riding skill and physical strength. If these bikes are still too tall, you may need to look into suspension modifications or aftermarket seats to get the bike down even lower.

Each motorcycle in the countdown has a progressively lower seat height, so you can work your way up or down the list. We recommend you give these bikes a test ride and see if they allow you to get both feet comfortably on the ground.

Author: Rob Dabney

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11 thoughts on “Top 10 Adventure Motorcycles for Shorter Riders

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Adventure Motorcycles for Shorter Riders | Cheryl & Leslie's Motorcycle Adventures

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Adventure Motorcycles for Shorter Riders...

  3. Pingback: Choosing the Best Adventure Motorcycle for New ADV Riders » ADV Pulse

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Adventure Bikes for New Adventure Riders » ADV Pulse

  5. Good list. I’d recommend moving #10 to be combined with #9. The G650GS single cylinder was/is the replacement for the old F650GS single cylinder. I call those two the same bike for the purposes of this list. The new #10, with the shortest seat height on this list should be the twin cylinder BMW F700GS (formerly the F650GS from 2009 – 2012, but not to be confused with the other F650GS from earlier years, which was a single cylinder), got it?!

    The F700GS is available down to 30.1″ seat height with optional low seat and optional low suspension. If you’re considering the G650GS, you should look at the added highway-worthiness of its twin cylinder sibling. More money, yes. But, a heck of a lot more bike. And only about 20 lb more weight.

    • The cheapest way would be to try dropping the fork tubes in the triple clamps. Then crank down the preload on the rear shock to lower the rear. This might get you an extra inch. Otherwise, you may be able to get lowering links for the rear shock or give the suspension to a shop that can lower it for your. The LC4 is a really tall bike, so it may ruin the suspension if you get it down too low.

  6. There are 2 bikes on here that I would consider appropriate for shorter inseam (mine is 30″). The BMW 650′s. The rest of them are 32″ and higher. Also, I have ridden the Suzuki V-Strom. It is top heavy and was a disaster for a short rider such as myself.

  7. I’m 5’8 with a 29″ inseam and I love my DR650, V-Strom and Kawi KLX250S. I’ve had to lower all three of them, but they work fine now. The DR lacks ground clearance due to being lowered, and the V-Strom REALLY lacks ground clearance to the point that I only take it on gravel roads. The Kawi, however, still has over 10″ even after lowering it so it does quite well.

    I like the older BMW 650 singles; a friend has a 2007 Dakar and it’s quite nice. I can ride it just fine at stock height. Only downside is it’s about 60 lbs heavier than my DR650.

  8. You came really close, but did not get my wife’s bike. She tried 22 different ADV style bikes before we found the BMW F700GS, factory lowered, in Red that suits her just fine. Thanks for this list, which we very much hope will help others in the same boat.

  9. As others have mentioned, it is possible to lower a bike by getting different links for the rear suspension (and then adjusting the forks in the triple clamps to “even it out”). However it is a compromise. I did this with my 650 VStrom to gain an extra 15mm. Whilst it means I am not on tippy-toes any more (I am 5″4), it means I have lost some cornering clearance.

    With so many “serious” female riders these days, and a lot of shorter males as well, why don’t bike manufacturers put more thought into this????? Being told to buy a cruiser or a sports bikes is just not a good option in Australia.

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