Building a low seat dual purpose bike

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Prof J, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Prof J

    Prof J Adventurer

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    Hi all,

    My wife and I are both riders. She would really like to get a dual purpose bike but, as you all know, the seat height is usually 33 in minimum. My wife is only 5 feet tall and she can only flat foot very small cruisers (Honda Rebel, Suzuki Savage).

    Has any one taken an off-road bike and made it street legal by adding headlamp and turn signal? I am asking the technical side now. The legal side depends, I guess, on the jurisdiction. I am thinking that a 3/4 size recreational off-road bike would be great for her. I could then get the new Honda 250 dual purpose for myself and we could go riding together.

    This begs the question: why none of the manufacturers cater to the short inseam riders for that type of recreational bike?

    Cheers
    Prof J
    #1
  2. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo Armchair Adventurer

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    Do a quick poll on popular motorcycles in Guatemala, she should be able to flat foot it.
    #2
  3. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    #3
  4. 990-rampage

    990-rampage n00b

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    The shortest dual sport bike I've seen is the BMW G650GS. I've never riden one but I have friends that find it really great. There's also the F650GS thats a bit taller.
    #4
  5. RMZMZM

    RMZMZM Not adventurous

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    I spoke with a regional sales rep from BMW at the IMS this weekend. They now offer the G650GS with factory options to lower it. The base price for 2013 is $7,850 which includes ABS.

    The one I sat on was a good height for me, I will be looking further into this bike.
    #5
  6. AustinJake

    AustinJake DR650 - Versys

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    Beta Alp, uses 250cc Suzuki motor, is basically a trials bike with a little higher seat and bigger tank. My buddy just bought a used one for $700, almost brand new, retired couple had it on their camper.

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. motorat

    motorat TBD

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    the xt250 is pretty low.
    #7
  8. muskieken

    muskieken Been here awhile

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    get the Yamaha tw 200
    or honda crf 230 l
    i have the older honda 09 230 l basic bike , very light, 50 state street legal .
    great bike will do 65 mph with my 240 pounds.
    the yamaha with the fat tires looks great for a beginner.
    they weigh about the same. 230 l 267 pounds with fuel,,, tw 200 278 lb with fuel...
    both simple bikes.
    both will be easy to sell if you don't like them.
    i love my little honda, it will go anywhere i point it. great mpg too.
    i'll never sell it, it's too much fun.
    seat height is the lowest 31.1 for the tw200 honda 31.9
    or
    Suzuki DR200SE
    all of the are street legal from the factory,
    with my honda,, service valve check is cheep 75 dollars,, it's checked at 600 mi, then every 4000... that's the only thing i will not do myself , i changed my front brakes , 30 $ pads 5 minuet job , same for rear.....like i said very simple bike
    #8
  9. Hawk62cj5

    Hawk62cj5 2 Cheap 4 a KLR

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    How about a TW200 , great fun little bike . The super sherpa would be worth a look also along with the XT or DR200 .
    #9
  10. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    She is not alone... there are plenty of options out there for us shorty pants.

    The Shortypants Thread: We are short women and this is what we ride

    I've own a DR200 and F650GS (Twin).

    I rode an G650GS (2010) model for a 3 day training class: Pros: you can lug it down quite hard and it won't stall out. The 2010s, were shorter..I could ride a normal suspension/low seat and it was fine. It while it can cruise at highway speed, it's a bit more "buzzer" than the twin.

    My 2010 F650GS(Twin) is low seat and low suspension. Love it on road and gravel roads. Still haven't mastered it in technical stuff.

    DR200...a really, really fun bike (under loved bike). It's got a 21" front tire, decent ground clearance (at least twice that of my F650Twin), sub 300lb weight and I can easily through a leg over it. If I am not flat footed, I am pretty close.

    As from fattening up the carb and replacing the petcock, the bike is ultra-reliable. Parts are uber cheap also. Sadly underloved, there are few aftermarket accessories for it. It's a real confidence inspiring bike for learning off-road and is street legal on title.
    #10
  11. Solarbronco

    Solarbronco Been here awhile

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    The very best bike that I have ever owned, the one I will NEVER sell. Will die grasping in my bony cold hands is my 77 TT 500 Yamaha.

    Low seat, pulls hard as hell, easy to ride if ya don't twist the throttle too much. Older bikes are easy to work on.
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    the tw200 is a great place to start getting her into dirt.
    they are very forgiving with mistakes in the dirt with the easy engine and fat tires for crazy amounts of grip.
    she might outgrow it quickly and you can sell it back off for what you paid or it may be a kepper.

    they've been made forever so tons of used ones. just make sure it's new enough so it has the front disc brake upgrade.
    http://www.yamaha-motor.com/sport/products/modelhome/10/home.aspx
    #12
  13. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Seat height is only part of the problem, width is also a huge factor.

    That's why with my 29-30" inseam, I ride an old Honda XL500. I can flat foot it. It looks too tall at first, but it's a skinny bike with a rather skinny seat. Skinny rules.

    Setting the rear shocks to their lowest setting helps of course. But don't discount the ability to replace the shocks with something an inch or two shorter. You'll usually have to study a bit to figure it out, but Progressive's web site helps greatly.

    Raising the fork tubes in their clamps can frequently gain a matching inch or two of lowering. Don't do this unless you're doing comparable lowering in the rear.

    Seat trimming is quite doable, as is fabricating your own seat. I would suggest working with a takeoff seat you buy from ebay or the like. Lots of mistakes will be made, and you'll usually want the oem seat to keep falling back to while you alter the second seat. But a piece of plywood set over the frame tubes, with some fiberglass draped over it to radius the curves (for the thighs, sharp edges hurt), and an inch of padding make a surprisingly good seat. narrow where the legs close when standing, wide under the buttocks for support.
    #13
  14. Stray Dog

    Stray Dog Been here awhile

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    I had a Suzuki DR 350 I lowered for my wife to ride, she is only an inch taller at 5ft1"
    She could flat foot it with ease, and it cost nothing to do, just a bit of work

    Mind you she still went back to her trusty old Serow 225.


    Dog
    #14
  15. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Maybe...

    [​IMG]

    --Bill
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  16. bbagwell

    bbagwell Adventurer

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    Another vote for the TW200. Great bikes to learn on, and a low seat height.
    #16
  17. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    a couple of pics of the lowered WR250r for the person who pm'd me about it.
    My wife (Bonnie Abbzug) is 5'0".


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    #17
  18. Prof J

    Prof J Adventurer

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    Thank you all for the excellent advice.

    We are going to the Montreal Moto Show next week. My wife will be able to sit on a few bikes. Looking forward to the TW200. Also, the advice on slightly modified bilkes was great.

    Prof J
    #18