Ladies who like to ride big.....bikes...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by jbski, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. jbski

    jbski Adventurer

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    To start, please move this if it’s not in the right place. Posted here and not in the women’s forum as 1. Don’t have access to that forum and 2. Would love some opinions from the guys about the bikes their better halves ride.


    To start, I’m short....not so short that I could enter a midget mud wrestling match (are we allowed to use that term...?), but short enough that I can’t touch on 99.9% of the true adventure bikes/bigger cc dual sport bikes on the market. I’m 5’4 with about a 29 inch inseam.

    Been riding for a while now....can definitely hold my own on the road and in the trails. I’ve had a variety of different bikes over the years and currently ride a cb500x. I enjoy my current ride, but I’m craving more power. Problem with more power is it generally means the bike is bigger overall....both taller and longer. Every time I sit on a bigger bike I feel like a little kid sitting in the front seat of her dads truck...can’t touch the pedals or see over the steering wheel.

    This week I got the chance to demo a KTM 790 Adventure. Set it on the low seat setting and I can just barely get one foot down. I’ll take it as that’s the closest I’ve been to touching the ground on a bike like this. Took it for a couple rides and man, what a fun ride. It has the power I’m looking for, the handling, the shifting....all so smooth....All good until I have to stop, then I’m into cautious mode hoping not to drop it. And despite being a bit smaller bike than compared to say the 1090r or Africa Twin...I still feel (and look) like that little kid in the big truck.

    Rambled on here and got off track...guess I’m just looking to see what the ladies on this forum are riding. If you happen to be one of the few on a bigger touring bike or even a bigger dual sport bike...would love to know how tall you are and if any mods were done to help out...

    FYI what sparked this was a post I saw
    the other day about a father who’s daughter wanted to go camping and she ended up riding his 1090r. From the pics the bike looked almost like a perfect fit for her. When I sit on my hubby’s 1090, both my feet are about 5 inches off the ground....guess I’m just a bit jealous and looking for some ideas.

    Cheers
    #1
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  2. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

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    Not a lady, so take what I say with the usual gender based bias....:D

    Go for the 790 if you can get one toe down, I rode a 640 ADV for years and either hopped on and off while moving to dismount if I had luggage or lived with one foot down and the occasional lie down (learn how to tuck and roll). As a general comment I found the bigger bikes (and I have owned one or two) a poor fit for me and my riding which is generally a bit single trackish; too heavy and un-maneuverable, great road bikes but not for my type of riding.
    Good luck!
    #2
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  3. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    My wife wants more power too but being able to reach the ground and not be dropping it all the time is more important to her. She settled for a Honda 230. Her streetbike is a 650 Ninja.
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  4. Grestil

    Grestil 2+2=unicorn

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    You've got the sickness! Sounds like you've got it bad! The search for the perfect bike......old as motorcycling itself. 790 looks big to me too. My perfect bike that fits me well and has the power and features I want does not exist and would have to be custom built at great expense so I find joy in adapting the machine to fit me better and adapting myself to conform to the demands it places on me. Be carefull tastin that kool aid! I've heard it can be addictive!
    #4
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  5. AwDang

    AwDang Long timer

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    Have you looked at the Tiger 800 XR-low, or the BMW factory low bikes?
    #5
  6. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    My wife has a CTX700 DCT. Point being it's a near perfect bike for HER for the same reasons you covered. Not what I'd choose but I'll concede it's a very pleasant ride and corners really well if you hang off it far enough. It has done dirt roads (by accident :)) and coped.

    BMW factory low bikes are pretty good. I'm not a BMW fan but that aspect of their range they do well.
    #6
  7. LoriKTM

    LoriKTM Wrecking Ball

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    I like big...bikes and I cannot lie, you other brothers can't deny... :dj

    5'3" and 29" inseam, +/- depending on the boots I'm wearing. I can't say I started on dirt bikes, but I started dirt bike riding soon after I got my MC license, 25+ years ago. Having both feet (toes) on the ground is nice, but not a necessity, and to me it's more important to ride the bike I WANT, rather than ride the bike that I can touch both feet down. I currently have over 26000 miles on my trusty Triumph Tiger 800XC. It has a low seat, and a lowering link. Low seat was added day I bought it, and lowering link added on in the last couple years just to make carrying luggage easier. I rode 3500 miles around South Africa last fall on a BMW GS800, no mods other than dropping the forks a bit in the triple clamps. My husband is 6' 3" and rides whatever the hell he wants. He had a KTM 640 adventure. I never rode it, except as pillion. He had a Moto Guzzi Stelvio. I never rode that, either. I would swing a leg over the bike, try to lift it upright, and said "no". He just picked up a KTM 790 R. I put a leg over that, and said "nope". I have a Husky FE250 and ride that without an issue, but it does get interesting at stop signs/street lights. For me, it's a combination of seat height & weight. Heavy bike, low seat (think Harley), not usually a problem. As the seat height increases, the weight has to decrease.
    I did just swing a leg over a KTM 790 Adventure "S". One foot-- good! It is just enough shorter than the "R" model. Then I test rode it, and it was beautiful-- silky smooth shifting and incredible balance overall, as you notices. So I'm buying it. :D

    I bet you'll figure it out just like I did. :beer
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  8. ydarg

    ydarg Miscreant

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    It's perfectly acceptable to be able to put one foot down with half your can slid off the edge of the seat, the side with the leg down while leaving your other foot on the peg. The bike leans slightly towards the side with the foot down.

    Example: Left foot down, left side of butt slides off the seat, right side of butt is touching the seat. Right foot remains on the right peg.
    #8
  9. Sibhod

    Sibhod Adventurer Supporter

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    Check out Jocelin Snow at her website www.jocelin.com, she is height challenged and rides a BMW GS. In 2017 Jocelin competed in the BMW GS Trophy Qualifiers in the US and South Africa. where she earned a spot on the International Women's team. In 2018 she and her team went to Mongolia to compete head-to-head against the men's teams at the BMW International GS Trophy. I just listened to her podcast on Adventure Rider Radio, it was very inspirational how she has overcome injury & height challenges to become a top competitor. She gives tips on how a small person can ride a big bike. Good Luck!
    #9
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  10. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    I find it interesting that BMW disallowed professional riders in all the years prior to Jocelin in the GS trophy. So, it's probably worth mentioning as she's got a bit more background than is certainly advertised.

    To the OP, you are veritable giant compared to me at 61". Assuming that you've got a bit of disposable income, I would recommend that you find yourself a true suspension shop. I noticed that you are based in Canada, but in the US those shops tend to follow the race cars circuits (e.g. heavily concentrated in the Carolinas and Tennessee). You want to find a shop with enough talent to be able to build you a shock from the parts catalog, not just change a spring. This will allow them a lot more leeway to internally shim it shorter, but still spec the other components to reasonably perform well.

    I've had tremendous success with Fastbikeindustries.com He got my WR250R (seat height = 36.6in) down to something I can reasonable off-road (one foot).

    Whatever you do, never let someone talk you into putting a dogbone lowering link on it (if that bike has the configuration). It will handle like a plow horse.
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  11. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Most of the riders I know around 5'3" who wanted an Adv bike have ended up modifying some street bike. It's a tough call -- get the Adv bike and give up the ability to put a foot down when wrestling the bike through ruts or 'Advalize' (well heck, that should be a word) a street bike and give up some ground clearance and suspension travel.

    Good luck, and let us know what you find! My wife, who's 5'4", will be following this thread closely...
    #11
  12. Nytebreed

    Nytebreed Need more braaap

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    This is only an issue if the front suspension is not adjusted to compensate for the change in the rear. If done correctly the only thing lost is ground clearance.
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  13. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Agreed, the front needs to be lowered equal to the rear to avoid making the bike steer like a dump truck.

    I was going to mention lowering through reduced suspension travel, which is better than not riding. Spend the money for either a shorter shock or one with a travel reduction spacer, then put a travel reduction spacer in the forks too. Let's face it, with good springs, 7-9" travel is decent. Of course clearance is reduced and cornering clearance may be an issue on some bikes, but ya do what ya gotta do to ride what you want to ride.
    #13
  14. jstark47

    jstark47 Adventurer

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    From 2005 to 2009, my wife (5' 6", 135lbs) rode a 2003 Triumph Trophy 1200 as her main ride. The only mods she made were Gen-Mar risers. Over time the size and weight of the bike started to wear her down, especially on long rides. She also had two low-speed drops. In 2009 she switched to a BMW F650GS twin, with factory-lowered suspension, and still has it. The power is adequate, and it's much easier for her to handle.

    (I still have the Trophy :-))
    #14
  15. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    I'm a dude, but I have low ground clearance too, at about 30" inseam. I can comfortably ride a bike as tall as a DR-Z400S or a DR650. A Tiger 800XCA might be about right for you, if you want more slab ability than singletrack ability, but I wouldn't hesitate to ride one in singletrack with some knobs on it. You could even shave some weight from it, with Li battery, lighter mirrors, lighter exhaust, removed subfender and other superfluous bits, etc.
    #15
  16. Nytebreed

    Nytebreed Need more braaap

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    Not a lady, but this little fella liked big bikes.
    [​IMG]
    Rode em kinda OK too.
    #16
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  17. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    I’m finding as I’m getting older I like my bikes a little shorter. Really like my 690, had it shortened 2” with the suspension. There was a 1” lowering link when I took it in that was supposed to be removed, wasn’t, but I’m finding I’m liking where it is right now.
    #17
  18. Berchunis

    Berchunis Been here awhile

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    When I rode with the local HOG chapter, we had a 5' lady who rode a HD Road King and she would practice doing slow circles and figure 8's in the dealership parking lot. She could make that big Road King do every thing but sit up and beg.
    #18
  19. mountaincadre

    mountaincadre Long timer

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    This subject always pops up, I'm 5'8 on a good day but I ride an 03 950A with 230mm suspension,( no idea what my inseam is) for many I suspect they're coming from a road bike to adv and find the height intimidating, I learnt to ride off road and every bike was huge,(CR,YZ But mostly Maico's) so you get used to being comfortable not being able to flat foot it, but more importantly you learn to move about in the bike weather it's trundeling along or leaning your bum cheeks over while your at a set of lights.
    #19
  20. Tor

    Tor Imported Norwegian

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    My wife rode a Honda ST1300 years ago. Liked it, although a little tall for her. She has since moved on to a Can-Am Spyder RT Limited. When traveling together, she pulls our Aspen Classic equipped with a King bed, AC and heater. Me? I am up front navigate on my empty (no-packed) GSA :lol3.
    #20