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

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

  1. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Chiming in here.....I’m 5”3 with a 28 inseam. I have ALWAYS struggled to find a bike I could ride comfortably. CBR 600f4, ex 500, .....I migrated to a Hayabusa for more power and the bike already had a low seat height,easy to lower a bit more without sacrificing anything. I ended up owning FOUR Hayabusa’s ( the sickness is strong with me!) then it just got to heavy for me to handle as I age up.

    I am currently riding a Triumph street triple and a low seat/low suspension F650gs. The triple is lowered. And has a curb weight of just a tick under 400 lbs. I found the Tiger to big and top heavy. I would love a v-strom 650 but they are tall for me and top heavy.

    DONT listen to anyone who says don’t lower a bike with a dog bone. End of story.

    You are in Ontario, what about going to visit John sharrad( sp) ? His motto is “ ride the bike YOU want” .He is a suspension guru. At least go and have a chat with him,bonus is that there is some nice riding up his way as well. Or...I’m sure he will be at the mosport super bike weekend coming up.

    As someone has said, modifying a street bike to some sort of off road fun is definitely doable. Somebody here a couple years ago was selling a Kawasaki ER-650 with knobbies on it. I have thought of putting 80/20 on my triple.....just for fun.

    My low GS does not have a lot of cornering clearance, I’m the first to admit. We are heading down to the gap in a couple weeks and I want to take the triple for more cornering fun than the gs but it will struggle to carry all my camp gear. Unless I change to my super light setup, I wanted to take my redverz solo.

    Are you comfortable street riding a tall top heavy bike? If you live rural ,then doing the hop on,hop off thing is possible but.....why? Getting a bit of one foot down is fine....right up until you put your foot down on the one piece of gravel lying in wait.

    I do not agree that you have to “ flat foot” a bike and folks who insist on that are limiting themselves to one type of bike. I can get both upper balls of my feet down on the triple, that good enough to catch myself on unstable surfaces. I call the triple my “shits n giggles” bike and the gs the workhorse.

    Remember that the vast majority of the advice you will get here will be from men who don’t have the same issues as women riders,who aren’t professional riders and don’t have advanced rider training and didn’t grow up horsing around with our buddies on dirt bikes and don’t have the same body strength. Pulling out examples of the female GS team rider is not realistic or applicable to real world riding.

    I have found that Kawasaki makes bikes that are narrow up front in the seat. Honda’s always splay my legs. Suzuki’s are kinda in the middle of both of them . Pretty much every Kawi I have sat on has had a nice narrow seat at the front. I almost bought the zx1400 because of that.

    At least give John a call, it’s definitely worth it. I don’t know where you are in Ontario but if you want to meet up or come over and try my bikes.....every short gal I meet I always encourage them to sit on my bike(s) to show that you DONT have to be limited to a cruiser.

    Last night it was a teeny tiny gal on a Honda 125 who was shocked that she could fit on my triple.....with just the tops of the balls of her feet down on both sides. It’s lowered with a dog bone and a adjustable side stand. Handles beautifully.
    #21
  2. ZiaThunder

    ZiaThunder Go big or go home

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    I'm with you height wise at 5'.4", but I'm a bit more lucky as my inseam is 31. I've always ridden and still ride tall bikes where I can usually only get my tip toes to touch. Yes, I've dropped the bikes a number of times, but I don't let that stop me. I learned how to pick them up on my own, I do prefer to have help, less tiring that way on long riding days. If you stick with it, the drops get to be less over time. You learn tricks for how to deal with the terrain you are on. I've only lowered two of my past bikes. I really prefer not to mess up the geometry with the lowering links and dropping the forks in the triples. It does effect how the bike handles, but not so much that I'd never do it again. If you can buy one from the factory lowered that it the best bet. Second, it spending the $$ to have one of the specialist lower the suspension internally. It is worth the money.

    I had to get over the wanting to be able to be flat footed. Most of the time I stop with only one foot on the ground, then I'm able to slide off to one side and put that one foot flat on the ground. I have found that with one foot firmly on the ground the bike is just as stable, as with two sets of toes on the ground. Maybe even more so. There are all kinds of short person maneuvers you can work on to make riding large bikes easier. I have been working on stepping on the pegs to mount once the bike is moving. As well as stopping like that too. It's fun. I've fallen a lot, but bruises heal. Parts can be replaced.

    Work on being able to do really slow speed maneuvers, this will save you from most drops.

    Also work on your fitness, it takes more core and endurance to finesse the bikes around.
    #22
  3. OV10

    OV10 Been here awhile

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    Indian Scout. 100 HP with a 25.8" seat height.
    #23
  4. LuluOfDenver

    LuluOfDenver The peanut gallery.

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    Yay! Short women on motorbikes! I am almost 5'4", so taller than some, shorter than most. I did not start riding until I was 35 years old, but boy did i fall in love with it. I have only ever tip-toed my bikes, though eventually I learned to slide my ass off the seat one way or another in order to get a full foot down and be more stable. If you are looking for an adventure bike, you can certainly ride one. Below are pics of me on my 700GS that I have ridden to the end of South America and back, a SUPER TALL 2-stroke KTM I was handed at a rally (you will notice the 'slide the ass off' technique in that pic) and my latest bike--a BMW 1250GS HP. The 700 is a stock height suspension with a low seat, the KTM had been lowered from its stock 37" seat height to 35", and the 1250 is a low chassis with a stock Rallye seat.

    Post up questions if you have them!
    IMG_0301.jpg IMG_0305.jpg

    The 1250 is a big girl, but completely manageable. I think my legs are probably longer than yours, but with a low seat and proper training and technique, you would love it!

    IMG_20171127_205535_490.jpg sand.JPG

    If you want to be flat-footed, it helps to bury the rear wheel in sand... ;-)

    IMG_20171126_221430_685.jpg

    IMG_4783[4559].jpg

    Sliding my butt off the seat on the KTM still only allowed me to just get a toe down. But, it was light enough that was enough.

    Good luck!!!
    #24
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  5. ZiaThunder

    ZiaThunder Go big or go home

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    Louise, I could have sworn you and I were the same height.
    #25
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  6. mitchxout

    mitchxout Long timer Supporter

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    I'm all for continuing our moto education. But if you need special training to handle unwieldy height/weight I suggest a more appropriate machine.
    #26
  7. LuluOfDenver

    LuluOfDenver The peanut gallery.

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    Okay, technically, I am 5' 3 1/2"...
    #MyVerticallyChallengedLife :rofl

    The OP is asking about bikes in general, but also specifically about adventure bikes. Motorcycles are not designed for short people--adventure bikes are especially not designed for short riders. However, there is no reason a rider should be limited to a small cc dirt bike that is uncomfortable for long miles on the road, or a low-seated touring bike that is incapable of handling dirt roads and trails, if that is what they want to ride. There is plenty of of good training available now. And since any training makes a rider safer, finding a bike that is appropriate for her style of riding and learning how to ride it safely and comfortably, on- road and off, is a viable option.
    #27
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  8. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Inmate

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    Did a skills assessment course recently (technically not a class, just the local PD offering guided parking lot time to anyone who shows up). The local chapters of the 'Litas womens' riding group showed up with five members on a mix of everything from an SV-650 to a new Harley Fat Bob. Perhaps the single most capable rider in the course was one of their members who was around 5'6", and had just bought a new 3rd gen V-strom. She has about two years of riding experience on me, but wanted to test a newer heavier bike than her last in a controlled setting

    Certainly gave me a lot of perspective! Most of the women I know who ride in my age bracket of about 25-30 go for bikes which are either light or low (from a sample size of a few of my friends: DR350, XT250, SR400, Bonneville, Sportster, Guzzi V7), but I have no reason to doubt any persons' ability to handle a big bike regardless of gender, given adequate practice
    #28
  9. mspgirl

    mspgirl Adventurer

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    I am 5'2 with a 28 inch inseam. I currently ride a 750 GS with standard suspension and low seat. . I didn't want to settle for a bike that I didn't want just because I could touch better. I just slide off the seat and put a foot down when stopped. I previously had a F650 low and that helped my confidence in switching to the 750.
    #29
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  10. davenowherejones

    davenowherejones short guy

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    First off. I am a 60 year old short guy. 5 foot 6. 28 inch leg. I recently rode a new GoldWing. I could do it but life is too short to risk such a heavy bike. One oh shit moment could break bones. I like my Forza 300 maxi-scooter better. Why take the chance?
    #30
  11. mitchxout

    mitchxout Long timer Supporter

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    Factory lowered F650gs single. I can pick it up by myself!

    IMG_3657.JPG
    #31
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  12. ZiaThunder

    ZiaThunder Go big or go home

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    It's all about technique. I ride at times with a guy who's 13 years younger, fitter, stronger, and yet he can't pick up his KLR by himself. I can pick up my 800 Tiger by myself. I keep offering to show him how, but he just finds reasons it won't work.
    #32
  13. LoriKTM

    LoriKTM Wrecking Ball

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    Following up with the OP...jbski, did you get the 790 Adventure, or another bike? I've had my 790 Adventure "S" for 1000 miles now (mixed off-road and street), and I find it feels just a little bit shorter each time I ride it.

    Keep us posted! But if you can get one foot down, I think you'd be fine with whatever bike you choose. After all, the whole "stopping" thing is only a very small portion of the time you spend on a bike. What counts is the other 99% of the ride. :wink:
    #33
  14. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Congrats to all of us, the "vertically disadvantaged" who ride what we like to ride regardless of seat height. I'm 5'-6" but with a bit longer inseam (almost 30") so riding taller bikes has never been an issue. But being an MSf instructor and many years of classes and expanding my training and experience on road, track, dirt and ice has done a lot for my confidence on the of whatever I ride.

    I'm always surprised by the number of riders who'll spend lots of bucks to lower their bike, and in the process give up ride quality, lean angle, etc, rather than invest in training and confidence building. I recall a person coming into the BMW shop years ago, a guy younger and taller than me, looking at a S1000RR, and the 1st thing he asks about it lowering it. Don't get it, the S1000RR is not that tall in the saddle to begin with.
    #34
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  15. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    OP~
    You say you want to get a bike that "fits" you? Well, that's a good strategy to have. Other than lowered suspension/shaved seats, there are other things that you can do.
    First and fore most, any bike needs to fit you. A bike that doesn't fit, is a safety issue.
    Since lots of models have been suggested, I'll refrain.
    Let's talk about you for a moment.

    If you're "petite" then you may have small hands. This means adjustable control levers and for your height you can get boots with "lifts" in them.

    The adjustable levers thing is easy, just search for those to fit your particular bike.

    For boots, I suggest Daytona brand "Lady Pilot GTX" boots. They raise your about 2" in the heel, and about 1" in the toe box. The neat thing about these boots is that they're quite comfy, and don't look chunky or clunky. They are pricey but extremely well made and, for many short riders, completely worth the cost.

    The only downside to the boots is that once your feet are on the pegs, you'll notice your knees are slightly elevated. This shouldn't be a problem though.
    #35
  16. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    Here’s pics of those boots (Size 8 here.)
    #36
  17. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    #37
  18. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    Dunno why it won’t let me post multiple pics per post...
    IMG_2326.JPG
    #38
  19. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    IMG_2329.JPG
    #39
  20. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    #40