Don't limit your motorcycle options by focusing on seat height.

by Pam (lionlady)
(Baltimore, MD)

Men don't do it. They adapt to what's available. (The owner of Bob's BMW, Bob Henig, is 5'1" tall and rides EVERYTHING that BMW makes, except the R1150GS Adventure - the 9 gallon steel gas tank added to the 35" seat height is too much for him to manage.)

As an MSF instructor, I hate to see women eliminate 70% of their motorcycle choice options by insisting on being able to FLAT FOOT a bike.

The important thing is to gain confidence as you hone the newly learned motorcycle skills. What is more important than seat height is bike WEIGHT. Think 350 lbs or so. Find something light(er) in weight that you can get at least a solid balls of the feet (or one foot) purchase with.

Honing your skills on a slightly taller bike will force you to think ahead when coming to a stop, etc. Much easier in the long run to learn along with the other skills, than to start out with the crutch of flat footing and THEN try to adapt to taller bikes later.

Women often take a bit longer than men to 'master' the basics of motorcycling. BUT, they generally become more skilled riders because they must work with the motorcycle, rather than muscling it around as men can.


Comments for Don't limit your motorcycle options by focusing on seat height.

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Jul 26, 2009
Focusing on Seat Height
by: Anonymous

I appreciate your advice. I have a Kawasaki Vulcan, which I love, and will probably get another when I'm ready for a bigger bike. Currently I'm riding a 500. Kawasaki bikes aren't as short as other bikes, but I feel like as long as I can touch the ground with the balls of my feet, the bikes not going over. It also gives me an excuse to practice keeping my right foot on the brake and holding it up with just my left foot solid on the ground. I'm only 5'2" and this is working for me just fine.

Thanks again for the reassurance.

May 29, 2008
Big thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you, Pam! Even though I 5'2 and very athletic, I am a new rider who has a fear of high-speeds and does not care about power in a bike. Of utmost importance to me is safety and cool looks. I now feel I may have made the right choice for my 1st bike due to reading this article.

I did very well in my MSF class last week-my 1st time riding-but have had great difficulty finding a bike that looks the way I want, fits well and is safe until today when I test rode a Yamaha TW200!! I actually have a deposit on a 2008 Ninja 250, but I know I will not be going on the highway probably for a year. I simply want to practice the basics of maneuvering and safe riding in my urban neighborhood and on rural roads. I almost discounted the TW200 because only the balls of my feet reached the ground even though I really liked the bike and it's weird looks. I may not be able to ride with friends on the weekends due to it's limited speed range, but I want a Ducati Monster one day and feel that this bike will give me the confidence toget there and have fun doing so - even though I am not flat foot! Thank you for your helpful insights.

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