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Am I too short to ride a motorcycle

Updated on July 5, 2015

Am I too short to ride a motorcycle

It is a fact that some motorcycles are bigger than others and a lot of people are worried that they are too small or short to ride a motorcycle or one with more power than they are used to.

Let me start by saying that look at moto GP riders such as Dani Pedrosa, They are around 5 foot 2 inches or 1.58 meters. That is quite short yet they are able to ride the most powerful and performance bikes that are out there. Yes they have the skill set to handle these machines but it has nothing to do with how tall or short they are. They also do not weigh very much which means it is not about height or body size when it comes to riding a motorcycle.

So which motorcycle is the best for short people or people that are small in stature and size?

CBR600RR lowered

CBR600RR lowered rear and front shocks for a 5 foot 4 rider.
CBR600RR lowered rear and front shocks for a 5 foot 4 rider.

Super bikes for small and short people.

When choosing a motorcycle, do not look at it in terms of the bike size but rather the engine size. Generally if it is your first motorcycle and you are just learning, rather go for a small 250 cc or 400 cc motorcycle. They are light and very easy to handle and the seat positions are normally already set for someone that is shorter than average. From the factory a 600 cc motorcycle would be set up for a general height of the average man being 5 foot 8 inches standing flat foot on the ground.

This means if you are slightly shorter you would be on your toes. This is not a problem when riding as once the motorcycle is going forward, it holds itself up. You can of course use one leg when stopped to hold the motorcycle up which will give you extra height to not fall over.

Tall Enduro motorcycle

Yamaha XT1200 even tall riders struggle to touch the ground.
Yamaha XT1200 even tall riders struggle to touch the ground.

Touring and endurance bikes

These motorcycles are a little taller than super bikes or day to day delivery type bikes and anything under 250 cc. If you are not into the racing bent over position of a super bike, do not worry, not all hope is lost. Most on / offroad combination bikes that are less than 800 cc can be ridden by your average height human and are really easy to control.

Suzuki Chopper

Suzuki chopper. legs bent and easy to touch the ground.
Suzuki chopper. legs bent and easy to touch the ground.

Cruisers and choppers

These bikes are normally made so that they are low to the ground to start with. The problem would be reaching the handle bars or the foot pegs in certain positions. Do not worry as after market handle bars can be bought with extensions to bring them closer to the rider. Foot pegs can be bought which allow you to move the position allowing people with shorter legs to reach the foot pegs much easier.

Your chosen motorcycle is too tall

So you have chosen a motorcycle but when you get to the dealer or sellers and you go to sit on it, you find that it is a real struggle to touch the ground. You quickly see your dream of riding your favorite motorcycle flying away. Do not worry, Below are some easy ideas of lowering the motorcycle or gaining the extra height needed to hold it up when stopped. As I said, once you are going, the issue of height does not matter at all as the motorcycle will stand up on its own when moving.

Suspension - This is the quickest and easiest way to fix your problem. When you purchase a motorcycle, you should set up the suspension for your height and weight anyway so that the motorcycle performs at its optimum amount.

The suspension on most bikes can be lowered at the back and the front. Even the smallest amount of lowering makes a significant difference to seat height and position of the bike. Lowering the back is done by adjusting the read spring down. Adjusting the front is done by lowering the front forks through what is called the triple tree which holds the forks in place.

Seat - You will notice on many bikes that the seat is quite high and padded. Getting the seat altered by reducing the amount of padding can drop as much as 3 inches depending on the bike. Although this can make the seat a little more uncomfortable but can be fixed by using soft memory foam in the seat.

Shoes - When riding a motorcycle, you should be riding with the proper gear and have decent boots to go with it. (read my blog about gear). Using boots with thick soles will give you some extra height to touch the ground and a cobbler can add a little more sole to your boots at a minimal cost.

Tires - You can opt for a lower profile tire or slightly smaller rim, I would do this as a last resort as the manufacturers normally choose the best tire and rim and have put in many hours of research and development to make sure the choice that came with the bike is the best.

Modified Honda cruiser

Honda, Custom suspension, custom handle bars which can be lowered easily.
Honda, Custom suspension, custom handle bars which can be lowered easily.

No you are not too short to own any motorcycle

In closing, you can see from above that the size of the rider or the motorcycle is not important. Motorcycles can be adjusted to fit riders not matter what their stature is. The main point you should focus on is power. If you are just learning to ride, then get a motorcycle with less power so you can learn to control it and look out for obstacles. With your 150+ horse power 1000cc motorcycles, objects arrive very quickly due to the speeds they are cable of achieving. Even the slightest opening of the throttle can shoot you into a new dimension which means you need to learn how to control a motorcycle and slowly build up the expertise.

I hope you are ecstatic that you can achieve your dream of riding any motorcycle and that size is not an issue.

Ride safe.

Size doesn't matter or so I am told.

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    • everythingbike profile image

      Peter 2 years ago from The Road with corners.

      Thanks for the comment Wendi, I too sell insurance for a living and can say that some people should not be on the road at all regardless of the vehicle. Motorcycles can be fairly safe as long as you have the experience and ride safely and not take unnecessary risks.

    • lyoness913 profile image

      Summer LeBlanc 2 years ago from H-Town

      As an insurance agent- I am going to tell you that EVERYONE should NOT ride a motorcycle regardless of height. ;)

      But, I am no fun!

      -Wendi :)


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