I love finding articles that deal with real life challenges for those of us who want to ride an ADV bike so badly but have been cursed with being vertically challenged. This article was sent to me by a FB page reader from ADV Pulse
ADV bikes as I have said before can be the right bike for you despite seat height. I am proof…5′ almost 5″ 😉 and an inseam of 30.5. Plus, I am a grrl, I have thighs that push my legs out even further than a guy while sitting on the seat making the ground that much further on my F8. But you want to know the truth? I was intimidated buying a regular height BMW F800 at first. But now over 11,000 KM’s later I would have regretted getting the low suspension because I am a confident, not cocky rider who can ride my bike safely and with ease. I am mindful as to where I park more so but in the end I have absolutely NO issues with the seat height. So, lesson? There is an ADV bike out there for you….don’t under estimate you riding abilities as well don’t over-estimate them as well.
Know you will get used to not being flat-footed, you will adjust your riding habits to the bike you ride. Enjoy the search….and I think articles like this sure will hit home for some of you….at least you can see there are a few ADV/DS bikes out there that might make you feel comfortable enough to buy.
Trying to find an Adventure Motorcycle with a reasonable seat height can be a frustrating experience. Adventure Bikes are some of the tallest motorcycles in existence. Their long-travel suspension smooths out the bumps off-road, but it also gives them a tall seat that makes it hard to touch both feet on the ground.
Some Adventure Bikes are too tall to ride even for people of average height. For example, the KTM 640 Adventure and Honda XR650L both have a seat height of 37.0 inches (940 mm) making them difficult to ride by anyone under 6 feet tall (1.83 meters).
Seat height is not the only problem. Some bikes like the Yamaha Super Ténéré or BMW R1200GS may not be too tall, but stabilizing a motorcycle that weighs over 500 lbs can be unsettling if you are of smaller stature.
These days more and more women are becoming adventure bike riders. If you are an average height woman or even an average height man with relatively short legs, your Adventure Bike options are limited. The best adventure motorcycles for short riders will be light weight and have a low seat height. You also want a seat that is not too wide. A wide seat can increase the angle of the legs and the distance to the ground. A lighter weight bike will make it much easier for you to control the bike and pick up if you fall.
Are you a smaller rider? We have compiled a list of 10 adventure motorcycles for short riders that might work for you. Bikes have been chosen that can be ridden by someone in the 5’3″ to 5’7″ (1.6-1.7 meters) height range. Your comfort level with each bike may vary based on your riding skill and physical strength. If these bikes are still too tall, you may need to look into suspension modifications or aftermarket seats to get the bike down even lower.
Each motorcycle in the countdown has a progressively lower seat height, so you can work your way up or down the list. We recommend you give these bikes a test ride and see if they allow you to get both feet comfortably on the ground.
1. Kawasaki Versys 650
Seat Height: 33.3 inches (845 mm)
Wet Weight: 460 lbs (209 kg)
Years Produced: 2007 – Present
The Versys’ twin-cylinder fuel injected 649cc motor offers good power and fuel economy for a mid-sized motorcycle. It’s the tallest Adventure Bike in our list with a 33.3 inch seat height, but it’s definitely worth a look. The Versys is oriented more towards sport touring with precise handling and a free-revving motor. Some have described the Versys as a poor man’s Ducati Multistrada. Riding on cast alloy wheels, short suspension travel (5.9 inch front/5.7 inch rear) and a 19 inch front wheel may limit its off-road capabilities. But the Versys can handle graded dirt roads with confidence.