5 Tips for Short Riders Handling Tall and Big Motorcycles
This is a great article for anyone vertically challenged and intimidated riding a bike that is tall. Hope this article helps some gain confidence as I have over the years. Riding tall is all about being mindful of where you ride, angles and trusting the fact you don’t need 2 feet flat on the ground. Trust me…😉
Article can be found HERE at Women Riders Now
As a woman who is 5 foot 7 inches tall, I realize I am at an advantage when it comes to fitting most motorcycles. That said, I have ridden plenty of motorcycles where I can only reach the ground on tiptoes. I’ve only tipped a bike over once learning valuable lessons in the process that I’m about to share to with you.
By Tricia Szulewski, MSF RiderCoach
In my job as an MSF RiderCoach and as a journalist in the motorcycle industry, I often hear women say that there aren’t enough motorcycles out there to fit them so selection is limited. If you are a proficient rider, you are not limited by the motorcycles that fill your local dealership’s showroom. You are limited by your own self-confidence.
I’m going to show you how to ride a tall motorcycle without lowering the suspension or using a reduced reach seat.
So if you desire to ride a taller bike but physically can only get your tiptoes on the ground, then a boost in confidence is what you need. The following five tips will help.
1. Practice and become proficient on a small bike, one where you can put both feet flat on the ground.
Practice accelerating quickly from a stop. Practice starting out on a hill. Practice quick stops and swerves. Practice backing up out of a parking space by walking the bike while standing next to it. Practice stopping by placing only your left foot on the ground. Ride a lot and experience all kinds of different scenarios on a bike that you can handle easily.
Once you are really good and have plenty of real life experience, go shopping for a bigger bike. If you’ve got the skills, you don’t need to put both feet on the ground anymore. I’ve seen some incredibly skilled female motorcyclists ride bikes where they can’t put any part of their feet on the ground! Believe me, it is possible, and we all can do it. Here’s a story we did years ago on a 4-foot-11 Jennifer Hooper who is one of them.
2. Scope out the parking situation. Have a plan before you put your feet down.
Before I even turn into a parking lot, I am scouting it out for several things: Is it paved? Does it have any grading or slopes where I need to be careful of the direction in which I put the sidestand down? Is there enough room to make a U-turn if I need to? Are there any parking spots where I can pull through so I’m facing forward when I need to leave?
If the lot is not paved, I may just skip it and go somewhere else. If it’s a level surface, or if there are no slopes to contend with, I make sure I park so that the motorcycle won’t roll when parked, but will be easy to get out of when I’m ready to leave.
3. Walk the bike.
4. Lean left when coming to a stop.
5. Watch where you stop.
OK, I admit it. I did drop a bike once because I put my foot down and there was no ground there to catch me. This can happen when loading a bike onto a ramp, but it can also happen when you stop in a small “valley.” In other words, the front and rear wheel are on hills, and the ground between drops down. It was nighttime when I did it, and I was in unfamiliar territory, but honestly, I was tired and not being careful enough. You, however, will never make this mistake because you are reading this.
Also be aware of pavement that is sloped. If you need to come to a stop and the ground is sloped, make sure you put a foot down on the “shorter” side of the bike. This is the exception to tip number 4.
If the ground slopes down to the left, you don’t want to lean the bike left because the bike will fall over. Instead, lean it right, so you can get your right foot down to steady the bike when stopping. Make sure you include extra stopping distance in your approach since you’ll have to let off the rear brake with your right foot a little early.
I hope this article inspires some of you to push yourself beyond your personal limitations. You don’t need to have both feet flat on the ground to ride a motorcycle. All motorcycles produced today are engineered to be incredibly balanced machines. Many can almost stand up by themselves. Using the tips of your toes to hold up a motorcycle is all you need besides some skill and confidence. Practice the skills and the confidence will come.