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Top 10 Adventure Motorcycles for Shorter Riders

Top 10 Adventure Motorcycles for Shorter Riders

 Find an Adventure Bike that will let you put both feet on the ground

Published on 01.20.2014

Motorcycles for Short Riders
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

The Versys is a good motorcycle for short riders

Kawasaki Versys 650 (photo courtesy Flickr MrHicks46)
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 17 inch front wheel may limit its off-road capabilities. But the Versys can handle graded dirt roads with confidence.

2. Suzuki DR650SE

Suzuki DR650SE Low Seat Height Motorcycle

Suzuki DR650SE (photo courtesy Flickr/blake_obrien)
Seat Height: 33.0 inches (838 mm)
Wet Weight: 366 lbs (166 kg)
Years Produced: 1996 – Present
The DR650SE is actually more of a Dual Sport than an Adventure Bike because of its small tank (3.4 gallons), lack of windscreen or other touring amenities. But its lightweight and low seat height (33.0 in. in low shock setting) make it an excellent choice for short-legged riders. The DR’s 644cc motor doesn’t make much power (37hp) but has good fuel economy and reliability. The DR650SE has a true dirt bike feel and the bike is very capable off-road. The engine will run smooth on the highway, but the bike may feel twitchy at high speed and lacks passing power. To make this a true Adventure Bike, just add an aftermarket windscreen, larger tank, and luggage system.

3. Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure

Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure

Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure
Seat Height: 32.9 inches (835 mm)
Wet Weight: 472 lbs (214 kg)
Years Produced: 2004 – Present
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure offers a V-Twin fuel injected 645cc motor with good fuel economy, power (66hp) and reliability. The bike is heavy but has a low seat height and can be ridden by smaller riders. The V-Strom 650 Adventure is oriented more towards street riding with cast alloy wheels, soft suspension and 19 inch front wheel. The V-Strom can handle graded dirt roads with confidence but is not designed for anything more technical. The V-Strom Adventure is a great value with factory panniers, tall windscreen, large tank (5.3 gallons) and ABS included in the price.

4. Honda NC700X

Honda NC700X Adventure Bike

Honda NC700X (photo courtesy Flickr/FelixLaCat_opt)
Seat Height: 32.7 inches (830 mm)
Wet Weight: 472 lbs (214 kg)
Years Produced: 2013 – Present
The NC700X offers advanced technology in an affordable package. The bike’s under-seat tank and engine design make for a low center of gravity. The 670cc twin-cylinder engine is designed to offer smooth torque just above idle, making it incredibly easy to ride. The NC700X does not have a lot of power or character but will keep up with traffic easily on the highway. Honda offers an automatic transmission version of the NC700X that makes it even easier to just get on and ride. Large internal storage will accommodate a full-sized helmet. The NC700X was designed to be a street bike primarily, but its low center of gravity allows it to be ridden on graded dirt roads.

5. Kawasaki Super Sherpa 250

Kawasaki Super Sherpa KL250

Kawasaki Super Sherpa KL250 (courtesy wikipedia/Galka rem)
Seat Height: 32.7 inches (830 mm)
Wet Weight: 282 lbs (128 kg)
Years Produced: 1999 – 2009
The Super Sherpa is a light-weight, low seat height Dual Sport that offers ease of operation and excellent fuel economy. The bike’s excellent manueverability is confidence inspiring for smaller riders. The Super Sherpa has decent power (26 hp) for a 250cc single-cylinder motorcycle and its 6-speed transmission allows it to travel at highway speeds. With its light weight, the Super Sherpa can be picked up easily in a fall and may be ridden on technical off-road trails confidently. The Super Sherpa can be made into a true adventure bike with an aftermarket tank, windscreen and luggage system.

6. Triumph Tiger 800

Motorcycles for Short Riders

Triumph Tiger 800 (photo courtesy Wikipedia/Olivier Vignes)
Seat Height: 31.9 inches (810 mm)
Wet Weight: 460 lbs (209 kg)
Years Produced: 2010 – Present
The Triumph Tiger 800 is powered by a three-cylinder fuel injected 800cc motor with excellent power (95hp) and a throaty exhaust note.  Although the Tiger is a heavy bike, the seat is adjustable with two different heights (31.9 inches low position).  The Tiger also has a narrow feel making it easier to put your feet on the ground. Overall, this is a great option for riders who want a true adventure bike that has off-road capabilities and great on-road handling. The Tiger 800XC offers comfort and convenience for long-distance touring in a stylish package.

7. Yamaha XT250

Yamaha XT250 Dual Sport

Yamaha XT250 (photo courtesy wikipedia/Biggsxr)
Seat Height: 31.9 inches (810 mm)
Wet Weight: 291 lbs (132 kg)
Years Produced: 2008 – Present
Like the Super Sherpa, the XT250 is a light-weight Dual Sport that offers a non-threatening fun ride. The XT250 has an even lower seat height and offers a highly efficient (73 mpg) fuel injected 249cc single-cylinder engine. The XT250 can handle some highway riding in short increments and has decent fuel range. However, making passes on slow moving vehicles may not be an option. The bike is designed for cruising speeds off-road but can handle technical trails. Make this Dual Sport into a true Adventure Bike by adding an aftermarket windscreen and luggage system.

8. Honda CB500X

Honda CB500X Best Motorcycle for Short Women

Honda CB500X
Seat Height: 31.9 inches (510 mm)
Wet Weight: 430 lbs (195 kg)
Years Produced: 2013 – Present
The CB500X is a versatile bike with a low seat height and manageable weight. The 471cc twin-cylinder engine offers adequate power, good fuel economy and Honda’s legendary reliability. The suspension travel is decent at 5.5 inches, but the 17 inch cast wheels will limit the CB500X from any serious off-road riding. It will take you on the occasional dirt road, but this bike is most comfortable when used for commuting or touring backroads. Overall, the CB500X is a good value for the money.

9. BMW G650GS

BMW G650GS Adventure Motorcycle for Short Riders

BMW G650GS (photo courtesy
Seat Height: 30.3 inches (768 mm) with factory low suspension option
Wet Weight: 430 lbs (195 kg)
Years Produced: 2009 – Present
The BMW G650GS has excellent fuel economy and good power (50hp) for a 650cc engine. Its low seat height and manageable weight make the bike a top choice for short legged riders. The low-suspension factory option takes the bike down to 30.3 inches (768mm) and you can get even lower with an aftermarket seat. The G650GS is oriented more towards street riding with cast alloy wheels, but can handle the occasional rugged trail at a casual pace. For a small bike, it performs well on the highway with enough power to pass, decent stability at speed and enough range to cover roughly 200 miles on a tank. BMW reliability, comfort and quality are built-in as well.

10. BMW F650GS

BMW F650GS Adventure Bike

BMW F650GS (photo courtesy Flickr/dryfish)
Seat Height: 30.3 inches (768 mm) with factory low suspension option
Wet Weight: 423 lbs (192 kg)
Years Produced: 2000 – 2007
The predecessor to the BMW G650GS is the F650GS. This bike can be found with the factory installed low-suspension that takes the bike down to an incredibly low 30.3 inch seat height. Most of the specifications are identical to the G650GS, except the wire-spoked rims offer better off-road durability. The F650GS is known for excellent reliability and is a good choice for buying used. A large number of aftermarket accessories are available for this bike, allowing you to customize it to your Adventure Touring needs.


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