If you’re an aspiring motorcyclist who stands at 4’11”, you may be wondering what motorcycle seat height is ideal for you. With the right bike and modifications, riders of any height can experience the thrill of the open road.
If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: look for motorcycles with seat heights between 26-29 inches and low standover height. Consider lowering links, shaved seats, and custom modifications to get a bike to fit you perfectly.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover how to determine the optimal seat height based on your inseam length, provide specific motorcycle recommendations, and detail various ways to lower motorcycles for shorter riders.
How to Determine the Right Motorcycle Seat Height
Choosing the right motorcycle seat height is crucial for short riders to ensure comfort and safety while riding. Here are a few steps to help you determine the most suitable seat height for your stature.
Calculate Your Inseam Length
The first step in determining the right motorcycle seat height is to measure your inseam length. To do this, stand upright with your back against a wall and your feet about six inches apart. Place a book or ruler between your legs, snug against your groin, and measure from the floor to the top of the book or ruler.
This measurement represents your inseam length, which will be used to find the appropriate seat height for your motorcycle.
Recommended Seat Height Range
Once you have your inseam length, you can refer to the recommended seat height range for your specific motorcycle model. Most motorcycle manufacturers provide this information in their user manuals or on their official websites.
The recommended seat height range typically takes into account the average inseam length of riders and ensures a comfortable riding position. It is essential to stay within this range to maintain proper control and balance while riding.
Pro tip: If you can’t find the recommended seat height range for your motorcycle, consider reaching out to the manufacturer’s customer support or consulting with experienced riders on online forums. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their expertise.
Standover Height Considerations
In addition to the recommended seat height range, it is important to consider the standover height of the motorcycle. The standover height refers to how easily you can plant both feet on the ground when sitting on the motorcycle.
As a short rider, having both feet flat on the ground while seated can enhance your confidence and stability, especially during stops and slow maneuvers.
Keep in mind: While it may be tempting to choose a motorcycle with a very low seat height for easy standover, ensure that the overall ergonomics and riding position are suitable for your comfort and safety.
Test ride different motorcycles to find the perfect balance between seat height, riding position, and overall comfort.
Remember, finding the right motorcycle seat height is crucial for short riders to enjoy a comfortable and safe riding experience. Take the time to measure your inseam length, research the recommended seat height range for your motorcycle, and consider standover height when making your decision.
With the proper seat height, you’ll be able to confidently hit the road and enjoy the thrill of riding.
Motorcycle Recommendations for Short Riders
For short riders who prefer a relaxed riding position, cruiser motorcycles are a great option. These bikes typically have low seat heights, making it easier for riders with shorter inseams to reach the ground comfortably. Some popular cruiser models with low seat heights include:
- Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 – with a seat height of just 25.7 inches, this bike is perfect for shorter riders who want to experience the thrill of riding a Harley.
- Suzuki Boulevard S40 – with a seat height of 27.6 inches, this lightweight cruiser is easy to handle and maneuver, making it ideal for riders of all heights.
These cruiser motorcycles provide a combination of style, comfort, and easy handling, making them a great choice for short riders looking for a smooth and enjoyable ride.
If you’re looking for a versatile motorcycle that offers a good balance between performance and comfort, consider a standard or naked bike. These bikes typically feature a more upright riding position, which can be beneficial for shorter riders as it allows for better visibility and control.
Some popular standard/naked bikes with lower seat heights include:
- Kawasaki Z400 – with a seat height of 30.9 inches, this lightweight and nimble bike is perfect for urban commuting and weekend rides.
- Yamaha MT-07 – with a seat height of 31.7 inches, this popular naked bike offers a thrilling riding experience while still being accessible for shorter riders.
These bikes offer a great combination of power, agility, and comfort, making them a fantastic choice for short riders who want a bike that can handle various riding conditions.
Dual Sport Bikes
If you enjoy both on-road and off-road adventures, a dual sport bike might be the perfect choice for you. These bikes are designed to handle a variety of terrains and offer a more upright riding position. Some dual sport bikes with lower seat heights include:
- KTM 390 Adventure – with a seat height of 33.6 inches, this bike provides excellent off-road capabilities while still being manageable for shorter riders.
- Suzuki DR200S – with a seat height of 32.5 inches, this lightweight dual sport bike offers a comfortable and confidence-inspiring ride for riders of all heights.
These bikes are built to withstand the challenges of off-road riding while still providing a comfortable and enjoyable experience on paved roads, making them a great option for short riders who love to explore both worlds.
For those looking for a practical and easy-to-handle option, scooters are an excellent choice. Scooters typically have low seat heights, making them accessible for riders of all heights. Some popular scooters with lower seat heights include:
- Honda PCX150 – with a seat height of 30.1 inches, this scooter offers a comfortable and fuel-efficient ride for urban commuting.
- Vespa Primavera – with a seat height of 31.1 inches, this iconic scooter combines style and functionality, perfect for short riders who want to make a statement on the road.
Scooters are known for their ease of use, fuel efficiency, and convenient storage options, making them a practical and fun choice for short riders looking for a reliable mode of transportation.
Remember, when choosing a motorcycle, it’s essential to consider not only the seat height but also factors such as weight, riding style, and personal comfort. Test rides and consultations with knowledgeable dealers are great ways to find the perfect motorcycle that suits your needs and preferences.
Lowering a Motorcycle for Shorter Riders
For shorter riders, getting on and off a motorcycle can be a challenge, especially when the seat height is too high. Fortunately, there are several options available to lower the seat height and make riding more comfortable and manageable. Here are some common methods:
Lowering links, also known as dogbones, are aftermarket parts that can be installed on the rear suspension to lower the height of the motorcycle. These links replace the stock ones and effectively reduce the distance between the swingarm and the frame.
By adjusting the length of these links, the seat height can be lowered by a few inches, making it easier for shorter riders to reach the ground.
Another option to lower the seat height is by modifying the seat itself. This can be done by reshaping the foam or using a lower-profile seat. Some riders prefer to have a professional upholsterer modify their seat, while others opt for aftermarket seats specifically designed for shorter riders.
These seats often have a narrower profile and lower padding, allowing for a more comfortable riding position.
Adjusting the suspension can also help lower the seat height. By making adjustments to the preload and damping settings, the suspension can be slightly compressed, reducing the overall height of the motorcycle.
This method, however, requires some technical knowledge and may require the assistance of a professional mechanic or suspension specialist to ensure proper adjustment.
Custom Frame Changes
In some cases, custom frame changes may be necessary to achieve the desired seat height. This option is more complex and expensive compared to the previous methods, but it can provide a tailored solution for shorter riders.
Custom frame changes involve modifying the frame geometry to lower the seat height while maintaining the structural integrity of the motorcycle.
It’s important to note that when lowering a motorcycle, there may be some trade-offs in terms of handling and ground clearance. It is recommended to consult with a knowledgeable motorcycle technician or dealer to determine the best method for your specific motorcycle model.
For more information on motorcycle seat height and modifications, you can visit the RevZilla website, which provides a comprehensive guide on this topic.
Other Considerations for Comfort and Safety
Proper Riding Position
Aside from seat height, having the correct riding position is crucial for both comfort and safety. Short riders should pay attention to their posture and make sure they are properly positioned on the bike.
This includes bending the knees at a comfortable angle, keeping the back straight, and having a relaxed grip on the handlebars. By maintaining a proper riding position, short riders can minimize strain on their body and enhance their overall riding experience.
Motorcycle manufacturers are aware of the varying needs of riders, which is why many bikes come with adjustable controls. Short riders can benefit from bikes that have adjustable handlebars, foot pegs, and brake levers.
By customizing these controls to fit their body proportions, short riders can achieve a more comfortable and ergonomic riding experience. It’s important to consult the bike’s user manual or a professional mechanic to properly adjust these controls to ensure optimal comfort and safety.
Low Seat Options
For short riders, opting for motorcycles with low seat options can significantly improve their comfort and confidence on the bike. Many motorcycle manufacturers offer models with lower seat heights specifically designed for riders with shorter inseams.
These bikes provide a lower center of gravity, making it easier for short riders to reach the ground when stopping or maneuvering the bike at low speeds. Additionally, some aftermarket companies offer seat modifications or replacements that can further lower the seat height of certain motorcycle models.
Ramping the Bike
In situations where a motorcycle’s seat height cannot be altered, short riders can still find ways to improve their comfort and safety. One technique is using a ramp or incline to assist with mounting and dismounting the bike.
By positioning the bike on an elevated surface, short riders can effectively reduce the distance between the ground and the seat, making it easier to straddle the bike. This method requires caution and practice, as it may require some balancing skills.
Short riders should ensure that the ramp or incline is stable and secure before attempting to use it.
Remember, finding the right motorcycle seat height is essential for short riders, but it’s also important to consider other factors such as proper riding position, adjustable controls, low seat options, and alternative techniques like ramping the bike.
By taking these considerations into account, short riders can enhance their comfort and safety on the road.
While being a short rider presents some challenges in finding the right motorcycle, there are many excellent options out there for those around 4’11” in height. With some simple modifications and consideration for standover height and seat depth, you can be comfortable and confident riding.
The most important thing is finding a motorcycle that you can flat foot while seated so you can stop and balance safely. Don’t be afraid to make the bike truly yours with custom lowering options. Before you know it, you’ll be riding with confidence and enjoying the freedom of the open road.