Tips for Short Riders
I've personally found that one of the major annoyances with a lot of motorcycles today, is the lack of bikes that readily fit short riders without difficulty. I suppose this is because motorcycle manufactures cater to the average sized American rider... so if you're a little small, and or short in stature (I'm only 5'4" tall myself, with about a 29" inseam), well then you're kinda screwed. Over the years I've learned how to adapt to my lack of stature and have created a list of beneficial tips for short riders.
1. Look at smaller motorcycles - This is especially true is you're short on experience.
2. Practice your balance - If you have a difficult time touching the ground with both feet, try leaning the bike to one side and using just one leg flatfooted, this is much more stable than trying to balance on your tippy toes with both legs.
3. Consider the style - Certain styles of motorcycles are just more suited for shorter riders. Cruiser style bikes are typically low to the ground, making them an excellent choice. Sportbikes on the other hand, usually come with some of the most highest seat heights, making them a little more challenging to ride.
4. Examine special models - Certain motorcycle manufactures (such as Harley-Davidson & Buell) actually offer particular models with lower seat heights! I've also noticed some models that come with adjustable seats from the factory, that be raised and lowered, depending on the rider's personal preference.
5. Get taller - A good pair of thick soled and tall heeled motorcycle boots should give you.½"-1" more height than your average everyday shoes. Another option is to go with a pair of elevator shoes. I purchased a pair of elevator shoes off the internet here. They deliver exactly 2" more height compared to my everyday shoes. **WARNING** If you're not used walking in high heels, elevator shoes take some used to getting to!!! I once practically fell on my face walking down a small incline when I first got them... they're actually not too bad once you get used to them.
6. Modify/Replace your current seat - Often you can lower your seat height & decrease the width by shaving the existing foam on the stock seat, and then reapplying the seat cover.. if you're not quite so handy, try looking up upholstery companies locally and on the internet. Many of these places can reupholster your seat to your own personal specifications, and often times offer special fabrics and custom embroidering as well. Another option is just to replace the seat all together with an aftermarket seat that is lower than stock. Most of these seat companies can also manufacture a seat to your personal preferences as well.
7. Lowering your suspension - I was able to lower my suspension on my V-Max by going with a lowering kit for the front forks and a set of lower shocks for the rear of the bike. Some bikes with a single rear shock can also be lowered by installing a Lowering Link, often referred to as a Dog Bone, on the rear shock Once your bike is lowered you will have to be careful not to go too fast into curves (because of less cornering clearance) and take it easy when riding with a passenger, going over curbs, pot holes, and speed bumps. You may also have to modify (either shorten and or bend) the side stand.