Looking for the Right Motorcycle for Me

Is the Triumph Speedmaster a good starter bike?

Proper Bike for MeTriumph Speedmaster
The Triumph Speedmaster has a 865cc engine
with a 5-speed transmission. It has a 27-inch
seat height.


I am looking for a proper motorcycle for me. I was looking at the new Triumph Speedmaster and wondered if it would be a good starter bike? Im 5 feet 2 inches and weigh about 145 pounds. Thanks!

Seattle, WA

Please help us answer this question in the comments section below. Thanks!

And if you have a question, email it to editor Genevieve Schmitt at gschmitt@womenridersnow.com.

Related Articles
Review: 2012 Triumph America and Storm

21 thoughts on Looking for the Right Motorcycle for Me

  1. It’s best to have a smaller, easily maneuverable first bike. They are very forgiving. Everything comes together faster. You become acclimated to riding, develop the muscle memory and ability to react to the point where it’s second nature. You’ll get your drops and dings out of the way on a less valuable bike. They are also much easier to pass a DMV test on. With your measurements you’d probably be having to do the one-legged kind of stops on top of everything else you’re trying to get down. If you had to stop on a slant you might not manage it—at least yet. I’m the same size as you and am sure I wouldn’t choose that motorcycle if it was my fifth bike. I’d get one with a lower seat height that’s an easy flat foot. In addition, if you get one that’s lower, it will have a lower center of gravity making it easier to push around from the side (on foot) if/when you have to.

  2. I’m about the same height and weight as you. I was not able to flatfoot the Triumph I sat on.The earlier comment by Tammy was true: at our height there aren’t that many bikes that will fit us off the rack. Most of them have already been mentioned. The 250cc bikes (Yamaha, Suzuki) are lightweight and easy to flatfoot. The engines are small so they are not very wide which needs to be considered along with seat height (Honda also makes a little 125cc that I used for the MSF course). Bigger bikes that might fit are the Kawasaki Vulcan 500, V Star 650 and the Honda Shadow line. Suzuki used to make a 650cc single cylinder that was easy to flat foot (the Savage). These all have a little bit different ergonomics so you have to sit on them. So, take the MSF course and then sit on all these bikes. I would start with a small used one (I dropped my first bike several times; haven’t dropped one since). Get comfortable riding in a parking lot, then country roads, then city streets, then move up to something a little bigger and do the same thing. I’m now on my third bike (Kawasaki 500 then a Honda 750), my dream bike, a Softail Slim, and I feel totally comfortable on it. Could be the Triumph isn’t a good first bike but might be a totally awesome second or third bike for you.

  3. I started out on Harley-Davidson Night Train. The rake was too long and I didn’t feel that comfortable riding it. A year later I switched to a HD Heritage Softail, a much nicer ride and I felt really confident riding it. I now have 21,000 miles on it. I am 5 feet 6 inches and my feet touch the ground perfectly and it is very comfortable to ride. Find a bike that is just right for you and that you feel good about riding.

  4. That seems like too much bike for a beginner. I have been riding for three years now and my first bike was a V Star 250 and it was perfect. You don’t want a bike with too much power that can get away from you. My second bike was a BMW 650 and now I am on a Ducati Monster 1200. I am 5 feet 2 inches and weigh 110 pounds. It is better to be safe and move up slowly.

  5. The 27-inch seat height seems tall to me (5-feet-3, 30-inch inseam) but it all depends on your reach and leg length. Sit on lots of bikes with your riding gear on and have an experienced adviser help see what really fits your build, comfort and style (also what they can do to adjust the height and reach if your are set on a bike that doesn’t quite fit).

  6. I am also 5 feet 2 inches and 110 pounds and many people told me the same thing as many of the others here… to test ride lots of different bikes to see what feels best. Well, that sounds great in theory, but the reality of it is at 5-feet-2 there are only and handful of stock bikes you can actually ride. Most require modifications to the controls, seat, etc., in order for you to even THINK about riding them. I started out on a Honda Rebel, and it was great for me. It was what I rode in the MSF class, so it was comfortable and manageable. I recently moved up to a HD Softail Slim. Seat height of just 23.8 inches, and no modifications necessary. The first time I sat on it I was so excited that I could reach EVERYTHING! I absolutely love the Softail, but it’s definitely an adjustment getting used to riding a 700-pound bike versus a 330-pound one. I agree that everyone is different, but as a complete newbie, there was no way I could have started out on anything bigger than the 250 or heavier than the Rebel.

  7. Hi Alma,There are so many factors that figure in to answering your question. Do you like the way the bike fits you? Are you comfortable? Can you reach all controls (upper and lower) easily? Can you put your feet flat on the ground? Does the bike meet your performance needs? Is it built to do what you want it to do? Does it work with your riding style?I started on a 1986 Honda Rebel 450 and absolutely loved it. Not having ridden any other, I had no idea that there were so many variables that could affect the ride. Something as seemingly insignificant as the placement of the turn signal switch can really made a difference when it comes to enjoying the experience of riding.Buying a motorcycle is kind of like buying new jeans, you won’t know how they fit until you try them on. No matter which bike you decide on, keep the rubber to the road and shiny side up!

  8. While height may play a part, you also need to understand that we’re all constructed differently. At 5 feet 6 inches, I have a 30-inch inseam and a really short upper body and arms, which impacts my seating position.It’s a very personal choice and all about your comfort. I was lucky I found a Vulcan 500 and it fits me like its made for me. I agree with the others — go test drive a few and figure out what fits rather than going with what looks good.

  9. If I may recommend an amazing starter bike. The Yamaha V Star 250. Don’t let the 250cc fool you. Once you’re ready, you will keep up with the “big kids” on this bike. The confidence you will gain riding this bike will be priceless. I’m three years new to riding and definitely can move up to a bigger bike, but I’m in no rush. The V Star gets me where I need to be, easy to maneuver and very light for a beginner. If anyone tells you you won’t get pass 65-70 mph, they’ve never rode one. I’ve gotten up to 90 easily without any shaking.Good luck with whatever you choose. Be sure you can flat foot with a little bend in your knee on any bike you get. And that you can manage the weight.

  10. Hi Alma, The 2014 Triumph Speedmaster 865cc is a very good bike for people returning to riding after a long break. A lot of our lady riders in our club love it and quite a few men too! Although 865cc, it will well outperform the 2014 Harley Sportster 883 Iron. The Speedmaster kicks out 61 horsepower compared to the Harley’s 47 hp. In terms of handling it will also show the Harley a clear pair of heels. With a seat height of 27.1 inches unladen it is a good inch lower than the Harley 883 Sportster which has a seat of 28.9 inches unladen. In terms of weight, the Speedmaster is 550 pounds wet, compared to the heavier Harley 883 at 562 pounds. Remember a Triumph Thunderbird Storm 1700cc is 746 pounds so the Speedmaster is way down the scale in terms of weight. Its light, nippy and you can throw it around beautifully. It’s great for around town and yet has enough grunt to put it on the highway. In fact it has to be one of the most popular choices of bike in our club – that and its slightly more ‘glamorous’ sister the Triumph America – it just depends if you want bling or a more blacked out look. Good luck riding!GerryNational SecretaryTriumph Riders MC New Zealand

  11. I agree with some previous comments in that what I did was I sat on many different manufacturers and models of bikes before I settled on my starter bike.I looked at seat height, overall weight and power. Certain handlebar styles are more comfortable, so you need to have an idea of what riding position is more comfortable for you.Ultimately, I settled on a Yamaha V Star 650 classic. It had the combination of style, seat height (about 25 inches; I am 5 feet 4 inches and 140 pounds) and weight (bike is about 650 pounds) for me. It has been a great starter bike and because I was confident in the fit, I gained skill quickly and ride it easily and enjoyably.And “starter” bike is right. That is because as time goes on, with experience, the type and size of bike that you will be able to handle does change quite a bit. As much as I love my Yamaha, I long for something more powerful, and you may too, but many of the issues of weight and reach don’t bother me as much anymore, because of the skill and experience I have on my smaller bike.The great thing about motorcycles is that most people really take excellent care of them. Shop to find a make and model you like, but when you buy a bike used, you also don’t have to necessarily make a huge investment of money. Your first bike can be just that–and not your last bike–as your needs and tastes change it’s easy to change bikes too.Good luck and happy shopping!

  12. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable, which will give you confidence. Sit on a number of bikes, talk to dealers about what modifications are available and test ride (or even rent a bike for a day).The caution I have is not to get talked into starting on too big of a bike. There is nothing wrong with starting on a 250cc or 400cc which can easily keep up with most highway speeds (not freeways though). After you get comfortable riding on the street, you can always upgrade to a different bike.Welcome to the rider family — have fun and stay safe!

  13. Test drive a couple or a few! Even better if you can switch off a couple times to really compare. I am opposite from you at 6 feet. I test drove four different bikes to find the closest fit for me I could. I changed out seat and bars for more customized comfort.

  14. Hi Alma,I am 5 feet 2 inches as well. I am not sure on your seat height compared to your body frame, but if you can’t touch flat footed on the ground you may have issues. My first bike was a Sportster 883 Hugger and I couldn’t touch and had problems keeping it up. It wasn’t enjoyable, in fact, it was a frightening ride. This year I bought a Dyna Super Glide Trike and I love it. There are no issues of dumping the bike, so there is no fear. I’ve ridden all summer long and had a blast. I would recommend one for all the short girls out there!

  15. Alma, The right motorcycle is the one that feels right for you. It’s a very personal choice, like the car one drives or a favorite food at a restaurant. I suggest test driving several different motorcycles and brands. I am particularly fond of the BMW GS bikes. My first street bike (two years ago) was a BMW F 700 GS. It really was an easy bike to ride and gave me the confidence to try things a newbie like myself might have been hesitant to experience including lots and lots of twisties (about 15,000 miles the first year), many long distance solo rides, an Iron Butt endurance ride, motorcycle camping and much more. Good luck on your quest.

  16. I’m only 5 feet 3-1/2 inches and have a Yamaha V Star 250. Great starter bike, very low seat height so very easy to flat foot, very light (302 pounds), and super easy to handle and maneuver. My friend started on a Honda Rebel (also a 250cc), low seat, easy to handle as well (and upgraded to a Yamaha V Star 650). I’ve now been riding a couple of years and just bought a Honda Shadow Phantom (750cc) and it too is super low and easy to handle and maneuver but it does weigh 549 pounds so I’ll have to get used to the weight. Also take a look at the Suzuki Boulevard S40, it’s pretty light, a 650cc, with a very low seat height and easily flat-footable.

  17. First off, I have a Speedy and love it! It was my first bike after the MSF course. With that being said here are my thoughts on it being a beginning bike.1. At slow speeds it can be challenging compared to the little bikes at the MSF course.2. It is a heavy bike. It’s wet weight is about 550 pounds. Being a beginner, you may drop the bike and have to pick it up. I would definitely keep this in mind.3. I’m 5 feet 7 inches and fit the bike comfortably. From forums like Triumphrat.net I’ve heard of people who are 5 feet 5 inches and are not comfortable on this bike. The seat and gas tank are pretty wide and the handlebars are forward as well, and this might be an uncomfortable position for you. (The America has handlebars that are closer, BTW.)4. This parallel twin has a torque-ie motor. It’ll take off from you if you’re not careful! With all that being said, when I first got on my Speedy I was terrified at how big and powerful it was. For the first couple of weeks I was scared to ride it. Luckily, my husband was patient and let me have several empty parking lot sessions before we hit the road. Now I LOVE riding that bike.My advice to you (and myself a year ago), would be to get a smaller bike to start with to gain confidence. After that, get your new Speedy. The Speedmaster is a great bike, but you do need confidence to ride it.

  18. I just bought my second bike which is a new but 2013 Speedmaster. I started riding about 18 months ago and my first bike was a 2000 Honda Shadow. I find the Speedmaster to be very peppy, and you should have really good clutch/throttle control before considering this bike. I stalled it twice on my way home from the dealer! Although I’m 5 feet 5 inches, I wear a 29-inch inseam, and with a thick soled boot the aftermarket gel seat that is 25.5 inches to the stock 27, my feet are mostly on the ground, although not flat footed as I was on the Honda. All that being said, I am totally in love with my Speedmaster, even it if it a new challenge for me in some respects.

  19. I’m 5 feet 2 inches and ride a Honda Shadow Aero 750cc. Perfect fit. The seat height is 25.9 inches and I have no issues with it. I’m starting to look at the new Indian Scout that is coming out 2015. It’s a 1200cc with a seat height of 25.3 inches, if I’m not mistaken. Good luck!

  • I would go with a bike that has a shorter seat height. At 5 feet 2 inches, that Triumph may be too high for you. Could check into lowering kit for it though. Good luck and happy hunting!

  • Scroll to Top