The Lowest of the Low Motorcycles

The lowest seat heights on the market

We thought it would be fun to compile a list of major-manufacturer motorcycles with the lowest seat heights. Seat height is of supreme importance to most women riders, as the ability to place one's feet flat on the ground is perhaps the most important factor in giving women the confidence they need to handle a bike.

We chose 26 inches as the cut-off seat height for this list. Our original list, compiled back in 2009, used 26.5 inches as the cut-off height. However, over the last few years, seat heights on new models have been coming out of the factories much lower, so we've lowered the cut-off height by half an inch.

We compiled this article by checking the seat heights of motorcycles from all the major manufacturers. Surprisingly, Kawasaki and Suzuki did not make the list. The lowest motorcycle in Kawasaki's lineup is the Vulcan 900 at 26.8 inches.The lowest Suzuki is the entry-level Boulevard S40 at 27.6 inches. Actually, many of the Boulevards have that same seat height. But we had to draw the line, and while the S40 happens to be less than 400 pounds, that 27.6-inch seat height on a 700-pound motorcycle would be a lot for most women to handle.

To illustrate our guide, whenever possible we've used pictures sent in by women who own these bikes and have submitted their photos for publication in our Reader Stories or Reader Reviews section. The photos that don't fall into that category are either from WRN test rides or have been supplied by the manufacturers.

One important note: While this is a list of the lowest of the low, this is not a list of beginner bikes (to find that list, visit Motorcycles to Get Started On in the WRN Beginner's Guide). We've ridden many motorcycles, and we've found that 26 inches is a seat height that most riders, short or tall, can handle and be comfortable on whether the motorcycle weighs 700 pounds or 400 pounds (of course, the lighter the better for new riders). Finally, remember that this is a list of bikes from major manufacturers—custom choppers and alternative import motorcycles are not included.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Models

Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron

Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron

Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 565 pounds


Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster

Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 562 pounds
Discontinued in 2013
Read the WRN review


Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow

Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 563 pounds
Read the WRN review

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 26 inches
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons
Weight: 567 pounds
Read the WRN review

Harley-Davidson Sportster Low 883
(discontinued in 2011)

Harley-Davidson Sportster Low 883

Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight 583 pounds
Discontinued in 2011

Harley-Davidson Dyna Models


Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.5inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 683 pounds
Read the WRN review


Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 670pounds
Read the WRN review


Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.4 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallonsWeight: 666 pounds
Discontinued in 2010; Reintroduced in 2014
Read the WRN review

Harley-Davidson Softail Models


Harley-Davidson Slim

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 23.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 701 pounds


Harley-Davidson Blackline

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 638 pounds
Read the WRN review


Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 731 pounds
Read the WRN review


Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 725 pounds
Price: starts at $17,195
Read the Reader Review


Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 726 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 733 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height 25.25 inches
Fuel Capacity 5 gallons
Weight: 720 pounds
Read the WRN review


Harley-Davidson Breakout

Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 761 pounds
Read the WRN Story

Harley-Davidson Softail Models


Harley-Davidson V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition

Displacement: 1250cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 670 pounds
Only offered in model year 2012


Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special

Displacement: 1247cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 666 pounds


Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle

Displacement: 1247cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 673 pounds

Other Harley-Davidson Models


2014 Harley-Davidson FXSBSE CVO Breakout

Displacement: 1250cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 670 pounds
Only offered in model year 2012

2015 Street XG500

2015 Harley-Davidson Street 500

Engine size: 494cc
Seat height: 25.7 inches
Weight: 489 pounds
Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
Read the WRN review


2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750

Engine size: 749cc
Seat height: 25.7 inches
Weight: 489 pounds
Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
Read the WRN review

Honda Motorcycles


Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2

Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 542 pounds
Read the WRN review


Honda Shadow Phantom

Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 549 pounds
Read the WRN review


Honda Shadow Aero

Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 560 pounds
Read the WRN review

Indian Motorcycles


2015 Indian Motorcycles Scout

Engine Size: 69ci (1133cc)
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Weight: 558 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Read the WRN review

Victory Motorcycles


Victory High-Ball

Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 659 pounds


Victory Vegas 8-Ball

Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 638 pounds


Victory Vegas

Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 645 pounds
Read the Reader Review

Victory Silver shoot December 11-14, 2011

Victory Judge

Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 660 pounds

Victory MY2017

Other Victory Motorcycle Seat Heights

Hammer 8-Ball: 26 inches
Zach Ness Vegas: 25.2 inches
Vegas Jackpot: 25.7 inches

Editor's Note: This story was updated on September 24, 2014. The reader comments up to this date reflect the original version of this list, which was posted in April 2009. The list you see now reflects the large number of newer motorcycles with very low seat heights that have come onto the market in recent years. We will continue to update this list when new motorcycles that meet our criteria are released.

Related Articles
Beginner's Guide: Motorcycles to Get Started On

167 thoughts on The Lowest of the Low Motorcycles

  1. I, too, ride a Triumph Speedmaster and highly recommend it also. Great maneuverability and just overall easy to ride. The new Triumph Bobber is great alternative for us shorter riders. Well-worth test riding a Triumph.

  2. It’s unfortunate that the market does not supply the need for a long distance touring bike. A 1200cc, 600-pound bike with a 5 or less gallon tank is unwieldy and makes tour planning a gas station to gas station route planning pain.I’m a believer that the foot forward cruiser style bike is both an ergonomically poor choice for long distance riding and is a major factor in riders dropping their bikes at low speeds and when stopping. It puts your feet in the wrong place for quick balance reaction.

  3. Where are the “beginner” bikes. All these bikes are kinda large?

  4. I ride a Harley Nightster because of its narrow frame, that I have lowered to the max. I found bikes with a lower seat height but it’s not just the height, its also the width of the bike that makes it hard if you’re a short legged rider. I’m 4 feet 11 inches, and have to wear 3-inch heels and still cannot completely flat foot it. To go any lower, l wouldn’t be able to get over speed humps, and it would be a very hard ride. My pegs scrape on every corner and l’m picky where l park so l have the leverage to get my bike out. What l’d give to be able to flat foot.

  5. My first bike was a 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 500. It was the perfect bike for a new, short rider. My current bike is a 2013 Triumph Speedmaster, which is 865cc. I highly recommend both of these bikes and see neither Kawasaki or Triumph on this list.

  6. I am 4 feet 1 inches I weigh 117 pounds. I am looking for a bike that has a narrow width, low seat, and mid-controls. I started with a Rebel. The bike was too light which didn’t make for a comfortable ride. I bought a used Yamaha 650. It rides great, but I’ve dropped it twice. Both times the road sloped slightly, and I couldn’t hold the bike up. With the second fall, I got hurt and won’t ride it again. Is there a bike out there for me?

    1. We have a whole section called “Choosing Your First Motorcycle,” that that can be accessed here.

  7. I cannot figure out how a woman weighing only 135 pounds and 5 feet 3 inches can hold up and ride a bike that weighs 750 pounds. Help me understand this concept.

    1. We are not actually lifting the motorcycle, we are simply holding it upright. A motorcycle that size is very well balanced with a low center of gravity making it possible for someone with any bit of upper body strength to upright the motorcycle from its sidestand. One it’s upright, it’s not that difficult to maneuver the motorcycle no matter your size and if you have the proper skills.

  8. Maybe you could devise a ‘flat-foot meter’ that accounts for actual stance comfort and factors in all the things the comments mention, such as seat width, reach of controls, etc. Would be helpful. But I have learnt a lot about bikes for women in general from your amazing site and articles. Really helping me narrow down my wish list. Thanks, Genevieve!!

  9. Besides seat height and weight, center of gravity is very important. Seven or 8 years ago, at the Chicago Motorcycle Show, I sat on a 1,000 pound 2000cc motorcycle (can’t remember the manufacturer) and was able to stand it up without any sweat. It had an exceptionally low center of gravity.When I’m asked about first bikes, I generally discourage buying a Harley-Davidson Sportster, any model Sportie. It’s the great-grandkid of a dirt bike giving it a high center of gravity, therefore easy to drop and hard to stand up and keep up.My sister bought herself a Sportie, despite my input. (She was dazzled by the “Harley-Davidson” on the tank.) She rode it exactly three times, sold it and hasn’t ridden since. And I’ve talked to many guys who bought their girlfriends a Sportie because she wanted to learn to ride, thinking it was a good starter. She rode it from the driveway to the stop sign, got off and never rode again.I know there are women who love their Sportsters. I’m not bashing it. I’m just taking exception with recommending one to a newbie.The Motor Company has just come out with an 500cc, low bike. It’s a great first or forever motorcycle, not to mention good lookin’.

  10. This is a great article to start the search with, but being only 5 feet I have found it is also where the “extras” are located that can be a deterrent for me. Softail is great, but the kickstand goes out under the floorboard so can’t reach it to put it up. Stuff like that. But thanks for all the seat height info.

    1. You are right on the reach to the kickstand, especially on the Softails. There are kickstand extenders that gets attached to the kickstand making it easier to reach especially when you have to reach around the floorboard. Something to consider.

  11. I’m 5 feet 3 inches. My first bike was a Suzuki S50 (or Intruder 800). It’s a very slim profile and I do agree with others who say seat height isn’t everything. The bike is light and I was able to reach quite well (shorter legs too). I now have a Honda VTX 1300. Bigger bike, wider and I still could reach. To make it better I purchased MB shocks 10.5 inches (from 12 inches) and bought some Milwaukee Riding boots with 1.5 inch heel. I didn’t lower it mainly because of reaching but with the VTXs, the lean on the kickstand can be way too much and I was having difficulties righting it on a slope. Lowering the bike solved that problem and gave me the extra boost I needed in being comfy with reaching flatfooted. I also have to bring the handlebars back, but that’s been on every bike.

  12. Glad to see that my Victory High Ball made the grade! It’s a great bike! I added a Corbin seat (which bumped it up an inch) and lowered it an inch with links so it is perfect for my 5-feet 5-inch frame. I could have lowered it up to 2 inches without a lot of problems… so keep that in mind when you are buying a bike! There are lowering options!

  13. I am 5 feet even and ride a Suzuki Savage (S40 Boulevard) and it fits me to a T.

  14. This was a good article. I’m 5 feet flat and I ride a V Star 950 (started out on a Rebel 250, then went to a V Star 650). What you have to take into consideration, other than the seat height, is the width of the bike. For example, some of the Victory’s do have a low seat height, but the width of the bike could offset the low seat height (i.e. legs could be too close to the motor/pipes). I know I sat on a lot of bikes in trying to find the right fit. The V Star 950 I purchased was used and had the touring package (saddlebags, etc) so it fits me perfectly. I found that the used bikes are broken in and usually sit lower to the ground than new bikes on the showroom floor.

  15. I am 5 feet 2 1/2 inches. I took my rider course in May 2014 and the bike of my choice was the 2014 Triumph America. I love the look, feel and balance of the bike and it handles great. After I sat on it, I was sold and am quite happy. Almost have my first 1,000 miles on it. I can almost flat foot it and eventually I will buy some boots that have a 1/2-inch sole.

  16. I found the article very informative in trying to help shorter (or I think the average height woman) find the right fit and the right bike. What I don’t understand is why people bother to comment saying “I’m 5-feet-6 or I’m 5-feet-7.” Well I’m very happy for these tall women but we come in all sizes and 5-feet-5 and up is not short or average by any stretch of my imagination.I’m barely 5 feet and to me that is average, 5-feet-2 or under. We’re the ones who really need the help finding a bike that fits our stature. While I do appreciate all input to help us out, and not belittling taller women at all…not my intent to hurt anyone’s feeling or step on any toes..I think tall is wonderful, I wish I were tall but I’m not, nor ever will be. So tall women riders, if you can give us short women riders constructive advice and suggestions I know I will be much obliged. Thank you!

  17. I ride an American Ironhorse Texas Chopper with a seat height of 23 inches that I can air ride up to 25. It’s long, it’s lean, and about 700 pounds, with an 111 cubic inch motor. I love it!

  18. Very good article. Low seat height is very important but don’t forget if it is a heavier model, you are still going to have to balance all that weight, even if it is low to the ground. Harley has just brought out a Sportster touring model which has a 27-inch seat height and is not a really heavy bike. It also has a windshield and saddlebags, which are very nice to have for a beginner. The price is not too high, either. Beginners might want to give it a look. It has a 1,200cc engine which will have no trouble keeping up on the highway with bigger bikes. Whatever you pick, ride safely and remember the principles you learned in your MSF class or Harley rider’s course.

  19. You only need to have one foot on the ground. Just slide your body over. Don’t let height limit the style/model of bike. When you are riding it doesn’t make any difference. Consider boot sole extensions too!

  20. I am 5-foot-1. I just bought my fourth motorcycle, a Suzuki Inazuma. It is naked bike. Though only 250cc I got it to learn to manage a higher bike. Seat hight 30.5 inches. I had the seat sculpted to take off an inch. I wear cowboy boots with a sturdy 1.50-inch heel and I have learned to stop with only one foot flat in the ground. The bike weighs 180kg (397 pounds). I got used to it very quickly and plan on the Ducati 696 as my next motorcycle.

  21. I am 21 years old and 4 feet 10 inches. My dad has been riding bikes since before I was born. He was never in a club or anything but I have always liked them. I really want to learn how to ride it and get a bike, but I haven’t even been able to find one close to being short enough. I know it’s going to be difficult even with this list but you really helped so much and I really appreciate it!

  22. Thank you for this list! Currently I’m riding a 1982 Yamaha XJ750 (Maxim), with a seat height of around 27.5 inches. It’s a little too high for me, but it’s my starter / beater bike so I make do. I can get the balls of my feet on the ground, but cannot sit flat-footed.Now I’m ready to buy my “first” bike, and am having a heck of a time finding one that’s the right height. I’ve Googled and checked all sorts of selling sites, and none of them have seat height as a search option. As I was about to give up, I Googled “motorcycles with seat height 24 to 26 inches” and found this article! Now with this list of models, I can start searching for my first official bike!

  23. Great article. Glad I found this website. I just moved up in bike size from my 2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow (what a great starter bike), to a 2012 Victory Cross Roads. I wanted a “baby Road King” and that is what I have. It is low enough for me (I am barely 5 feet 1 inch); it handles well (still getting used to low speed handling as it is bigger), and fits like a dream. I would love to write a review on it if desired.

    1. We would love for you to write a review on the Cross Roads as we actually have not ridden that bike yet, and I know our readers would love to read about it. We have a section just for Reader Reviews. Here’s the link for the Reader Reviews, and here’s the link on how to submit a review. Thanks. We look forward to receiving it.

  24. I just purchased a 2006 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Custom. We had it lowered by buying Burley lowering shocks off from e-Bay and a Le Pera seat. It lowered the front end 2 inches and the rear end another 2.5 inches. I also have another piece coming to lower the rear another .5 inches if need be. I think however if I can find myself another pair of riding boots that has a high heel and thicker soles I may be able to get away without lowering the rear anymore. I sit pretty well on it now but my tippy toes tend to touch more. I would like to go flat footed.

  25. Claire, I am 5 feet tall, and started on a Honda Rebel 250, and am now riding a Honda Shadow 600, which is just as comfortable as the Rebel. I actually like it better. I may be looking at a Shadow 750 if I can find one I am comfortable on.

  26. I’m barely 4 feet 11′ inches and I can tell you that seat height does not tell the whole story. Some bikes are wider and so still take up inseam length. The only way to tell if you can reach flat foot is to sit on the bike. And each year is slightly different so you have to just test it all out. My first bike was a Suzuki Boulevard S40 because it was the only bike I could reach without modifications. It was OK to learn on. Now I have a Harley-Davidson Nightster (which I am tip toe on). I also have a Sportster Low, which I put Burley lowering shocks on and I fit almost flat on it. I hate to modify bikes to fit on it, but I couldn’t even tip toe on the Sportster Low before lowering. I wanted a larger gas tank on my bike. Turns out, now I like the Sportster Low better than my Nightster.

  27. Hey there,Great site. I am new to it but enjoying it so far!

  28. For short women (I’m 5 feet 1 inch), the Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200 is probably a good bet, very forgiving, easy to handle, plenty of power. Some modifications are needed because it is a very hard ride. I changed out the stock seat with a Corbn (Gunfighter I believe it is) which gives me additional room to put things since the Nighster is a one seater with a bare fender behind the seat. I changed the shocks for a set from Progressive Suspension, moved the lights and license plate and put a bigger fender on the back so I could put my license place back there. Had a luggage rack and sissy bar installed so I could carry luggage. Installed saddlebags, windshield and engine guard. I also changed out the handlebars for the ones on an 883 and put bigger grips on the bike. It was a lot of cost, but I wanted the bike to be comfortable for me and enable me to carry luggage when we traveled on the bikes. It’s a great bike.

  29. I’ve been riding for about sevem years now, and I’m definitely not the tallest person. So for my 5-foot 3-inch height, every bike I’ve ever bought has to be “customized” to some degree for the seat height so I’m in complete control of it. I pull off the stock shocks, which are usually 12 inches long, and put on 11 inches. Always drops the seat down by at least an inch, plus I use a Le Pera seat which also drops me an inch and pushes me forward 3 inches. Works everytime! Just bought the Harley-Davidson Dyna Switchback and I will be doing those small mods so the bike fits me well.I’m not sure what the seat height will be once I’ve put the shocks on etc, but it should come in just under 25 inches, if not more…just what I need!

  30. OK, I’m just 5 feet and can only ride up to a 250cc. Any ideas what bikes would be good? I have had a Yamaha Virago 250 but found it to heavy. Can anyone offer any ideas please?

  31. @ DAVE TFFT (posted March 19, 2012) – I’m 5 feet 2 inches, 62 years old, and I was looking to get a Virago 250, however, I sat on a new Yamaha V Star 650 Custom and loved the feel. I purchased a 2009 Custom, rode it for about 5 weeks and then got on my new 2011 HD Nightster and started customizing it to boost horsepower and comfort of ride. I loved my V Star and it was just what I needed to get my feet wet and primed me for my Sporty. Good luck on your search for your lady’s new bike. I highly recommend the V Star Custom.

  32. Finally! I found a bike I can probably ride, a Buell! Thanks for this site’s existence.

  33. I am about 4 feet 9 inches to 4 feet 10 inches and I ride a Harley Sportster 883 Low, and I have to tip toe on one side of the bike. The other I cannot reach! It can be a bit hair-raising when the ground you stop on is not level. The weight of the bike can drag you down if the ground is not level. No chance of picking it up either! I have tried loads of bikes and not found one that is the right height. One thing to be aware of is not only the height of the seat but the width of the bike. It doesn’t matter how low the bike is if it is wide. Another thing to watch for is forward controls. Love the look but no good if you’re a short like me.

  34. My little lady is looking to move up from her 250 Virago to a road bike powerful enough to pull mountains and ride to the coast but yet light and small enough for her 5 feet 4 inch short legged little body. It can’t be too heavy either. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

    1. Dave,I invite you to spend time on our Web site particularly in the Readers Reviews section where women share about what’s worked for them. We are in the process of updating our Beginner’s Guide. Should be up in a couple of months. Will be loaded with lots of info that should help. Be sure to check back or sign up to receive our newsletter so you’re the first to know when that goes live. Thanks for visiting WRN.

  35. I was bought as a gift by my partner, a two-tone blue 1986 Honda Shadow VT. She is a beauty that makes heads turn. My problem is that the seat is too low. I am a bit on the tall side 5 feet 9 inches, long legs.I love this bike even though I just got it. I was wondering if it would be a better idea to have the original sear opened up, re-stuffed and sewn back together to give me at least 3 more inches. There are a few guys around here that do this. Unfortunately nobody wants to work on older bikes. Any opinion would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  36. I love motorcycles and want to see and learn more about women’s group rides. I just finished my class. I have little experience on riding, but can’t wait for summer so I can get practice, especially with women’s groups. I love all the information you have in this site.

  37. I ride a 750 Honda Shadow, I’m 4 feet 1 inches tall. It is the only bike I can flat foot and be comfortable. I have had two Hondas and have sat on many other brands of bikes, none lower.

  38. I am 4 feet 8 inches and I have a Buell Blast. I don't flat foot it, but that's not a problem for me, I handle it well. I have a lot of fun on it (it does vibrate a lot), but I have grown out of it and want a faster bike, that's not a cruiser. I have sat on many cruisers and a lot of them I can easily lift and reach the ground, but I just don't want a cruiser. I wish there were more lower seat options for sport bikes, because even lowering them 2 to 3 inches is not going to do it for what they have out there. It's frustrating.

  39. I think I missed this article when it first came out. You noted that the Suzuki's don't have short enough seat heights for this article, but there's definitely more to seat height then the actual height. I had a Suzuki Boulevard and have been on the Suzuki S40 (I currently ride a Yamaha Virago that I modified the seat on). I am short (5 feet 2 inches with a short inseam), but I had no problems on either of those Suzuki bikes with their stock seat. I only sat on and rolled the S40 around and was thrilled with the light feel of the bike due to its low center of gravity, but I rode the Boulevard for about 1,700 miles before upgrading to my Virago.

    The seat height was fine on both the Suzuki's, and I think it's about the width of the bike as much as it's about seat height. If the bike is very wide, your legs are spread further apart thus causing a low seat height to still seem taller. If a bike has a slightly higher seat height but isn't as wide as some other bikes, it definitely makes a difference, and the tilt of the seat padding is also a part of it.

    When I started riding, I saw that the seat height on the Boulevard was higher than I realized and was shocked to discover that because I could more than comfortably flat foot from that seat. And truthfully, the S40 is more comfortable to sit on and wheel around than my modified Virago because of the shape of the seat and the shape of the bike (but I adore my Virago that modifying the seat on the Virago was more important to me than buying the S40 even if the S40 is a more comfortable bike to handle!).

  40. I just bought my first brand new bike, a 2010 Honda Shadow Phantom 750 – my retirement gift! The seat height is 25.7 inches and it weighs 549 pounds. I'm 5 feet 4 inches tall, sit flat footed, and have no trouble handling the bike at all. It's not a shiny bike, which I love, and I plan to black out a few more things and customize some of the paint. I think I'll have this bike for a long time!

  41. Thanks for this article. I'm just barely 5 feet. I ride a '08 Ninja 250R that my husband lowered even a bit more –almost flat footing now. It's a great little bike with bigger looks. I too wish the sport bike designers would consider us little folks, make them so they can be safely lowered or like the Buell Blast, offer optional seat that would lower them a bit more. We all want to ride. You're missing out on sales to a whole other population — women and shorter guys.

  42. I appreciated the comments from the woman who went from her '02 Sportster (mine has a solo touring Mustang seat – HIGHLY recommend it!) to a V-Rod Muscle. My dream exactly! I believed cruisers spoke to me as I was looking for my next bike after the Sportster but when I saw and sat on the Muscle, things just clicked. I'm 5 feet 8 inches.

  43. To Diana in Athens, PA

    I just got an Iron 883. The stock handlebars were just out of my comfort zone so we took the handlebars from a Sportster low, powdercoated them black, and it was perfect. I'm 5 foot 2 inches and the Sporty Low was the absolute best fit, but I just couldn't take all that chrome and shine. Now if I could just find a seat that provides more comfort. I dread a simple 30 mile ride to work. My underside is killing me.

  44. I have an 06 Sportster 883L. I put a Reach seat on it and also had shorter shocks put on it. It lowered about an inch. I also now where an 1 1/2-inch heel that helps me get my feet flat on the ground. I am 5 feet 1 1/2 inches tall. I love riding my Sportster. I had a Honda Shadow Aero before I got my H-D. It was a great first bike for a beginner rider.

  45. Sure seat height has its place as a factor in determining a comfortable bike, however, a bike like Harley's Rocker or the Fat Boy have a width issue in the primary area. Not a problem if your 5 feet 7 inches but quite an issue when your 5 feet 3 inches. I always loved the Deluxe and was convinced it was my dream bike until I decided that it was just too darn heavy for what I like to do. I tried a Fat Boy thinking I'd take advantage of one of Harley's discounts, but the width of the bike, especially at the primary, meant that I would have had to drop it down even lower to get both feet firmly on the ground.

    As for the Rocker, the fat rear tire makes for an even wider primary and I couldn't get both feet on the ground without being up on my toes and that is too heavy a bike for tippy-toes. Until recently, we had my Street Bob and a Honda Spirit in the garage, and I found the Spirit's forward (unmodified) controls to be a stretch for my short legs. The point of my tale is this, seat height and weight can help you narrow down the field but you have got to sit on a bike to know what's right.

  46. I am currently taking a riders course. I would like advice on the purchase of a bike. I am torn between a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic and the Yamaha 950. I have sat on both but have not ridden. There is quite a difference in price and I would like to know is H-D really worth the money for a beginner?

  47. I wear Harley-Davidson boots with a 2-inch heel after my salesman recommended a taller heel. I first thought they would feel clunky but they really help. If you just need a little more reach to the ground, it's worth a try. Much easier to raise the heel than lower the bike.

  48. I just traded in my 07 XL 883L for an 09 Softail Deluxe. Love it! I'm 5 feet 6 inches and loved the 883L but the ride was a bit rough. The Softail Deluxe is a little lower, which helps with the wider seat. I wasn't sure I'd like the forward controls, but got used to them after five minutes. The Deluxe is balanced so well that it makes it so easy to handle–when in motion. Yes, it's a bit heavier than the Sportster, but the ride is so much smoother!

    What a great article! I didn't know there were so many options out there for us.

  49. I am really curious about HD 1200L. I am 5 feet 2 inches and have been contemplating this bike. Anyone out there with a vote for or against it?

  50. I'm 5 feet and I picked my older Suzuki Savage 650 because it was a good beginner bike for a short woman. I can put both feet flat on the ground and reach the shifter and hand grips comfortably. It was also good to learn on because it didn't stall at low speeds. Now I am looking for a bigger bike with more guts. Any suggestions?

  51. I have always been 5 foot, 4 inches, but at a health screening last year I was told I was 5 feet 3 inches. I ride a '07 Dyna Super Glide, which is my very first bike that I purchased at the age of 52. I had the Reach Seat installed before the bike was delivered. I still wasn't totally flatfooted. I dropped my bike a couple of times while stopped, and my friends gave me the nickname of Tilt. The Reach Seat helped some, but the bike needed to be lower more.

    I had a Harley dealer install a lowering kit on it, which include low profile shocks. With my Dyna lowered, and more riding time and experience, and very good riding friends/teachers, my ride and comfort level has gotten much better. I couldn't tell that it rode any different, regarding to the play that was mentioned earlier. But I surely keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up now.

    I will most definitely refer to this article when I am ready to purchase my second bike. Great article.

  52. I am 5 feet 3 and ride my Honda Shadow 750 flatfooted – your article was right on it. It had a Mustang seat when I bought it, but I switched back to the stock seat (believe it or not) because the Mustang made the seat too wide and I want my feet flat. I am also a breast cancer survivor and know a few former riders who are also survivors. They would love to get back in the saddle, but need a lighter bike. I shared this article with them and they were very excited about it and are looking forward to a review of bikes by weight.

  53. I'm 5 feet 2 inches (and fairly short in the leg), my current bike is a Moto Guzzi Breva 750 which I've had for 6 months now and I love it. I've had a bit taken out of the seat (though I don't think it made much difference). You can also get what Moto Guzzi calls a “lady seat.” I've got the suspension on the lowest setting, you can also get lowering kits. I'm on tip toes most of the time, but the centre of gravity is fairly low, so I've not felt the need to lower it and not dropped it yet (not while riding it anyway).

    The cruiser version – the Nevada – is an inch or so lower still – so when I shrink further into old age, I might have a go.

    My previous bike was a 2002 BMW F 650 GS – factory lowered, low seat option. I was definitely less on tip toes, but the centre of gravity was higher than the Moto Guzzi, (and with less experience back then) it was dropped a few times. I still miss my “thumper.” When it was stolen, I went for another but the new model was a little higher and heavier, and I couldn't get one to test ride.

  54. I am a new rider – passed my test in February. My husband bought me an '09 Harley Softail Deluxe. At first I thought the bike looked like it could overpower me. It is perfect!! I am 5 feet 4 inches and the height of the seat is great, the center of gravity is perfect and the balance of the bike makes it easy for me to control. I am really glad that my first bike was the Deluxe because it is very easy to ride. Of course any new bike requires getting used to but if you want the perfect bike take a ride on the Harley Softail Deluxe.

  55. I am 5 feet 3 inches and ride a '08 Softail Deluxe. I am flatfooted on it and am able to handle it fine. My first bike was a '00 Fat Boy and I was also flatfooted on that bike but my husband did put risers on the handlbars. Both of these bikes were great for me. Each had the original seat as well.

  56. It's an interesting article but I'm one of the gals who find cruisers woefully uninspiring. I began riding in the late 70s (Honda CB650 – I never was into the cruiser mode even as a young thing). I gave it up when we had our kids. Now that they are all grown and gone, we decided to pick up the hobby again a couple of years ago. I tried being a pillion on the back of my husband's BMW LT but it was beyond boring to look at the back of a helmet for hour after hour so I spent months doing research, finding the right bike for me.

    It was downright frustrating to learn the motorcycle industry STILL builds bikes to the the average man. At 5 feet 4 inches tall, I found my options were severely limited. I think manufacturers assume (salesmen sure do) women will gravitate towards the cruisers because the rest of their bikes have seat heights that are too high for a lot of women (a lot of guys too). Call me a rebel but I wasn't willing to settle.

    In spite of my obvious vertical challenge, my ride is a 2008 Yamaha FJR – 1300cc super sport touring perfection. I haven't had it quite a year yet but I've put more than 14,000 miles on it already. How did I make a bike that size work? Two things: Yamaha's overall design has a low center of balance so it doesn't feel like a heavy bike to begin with, and I had it lowered. It was a simple suspension link, cost me under $100 including labor. The bike still rides smooth as silk at low speeds (down to 3 miles an hour and will drive a straight line without any difficulty) and it gobbles up highways and byways at higher speeds without a second thought. Now my feet aren't totally flat on the ground when I'm stopped but it's close. I've never had a bit of problem in tight corners or in parking lots. Even on those obnoxious ramps on the highways where they slope and traffic comes to a halt, it's no problem. I'm in control and I love it.

    If you are like me and cruisers don't speak to you, no worries, there are options out there for you!

  57. Diana from Athens: I had a Sportster 883. I am 5 feet 2 inches. I bought a Reach seat. I thought it was very uncomfortable though. Then I bought a Softail Deluxe. I can reach the ground with no problems.

  58. I am maybe 5 feet 2 inches in heels and I was easily flatfooted on my first bike which was a H-D 883 Sportster Hugger; especially after repositioning the shocks. My next and current bike is a 2006 Dyna Street Bob. Although it has a low seat height, it is a much wider bike.

    One of the best things I had done on my current bike is to have the stock seat redone about a year ago. I found Tim “the Seat Man” in ROAR Motorcycles for Women (in Daytona Beach). After sitting on some of the bikes in their shop, I realized this guy knew how to lower me without lowering my bike. I can now reach the ground and my highway pegs with ease. He also made the seat so comfortable and put in a really cool design. Best of all, the price was reasonable.

    When looking at potential bikes for the future, I can now consider bikes that would fit me perfect with a little seat adjustment from Tim.

  59. I am 5-feet-2 and I ride a '95 Yamaha Virago 1100, which unfortunately they do not make any more, and I can flat foot it easily. It is lightweight, has a narrow but comfortable seat and easy to handle. I haven't had any modifications to it as I can reach every thing. I have had other bikes in the past and sat on quite a few but they don't seem to “feel” just right to me. If you're looking for a bike make sure you are comfortable on it and ride safe out there.

  60. I have ridden a Star 1100 Custom for years and it is a great bike for women. It's big enough for longer rides and easy to handle in stop and go traffic. It is a really fun bike to ride. Bought risers and pullback handlebars to make the reach more comfortable and it brought me back to a better riding position. I really don't have any complaints about this bike.

  61. I ride a 2005 Honda VTX1300R. I am 5 feet 6 inches, and I can more than easily flat foot this bike. The seat height on the spec sheet lists it at 27.4 inches, but the bike is not as wide at the seat as many of the larger cruisers so it is easier to sit flat footed, in fact my knees have a fair amount of “bend” to them. I have had several other women riders shorter than myself sit on my bike and they are pleasantly surprised how well the bike fits them and how easy it is to lift it from the kickstand.

    It is very well balanced and I have added a lot of equipment to the stock bike so it is much heavier than when it came from the showroom floor. In fact my VTX is not as “top heavy” as a Harley Sportster. I have found the only Harley that even comes close to my VTX in the seat height category is the Softail Deluxe or Heritage (and my VTX is much easier on the pocketbook to accessorize). It is equally important to be able to comfortably reach the handlebars, the foot controls, etc., especially if you are on long rides. The best thing for women riders to do is go out and sit on as many bikes as possible before you buy and find out which ones “feel” the best. You will be glad you did!

  62. I have a 2006 883L. I love riding my Sportster. I had my shocks adjusted up a notch. I had bottomed out a couple of times and it helped when I had them adjusted. And my feet are flat on the ground. But in all I think it's a great motorcycle.

  63. My first bike was a 2000 Suzuki GZ250. My new bike is a 1995 Yamaha Virago 535. Both bikes fit my really well. I'm 5 feet 2 inches who always wears petite pants (no idea of what my inseam is, though). My Suzuki was a great height. The Yamaha is a good height, but it's not perfect. I have to be careful. While my feet hit the ground perfectly, my right leg sits right against the exhaust pipe. In our current, cold weather, this isn't a problem, but in summer, it burns (and will melt rain gear).

    I'm getting my seat lowered on my Virago. Well, it's not exactly being lowered. I found a company that will re-do the seats. They're taking my stock seat and re-stuffing it with better foam, and in the process, they're knocking around 1/4 – 1/2 inch off it. I'm really glad that I haven't had to deal with getting lowering kits. I've looked for bikes that I can flat foot without extra work. That being said, many folks think that 535cc is way too small to bother with. In general, this bike is the perfect size for me, and if I start speeding far beyond the speed limit, the bike shakes enough to remind me that perhaps 75+ mph when the speed limit is 55 mph is bad.

  64. Nice Article…but some of these bikes still do not help the the shorter women. As you can see by the pictures, some of these women are straight armed, which is not good, short legs, short arms. They have no strength — their arms should have a bend to them. Reaching for the bars and leaning forward for a long ride will take a lot out of the riders. Nice to look cool, but they are shorting themselves of a great enjoyable, safe ride.

  65. I have a 2009 Harley Super Glide Custom. I am 5 feet 7 inch and was a little tippee-toed in the showroom , mostly due to the seat being kinda wide for me. My salesperson, Donna, traded the seat for one that I liked on a Low Rider in the showroom. It was much narrower where it counted and all of the sudden it fit perfectly.

  66. Check out They are the parent company of Legend Air Suspension Systems. This suspension system allows you to lower your bike up to 3 inches at the touch of a button. You can adjust preload in seconds allowing you to lower your bike for easy maneuvering without compromising ride comfort and suspension.

  67. At age 50, 5 feet 1 inch tall I found my new Ridley Auto Glide at 24.5-inch seat height and 750cc fully automatic transmission to be a dream come true. I only have 200 miles on it in a week since the spring rains have dampened my days but there will be many rides to come.

    I also own a Yamaha Morphous at 25.5 inch seat height. I have ridden many a 500 mile day in the Morphous saddle and be totally comfortable.

    On both I can flat foot as long as I have my Harley riding boots on with the extra 3.4 lift in the ball of the foot. I can't part with my Morphous so it is being kept company by the Ridley as we wait for the rain clouds to part!

  68. Height is not the only issue. I'm 5 feet 3 inches and can flat foot my friends Electra Glide, but I can't reach the foot break. I love the look of the Victorys but all the controls were so far forward, I was not comfortable. I have a Suzuki S50. I love it. I modified the seat to get an inch, and have pullback risers.

  69. I was disappointed to see mostly HD on your list. I am 5-feet-4 (if I stretch really hard) and while I did have a '89 HD (lowered) I now have a BMW R 1200 C (cruiser). I had the seat narrowed by 1 inch on each side and can get my feet firmly on the ground.

    My first bike was a Suzuki Intruder 800 (red!) and it fit my frame perfectly. I only changed to the HD because we had it in the garage and I didn't want three motorcycles — oh well – now we have five.

  70. I am 5 foot. I ride a Kawasaki Ninja EX500R, it's perfect for me. I have more 65k on it and it runs great.

  71. I'm 5 feet and I ride a Yamaha V Star 1100. I am kind of tiptoed, but the balnace is great. I have hard bags and a windscreen on it. I travel all over the country on it and can pack enough for two weeks easy.

  72. I am 5 feet 3 inch and ride the Harley Softail Deluxe. Seat height is perfect for me, and reach is good. Only concern is I frequently scrape floorboards on corners and have bottomed out on ruts in the road which can cause the back end to flip out. Scarey when it happens, but have never lost control. I don't recommend lowering a bike for this reason. If you do a lot of riding, look at getting a lower seat instead. But I have sat on every other bike out there and have yet to find another bike with a seat this low where the bike feels that well balanced.

    With the low weight distribution the bike feels very light. My second favorite was the V Star 1100 Custom for low seat height and low weight distribution making the bike feel very light as well.

  73. I think the manufacturers need to wake up. Of all of your bikes shown in this article, only one is anything like a standard or a sportbike (the Buell Blast). Not all of us short gals want to ride a cruiser. We enjoy the sportier bikes with the better handling, brakes, etc. Also, riding with your feet under you, as opposed to stretched out in front, is much better for controlling your bike. It is always a disappointment every year when the new models come out to see that the manufacturers have continued to raise seat heights on most of their sportier models.

    I am 5 feet 2 inches and have learned to “one foot” it on bikes that I want to ride, but even then, some are still unaccessible (especially when you can't even get them off the kickstand).

    I know the manufacturers can make sportbikes with low seats – I have a CBR400RR (Japanese domestic model) that I can flat foot easily. It's a great little bike to ride! Too bad Honda has quit making them and never brought them into the US.

    It is discouraging for a lot of shorter riders to have to modify the heck out of the sportbikes and standards they want to ride (not to mention the added expense) when it would be great to get one right off the showroom floor that is low enough to ride home on.

    BMW is moving the right direction with different seat options and even one (I think) with a lower frame configuration.

  74. I have an '01 Sportster 883 Hugger and have no problem being flat on it. I am 5 feet tall. Inseam 29. I also ride my husbands '05 883L and that one seems so much lower. His had been converted to a hard tail by taking out the shocks and replaced with solid bars. It makes for a hard ride, that's for sure. It has been “bobbered.” I ride it occasionally to work but really enjoy my own bike. Want a Deluxe but the prices…

  75. My first bike was a 2005 SV650S which I had slammed as low as it would go and I had problems with rubbing/bottoming I out. I found when I lowered the bike it didn't handle as well on track days so I decided that stock height was the way I was going to keep it.

    Now I ride a Yamaha R6, 32 inch seat height and I am only 5 feet 3 inches. I have had to learn to get off of the bike to manuever it around and back up. It took some time but I got used to it.

  76. My second bike was a Suzuki S83 Intruder. I know you eliminated this bike along with all the Suzukis from your list because of the seat height but you could have considered that at 4 inches narrower in both frame and seat width the S83 in particular, allows many shorter riders to still easily reach the ground flat footed, whereas some of them may still not reach the ground with a lower seat height but “wider” bike.

  77. As I was a new rider in 2002 at the age of 52, I was totally frustrated trying to find my second bike. I sat on, demo-ed every brand I could find. I eventually purchased a 2003 Suzuki Volusia. 80,000 miles later in 2007 having no other mechanical problems was beginning to hear a drive chain noise so I started looking around for another bike.

    Once again I opted for another Suzuiki, 2007 Boulevard. This bike does everything I want from traveling the twisty side roads to interstate without question. I did have a clutch problem but it was a fluke that can happen to any bikes.

    I am 5-feet-6 and an 'old' lady — 60 years young' so I have always looked for a bike with as big of a motor with low weight. I have learned in the last couple of years now to look at the balance of the bike combined with weight/height and with ride comfort.I honestly do not think my Boulevard can be beat. Accessories, either aftermarket or OEM, there is a lot to pick and choose from, too much in fact for my pocket book.

  78. I will say first that I am short — 4 feet 11 inches. I have both the 1200L and Softail Deluxe. I had them both lowered. Yes, the ride is a little harder than most and I have to look well ahead for speed bumps. I do bottom out so keeping a good grip on the handlbars is important to me. I will avoid areas with ditches when parking and speed bumps when they come up. My Deluxe is my traveling bike, it has the bags. My Sportser is fun around town and easy to manuever in and out of places with my short legs. In both cases, it just take a little time to get used to your ride and be comfy in your saddle with your personal size.

  79. I'm 5 feet 4 inches, and although I think my seat height is a tad higher than 26.5 inches, I ADORE my 1999 Ducati M900 Monster. First, it's a liter bike (90-degree V-twin air cooled), and it is short enough and narrow enough that I really don't have any trouble putting my feet down at stops. I've found that if a bike is narrow and not too wide, I can get away with a slightly higher seat height.

    Also, my beloved Monster is fairly lightweight, about 420 pounds “soaking wet” and it handles like a fast horse in a jump off. I can literally lean her over in curves by moving my knees and seat (just like a horse). That bike is very agile and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

    My boyfriend was a smart man insisting this was the bike for me. Not only does my Ducati have a great powerband (lots of torque!) but I can manually push her around and do extremely slow-speed maneuvers with confidence!

    If you have the means, I highly recommend giving one a test ride.

  80. I have been searching for the right fit for quite a while and found it at my Yamaha dealer. After looking, sitting, twisting and turning every H-D on the showroom floor, we stopped off at our Yamaha dealer and tested the new Star 950. It was the closest thing to nirvana I have found. I started reading reviews, and after a lot of thought, plopped down the money to order mine. When it comes in, the dealer is going to to help us with a final fitment ie risers, etc. I can't wait (although, I am told I will have to be patient as apparently I am not the only person on the waiting list for this model) but I know it will be worth the wait!

    Thanks for the reviews.

  81. I can understand the desire to be flat footed on a motorcycle. My daughters and I are all 5 feet 4 inches and ride European brands. (My husband has a motorcycle dealership.) I ride a BMW F 650 GS low seat height, one daughter rides a Triumph Street Triple and the other a Ducati Monster. All managable and comfortable for us on the street and my F 650 GS on and off road. With a substantial boot and a 1-inch chuncky heel we are all flat footed with a straight leg.

    Make sure you try out all makes and models before making a decision. Sitting low on a bike should not always be the deciding factor. The agility and responsiveness of the bike is so important to street riding.

  82. I'm fairly tall (5 feet 7 inches) and was in line to buy an 883L but was talked out of it by the owner of the shop we went to. He pointed out that in order to lower the bike a lot of the play was taken out of the shocks, so I went with an 883. I'm wondering if those of you who went with the “low” version of Harleys have had problems with bottoming out?

  83. I have a 2005 Sportster 883 Low. I'm 5-feet-3 and I am still tippy toe. So I think that makes a difference. I want a bigger bike like a Dyna or Softail, but I choke when I see the prices.

  84. I am 5 feeet 5 inches. I have a Suzuki DR650, had it lowered to 33 inches. Also have Yamaha FZ1, 32.3 inches. Last but not least I have a Honda GL1800 Gold Wing. Don't know the seat height, but I have to say it is all about balance and parking lot practice. As long as I can put one foot down I'm good. The bonus of the Gold Wing, it has reverse!

  85. Hey no one has mentioned sidecars!
    I have a 2007 Ural Tourist. It never falls over and I have trunk to put my handbag in. How good is that?!

  86. Intruder alert! I'm a guy, but my 5 feet 3 inch Asian wife's not here so I'm sharing her experience. She picked a Ninja 250 for her starter cycle, official seat height 29.3 inches. She plants her feet square and secure with no worries. In fact, she loves it.

    She picked the Ninja because it's light and nimble, but it has the speed and acceleration of a 500-750 without the weight.

    1. You are not an intruder. No where on WRN does it say it is a women-only site. We welcome comments from men. Thanks for contributing.

  87. I have a Sportster 883 Low and I enjoy riding when the weather allows. The thing that disappoints me is that accessories are very limited for the Sportster, so I am looking to change my bike to a Dyna.

  88. I am 5 feet and was having a hard time finding a bike that I could sit on flat footed and still handle the weight of the bike. Honda Rebel was really the only bike that was short enough and light enough. Still trying to decide I checked out the scooters that are so popular these days and was surprised to find that they all have higher seat heights as well!

    The Can-Am Spyder caught my eye and after a test drive I ordered it a have had it about two weeks now. It is so much fun! I get lots of looks and with a 990 Rotax engine, it definitely can keep up with the 2-wheeler cycles. Yet I have the security of the three wheels under me and no worry about dropping the bike or having to hold it up when stopped. I can now enjoy riding even more! So ladies, don't overlook a three wheeler — they are fun, safe and isn't that the point of riding? To get out there and have a ball? Hey, it's whatever blows yer hair back!

  89. I would also recommend the Harley Davidson Softail Deuce — my first bike which I purchased because of the lower seat at 26 inches.

  90. Any advice? Last year my husband bought me a Sportster 883 Custom 07
    I'm 5 feet 3 inches and it's a reach to the handlebars. I really don't know what to do first. Seat? New bars? (Then I'd have to change cables $$$.) Risers?

    We are planning to take it to a harley dealer for advice. But I think I could get better advice here.

  91. I agree that saddle height and the bike's weight are both important. I started on a Honda Helix, moved “up” to a Honda Rebel, then last year bought a Harley 883 Low. I'm 5 feet 5 inches. I love my “Lil Beast,” but wish it weighed less!

  92. I would be interested in comments on the “Big Bear Choppers Miss Behavin” or any chopper for that matter. I have a '06 Sportster 883L. My first bike. My next bike will be a custom chopper. I'm keeping my eye out on designs and such, in search for the right look and fit. Never have riddin one (yet anyway) and am curious as to other women's experiences.

  93. I ride an 08' Deluxe and love the fact that I can flat foot it so easily. I was nervous about buying a bike that was so heavy for a “first” bike, but I don't regret it now for one moment. IMO it's all about what's in your head. Once those wheels start turning it is a breeze to handle. Sure it takes some getting used to initially.

    My only issue is sometimes when I get my wheel in a rut, trying to push the bike out of it can be a challenge, but because I can flat foot it so easily that helps, and fortunately I hardly ever get in a rut or hole. I, too, when I first sat on the bike felt as though the seat was a little wide, but now I can't even tell and of course that shouldn't be a deterrent from buying the bike as you can always either have the seat customized or swap out with another seat.

    I'm 5 feet 6 inches and I rode a 250 in the MSF course. I felt too small to me. It was great for manuvering around the cones though. I think for trail riding the lighter bikes are great, but for street riding I like the heavier bikes better.
    In the end everyone should ride the bike that they feel the most comfortable and confident on so they can enjoy their ride.

  94. I should've known you'd beat me to it! I compiled a list of short-height bikes a couple of years ago and was just thinking I need to update it. I will instead resurrect my original blog post and link to this excellent round-up.

    I currently ride a 2000 Sportster that's been lowered and had short shocks on it, and I am flat-footed on the bike. However, I found that when I loaded her up to ride to Sturgis, the extra weight caused some problems with fender rubbing and that sort of thing. We've done some re-adjusting so I still get a good solid footing, but now can add a T-bag and not worry about the extra weight. The bike fits me perfectly.

    I've also ridden the Honda Shadow Spirit 750, and it fit me perfectly right off the showroom floor. (The VLX was my first choice for fit at that time, but it was only a four-speed and a 600 so I went with the slightly bigger 750 5-speed.)

    Have you seen the new Zero S electric street bike? I was amazed at the 35.5 inch seat height, and actually wrote and asked their PR person why they gave it such a high seat, excluding many riders right off the bat when they were trying to make a large-scale environmental impact. I haven't heard back from them yet but will certainly “write it up” when I do.

    Janet –

    1. We're following Zero motorcycles closely and will soon be posting something about them, although I'm not sure what kind of market there is for an electric motorcycle just yet.

      Thanks for linking to us.

  95. I am 5 feet and I ride a Yamaha V Star 650. My husband lowered it (front and back) another 1 to 1 1/2 inch and extended the handlebars. It now fits perfectly! I agree with the comments about the width of the bike also being important. I was unable to ride several of the bikes that you mention because of the width (not necessarily the height). Overall, articles like this are great for us vertically challenged women. Thanks!

  96. Lower seat high is great, but sometimes the pegs are just too far forward for me. Believe me, I'd love a V-Rod, but I just cannot reach the shifter. I currently ride a Triumph Bonneville which is a bit tall for me (I'm 5 feet 1 inches), but is a lighter bike with standard pegs. I love it, although I plan on buying a custom seat for better comfort and reach. I like being able to “post” over bumps, etc., which I could not do on a bike with forward pegs.

  97. It's not just seat height and weight to consider, how far you have to reach to handle the controls and to make smooth precise turns is extremely important. When choosing a motorcycle, have someone hold it up so you can put both feet on the pegs. If you have to hunch your shoulders and lock your elbows to reach the brake or clutch levers, adjustments or maybe modifications need to be made to the handlebars.

    Many people fail to examine this critical issue. If you know how to properly lift the motorcycle off the side stand, it doesn't matter if it weighs 300 or 700 pounds. If you straighten the front wheel slightly past the center to the right, it takes no effort. Most people try to lift the bike while the front tire is still turned to the left in the parking position.

    1. Precisely my point on seat height. At 26.5 inches it does not matter if the bike is 300 or 700 pounds, but it's a good seat height where a lot of shorter riders can reach the ground no matter the weight of the bike. The higher the seat height and the heavier the bike, the harder it is for shorter riders to reach the ground and hence, manuever the heavier bike.

  98. I agree with other posters that weight is a big issue as well. Sportbike and standards tend to have higher seats than cruisers, but can weight less than half as much! Lowering is not a bad word, and most bikes can be lowered by up to two inches.

    One final word: I'm 5 feet 4 inches, probably 5 feet 5 1/2 inches with my boots on, and although I certainly can flatfoot a Harley Softail, the forward controls are so far away I can't reach them! Yet another thing to consider…

  99. This article is very helpful, and with that being said — can you help on touring bikes for us vertically challanged 29 to 30 inch inseam types? It appears as if Harley is the only one who makes lowering kits for the touring bikes. I'm tired of having to add on all the extras. I want a bike that comes with the locking bags, the stereo, the windshield, the highway bar. So far the only one I've found that will fit me is the Harley, and that is with significant cost added on.

    Have you found any other company that has a touring bike that can be lowered? Just looking for my next ride. I'd appreciate any help on this matter. My current ride is an '07 Kawasaki Mean Streak 1600. I had the seat scooped out and trimmed down to lower it.

    1. Most all touring bikes have the ability to adjust the suspension to lower it. You do change the ride when you do that, especially when lowering such a heavy bike.

      I have a Street Glide and it has all the add-ons you talk about. I “lowered” it by putting on a Harley-Davidson aftermarket Reach Seat, which brings me closer to the bars and lower to the ground. I will be posting an article about this in this Feature Articles section in the coming weeks.

  100. I liked the article; it is helpful to see the women on the various bikes. I am 5 feet 3 inches and have a 2006 HD 1200C. I changed to Progressive shocks and the HD fork lowering kit that dropped the seat height by 1 inch or so. I also added a La Pera seat that has a lower profile, narrow twist, and seats me closer to the controls. I am flat footed, however I still feel the bike is top heavy.

    What I would love is an article that talks about the balance and center of gravity of the bikes in addition to seat height. I wonder how the modifications made to my bike have impacted the center of gravity. Love the site.

  101. I'm 5 feet 5 inches and ride a 2005 Honda Shadow Aero and just love it! It fits perfect. I just bought a 2006 VTX 1300 and believe it will just as great a bike.

  102. The seat height on the Suzuki S40 is 27.6 inches but that is misleading. It was my first bike and at 4 feet 11 inches I could put my feet flat on the ground or, trust me, I would not have been comfortable on it at all. The S40 has a slender seat not to mention the bike itself. I think that's why I could flat foot it. It is a great beginner bike and took me wherever I wanted to go all 12,000 miles (in 10 months no less).

  103. Just bought my first motorcycle, a Ridley Auto-Glide Classic. One of the major selling points was the fact that it has a seat height of only 25 inches. That's a plus for me as I'm only a sneeze above 5 feet. Getting on and off my husband's Indian Scout was always nerve-wracking, and holding it up. Forget about it!

  104. I just bought the Shadow Aero and love it. The height and weight easily make me feel in control while riding.

  105. I have an 883L, which I love. I bought her two years ago have have put 15,600-plus miles on her. I really enjoy being able to flatfoot the bike, especially since I've now fixed it up so my 5-year-old grandson can ride with me. I need the security of knowing I can support the bike and my grandson's weight during stops and moving around in parking lots. Thanks for the article! A friend told me the Harley Softail Deluxe was even lower than my bike, and your article proved her right.

  106. I have the 07 HD Dyna Low Rider. Added the Reach Seat and had the bike lowered an inch and a half. Now I can flat foot it. I'm 5 feet 2 inches and the low seat height was a huge factor in the bike I bought. Thanks for this informative article!

  107. At age 66 and counting, I love my Honda Helix. It does everthing I want, flat feet on the ground and plenty of storage. Yes, it's a scooter but it has all the fresh air and fun my previous Harley had.

  108. I am 5 feet 1 inch and wanted a sport bike. I have a Kawasaki Ninja 250 that has been lowered to 26 inches. It has been a great bike that is light and easy to handle.

  109. I agree with Stephanie from South Jersey, it's not just the height, it's also the width of the seat. I have a 06 Harley Sportster Custom, had custom shocks put on it, and it fits great! I also still have the stock seat, it's not too bad, but other bikes I've tried out the seats are too wide, which makes the height alter.

    I highly recommend purchasing some custom shocks for any women who are shorter. I haven't noticed forward foot pegs being a problem on the bikes I've tried yet. Be sure to try out the bikes by doing demo rides. Makes a world of difference.

    Happy Riding Ladies!

  110. It's great to see so many bikes with a low seat height, but there is one problem that is never addressed –that is stance. I'm only 5 feet and find that the width of the bike becomes my problem on the larger bikes with low seat height. Take the Fat Boy — it's lower than a Nightster, but the width (primary, exhaust and seat) all hinder being flat foot.

    Another issue brought on by the width are reaching the foot controls. Many larger bikes have forward controls and having a wider seat makes that really difficult to reach. It's sad to know if you want the larger bike you have to dump so much into before you can ride off on it.

  111. I think the weight of a motorcycle can be just as critical as the height, even though I'm vertically-challenged, being 5 feet 3 inches, I've been riding off and on since I was 22, and now 52, and have had a number of different motos in the past 30 years.

    I was a bit surprised that your cut-off was so low – it almost insures that you're going to be looking at heavy cruiser-style bikes, and ignoring a whole segment of motos that might work just as well for shorter riders, even though the seat-height is greater.

    These motos, being 200-300 pounds lighter, might actually be easier to handle than some of the bikes listed above: Kaw Ninjas, Duc Monsters, Triumph Bonnevilles, even the Moto Guzzi V7, I believe it's called. There are probably Hondas and Suzukis that would fit in this category as well. I just hate to see a number of motos ruled out that overall could be handled just as easily, if not easier, than the motos listed above. My experience is that bike weight goes a long way to making a difference in one's learning, comfort level, and confidence in riding, especially for beginning and newer riders. Just my thoughts!

    1. Good thoughts, indeed. Our next article should be “Motorcycles Under 400 Pounds” to cover the ones you mentioned and more. But we wanted to showcase low to the ground seat heights that we know women could handle whether 400 pound or 700 pounds.

  112. I have a 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT, I am 5 feet 3 inches, 125 pounds and I put a Mustang seat on that is more narrow at the front because the original seat was too wide for my inseam Now I am flat footed and had it lowered one inch and now I am very comfortable on my bike. Also I find that this bike is very balanced and easy to ride. This will be my fourth year riding and just love it.

  113. Great subject to bring up as this is a major concern as well as other issues. One bike not mentioned is the new production model from ROAR motorcycles – the WildKat. This bike is designed for women and has an adjustable seat height from 23.5 to 29.5 inches.

  114. I'm 5 foot and shrinking fast. My first bike was a Suzuki Savage 650, with a more than comfortable seat height. I now have a Heritage Softail (which is mentioned in your article), but I definitely got the lowering kit (and bought boots with thicker soles!). It's now very easy to stand flat-footed, manuver, as well as ride, ride, ride.

  115. Glad to see my Honda Shadow Spirit up there. I changed out the shocks and lowered it another 2 inches for my 4-foot 1-inch frame. It is perfect.

  116. The 650 V Star Classic is nice and low along with excellent balance. It's my fourth bike and feels like my Suzuki 250 when I roll off jiffy stand.

  117. All the comments about losing inseam inches with the width of seat, etc., are all very accurate. I can see this article really struck a chord with readers in that this list is very limiting. Indeed it is, but as I stress several times, this is the lowest of the low and riders who are 5 feet are hard pressed to stand flat foot on a 28-inch seat height motorcycle no matter how light it is.

    I can see where an article listing “Low and Light Motorcycles” would probably balance out this list with a seat height cut-off maybe 30-inches. Grant it, most average height riders may not be able to touch the ground flat footed, but if the bike is light enough, a rider can lean flat footed on one foot balancing the light weight of the bike, while the other foot hovers over the pavement (or be tip-toe on both feet). I prefer to be flat footed over this stance any day — hence the reason for this article.

  118. Another consideration is the width of the seat at the front and sides and the width of the bike where your legs go from the seat to the ground. Even though some of the bikes listed have a low seat height, my height is taken up by the width of the bike so it knocks a lot of them out for me.

    I ride a 2008 HD Nightster which is slim and the seat is narrow at the front. This bike weighs more than the 2002 Honda Shadow Spirit I rode for about three years and is much easier to handle than the Honda was. Very well balanced where some of the bikes you mentioned are top heavy as well as being wide.

  119. I have a Suzuki Boulevard M50. I am 5 feet 4 inches. It has been a great ride for me. I feel very comfortable with the width, height and weight.

  120. As a person with short legs, I carefully watch the seat height of a bike (I currently ride a Dyna Low Rider) but the other information that is needed is the width of the bike at the horn of the seat, and even with a low seat height, the mechanics of the bike stick out from under the seat, then the bike is too wide to ride. I love the Softail Deluxe. It has a low seat height, but very wide and I can't touch the ground.

  121. I would be interested in any woman's comment on the Rocker or Rocker C. Looks like a bad bike and I have it eyed for my next one. Right now I have a 1200 Sportster with a Reach Seat.

  122. And Ridleys? Seat height 24.5 inches and fun! Just because it's no-shift doesn't mean it's not a v-twin motorcycle.

  123. Even though I already have a Softail Deluxe I put a Harley “Reach Seat” on it which lowered it even more. I feel very secure when I stop.

  124. Being a petite rider (5 feet 2 inches) small hands and feet, I am also interested in the reach. I know that can be changed with different bars but I would like to know what other small women have found that works for them.

  125. What? That's it? That's pitiful! Manufacturers should wise-up. Women are a growing market. I hope there will be manufacturers present at the AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference to listen to women's needs. Thanks for the article.

  126. What? Where's my baby, the Honda Rebel?

    1. The Honda Rebel has a seat height of 26.6 inches. We had to draw the line somewhere so it gets an honorable mention.

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