What Motorcycle Should I Buy with My Specific Needs?

Help us answer this reader question

bike to start on yamaha fz 07
This is the Yamaha FZ-07,
the motorcycle that Tiffany says
she feels most comfortable.
Read our review of this bike here.

Dear WRN,

I really need some help and advice. I was raised on dirtbikes and four-wheelers and always rode on the back of my dads Harley. However, my husband has purchased a street bike and I dont want to ride on the back, Im guessing because I have ridden since I was 4 on my own and I am independent when it comes to that.
One issue while looking for me is that I am short, at 5 feet 3 inches. Second, he is on a cruiser but when I try cruisers everything feels weird to me. I like pegs underneath me not out in front. Im not sure it feels natural or ever would. Third, and probably most important is suspension for me. I am six weeks out of my third lower back surgery, and its a bone fusion so I have to have suspension.
I havent test ridden anything yet because Im going through the class and waiting on the doctors OK first, but we have looked at the Honda Shadow and the Kawasaki Vulcan S and the one I felt natural sitting on was the Yamaha FZ-07 but for long distances I dont know.
Do you have any advice for me? You go in these stores and it is so overwhelming. I dont know if they say what you want to hear to make a sale or if they truly care. I need direction to enjoy this venture for years to come. I am reviewed out on YouTube!

Thanks for any help!

Forney, Texas

10 thoughts on What Motorcycle Should I Buy with My Specific Needs?

  1. If you still enjoy getting out on the dirt, or hope to with your bike, I would recommend something smaller and low. I’m only 5 feet tall. I had a DR650 lowered, with a modified saddle. That worked for me, but decided to downsize. My current ride is an XT250, and it’s perfect. It’s easy to manage, has loads of suspension. We’re planning to tour with 250cc bikes, as they are very capable, and tons of fun.If you’re new to riding, it’s hard to know what the perfect bike will be. Try not to get caught up in buying “big bike” from the get go. Start small, get your confidence up, and expect to buy something else, once you have a clearer vision of what kind of riding you’ll want to do. Also, do whatever kind of courses/training/riding you can do. Dirt, motocross, advanced road training, etc., it will help round out your decision for your bike and riding future.

  2. If you aren’t adamant about riding a Harley-Davidson, then look at Victory. I’m 5 feet 3 inches and ride a Victory Kingpin Low. The only adjustment I had to make was different handlebars because the stock ones were too wide for me. They don’t make the Kingpin Low anymore, but they have several models that might work for you. I like my floorboards because we ride long distances. Like anything else, you can make adjustments to fit your body and your needs as long as the ride is smooth.Good luck!

  3. I have owned many bikes in my short 35 years of riding and recently bought a 2015 Harley-Davidson Dyna Switchback for my 52nd birthday. I too am short and I also need to keep up with the big boys so engine size is important to me. I also enjoy almost being able to keep up with the sportbikes in curves. I find the seating position to be a nice balance between cruiser and sport. With the help of a Corbin close seat I have inched myself up into a better position for both my back and my knees. The seat also adds a small amount of cushion for road impact. The added seat heater also keeps my tush warm on some of our northwest chilly days. I have also added bar risers that lower the bars for better handling. I have 11,000 miles on it and have only had it since March. I’d say that’s a good endorsement.

  4. The Harley 750 Street is a great suggestion. It is right in line with what you mentioned. If you have a chance to demo a Harley I recommend the Dyna Switchback. It’s a great ride but has floorboards not pegs.

  5. I would personally take a look at the Ducati Monster 821. It has a softer suspension than FZ-07. It’s a little bit more, but you get more power, better warranty, and the better suspension in the package. It’s still a very upright riding position, and at 5 feet 3 inches myself, I had absolutely no problem with the seat height (which is adjustable down to around 30.5 inches).It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most comfortable seats I’ve seen on a bike in that style. The weight of it looks daunting on paper, but I swear it feels lighter than my Kawasaki ZZR600, even though it weighs 50 pounds more! I tried the Monster 1200 at a demo day this summer, and loved the feel of it! (The body of the 1200 and 821 are almost identical.) It was the second 45 minute ride of the day, and I felt almost refreshed getting off the bike, not in the least worn out! I know most Ducati dealers also have demo bikes, so if you have your license, ask for a demo ride to try it out at least. Never hurts! Good luck in finding a bike that fits *YOU*!

  6. I’m 5 feet 3 inches myself and I own the MT-07 (FZ-07) and I’ve done distances in excess of 150kms a day and I suffer from lower back issues myself but can honestly say that on my bike I’m very comfortable and stoked that I bought the MT-07. Everything about the bike for me just works. I looked at the Vulcan but found that I slouched and decided against it also because of the weight. The MT-07 is lighter at only 170kgs wet weight and excellent value for money. Nimble, willing, a bit cheeky, can keep up with just about anyone out there having some fun, comfortable on the back, legs, wrists and shoulders and I find myself sad to park it up at night after a good day out. The one thing I did do was lower it just a smidge, plus there’s heaps of aftermarket parts out there if that’s your thing. I can honestly say that I won’t be looking at buying something else till I’m old and hopefully not too grumpy. I’m truly happy with my choice in my beastie and hope this helps you. Shiny side up whatever you buy.

  7. Hi. I’m 5 feet 3 inches and I ride a Softail Deluxe. The floorboards feel like they are straight down from my knees (not bent back or stretched out). You can always put on a different seat and get different shocks to help damper any type of jarring. I like the floorboards over pegs for longer rides. My feet used to get tired of the pegs and I couldn’t really re-position them any. Just another option for you.

  8. Hi Tiffany, so sorry to hear about your back surgery and fusion. I’m in the same situation as you and in my late 50s. I took the MSF years ago but never felt I could operate on two wheels properly with the physical limitations arising from the surgeries. I could not be a passenger on my husband’s two wheels because of associated riding position pain on the back seat. I opted for a Can-Am Spyder, a three-wheeler with twi wheels in the front and one in the back, and have traveled nearly 40,000 miles in three years. There’s the HD trike, which is very nice too. Good luck in your search and wishing you a speedy recovery too!

  9. Hi Tiffany, I am 5 feet 2 inches tall and 72 years old! I have been riding for about five years and started out on a Honda Rebel 250, then went to a V Star 650, then a Honda Shadow Aero 750 and now a H-D Super Low 1200T. I am totally comfortable on my H-D because the pegs are directly under my feet and I can touch the ground! It has plenty of power and comes with the saddlebags and windshield, so I had all I wanted on it already!It is not as comfortable a ride as my Honda Shadow, which I still have and am also very comfortable on. My Shadow has forward footpegs, has less torque than the H-D, but I can still reach the ground with my short legs! So, since you have a bad back, but do have some riding experience, maybe the Honda Shadow would suit you better in the long run? Good luck to you which ever bike you choose.

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