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The 16 Best Motorcycles for Shorter Riders

Finding a motorcycle when you’re a particular size can be tricky.

modest inseam rides gear patrol full lead
Gear Patrol

Finding a motorcycle when you’re, shall we say, a particular size can be taxing. The majority of the market is built around the idea of the ‘average’ rider — which means finding a bike when you’re a bigger or smaller than the mean narrows your options.

That's especially true for those of us who happen to be slight of scale. (Tall people, after all, can just hunch over more, but we short folks can't stretch ourselves bigger.) Seat height on modern motorcycles – sports bikes, ADV, and even some sport standard models — can range on the high side, causing those of us with more modest inseams to tippy-toe when at a light or starting up. On conventional bikes, those shorter in stature find reaching the bars is literally a stretch — and, more importantly, that planting a foot at a stop becomes a circus balancing act.

Now, there exists an abundance of aftermarket parts to turn a lofty stock motorcycle into a more custom-fit cruiser: lowering links, a lower suspension, a shaved seat, and so forth. But for those of us who’d rather have the right fit right out of the gate, these motorcycles make a fantastic launching point.

Dual Sport, Adventure and Scramblers

Whether you want a little or a lot, dirt demands different characteristics from motorcycles than the road does. Due to the need for ground clearance, dual-sports and ADV bikes will always be on the taller side — albeit not to a degree a lowering link, slimmer seat or suspension adjustment can’t remedy. And with plenty of bolt-on modifications available — gas tanks, skid plates, hand guards, engine guards, luggage racks, and more — these bikes can keep going when the pavement stops.

Suzuki DR 200

Price: $4,649
Seat Height: 31.9 inches
Weight: 278 lbs

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Yamaha XT250

Price: $5,199
Seat Height: 31.9 inches
Weight: 291 lbs

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Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Price: $5,499
Seat Height: 32.1 inches
Weight: 386 lbs

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BMW G 310 GS

Price: $6,290
Seat Height: 32.3 inches
Weight: 374 lbs

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Triumph Tiger 800 XRx Low

Price: $13,800
Seat Height: 29.9 inches
Weight: 440.9 lbs

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Ducati Scrambler 1100 Special

Price: $14,395
Seat Height: 32.9 inches
Weight: 465 lbs

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BMW R NineT Scrambler

Price: $12,995
Seat Height: 31.1 inches
Weight: 485 lbs

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Triumph Street Scrambler


Price: $11,000
Seat Height: 31.1 inches
Weight: 454 lbs

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Sport Bikes

Most street bikes are well within a practical height for even the littlest legs, but this wouldn’t be a well-rounded list without them. (After all, we here at Gear Patrol want to be as accommodating as possible.)

If you want to rip around a mountain road or the local race track but don’t see the practicality in a MotoGP-inspired liter bike, there’s plenty of fun to be had with small-engined sport and naked bikes. After all, as the drivers of four-wheeled conveyances say, it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow — and that's very much true for bikes, too.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 ABS

Price: $5,299
Seat Height: 30.9 inches
Weight: 366 lbs

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Suzuki GSX-R600

Price: $12,299
Seat Height: 31.9 inches
Weight: 412 lbs

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Yamaha MT-07

Price: $7,599
Seat Height: 31.7 inches
Weight: 403 lbs

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Ducati Monster 1200

Price: $14,995
Seat Height: 31.3 inches
Weight: 470 lbs

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KTM 390 Duke


Price: $5,499
Seat Height: 32.7 inches
Weight: 328 lbs

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Sport Touring

Some riders don’t need to scribble a rubber signature on the Earth’s surface with their tire every time they head out to enjoy a motorbike; taking it easy on the open road can be satisfying enough. Or, maybe, riding is merely a fun transition from Point A to B for these folks.

Either way, however, there are plenty of cruisers made for long rides that pack low seats that make it easy for shorter riders to enjoy knocking out the miles. We're partial to the ones seen here.

Honda Rebel 500


Price: $6,199
Seat Height: 27.2 inches
Weight: 402 lbs

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Indian Scout Bobber

Price: $10,999
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Weight: 544 lbs

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Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

Price: $13,150
Seat Height: 28 inches
Weight: 541 lbs

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