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 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 Sports, Adventure Bikes and Scramblers for Small Riders
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.
Seat Height: 31.9 inches
- Price: $5,299
The Yamaha XT250 is Yamaha's go-anywhere dual-sort bike with 11.2 inches of ground clearance, a long-travel suspension, a low seat height and an affordable price point.
BMW G 310 GS
The G 310 GS is BMW's dual-purpose, entry-level, single-cylinder adventure bike. It's simple, versatile and an awesome entry-level bike for novice to adventure riding.
- Seat Height: 32.3 inches
- Price: $5,695
Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS
The Kawasaki Versys-X is a compact, versatile bike fit for commuting or touring with a low-seat height, an upright riding position and ample wind protection. We'd recommend adding the ABS.
- Seat Height: 32.1 inches
BMW R NineT Scrambler
- Seat Height: 31.1 inches
- Price: $12,995
The RnineT is BMW's retro-styled standard roadster with an air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine which debuted in 2014. It's designed to be a canvas for the buyer to customize.
Sport Bikes for Shorter Riders
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
- Seat Height: 30.9 inches
- Price: $5,699
The Ninja 400 is Kawasaki's approachable sportbike, pairing a large-displacement 399cc engine with excellent ergonomics and a low seat height.
KTM 390 Duke
- Seat Height: 32.7 inches
- Price: $5,699
KTM calls the 390 Duke its "corner rocket," which is designed to be fun but can also be a great entry-level bike with its lightweight frame easing low-speed maneuvering.
- Seat Height: 31.7 inches
- Price: $8,199
The MT-07 is Yamaha's popular middleweight naked bike known for its smooth twin-cylinder engine. A low seat height and tapered handlebars make it an option for riders of different sizes.
- Seat Height: 31.9 inches
- Price: $11,499
The GSX-R600 is Suzkuki's compact, four-cylinder sportbike. It offers riders comfort with adjustable shift levers and foot pegs, a short fuel tank and a high grip seat.
Ducati Monster Plus
- Seat Height: 32.3 inches
- Price: $14,995
The Monster is Ducati's super lightweight, compact, entry-level bike, well-suited as a starter bike for urban dwellers and weekend enthusiasts.
Sport Touring Motorcycles for Shorter Riders
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
- Seat Height: 27.2 inches
- Price: $6,499
The Honda Rebel 500 combines cruiser styling with an extra-low 27.2-inch seat height that allows shorter riders to plant both feet.
Indian Scout Bobber
- Seat Height: 25.5 inches
- Price: $12,249
The Indian Scout Bobber is badass looking, and its stripped-down looks and aggressive riding position also leave it low to the ground.
Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster
- Seat Height: 28 inches
- Price: $13,794
The Speedmaster provides riders with laid-back riding ergonomics such as forward footpegs, swept-back beach bars, and comfortable pillion capability, all while delivering a distinctive cruiser experience with timeless sophisticated style.