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5'8" with 30" inseam...ok for a BMW


jase1971

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I definately feel like an outsider since I don't (yet) own a BMW, in fact I don't own a motorcycle period. However, I have always been drawn to BMW motorcycles and I would love to own an R1200RT. I would love to someday tour with said RT, but I know that there are many steps to climb until I reach that point. Ok, I'll be honest, I've only ridden a motorcycle once in my life. There, I said it! Now that that's out of the way my real question is this: I'm not that tall (5'8" with a 30" inseam), so how do I measure up to a BMW? Please be honest and tell me that it's no problem! Thanks in advance for any advice and I hope to meet you out on the road someday soon.

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I am 5'7" with 30" inseam.

 

I am comfortable riding any BMW except a GS Adventure.

 

As many will tell you though, learn on (and drop) something smaller and cheaper first.

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I'm 5'9" and cannot flat foot my RT--no problem for me. However, if this is truly your first bike, you may have a problem with what is a large and heavy bike.

 

Give youself a break and start with something at least a little lighter, if not closer to the ground (saddle height).

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Just go sit on one at the dealer. Ask if they can take it off the center stand and see if you can flat foot it while shifting the weight back and forth. Don't get carried away tipping it too far. It's still a heavy cow until you get used to it. Then see if you can paddle-foot it around. Last, see if you can get it up on the center stand, mount it, and then bump it off. If everything checks out okay, then it's okay. If everything is not okay, don't panic----there are still things that can be adjusted and compromises that can be made. You'll just need more experience to get comfortable riding and more money to modify the ergonomics.

 

The above is just my opinion and we all know what opinions are like. wink.gif

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I'm 5'10, 200lbs, with a 30" inseam and can't flat foot my RT. I have considered putting some 1" lifts inside my boots as I dont like not having my entire foot on the ground.

 

Even though I have only been riding for a year, I did not start on this bike. I had a kawasaki vulcan and moved up to the RT. I would definately buy an older bike that has a lower center of gravity and practice on that. I have no regrets doing it the way I did.

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.......

 

Give youself a break and start with something at least a little lighter, if not closer to the ground (saddle height).

 

I'm 5'9" with a 30" inseam and the RT is fine, just no flat footing.

 

However I'd second starting with something lighter for a first bike.

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Jim VonBaden

5'8" with a 28" inseam, and I ride an R1200GS. The ONLY two BMW's I can't comfortably ride are the GS Adventure, and the HP2.

 

Jim cool.gif

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ShovelStrokeEd

I'm 5'10" and have a 30" inseam and rode a GS Adventure for a couple of years. It really is all about technique.

 

That said, as a newbie, you lack that very technique. Not to say you can't gain it but, the new BMW mototcycles are not, IMHO, the place to learn. They are very expensive to drop, for one thing, and really do not lend themselves well to the things you need to learn.

 

I would strongly suggest you explore other options. The Kawasaki 650 twin for one. It makes an excellent starter bike in that it is light, has very servicable ergonomics and enough power and adequate handling so you won't feel the need for a different bike in 3 months. Take that bike, pass a Motorcycle Safety Foundation basic rider's course, spend a year or so on the street learning how to survive and the fundamentals of bike handling, take the advanced rider course from the same folks who gave you your original training and then, if you still lust after that BMW, get one.

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If you have your mind made up on a BMW first then look at the 650GS or the new F800ST with the lower seat. I would start off with a 500cc used Kawasaki or Suzuki. By the way, you and I are the same size. Look into having a 1/2" added to the soles of your boots by a cobbler. Good luck on your search.

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Make sure you can flat foot your first motorcycle. I am 5'8 30" inseam and have been riding since 1973 - I can't flatfoot either of my bikes but I've got a little experience in this, you don't. If you really want to start with a BMW, get the F650 - anything bigger or heavier than that is a bad idea for a new rider.

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Lets_Play_Two

It is interesting that the median height for men in the US is between 5'8 1/2" and 5'9 1/2" depending on your source. Why would BMW make bikes that fully 1/2 of the male population thinks are too tall for them? And the sad part is that by the time men finally come to ride BMWs they are starting to get shorter, losing about 1 1/2" between age 40 and age 60!!! grin.gif

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Dave_in_TX

I'm 5'6" with a 30" inseam. I have an 07 RT with the low seat. With it in the low position, I can almost flat-foot it. I have no height related problems with the RT.

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bakerzdosen

I got my first bike (2003 f650csa) last June because I figured it would be easier to trade it in to the dealer for the r1200st that I really wanted. I took MSF, got the f650, and then decided to take a trip. So, while shopping for new tires, I just ended up trading it in for the r12st... not two weeks later. I put over 1,000 miles on the f650 in that week or so, but it still probably wasn't a whole lot to develop technique. I'd like to think I've developed SOME technique since then in the 16k miles I've put on my ST, but still... I did drop it once. Somewhere in central Oregon I didn't put the sidestand down all the way and you can figure the rest out.

 

I still think that I would have dropped the ST more, but I feel like I can really force it around if I use bad technique in a parking lot or my driveway. I'm pretty confident that I would have dropped a heavier bike a few times where I've been able to save it pretty easily since the thing weighs less.

 

I'm just more careful with luggage/pillion.

 

So, here's my take: Get the smaller used bike if you can. You could probably swing getting an r12rt for a first bike, BUT, just be aware that your chances of dropping it are much higher than if you waited. YOU WILL DROP IT. If that additional expense doesn't bother you, ride especially carefully so that the only thing damaged when you have your first incident will be your bike.

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It is interesting that the median height for men in the US is between 5'8 1/2" and 5'9 1/2" depending on your source. Why would BMW make bikes that fully 1/2 of the male population thinks are too tall for them? And the sad part is that by the time men finally come to ride BMWs they are starting to get shorter, losing about 1 1/2" between age 40 and age 60!!! grin.gif

 

Not wishing to state the obvious, but arn't BMW's made in Germany. European average height is greater than the US, indeed, there are studies suggesting that the average height in the US is reducing as a result of eating junk food. Personally, I like junk food grin.gif just not all the time. Certainly in the UK, the average height including women is 5' 9" which would probably put men at around 5'10/11" I am 6ft but only have a 31 inch inseam

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Lets_Play_Two
It is interesting that the median height for men in the US is between 5'8 1/2" and 5'9 1/2" depending on your source. Why would BMW make bikes that fully 1/2 of the male population thinks are too tall for them? And the sad part is that by the time men finally come to ride BMWs they are starting to get shorter, losing about 1 1/2" between age 40 and age 60!!! grin.gif

 

Not wishing to state the obvious, but arn't BMW's made in Germany. European average height is greater than the US, indeed, there are studies suggesting that the average height in the US is reducing as a result of eating junk food. Personally, I like junk food grin.gif just not all the time. Certainly in the UK, the average height including women is 5' 9" which would probably put men at around 5'10/11" I am 6ft but only have a 31 inch inseam

 

"He discovered that, at the time of the American War of Independence in 1775, the average American man was 5ft 9 - about two inches taller than the average British man.

 

Now, the tables have been turned - with the British around half an inch taller than the Americans, who have now reached an average height of 5ft 10.

 

But Dutch men have an even bigger height advantage over the Americans - they reach an average of 6ft 1."

 

It is obvious that the Dutch are skewing the European numbers. grin.gif

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People talk about 'flat footing' which seems a bit silly to me.

 

IMHO, if one can get the balls of both feet on the ground you are all set. If only one can get down, it gets a bit tougher to manage but possible I suppose.

 

The 1150GS Adv I swung a leg over, I did not have enough leg to fully push it off the side stand.

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Steve_Witmer

5'9" and for the first 6 months I was slightly nervous about the height of the RT at the low seat position. As time went on I gradually raised the seat for more comfort on long trips.

 

Agree with others that a BMW should not be your first bike (It wasn't mine). You have enough other things to worry about as a new rider without a top heavy, 680 lb bike. Start out on something a little lower, a lot lighter, and fewer horsepower. Make it used so it's less expensive and already has the first scratches -- you won't cry if you drop it in a parking lot.

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I'm not that tall (5'8" with a 30" inseam), so how do I measure up to a BMW? Please be honest and tell me that it's no problem! Thanks in advance for any advice and I hope to meet you out on the road someday soon.
I'm 5'8" with a 29.5 inseam and I'm able to flat foot my RT by semi-standing when stopped. I have the BMW low seat. When my bike had the standard seat, I could get both balls (of the feet!!) on the ground. A lot depends on your "build". If you have, shall we say, large thighs, this might hinder your ability to flat foot.
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I'm 5'10 with a 30" inseam and standard seat. I cannot plant both feet but am comfortable with an improving technique.

 

As a completely new rider you'll want to start with something easier, believe me. After 17 bikeless years, I dropped my RT in my gravel driveway twice the first month I owned it. Perhaps I should have gone with another bike first, but I think my years of riding when younger helped me to change my bad techniques/habits more quickly.

 

Good luck in your decision but no matter what ride safe.

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i'm also 5'8" w/ 30" inseam.

you have many steps to get to that rt. 1100-1200cc bike are NOT for beginers! way to heavy & a dry clutch take some practice over a japanese wet clucth.. if your dead set on a bmw get a 98-00 r1100r. it has the same adjustable seat and aprox riding position as an rt but worlds lighter. add an aeroflow shield for protection. i had one before mt rt and it was a good step. i've had 15+ yrs of riding before the rt and still had ocassional O Sh*t moment. rt are big and heavy. sold it for a 650 vstrom which has the same riding position but is lighter, faster & much more fun. we tour 2up with all the gear at high altitude in colorado with no issues. consider one of those bike or a 650 dual sport but not an rt!

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Hi,

 

I'm 5'9" and my wife is 5'2". We just got 07 RTs, still breaking them in. She rides on the low seat in the low position, I'm the standard seat in the low position. She will have her seat modified to lower it even more, and may need to consider shoe lifts, etc (although in so far as I can see she rides it just fine). I thought about the low seat but you should be aware: Your legs may be a bit cramped as they will be tucked tighter under you, some men find it fine, but I think the low seat is better for women, when you see it and consider your anatomy, and you may be too low to see over the windshield, and not get enough breeze. If you can ride the standard seat, you will be better off.

 

That said, we did just what so many others have recommended, and we did it for the same reasons that have been said: We got Suzuki Cruisers with a low seat (standard, but about 5" less than an RT) and rode them two years before going into the Beemer world. Indeed, both bikes have been down, and I wouldn't want that to happen to my RT.

 

So add one more endorsement for that approach, and for the MSF BRC course as well.

 

One point though, our cruisers actually weigh more than the RTs. The RTs shed some weight on their '05 redesign and the figure I saw up above in the chain is a little heavy. They spec in at 504 lbs dry now, a bit under 600 wet.

 

I get both balls of my feet down, with a enough flex and resilience to control the bike fine. I can scootch a bit and flat foot one side easily, but don't need to.

 

Ride safe!

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BluegrassPicker

5'7" 30" inseam.

You can handle it. BUT - for first bike get something lighter, once over the learning curve, move on up!

My first was v-star 650, Suggest Suzuki SV650 if you are not into cruisers

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I am 5'6 or 5'7, and 29 or 30 inch inseam.

 

I have been riding all my teen to adult years- and thats a lot of years. I have an 800 pound Harley and a 650 pound BMW R1100R.

 

Let me tell you the Harley gets heavier the longer I ride the BMW.. but that is a different story.

 

I second the suggestion of finding a late 90's early 2000's R11xxR. The roadster is a magnificent machine and easy to ride and service. With bags and windshield it is a great sport touring bike.

 

It either is or just seems like it- is lower than the RT. I am short, but moved the seat to mid position and it feels good at stop lights as well as on the long haul.

 

Have fun.

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I'm almost 5'5" with a 28" inseam. There are very few bikes made that I can flat foot so I have learned to live with it. I have rode a little bit of everything and have become very accomplished at horizontal parking especially when I first started riding touring bikes. Now I haven't dropped my bike in a couple of years. I ride two up most of the time and I now ride an 07 RT.

 

The point is go for it because you'll get used to it. Heck if I was 5'8" I'd be in heaven.

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sebjones906

BMW's are tall but can be ridden by people of any height. However that's not your problem. Rejecting a small used $3k Japanese motorcycle to learn and pay dues on and picking a $20K starter kit makes no sense. Would you suggest a Ferrari for a Drivers Ed Class at the local Highschool? confused.gif

Your ego and your arrogance are getting in the way of good judgement. You asked us to be blunt.

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