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Sport-touring bike for short riders


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I have a buddy that's short (like 27" inseam short), and he's looking for a bike with decent weather protection, luggage, and ergonomics to do some "sport" touring. He had a Honda ST1300, but his toes would just barely reach the ground, and he just never could get comfortable on it. Sold it and bought a *cough* Harley *cough*. Now he can reach the ground, but has lost the weather protection and the fun of the sport-touring style.


Any suggestions for short bikes for short people?


Also, I've comments referring to "lowering" a bike. Thoughts on that?



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My wife is 5'5" tall and she can flat foot our R1200ST and her F800ST. Both bikes, IMO, meet the criteria that you have set forth.


Lowering is possible on the R1200ST but I know that there were some issues of hard parts touching as well as a geometry problem with the rear shock/swingarm hitting each other.

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VFR with Givi luggage fitted. The pre-VTEC models have a fairly low seat height and much more importantly, a pretty narrow seat that is quite comfy. Weather protection will be better than the HD although more breezy. Weather protection is over rated in my opinion anyway. If you are not wearing good gear, you're gonna get wet anyway, ditto with cold. Heated grips can be fitted from the after market for less than $100. There is adequate alternator capacity to run either a set of driving lights or a Gerbings jacket liner but not both. The only "issue" with these bikes is the voltage regulator and it can be fixed fairly easily by substituting a Yamaha R1 piece. Requires a little work in re enlarging one mounting hole and some crimp connectors but nothing serious.


The rest of the bike's ergos are fine. A set of Heli bars and a taller windscreen might be in order as there is a pretty good reach to the bars for a shorter person. The bike fits me like a glove, stock so I changed nothing. 6 to 800 mile days in the saddle are cake. Power wise, it will blow away any 11XX bike with the exception of an 1100S where it is about par. 115HP and 520 lbs wet weight give it a top end of about 140 or so, true, sans bags and handling is quite good with more than adequate stick and decent factory suspension although the front end could use a little help in the damping department. A lighter rider will benefit from custom springs and modified dampers as, typical of any of the Japanese forks, too much high speed compression damping and a little limp in the rebound department.

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The F800ST is available in a lowered frame/ low seat version.


Like has been said before, RTs can be lowered by changing the shocks/springs. A low seat is also available.

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Another vote for the R1200ST, if you can find one. I'm not tall, but can easily flat-foot at a stop in the higher seat setting. More importantly, every time I ride that bike (my wife usually does), I have to say "Wow! this is a fantastic bike!"

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What Harley did he buy? A friend of mine just bought one of these & he can't get the smile off his face. He said the power & handling is all you could ask for. His other bike is a CBR1100xx if that means anything.





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I am 5/6 and ride a 98 R1100RT with seat in the low position.I also wear ridingboots with a higer heal.

I can place my feet flat on the road without any problem.

keep riding.

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I bought my R1150R from a young lady who was about 5 ft. 5 in. tall. She had the low seat and did very well on the bike. I can't recall if she could put her feet down flat or not, but she was stable on the bike and rode it to Alaska and back. I put the high seat on it ( I'm 5' 11" ) and it's perfect. I'd almost rather ride it than my RT on long trips. (even with the stock seat..!!)

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We have two short folks on the motor unit and bought the short seat for them on our 07 RTPs. One dude, love him to death, but he be short, but with the lower seat by BMW he can put both feet down.

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Tough question, Tom. I am a shortie too. I ride a 1200RT with the stock low seat. I can tip toe the bike or flat foot one side. If I recall correctly, I measured my inseam at 29".


I haven't sat on a lowered F800, but the stock bike with the low seat feels about the same at the RT so far as seat height goes. Main difference to me was weight.


I believe that the naked R bike low seat height is slightly lower (about a half inch, I think) than the RT low seat and there are after market fairings that can be added for wind protection (I think Parabellum is one). I think Al's suggestion is a good one.


I think the most important thing is to feel comfortable on the bike. I found it difficult to find a lowered bike to try and I finally just sucked it up and bought what I wanted and figured I would have it lowered if I felt I needed it after some time in the saddle. (I have to admit that I was pretty worried about dropping it tongue.gif)


Now, I am not sure that I want to lower the bike. I would want to know how it will affect the handling.


I wish your friend good luck finding the right bike.

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I am 5'2" and ride an R1200ST with a low seat option. Even the "regular" seat at the low position give you 30,7. I do not flat foot but I touch enough to be very comfortable. Let us not forget that the R12ST seat is much narrower than the FJR seat making the reach to the ground easier. The F800 with the low seat is higher than the R1200ST with the low seat but you can buy a "lowering kit"

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I forgot... If he wants more power, a 4 cylinder and does not mind the added weight (I did, so I switched...) the K1200RS in the low position is also a good option.

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