How to choose the right motorcycle when you have a small size?

October 28, 2019

It’s not always easy to find the bike of your dreams when you don’t fit standard sizes. Make sure to check the seat height and width as well as the weight of the motorcycle before any purchase..

A model that is too tall or too heavy can be difficult to maneuver at low speed or even to put on its kickstand ! However, it is not necessary to be satisfied with small engines. Some brands even offer lowered versions. Here is an overview of the perfect two-wheelers for small riders.

How to choose the right motorcycle when you have a small size?

Why is it difficult for a small rider to choose a two-wheeler

Let us know what we are talking about. Not all riders, even small ones, have the same problem. It all depends on leg length. The important thing is to be able to put both feet on the ground. Otherwise, some maneuvers become really difficult.

It is not easy, in fact, to control a motorbike or a scooter when stationary or at low speed when the feet barely touch the ground! First, when stopping at a red light or any other intersection, there is a high risk of a fall and an accident.

It is also difficult to maneuver at low speed, especially for U-turns, very tight turns, or even to park. A motorcycle that is too heavy, but above all too high, offers poor handling especially in town where you have to drive slowly, stop frequently and sometimes zigzag between cars.

Choosing the right saddle height for a small size

Ideally, it should be limited to a saddle height of 800 mm. But in reality, saddle height is not everything. This criterion must be associated with the saddle width. You have to measure what is called the arch of the crotch.

Indeed, there are rather low motorcycles, but with a very wide saddle. This is the case for many customs, trails and heavy road.

The problem is that this design forces you to spread your legs and in the end, you no longer touch the ground! We must also consider the controls on the handlebars and feet, such as the rear brake control and the gear selector..

Some customs have a very wide handlebars and a selector very far, making it even more difficult to drive.

It will be necessary to ensure total weight of the two-wheeler, because if we only benefit from a weak anchorage to the ground when stationary, it will be difficult for us to maneuver a too heavy machine.

But some tall machines, which peak around 870 mm, nevertheless have a relatively light weight.

Generally, the more the displacement increases, the more the weight and the height of the saddle increase. But this rule is not always true !

Adapting your motorcycle when you are small

Manufacturers of two-wheelers are well aware of the difficulty for small riders, especially women, to find the ideal motorcycle. There are therefore many models designed with a low saddle..

There are also special lowered saddles for small sizes on motorcycles of certain brands..

Other solution : decrease the size of the saddle yourself. It is tailor-made by choosing to reduce the thickness of the foam and make the saddle narrower. You will have to call in a cellar craftsman and that is not cheap. Especially since reducing the thickness of the saddle means reducing cushioning and therefore comfort.

It’s up to you to see if you want to focus on aesthetics by necessarily opting for the motorcycle model of your dreams, or if you prefer practicality and comfort which will not be luxury on a daily basis !

Some riders also play on the softer rear shock so that the bike sinks more when seated on it. But the shock absorber then becomes less effective and road holding can be affected.

Playing on the suspensions is an alternative. We then use the lowering kit that fits on some models. This kit allows you to change a part – the suspension rod or the shock absorber base depending on the model – to reduce the saddle height by up to 50 mm.

A small selection of motorcycles suitable for small riders

Riders who are less than five feet tall may have difficulty finding a suitable two-wheeler. The 750-800 cm3 allow to keep a certain lightness. Although there is not a wide choice for small riders, here is a small selection of perfectly suited types of motorcycles.

Turn to customs

Customs have the advantage of having a very low saddle, but they will be uncomfortable and rather heavy. This is the case of the Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883 or the Kawasaki Vulcan 650 S for example.

Favor the roadster

Some motorcycles offer a lower saddle for smaller riders: the Yamaha MT07, BMW F800r, Kawazaki Z650 Mix. There is also a model halfway between the custom and the roadster. This is the case of the Ducati Scrambler 800 or the Triumph Bonneville 900 T100.


For speed enthusiasts, look to the Suzuki GSX 600, Honda CBR500R or Kawazaki Ninja 400, which are both super low and super light, but can get uncomfortable on long trips..

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