If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to swing a leg over taller motorcycles or tip-toeing at stoplights, you know the challenges short riders can face. But fear not – there are plenty of awesome low seat height motorcycles that feel custom-fit for riders under 5’5″.
For our purposes here, we’ll define a “short rider” as having an inseam of 30 inches or shorter. At this height and below, standard bikes can become downright daunting with their lofty steps-through and high-up riding positions. Not being able to firmly plant both feet on the ground at stops is unsteady and uncomfortable.
Reaching controls like rear brake pedals, gear shifters, and handlebars is also difficult when you’re stretched to tiptoes. Some motorcycles quite literally become physically intimidating for petite pilots. The good news is, plenty of manufacturers recognize this issue and offer some of the best motorcycles for short riders.
Best Motorcycles for Short Riders: Choose Your Favorite
Between factory-built models with low seats already and aftermarket lowering mods, short riders have way more options than ever before.
We’ll cover some top picks for the best motorcycles for short riders across popular styles like standards, cruisers, and off-road bikes. Everything mentioned has a low seat height of 32 inches or under for maximum comfort and confidence on two wheels.
Standards & Naked Bikes: Laidback Speedsters
When it comes to low seat height motorcycles, standards and naked bikes really deliver. These upright riding bikes tend to feel much more approachable for short riders.
1. Yamaha MT-07
- Seat height: 31.7 inches
The MT-07 is one of the top picks as the best motorcycles for short riders in the standards and naked bike category.
Coming in with a seat height of just 31.7 inches, this bike feels super approachable whether you’re on the shorter side or not. As an added bonus, the MT-07 is also quite lightweight at under 400 pounds, so it’s very maneuverable zipping through town.
The parallel twin engine pumps out a smooth 74 horsepower, which is plenty for some spirited riding on your favorite backroads.
But it’s really not a wild bucking bronco – the Yamaha’s handling feels planted and confidence-inspiring, even for new riders. The riding position is more leaned forward than a cruiser, but not extreme like a full-on sport bike.
2. Triumph Street Twin
- Seat height: 29.5 inches
Another favorite standard is the Triumph Street Twin. It follows the Bonneville’s retro aesthetic but with modern enhancements like an updated 900cc parallel twin motor.
The Street Twin keeps things real by offering a low seat just a hair over 29.5 inches off the ground. Thanks to the low seat, most riders can comfortably get a foot down at stops even without aftermarket lowering options.
The upright ergonomics are also very newbie-friendly. Around town and on the highway, the Street Twin soaks up bumps beautifully from its Showa forks up front. It’s a classic-meets-modern cruiser that’s equal parts smooth and torque-tastic.
Cruising Low: Bikes for Shorter Legged Folks
Cruisers are often a great choice for short riders since many models have lower seats to begin with. Two top contenders stand out as real crowd-pleasers.
3. Honda Rebel 500
- Seat height: 27.2 inches
The lil’ Honda Rebel has got to be one of the best motorcycles for short riders on the cruising scene.
Its seat sits a chill 27.2 inches off the ground – that’s barely off the pavement! This low-slung position makes the Rebel super approachable, even for folks who may not be able to flat-foot other rides.
It’s not just looks though – this Rebel packs a punch with its 475cc parallel twin motor. You’ll have no problem merging onto the highway or keeping up with traffic.
Honda’s unibody construction also helps keep the Rebel light on its feet at just 418 pounds. Trust me, when your feet can solidly touch down, it just feels way more stable zinging around.
4. Indian Scout Bobber
- Seat height: 25.5 inches
Now if you want something with more old-school attitude, check out the Scout Bobber.
It’s one of the coolest cruisers out there with its battleship gray metal and swept-back mustard yellow seat. The Bobber may only pack a modest v-twin, but it has gobs of torquey grunt off the line.
At a svelte 25.5 inches, the Scout’s saddle is lower than my kitchen counter. No stilts required! Its forward footpegs also allow for a natural rider triangle. If you want a petite cruiser with big personality, this Bobber is the one.
Small but Mighty: Compact Sports Bikes
For the best motorcycles for short riders in the sports bike category, downsizing can be a smart move. These pint-sized missiles pack thrills without overwhelming new riders.
5. Kawasaki Ninja 400
- Seat height: 31.9 inches
This little Ninja is perfect for riders just dipping their toes into sports bikes. Coming in under 400lbs and with a seat height of 31.9″, it’s remarkably approachable. The parallel twin engine provides plenty of zip without being too crazy.
The ergonomics have also been designed with new riders in mind. Handlebars are within comfortable reach and pegs are lower so it’s easy to plant both feet for confidence at stops. Yet it still handles like a proper sport bike once you open it up on back roads!
6. KTM RC390
- Seat height: 31.9 inches
For international flair, check out the RC390. This feisty Austrian will scoot you through canyons at pace yet remains very controllable, even for shorter statures. At just 327lbs with low-slung ergos, you can effectively wrangle it between your legs.
The seat also sits low at only 31.9″, allowing new shredders to reach controls sans Gallagher brother-esque height. Its single-cylinder motor provides lively acceleration too. Both bikes prove you don’t need massive machines to feel the rush.
Getting Off Road: Short Riders Hit the Dirt
While dual-sports and adventure bikes tend to have taller stats, some options open up the dirt for shorter folks.
7. Kawasaki Versys-X 300
- Seat height: 32.1 inches
The Versys-X gets my vote for one of the best motorcycles for short riders looking to go off pavement. Coming in at only 32.1″ tall, it’s super approachable thanks to its compact lightness. Don’t let the modest 300cc engine size fool you – this thing is a hooligan both on and off road.
Its long suspension and rugged construction mean crushing trails won’t crush your new confidence. Switching between street and dirt modes is as easy as punching a button too.
Whether navigating forest paths or highway miles, the Versys is super capable with its sturdiness.
8. BMW G 310 GS
- Seat height: 32.3 inches
BMW brought their prestigious off-road smarts to the mini moto segment with the G 310 GS. Its seat sits low at only 32.3″, so shorter riders can easily manage rev-bombing whoops or wrangling the bike between legs in tricky terrain.
Agile handling means flicking it side to side through the sticks is a breeze. An upright ergonomic design also promotes comfort on longer dual-sport days. Best of all, its thump provides more-than-adequate power for grins in the dirt.
How to Customize a Motorbike for Short Riders
With some basic mods, you can tailor just about any bike into one of the best motorcycles for short riders. A few adjustments can make a big difference in ergonomics and control.
- Replace the Seat
- Get Lower Links and Shocks
- Consider Handlebar Risers
- Adjust Your Pegs and Controls
- Add Comfort-Focused Accessories
Replace the Seat
Replacement seats can shave 1-3″ depending on brand. It may feel trivial, but those extra inches unlock loads more rides for shorty stats. Suspension adjusting also subtly squishes space between asphalt and pegs.
Lowering links are another cheapish tactic at around $100-200 a pop. They basically shorten stock linkage for a lower stance. For bigger droops, aftermarket shock absorbers tailored for height-challenged hustlers work wonders.
Get Lower Links and Shocks
Items like lowered suspension links or progressive-rate shocks can help lower seat height a solid 1-3 inches from stock. Check for any handling impacts before ordering.
Consider Handlebar Risers
For riders who feel stretched out, raised bars relocated a few inches closer can help achieve a more upright and natural riding position.
Adjust Your Pegs and Controls
Forward-mounted footpegs better align your body posture. Adjusting brake and clutch levers an inch inward also enhances control ergonomics.
Add Comfort-Focused Accessories
Use grips with extra padding and vibration-damping seat covers. They are not just for comfort and aesthetic purposes. They directly improve ride comfort over time.
With some simple tweaks, any motorcycle can be tailored for smaller stature. Don’t hesitate to modify; it might unlock a whole new world of two-wheeled joy otherwise inaccessible.
FAQs about Best Motorcycles for Short Legs
What motorcycle has the shortest seat height?
The lowest motorcycle seat height on the market for a full-sized bike is the Harley Softail Slim at just 605 mm with a rider on board.
Which bike is good for 5.3′ height?
Hero Moto Corp HF Deluxe has a saddle height of 805 mm, a 5.3 ft tall person can ride this bike and there would not be any issues because the bike is light in weight as compared to other bikes.
Which bike is best for 4.9′ height?
We would suggest Bajaj Avenger bikes for your mentioned height (4.9 feet) as they have low seat height and wider tires for better balancing. You can also consider the Mahindra Gusto scooter as it has seat height adjustable features, which can be adjusted from 735 mm to 770 mm.
Does height matter when riding a motorcycle?
There’s no height requirement for riding a motorcycle, and folks who are a little lower to the ground can have just as much fun tearing up the roads and talking smack on their motorcycle intercoms as taller individuals can. However, being a shorter rider does require finding a bike that’s the right height for you.