This subject comes up quite often at the shop and all over the internet. “I’m short, how do I ride?” Do I lower my bike? How much? Which bike is best for me because I’m short? While the answer is simple, it’s easier said than done because it takes a little confidence, and the fear of dropping a bike is big for newish riders.
The main issue we hear is that the rider needs to have both feet on the ground to maintain control. While that helps with rider confidence it’s not absolutely necessary to be a competent motorcycle rider. Think about it this way, Dani Pedrosa is 5’2″ and is a fantastic rider.
So, what does this mean for you? Should you lower your bike? Well, no. Lowering a motorcycle adversely affects handling. It makes the motorcycle more difficult to handle overall and can cause unwanted tendencies such as head shake or parts dragging around corners.
The best way to overcome this is confidence. The way one gains confidence on a motorcycle is, guess what, practice!!
There are many ways to help as well:
- Stand next to the motorcycle. Put the kickstand up and throw a leg over. The weight of the rider will compress the suspension and bring the bike closer to the ground. This is instead of sitting on the bike with the kickstand down, which puts the weight of the rider on the kickstand instead of the suspension.
- Find a comfortable seating position when stopped that allows one foot to touch the ground and the other to stay on or near the foot peg. You may find that you will have one foot on the ground while the inside of your knee or thigh is resting on the seat.
- Find a friend with a dirtbike or complete beater that you don’t have to worry about.. Practice getting on and off, starting and stopping, basically riding around the driveway and maneuvering, and you’ll find with a little practice you can be more comfortable. As an extra bonus, learn the proper technique for picking up a dropped bike so if/when it happens you handle it more easily.
- Check out the video below for some help!
Note that these techniques (and many more not covered) can seem uncomfortable at first but with some practice it becomes quite natural. Most of your time on a bike is moving with your feet on the pegs, and the times that you’re stopped, starting/stopping and maneuvering are something you can learn to compensate for and become confident with.
Lastly – consider the task of mastering the height of your bike as just the fist of many you’ll conquer while enjoying riding!
How to Ride a Tall Bike video by April!