Mastering Motorcycle Riding: Tall Bikes for Short Riders

Mastering Motorcycle Riding: Tall Bikes for Short Riders

June 24, 2024

Navigating the world of motorcycles as a short rider can be a daunting challenge, especially when faced with tall bikes that seem designed for riders of more towering stature. However, with the right techniques and a bit of knowledge, even the shortest of riders can confidently and comfortably handle taller motorcycles. This comprehensive guide will delve into the nuances of riding tall bikes as a short rider, offering practical tips and strategies to enhance your riding experience.

Understanding the Challenges

Height and Control

The primary concern for short riders when dealing with tall bikes is the ability to maintain control. When your feet cannot comfortably touch the ground, it can create a sense of instability, particularly when stopping or maneuvering at low speeds. This lack of control can be intimidating and potentially dangerous if not addressed properly.

Confidence and Safety

Confidence is key in riding any motorcycle, and feeling unstable can severely undermine a rider's confidence. Safety is another critical issue, as the inability to plant your feet firmly on the ground can increase the risk of tipping over or losing balance, especially in emergencies.

Choosing the Right Bike

Seat Height and Motorcycle Design

When selecting a motorcycle, it's essential to consider the seat height. Some manufacturers offer models specifically designed with a lower seat height, which can make a significant difference for shorter riders. Additionally, bikes with a narrower seat profile can also help, as they allow your legs to reach the ground more easily.

Suspension Adjustments

Modern motorcycles often come with adjustable suspensions, which can be lowered to better accommodate shorter riders. By modifying the suspension, you can achieve a lower seat height without compromising the bike's performance.

Customizing Your Motorcycle

Lowering Kits

For riders who already own a tall bike, lowering kits are available. These kits can reduce the seat height by a few inches, making it easier for short riders to manage their motorcycles. It's important to have these kits installed by a professional to ensure safety and maintain the bike's handling characteristics.

Seat Modifications

Customizing the seat is another effective way to lower the seat height. A professional upholsterer can reshape the seat to reduce its height and make it narrower, facilitating better reach for short riders.

Riding Techniques for Short Riders

Mounting and Dismounting

One of the first challenges short riders face is mounting and dismounting a tall bike. Here are some tips to make this process smoother:

  • Use a Mounting Block: A small step stool or mounting block can provide the extra height needed to get on and off the bike comfortably.
  • Swinging the Leg Over: Stand on the footpeg with your left foot while holding the handlebars firmly. Swing your right leg over the seat in a controlled manner to mount the bike.

Starting and Stopping

Starting and stopping a tall bike can be intimidating for short riders. Here's how to do it safely:

  • Use One Foot: Instead of trying to touch the ground with both feet, focus on planting one foot firmly on the ground. Shift your weight to one side to stabilize the bike.
  • Choose Smooth Surfaces: Whenever possible, start and stop on smooth, level surfaces to avoid unnecessary challenges.

Balancing at Low Speeds

Balancing a tall bike at low speeds requires practice and confidence. Consider the following techniques:

  • Use the Rear Brake: Apply gentle pressure to the rear brake to stabilize the bike when moving slowly.
  • Feather the Clutch: Practice feathering the clutch to maintain a smooth and controlled ride at low speeds.

Improving Riding Skills

Practice Regularly

Regular practice is essential for mastering any motorcycle, especially for short riders on tall bikes. Find a safe, open area to practice mounting, dismounting, starting, stopping, and balancing at low speeds.

Take a Riding Course

Consider enrolling in a motorcycle riding course specifically designed for shorter riders. These courses often provide tailored instruction and tips to help you manage tall bikes more effectively.

Ride with Experienced Riders

Riding with more experienced riders can provide valuable insights and practical tips. They can offer guidance on techniques and adjustments that have worked for them, enhancing your own riding skills.


Riding a tall bike as a short rider may seem challenging, but with the right approach and techniques, it is entirely achievable. By selecting the right bike, making necessary adjustments, and honing your riding skills, you can confidently and safely enjoy the thrill of motorcycling regardless of your height. Embrace the challenge, practice diligently, and soon, you'll find that riding a tall bike as a short rider is not only possible but also immensely rewarding.

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