Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Question/Special Request for info from the MPOD followers!

I have a special request from Matt for a bike for his wife.  I have to admit that I'm a bit stumped on this one.  My wife is 5'0" also and I can't think of a bike that would fit her frame to the specs that Matt is looking for.  Any bike that might work would still have to be lowered quite a bit.  Anyone have any suggestions?  You can either e-mail me (and I'll post it) or put it in the comments! 

        My wife is a big fan of motorcycles.  Being 5'0" tall and 100 lbs she's pretty limited in selection, even more limited when you find out she loves sport bikes and isn't very interested in much else.  Cruisers are definitely out, and other categories of bikes typically don't meet her performance and beauty/form requirements.  The biggest bike she's owned is a lowered Kawasaki Ex500.   She's ready for her next ride, Kawasaki redesigned the 250 and dropped the 500.  We're having a lot of trouble finding anything that wouldn't need to be lowered so much that the handling is compromised, but still has more power than the lawnmower.  (no offense to smaller bikes, we love them, handling is unmatched, we're just looking for something specific here)

I'm very much a fan of your blog, and am wondering if you're willing to ask your audience for recommendations on what her options are.  Are there 500cc or greater sport/sporty bikes out there that a little'n like my wife can handle?  Once she gets moving she's a highly skilled rider, but she needs to feel comfortable stopping, walking, and maneuvering the bike with her little frame.  What are we missing?

Thanks a ton!,
         Matt (and Beth, though she doesn't know it yet)
         from Fort Collins, Colorado

Really, I can't say enough how impressed I am with the diversity and craftsmanship of the bikes you post.  It's been a continuous source of inspiration for my own projects.  Thank you.


  1. the kawi 500 is a great bike that seems to fit the bill well enough. if not, maybe the suzuki gs500 (it's rated as a bit less power than the kawi 500 though) possibly moving over to a dual sport/hypermotard would work out well? like was said, either way it'd need to be lowered

  2. That Triumph Bonneville SE with the little alloy wheels seems pretty low... maybe that would work?

  3. As a shorter gal who's also uninterested in cruisers, I found slim pickings in the midsized bike department.

    Inseam matters more than height, and most midsized bikes have stock seat heights between 30 and 33 inches. Most, but not all, short(er) riders can make that work.

    I ended up with an SV650, which I love with all my heart. The stock seat height is 32 inches. My inseam is 30 inches. I had a custom seat made for me, had the bike's suspension adjusted for my weight, and adjusted the controls to fit. These three adjustments caused me to go from tippy-toes to flat-foot without lowering the suspension.

    Another consideration is center of gravity. The Versys has a "manageable" seat height but I found it on the top heavy side with a full tank of gas. The polar opposite is the BMW F650GS with it's gas tank under the seat.

    The SV650, Gladius, Ninja 650, are all worth checking out. If she's feeling ambitious, the Triumph Street Triple is also surprisingly low, and is lighter in stock form than the Japanese offerings.

    My advice would be for her to sit on as many as she can until she finds one that sings to her. If she can reach with tippy-toes, you'll probably be able to make it work.

    Good luck in your search!

  4. The Suzuki Savage or Kawi Eliminator (if they still build them) should do the trick. No big bikes, but hey who need cc's anyway... The only major cc that comes to mind is the HD Sportster... happy shopping.

  5. Thank you all so far. Keep the good advice flowing!

  6. Once a person is rolling, stature is unimportant. Pick out a bike she really likes and adapt a set of those automatic "training wheels" that have been used on luxo tourers. Being able to use both feet on the controls simultaneously while stopped could have other advantages.

  7. How about a Buell Blast with the "low" seat installed. These bikes are easy to find inexpensively with low mileage on them. Just avoid Rider's Edge bikes.

  8. I'd like to get a more specific picture on your engine performance requirements. Too often marketing paints displacement as a general answer for a bike's performance.

    I too am I small person--though I'm 5'5" and 125lbs, and I only wanted a 125cc bike for commuting. I love my 78 CB125, and research has led me to look at a lot of vintage Honda standards. My chassis was also worked to take a twin 125/175 engine, a smaller version of the famous Dream 305, which is my suggestion. There is alot of room for improvement; but that's half the fun.

  9. OOH, I reread the first paragraph. A two-stroke 125-250, say from the 80s or a grey market model, like an aprilia would be good. But I do want to point out that your goals and the goals of a sport bike do run counter.

  10. Small block Guzzis: From the V50 Monza through to the V7 Classic. All good "sporty" bikes for those of shorter stature.

  11. There's been some good answers here! The Older smaller (but georgous!) small block Guzzis might indeed work. Someone also mentioned the new Bonneville with the alloy wheels. I checked that bike out and it is indeed pretty low , can be made into a really good performer and looks the bomb. And don't sell the sportster short. With all the Buell developed go-fast parts they can be built to go. I've also seen some nice lowered SV650's. If you have some $$ you could look for an Aprilia RS250 that has been grey marketed in but they come with a big maintenance schedule.


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