15 October 2012

My girls!

I thought it might be time for a quick word on motorcycles for short girls. At slightly under 5'3 1/2" (yes, I claim that 1/2"), I had a hard time finding an adventure/dual sport bike to fit me. I sat on every possible bike and attempted to pick them up. The sales guy at Fay Myers just shook his head, and then put me on a KTM 990 for shits and grins. That was embarrassing. Most bikes were too tall for me to get anything but my tip toes on the ground, and most bikes had geometry that just didn't work either. Although you can lower many bikes, shave down seats, raise and swivel handlebars, nothing was working.

The Red Devil before I put some body and upholstery work into her. I bondo-ed the huge dent in the tank and painted it and the side covers, and hand painted and stitched a new leather seat. She's totally sweet now!

I had started off on my little 1980 Honda CM200T. I couldn't flat foot her either, but at barely over 300 lbs., it wasn't a problem. The bigger bikes, though, weigh a whole lot more and the weight is higher. The KLRs and KTMs are relatively nice and light, but have seat heights over 33". Motorcycles are made for men, not short women.

Then I discovered the BMW F650GS. One can buy the bike factory lowered and with a lower seat; I can flat foot bikes like that easily. Buying a used bike, however, I didn't have the best of luck finding one. So I bought a standard bike that actually had a taller than stock seat. I LOVE that seat, and didn't want to lose it for a shorter one, so I opted for lowering the bike with 1" Kouba Lowering Links. I also added 3/4" handlebar risers, and though I can just get the balls of my feet on the ground, I have stopped dumping it regularly. Well, if I'm not out on trails I don't dump it anymore....

My Girls--Thumper the Ice Queen and The Red Devil

I'm shopping dirt/trail bikes now. I've been reading a thread on ADV Rider about short women and their bikes, and I've put together a short list of bikes to look at. This summer I sat on a woman's Honda CRF230 and really liked it. (she sat on my GS and loved it too. I don't think her husband was too happy about that...) The CRF and a couple others are at the top of my list. When I get around to narrowing it down and buying a new bike, I'll let you know what I chose.

If you're a short girl looking for a bike, or a guy looking for a bike for your short girl, check out the ADV Rider thread. It's called "The Shortypants Thread: We are short women and this is what we ride." It has great bike info for shorty girls, and inspiring pictures of woman riders of all ages.

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