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There’s so much amusement involved with riding a motorcycle, but if you feel like the motorcycle doesn’t fit your height, that can take away some of the fun. I’ve ridden dozens of motorcycles and have found the best way to calibrate the right motorcycle for you according to your height.
How tall must you be to ride a bike? A motorcycle rider does not need to be at a specific height. You must be able to use both your toes and your balls on your feet at the same time at a standing still. You run the risk of your motorcycle tipping over if you do not have this ability, or tippy toes.
There are several things you need to consider before you ride someone else’s motorcycle or before you purchase a motorcycle for yourself. The last thing you want to do is ruin someone else’s ride or ruin your own right after you buy it.
Which Size Motorcycle Should I Buy?
You hear the phrase “the size of the motorcycle,” It is usually used to refer to the size and weight of the engine. In this table is how the size of a motorcycle’s engine is determined. “CC’s,” Cubic centimeters. This measures the volume of the motorcycle’s engine cylinders. The larger the volume, or the more CC’s the engine has, the more power and speed capabilities the motorcycle will have.
If you’re a beginner, CC’s are a big factor to consider when choosing a motorcycle. A 750CC motorcycle is the best choice for beginners. A motorcycle in the 250CC – 500CC range is ideal. A motorcycle with too high of CC’s can be dangerous for a beginner because of the amount of power it has; always ride a motorcycle that is within your skill level.
Consider what purpose you will use your motorcycle for It could be for pleasure rides, commuting and touring, or speed racing. Once you know what you’ll be using it for, it’ll be easier to narrow down what type of motorcycle you’ll need. You can choose from cruisers or touring bikes, as well as standard and dual-sport motorcycles.
When you’re looking into a motorcycle purchase, try out a few and notice how easy it is to mount it. Mounting is not an easy task. Chances are you’ll have trouble keeping it balanced if you’re unable to mount it properly.
We now move on to the next test. Test out the balance of the motorcycle while you’re on it. You should ensure that your feet touch the ground at all times. Do you feel confident holding the bike up? A motorcycle is heavy in nature so you’ll have some balancing you’ll need to practice. Don’t get a motorcycle that you struggle keeping up while you’re mounted at a stand still.
Reach forward and grasp the handlebars. Notice any discomfort at this point. Is it too much? Do you feel too close?
If you try these tests while sitting on the motorcycle, you’ll generally be able to feel your comfort level and know if its right for you. It’s okay to have a little discomfort especially if this is your first time. You should be able to balance and reach the controls easily.
How tall should a motorcycle rider need to be?
Even though you really can’t have much of a conversation with a passenger while riding, its still enjoyable having someone there to experience the ride with you. While you’ve been contemplating your own height restrictions with your motorcycle, you may also wonder if there are height restrictions with any passenger you potentially take along with you.
Only five states have specific laws regarding motorcycle passengers: Arkansas, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana and Texas. According to the law, motorcycle passengers must be aged at least 8 years. Other states have no restrictions on motorcycle passengers.
However, you should still exercise caution when deciding on the passengers you will be bringing along.
Always ensure that your passenger is wearing a helmet. Make sure your helmet fits correctly if you plan on bringing children with you. It is less effective if the helmet is not properly fitted. Click here for my recommendation of helmets suitable for motorcycle passengers.
Passenger must be able place their feet on the rear foot pegs. You should not take a passenger who is too short for them to be able to put their feet on them. Untethered feet around hot pipes or spinning wheels is a recipe to disaster.
While riding, make sure that your passenger knows the rules. They should always be able to hold onto you and not let go, especially during turns. You can teach them hand signals, such as when to stop and signal when to hold on.
Is there a maximum weight for motorcycles?
It is possible to add too much weight to your motorcycle. Putting too much weight on your motorcycle compromises it’s functionality.
You’ll be able to see your motorcycle’s specific weight limit in your owners manual if you have one (check out emanualonline.com if you don’t have one; it’s an affordable and quick access resource to your bike specific manual). It is called the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This rating indicates the maximum weight you can safely carry fully loaded.
You’ll also need to look up your motorcycle’s “dry weight” without fluids. To find yours, add about 50 pounds. “wet weight” or the motorcycle’s weight with fluids. Do the following math: GVWR – Wet Weight = Carrying Capacity. Your carrying capacity is the total amount left that your motorcycle can safely carry; this includes you, your passenger, the gear you’re wearing, and any carry-on items.
Some of you may not have your owner’s manual to give you a clear answers. You should never add more than 400 pounds of fuel to your motorcycle.
Best Motorcycles For Short Riders
If you’re a short rider, the height of the motorcycle isn’t the only issue you’ll need to look at. Consider the width of your seat and how it angles your legs when choosing your motorcycle. Aside from needing a shorter motorcycle, you’ll also need one that’s thin and carries a low, centralized weight.
Here’s a list of several motorcycles I’ve noticed to have worked well for short riders:
- Honda CB 300
- Honda Rebel 500
- Harley Davidson SuperLow
- Kawasaki Vulcan S
- Suzuki SV 650
These motorcycles are about 30 inches high, which makes it easy to balance and mount. Don’t let your height stop you from pursing a hobby that brings so much joy. There are many options to get around it.
The Best Motorcycles for Tall Riders
It seems that the average-sized people have all the fun. Everything is tailored to their body type. Accommodations may be hard to find for those who have long legs and the last thing you want is to feel scrunched on a machine you’re driving fast down the highway. For those with tall legs, here are some motorcycle options:
- Honda Africa Twin
- Harley-Davidson Breakout
- Kawasaki Versys650
- Suzuki SV650
- Honda XSR 900
These motorcycles offer a more comfortable ride for taller people, especially if they are six-footers or greater. For tall riders, the most important aspect of a motorcycle is its distance from the seat to the foot pegs. Then, it’s the reach and height and weight of the handle bars that are crucial.
Is there a minimum body weight that can be ridden on a motorcycle? A motorcycle rider does not need to be at least 185 pounds. You will have no problems as long as your balance is good and you know how to maneuver the motorcycle in motion.
Do all motorcycles have to be manual? Most motorcycles are equipped with a manual transmission at this point. There are now more automatic-transmission motorcycles. Buyers will have more options between automatic and manual transmission over the next few years.