The Dennis Kirk Blog
Legendary Service... Ask Your Friends - Since 1969
We know how it goes. You know what bike you wanted way before you ever tried it out. You saw it parked at the grocery store, you’ve heard it rumble past your house, and you fell for that bike head over heels. The engine, the chassis; the bike’s perfect. Then, when you went to test it before buying, you found that it was everything you hoped it would be. That is, except for the height. When you straddle the bike, your feet can’t quite touch the ground. You know it might be a bit of a problem, but, the heart wants what it wants, and you buy it anyways. And now, in your garage, you have the perfect bike for a person three inches taller than yourself. Does this narrative sound familiar? Lucky for you, you have options; options less extreme than selling this bike and buying a shorter one. We’ll give you a run down of the best ways to modify your motorcycle for a shorter rider.
This is the place to start. If you are shorter than the average rider, then odds are you are also lighter than the average rider. This means that your bike’s suspension is likely too firm, and needs to be changed anyways! Softening the suspension is a great way to get closer to the ground and can even improve your bike’s performance. If you’ve tried this and it didn’t offer the results that you need, you could look into one or a combination of these other options.
One of the most common options are boots or shoes with thicker soles! You can find tons of motorcycle boots packing super thick soles. These boots can help you gain valuable reach while on your bike, and might even allow you to plant both heels on the ground. Just make sure that you’ll be able to shift effectively and use your pegs in your new boots.
Another of the easiest and most common alterations that riders undertake is to swap seats. It is easy to find specially designed seats that are both shorter and thinner. Thinner aftermarket seats are a quick and easy upgrade that anyone can make on their own. If you want to keep the seat already on your bike, you can have it modified to make it thinner too!
Lowering links are a relatively simple and effective way to decrease your bike’s ride height. You are simply replacing the OEM linkages with longer ones, which allows your bike to sit lower. With this method, you can typically lower your bike as much as 1.5 inches, though this will vary depending on make and model. This method, while effective, is not without its downsides. Lowering links themselves are pretty cheap. But, installing lowering links incorrectly can throw off your motorcycle’s geometry, and this can have negative impacts on the way that your bike will handle and feel. Your suspension will be more likely to bottom out, and you will also have less clearance when turning. Also a lot of you will likely need a new kickstand, as your original one will be a little too tall. Still, this is a popular option for casual riders that won’t be driving too aggressively.
Well, there you have it. All of your best options for modifying your motorcycle to accommodate a shorter rider. As for choosing which combination of these parts and apparel is best for you, well, that will come down to personal preference. But, we are confident that there is something here to benefit each and every one of you. If you have any questions, or advice for your fellow riders, leave it in the comments below!
Mon-Fri: 7am - 8pm Sat & Sun: 7am - 6pm CT