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Girls I need some help....

  #1  
Old 06-12-2006, 07:52 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 209
Default Girls I need some help....

I am doing some research for my sister. She is about 5'3" and is looking to get a sportbike, but obviously is concerned about seat height.

Can I get some feedback from some of the girls who are her hieght as to what you ride, any changes you made to accomodate your height, etc.

Right now she is considering a Buell Blast because the seat hieght can be adjusted down to 28 inches. But I think she would prefer a 600 cc sportbike.

Thanks....

 
  #2  
Old 06-13-2006, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Posts: 605
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

I'm 5'8" and ride a ZX6R. I'm fortunate that with a 32" inseam (and then the added 1.5" or so from my riding boots), I can nearly flatfoot on probably 3/4 of sportbikes.

I've heard plenty of girls who are... ahem.... vertically challenged have good luck with bikes such as the Kawi ZX650 and the Suzuki SV650 (I wish Honda made something to fit into this category). Also, the Ninja 500 or the Suzuki GS500 have lower seat heights. If she's a first time rider, she's best to begin on one of those 500's, or even a 250. Try to steer her away from beginning on a 600cc Supersport.

The Buell Blast is also a good, forgiving little bike, and definitely well suited to shorter girls (a friend of mine who's barely 4'11" started on one of those).

And there are other ways to gain a bit of a height advantage, regardless of what bike she ends up with. A good, quality pair of riding boots (such as some of the women's styles offered by SIDI) can give up to two inches of height. The more steady footing she has, the more confident she'll be in her riding ability. I have the Teknic Freestyle -- it's similar in styling to the original Icon Superduty boots, but the sole on them is VERY thick/good traction, and gives me about 1.5" in height.

Also, on most bikes, the seat can be "shaved." It's a relatively simple process involving taking off the seat cover, and literally shaving down the foam padding, then re-covering it. This can reduce seat height by up to 2" in some cases.

Regardless of what bike she ends up with, try to steer her away from lowering the bike. Those brilliant little bike engineers/designers made that suspension height what it is in order for the bike to perform optimally. When you mess with that height, you compromise performance, handling, and ultimately safety.

Good luck!
 
  #3  
Old 06-13-2006, 02:21 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,551
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

This is a constant thread. There are quite a few in this forum you can read up about. I'm 5'2" and didn't lower my bike, just did the suspension and rode with boots that had a larger heel/sole. Now used to it, so I don't use those boots anymore. It all takes time.
 
  #4  
Old 06-29-2006, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location:
Posts: 20
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

I highly recommend the Kawasaki EX500. Of the five bikes I've had, I've got to say the ex500 is the best. It's stock height is perfect for my 5'2" frame (about 29-30" seat height" - it's light, agile, and has a good, not-so-aggressive seating position.

See this review from motorcycle.com: http://www.motorcycle.com/mo/mckaw/00ex500.html

My '02 EX500 has been nothing but reliable for me - however, keep up on the general maintenance (oil change, clean the air filter, charge the battery & maintain water level). It's been easy to work on, easy to access - for the most part you can do all the gen. maint. yourself. The only thing I've had a little trouble with is having the needle get stuck up in the float - but I think that's partially my fault for running the fuel down so low that the ick got through and blocked the needle from sliding down. And the paint on the front forks, mirrors, and engine case is chipping off here and there - not thrilled by the paint - but chipped paint doesn't really affect the performance, now does it?....Otherwise, it's been a great bike.

I've just purchased a bigger, faster bike to replace her - but I'll tell ya, I'm having a very, very hard time with the idea of getting rid of the EX5...probably won't.

[IMG]local://upfiles/8887/F41B098F226E4319AD2E0C807614D4E5.jpg[/IMG]
 
  #5  
Old 07-03-2006, 08:40 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location:
Posts: 1,615
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

Im not female but im going to reply to this anyways. I lowered my bike and it handles just fine, almost no change what so ever. Other than it being a little bit lower thats about it. So whatever you hear about it messing up your suspension is all jibberish
 
  #6  
Old 07-04-2006, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 72
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

I know, and it's a bit irritating that a person who's 5 INCHES taller than me is insisting bikes won't handle right when they're lowered. Of course if she rode my bike it wouldn't be just right cause she'd be too big for it.

If you don't happen to be the size the engineers designed the bike for, it's only proper to resize it to fit you.

-Susan
'04CBR600F4i
(lowered and I love it)
 
  #7  
Old 07-05-2006, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Posts: 605
Default RE: Girls I need some help....


ORIGINAL: The Ant

I know, and it's a bit irritating that a person who's 5 INCHES taller than me is insisting bikes won't handle right when they're lowered. Of course if she rode my bike it wouldn't be just right cause she'd be too big for it.

If you don't happen to be the size the engineers designed the bike for, it's only proper to resize it to fit you.

-Susan
'04CBR600F4i
(lowered and I love it)
It's absolutely the truth. They built the bike at that height for a reason -- for OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE. It may be that you don't notice a big difference because you're not riding the bike to it's limits (don't mean that as a criticism of your riding, I mean it in the sense that very FEW of us will ever ride our bikes to their full potential, unless we're at the track each weekend, REALLY pushing it....) Conversely, if you're going to be at the drag strip, rather than carving the twisties, lowering the bike will HELP rather than hurt your performance.

Yes, there are ways to lower a bike to LESSEN the effects, but it still affects your cornering. And quite honestly, if those little brainy bike engineers are engineering things with a particular "size" in mind, it's going to be more for shorter/smaller people (most MotoGP racers are built like jockeys -- under 5'5" and barely 120 lbs soaking wet). This is why oftentimes bigger guys will have their suspension/pre-load re-calibrated to their size/weight.

Other considerations.....

- Lowering the bike = losing ground clearance = not the same max lean angle can be acheived
- Altering the center of gravity of the bike makes it less responsive
- Bottoming out on uneven pavement and speed bumps
- Depending on how much the bike is lowered, the sidestand will need to be chopped and re-welded in order to be effective (if you slam a bike, and leave the sidestand stock height, the bike will stand almost upright, and will be prone to tipping quite easily)

I have plenty of friends who have their bikes lowered, and more often than not, they end up raising them back up pretty quickly. If all other options have ben exhausted (i.e. shaving the seat, buying riding boots with a higher heel, etc...) and you DO do it, you really need to take the time to reacquaint yourself with your bike. And make sure it's done RIGHT (i.e. lowering both the front and back the same distance so it remains balanced).
 
  #8  
Old 07-05-2006, 07:42 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location:
Posts: 1,615
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

I doubt anyone in the world accept for racers, runs the bikes to their full potentials. Depending on tires and weight of the person. No one does.
 
  #9  
Old 07-06-2006, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 72
Default RE: Girls I need some help....

I was happy to see you soften the "never ever" stance to "if you do, do it right".

I am a competant enough rider (no offense taken), but I really like knowing I will never outgrow this bike, it will always be more than I can ride to it's fullest potential. The frame's not going to flex taking a sweeper at speed (like my old Seca), and it's wayyyy lighter and more nimble than my Ninja was. Two finger braking, wow....try an old BMW with drum brakes for excitement.

I do have to be careful with the sidestand, but have never bottomed on any bumps or potholes.

If a person is racing or hitting footpegs, then no, they're not going to want to lower the bike. But for a smaller shorter rider, it's the cat's meow.

I guess I'm trying to make the point that a tall person shouldn't be so adamant about how lowering a bike will ruin it - try putting a 5" block on your seat and ride around town, paddle around in a gravel parking lot, ...yeah it can be done, but it's just not optimum. Put your tippy toe on a slick spot or leaf at a light and over you'll go sooner or later.

And if a person's confidence goes up by being able to touch the ground solidly, then they'll be a better rider.

-Susan
'04CBR600F4i
 
  #10  
Old 07-06-2006, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Posts: 605
Default RE: Girls I need some help....


ORIGINAL: The Ant

I was happy to see you soften the "never ever" stance to "if you do, do it right".

I guess I'm trying to make the point that a tall person shouldn't be so adamant about how lowering a bike will ruin it - try putting a 5" block on your seat and ride around town, paddle around in a gravel parking lot, ...yeah it can be done, but it's just not optimum. Put your tippy toe on a slick spot or leaf at a light and over you'll go sooner or later.

And if a person's confidence goes up by being able to touch the ground solidly, then they'll be a better rider.

-Susan
'04CBR600F4i
I guess it's been drilled into me for so long about how horrible it is to lower a bike (with the data to back it up) that I've just developed a very strong stance against it. It just seems like an easy out many women do, without doing it properly or researching other options, and I'd hate to see someone do it half-assed and endanger themselves as a result. My feelings on the issue don't have anything to do with my height (though I consider myself lucky in that respect since it's probably not something I'll have to contend with).

I do agree having stable footing is an ABSOLUTE must, and can boost (or east away at) one's confidence... no doubt. That's why I've also always been quite adamant about recommending proper footwear (as you said, stepping on a wet leaf or a slick spot and *PPOF* you can be flat on your side before you know it... ask me how I know ) with non-skid, oil-resistant soles, too.
 
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