Top 3 Challenges for Smaller Motorcycle Riders

Until the last decade or so, the vast majority of motorcyclists were men. As a result, bikes were built mostly for larger, taller people. Because the percentage of women riders is increasing so quickly, major motorcycle manufacturers are scrambling to capture their new market. However, the vast majority of bikes are still built with taller, heavier men in mind. Fortunately, nearly all motorcycles can be modified. If you’re a smaller rider and new to motorcycles, there are challenges that you need to be aware of when testing bikes.

Bike Testing Tips

Before buying a bike, take your time to get a feel for each one and how it fits you. Each rider is different, and each bike will provide something different based on a rider’s unique traits. Pay special attention to elements such as the seat height, bike weight, and weight distribution.

Seat Height

This may seem obvious, but if you’re new to riding, you may think that the motorcycle is fine as long as you can touch the ground. Not so. In order to be able to competently control the bike, you need to be able to touch the ground flat-footed. Maneuvers such as backing the bike up, stopping quickly, or sitting on an incline in traffic will be a real challenge if you can’t fully touch the ground on both sides.

Bike Weight

This is not a big deal when you’re moving forward and everything is peachy. It becomes an issue when you need to back it out of a parking space, maneuver it in tight spaces or pick it up after you’ve dropped it, which will eventually happen if you ride long enough. You need to be able to control your motorcycle at all times so pick one that you don’t have to manhandle just to get it out of the driveway.

Weight Distribution

This is probably more relevant than how much the bike actually weighs. Women and smaller riders who choose larger bikes may be happier with ones that have the weight distributed toward the bottom rather than the top because the bike will feel lighter. To test this, try rocking the bike back and forth a bit when you’re sitting on it and actually back it in a circle. If it feels too heavy, bulky and awkward, try another one until you find one that feels comfortable.

Maintain Riding Comfort

There are plenty of bikes out there for smaller people who may not have the height and strength advantages of large men. On the flip side, there are plenty of experienced women riders who ride the bigger cruising bikes with no problem at all. What it boils down to is what you’re personally comfortable riding. As long as you can control the bike, that’s all that really matters; the rest is just personal preference. Regardless of whether you choose a big, comfy cruiser or an agile sport bike, happy riding and remember to keep the shiny side up!