Harley Davidson Forums banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
FREE THINKER
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just a general question as to how some of you vertically challenged riders out there go by taking test rides. Example: You like the look of the seventry-two and it feels comfortable once ya sit on it but ya can't safely ride or maneuver it because the seat is 28 inches and your under 5'4 or 5'6?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,851 Posts
Just a general question as to how some of you vertically challenged riders out there go by taking test rides. Example: You like the look of the seventry-two and it feels comfortable once ya sit on it but ya can't safely ride or maneuver it because the seat is 28 inches and your under 5'4 or 5'6?
It doesn't matter that you like the looks if you can't safely ride or maneuver it. HD has a lot of bikes that sit lower than their Sportsters. Please keep shopping.
 

·
Just Ride
Joined
·
3,205 Posts
You can lower the ride height with shocks,seat or adjustable lower blocks or kits.

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
951 Posts
Just a general question as to how some of you vertically challenged riders out there go by taking test rides. Example: You like the look of the seventry-two and it feels comfortable once ya sit on it but ya can't safely ride or maneuver it because the seat is 28 inches and your under 5'4 or 5'6?
If there is a bike you like and it doesnt quite fit you.........Talk to the people at the dealership about possible changes so as to MAKE it fit you.
 

·
FREE THINKER
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I understand what you are saying. It is just that through some of my other threads I have started, many have said to rent bikes for 2-3 days or take several test rides to make sure it's the bike for you. Well, it is kinda hard to test ride 'SEVERAL" when maybe only 2 or 3 might fit me enough to take it for a spin, let alone rent it.

I also just used the seventy-two as an example because of it's seat height, for I would never purchase another Sportster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,605 Posts
I'm right at 5' 4"/5"... I ride an 05' XL1200C. I have been looking at other bikes for a couple of months now. I tested out an 05' Heritage. I had to tiptoe it with my boots on. Once underway it was no problem. What was keeping me from putting my foot all the way down? The primary and the exhaust. I rode my Sporty home.

I tested out another bike a few weeks later. It was an 04' Road King. It sat a lie lower but the primary and the exhaust still spread my feet out way to far to be comfortable at stops. Both of those bikes rode exception once underway it was the question of stopping safely with my misses on back.

Then last week I tested another bike... It was a 91' Heritage Special. I threw a leg over it and almost jumped right back off it in amazement. Why? I could flat foot it! The primary wasn't pushing my left leg out and it had V&H long shots on it. They fit the bike so well it should have been factory like that. They tossed a tag on it and away I went! I put 50 miles on it before I realized what I was doing... Lol

Anyway, keep looking, there will be a bike out there that will stir your soul.

BTW we couldn't come to an agreement on the 91' so I rode my Sporty home. Don't get me wrong I love my Sporty but, now that my Misses enjoys riding I would rather have a bike that will fit the both of us better. The Sporty does the job just barely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,062 Posts
you might try re-soling a pair of engineer boots with thicker soles & heels{ala pee wee herman style}:thumbsup
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
I'm in agreement with the majority here. I'm 5'6" and I've ridden everything from dirt bikes, to racing Sportbikes, to metric cruisers and now to Harley's and in all them instances, they all could be changed to fit me as a rider.
So I wouldn't get hung up on whether you can flat foot a big in the show room floor because that would be something you change immediately out the gate at the dealership.

I say go to your dealer when they are having test rides and test ride the bike you want or all the bikes for that matter. Don't be afraid of motorcycles. You have to have confidence when riding otherwise it could bite you hard.

Happy hunting.


Sent from Motorcycle.com App
 

·
Gypsy on Parade
Joined
·
4,777 Posts
I know you think everyone is missing the point. You want to test ride the bikes before you buy, and then customize. One of the dealers we went to while looking for a bike for my wife, offered to change seats out for her to test ride it. I think you mentioned in one of your other posts about going to a ldies only garage party. Bring up your concerns there. They may be willing to put a reduced reach seat on a bike for you to test ride. And, I'm not sure you should give up entirely on a sporty. Something like an 883 Low, with a reduced reach seat may just be what the doctor ordered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,340 Posts
Most of the dealerships now have all of the alternative seats and windshields on the their sales floor upholstered up with the "demo" lettering all over them. The idea is to allow riders to try them. I know that the local dealers here even have fitment days where they encourage riders to come in and get fitted for the correct seat and/or shield.

They have offered to allow me to try the tallboy seat on my E Glide that way.

So, while it may not be enough for your needs, there are seats out there that sit lower than stock by a couple of inches and also are cut narrower in the saddle so you don't have to spread out so much to straddle the bike. If your dealer has that display, I am sure that they would swap one of those demo seats over to the bike you want to test. It only takes 2 minutes to swap a seat. It may help them sell a bike.

Another option would be to diligently shop the used bikes. Used bikes are almost always modified in some way. In fact, a bone stock H-D is one of the hardest to find used. So, if you are willing to shop a few different dealerships and be patient, I would be very surprised if you didn't eventually run upon a bike similar to what you are looking for that has already been lowered.

Don't get caught up in the specific models or production years and it may be easier. For example, if you find a Softail that has been slammed, it doesn't matter if it is a Slim, Heritage, Fatboy or Deluxe. They are pretty much the same bike. You are more interested in the general comfort of the bike and your ability to handle it. You're almost certainly going to swap the bars, seat, etc for your more specific preferences anyway. In other words, you can pretty easily tweak the one you prefer in terms of look and style to sit just like the one you find that fits you. They all have the same skeleton.

You never know. You may find a good, used bike that is already mostly the way you want it!!!! :) You are really the ideal candidate for a used bike. H-Ds hold their value pretty well. So, often, people don't see the value in a used bike because it is listed too close in price to the price of a new one (unless it is a significantly older bike with higher mileage) But, where you do gain value is that the cost of mods typically doesn't translate to re-sale value. So, you might find a bike with a few thousand dollars worth of mods done for a smaller rider and pay almost nothing for them.

When you find the bike that think you want and it isn't ergonomically in your wheel house, just remember to hold back a couple grand to make it that way. Modding a H-D is not a cheap endeavor. If you have the work done at a dealership, it is especially pricey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
Thought about a trike?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,340 Posts
Thought about a trike?
Nothing against a trike, honestly. But, IMO, riding one is a lot more like driving a convertible car than it is riding a motorcycle.

A close friend of the family down in Tennessee (who I don't know that well, but my older family members do) has the Honda. Not sure who did the conversion, but it's VERY nice. I think he paid close to $40K for it.

When he found out I rode, he offered to let me ride it. I took it down the road and back and then took the Mrs. down the road and back on it. I definitely see the appeal for the long haul and for those who don't want to or physically can't wrestle a two-wheeler, but it didn't do a whole lot at all to satisfy my motorcycle Jones.
 

·
Senile Member
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
I agree I didn't answer her specific question--but I don't think any of us want to test ride anything we can't safely ride or manuever. Just saying.
I don't know bout that... I like the looks of those bicycles that are 15 feet high. I still want to ride one even if it is dangerous.

And don't even think about a trike, just don't. It's like wanting to go buy a dog and come home with an iguana.

Seems like we need another whole page selection. We could call it "Low Riders" for shorter people to talk about mod they made and things like that. If that dealer has a ladies night, I hope they set the bikes up with the lowest seats and mods they can. I know more people would buy a bike if they could test ride what they want. Nothing worse than buying a new bike with a lowering mod and find out you have a 15 to 20 thousand dollar bike you discover you don't like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
When I got my first HD, 10 Fatboy Lo was the only model that I can put my both feet on the ground firm. Later I realized, by changing the air filter to SE heavy breather, I got much more comfortable reaching the brake and ground. (yes, that football shaped OEM air filter..) There are many things you can do to bikes to make it fit your body.

2 years later, I upgraded to 12 SG and quickly found out it was sitting much taller and I could only tipped toe at stops. 2 weeks later, I dropped the brand new bike for the first time in my life in a parking lot full of biker friends waiting for me to arrive for a weekend run on a brad new bike I was bragging about. 8) You know how this feel?

Next week, I sent my rear shocks to cut them down one inch and ordered the Progressive drop in kits. I also took out the seat and decided to experiment with it before I replace it with something narrower. I took the cover off and literally cut out the area where my legs would go down by drawing a grid on the sponge and used a utility knife blade. I also cut out the wing of the hard plastic saddle support to make it narrower. I'd figure, if I mess it up, I will just get a new seat.

I also got me a pair of new boots with highest heel I can find in the market (1 3/4 in) and slipped in a couple of those inner soles. Well, this is the best thing I did to make my bike to fit me comfortable!!!

I have been riding like this over a year now, with all three modification above and thinking about raising the shock back a little bit for a better ground clearance. The point is, with some changes to the bike and your saddle time on it, you will feel more confidence over your new bike. Even a new car would feel strange when test driving at the dealership. A could of days, you get used to it....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
I'm 5' 5" with a 29 inch inseam, as I get older I seem to be getting shorter, I can tell you what worked for me. Last July I demoed bikes at my dealer, then in August at Sturgis I demoed more bikes, some from other manufactures and every model HD sells. I didn't concern myself with being able to flat foot a new bike, I know with seats and shocks all new bikes can be made to sit lower. So I road the bikes and did not bother worrying if I could back them up with my legs, I let the guys manning the tent do that and did not give a crap what they thought, I was never gonna see them again. Maybe they thought "here comes that little fugger that don't put the bikes away again". I didn't care, I was the little fugger with 20k in his pocket looking to buy a new bike.

I decided that the Street Glide fit me the CLOSEST due to the shorter rear shocks, but I would still need some seat work done.

While talking about this to a friend that owns a 2007 SG, and is equally vertically challenged, he explained to me that newer SG would "feel" taller because of the change the frame in 2009, frame being alittle wider and thus taking up alittle more inseam before your feet hit the ground. His being an '07 was the narrower frame and he had shorter springs installed in the front forks, dropping the front end.

I set on his bike and it was a world of difference from what I had been demoing. I could flat foot his SG and manuvere it anywhere I wanted with ease. I specifically went looking for a pre-'09 SG and found a really low milage '08. I did a lower seat and the lower front springs and I this bike fits me better than any other bike I've ever owned and I've been riding for 45 years.

I'm not saying that you would be comfortable with the weight of the SG. For you I would look at Fat Boy Low, Softail Slim, or even the Switchback, keeping in mind that an almost 2 inch drop of the front forks will make a huge difference.

Just my .02
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top