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medjen
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« on: July 05, 2012, 12:00:47 pm »

Just joined and am in the process of poking around.

Took my MSF BRC at the beginning of June and have been toodling around on an '86 Honda Rebel 250.

Been doing a lot of research on what the next bike will be and I'm thinking that sport-touring may be a good fit for me... aside from actually fitting on the bikes. Smile

I'm <120 lbs, female and crotch-to-ground is only 29 inches (so maybe my actual inseam is ~28?)

I'm on the hunt for a low (or lower-able) bike in the sport-touring family and don't seem to be coming up with too many options...

Suzuki GS500F?
BMW F650?
Just get a Ninja 250 and say to hell with it?

I'd prefer if there were hard cases available that didn't involve fabricating my own parts and given my current experience level, would much prefer the ability to flatfoot (though getting "mostly" there would be okay). If there's a list that I missed in my search through the forum, I'd appreciate being pointed at it, or if you have a suggestion to add to the list or a strong opinion about one to stay away from, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 12:10:47 pm »

Hi!  I don't have a ton of time to write right now as I'm late getting out the door with the baby (story of my life) but I wanted to stick a placeholder in here to come back and blather at you later.   Bigok

I totally relate to your situation -- it sounds like you and I are about the same size (I'm 5'1", about 115 lbs, 28" inseam).

Again, more later, but off the top of my head:

Check out Daytona's LadyStar GTX boots (https://shop.helimot.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=70).  Worth every penny.  I've been wearing these exclusively since 2001 -- the first pair lasted 80k+ miles -- and they make a huge difference.  Really comfy, too.

For bikes, I had really good luck with the thumper F650GS.  It was very comfortable and had a low center of gravity.  Mine was the "normal" chassis; I've sat on the low chassis version and it was even better.  I'd totally buy one of those bikes again.

My current bike is the Ninja 250; honestly, it's one of my favorite bikes.  Bigsmile  I haven't done touring on it on the interstate, which I imagine will not be fun...but I don't like the interstate much even on my larger bikes.

Congrats on your BRC and on learning to ride!  Inlove Inlove

OK, I'm seriously running late now...will come back and spew more shorty nonsense later.  Bigsmile

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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 12:11:50 pm »

Don't forget the Ducati Monster, the 695 has a prettly low seat. I may not be a sport touring bike, but it has style.
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 12:24:50 pm »

Don't get all hung up on seat height.  When the bike is moving it doesn't matter.  After a week or two, you'll learn how to shift to one side and put one foot down when you stop.

You don't need to be able to get both feet (or tip toes even) down.  

I realize you are a new rider, and maybe nervous about dropping the bike. My advise is that you should buy used ( youll drop it a few times no matter what) and just learn how to adjust for height.

Have fun!
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 12:26:25 pm »

I would say ride as many different bikes as you can get your hands on and see what you like.  Just remember that you can sport-tour on anything, soft saddle bag setup are sufficient in most respects and are easily removable for commuting duty.  Tail bags and tank bags are great too.

I would suggest looking up The Pace Podcast, the latest episode was a ladies round table discussion and this topic came up.  http://thepacepodcast.com/archives/1942

I wish you the best of luck finding a bike that fits well! Welcome.
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 12:33:46 pm »

I'm a dude, but a short one so I will tell you what limited experience I have.

For the record, I'm 5'4", with a 30" inseam.

Right now I own a Honda CBR250R.  It's a "little" taller than you would expect, but still very small.  BUT, as of now, it does NOT have hard sidebags, and if that's a dealbreaker for you, so be it.  Although I want to say, I have a topbox on mine, and that handles 99% of my commuting duties.  If I need extra space, I bungie cord a duffel back to the rear seat just in front of the topbox.

Here's the thoughts on the bikes I've tried/sat on.

The ninja 250 was extremely comfortable, been around forever, and can do pretty much any type of riding (commuting in city, running highway speeds, etc. etc.)  I just wanted ABS and fuel injection so I went with the Honda.

I sat on an F650GS with the lowering kit and that thing will let the smallest of the smallest completely flatfoot the bike (I'm pretty close to that, and it had me flatfooted with my knees bent).  That'd be a very good choice for allaround riding.

the 650R probably won't let you flatfoot both sides, but it's a great bike.  Rode a friend's, and it's REALLY nice.  Smooth and powerful enough.  GSF500F also a good call if you fit on it.

Thankfully, motorcycles seem to be at the point where all the ones you've mentioned are considered VERY reliably and fuel efficient.  Between all the ones you've mentioned, they've all got luggage options, and really you can just sit on them, and pick the one that makes you smile the most.  They'll all work great.

But for ULTRA-low (flatfooted), the F650GS with the lowering kit is probably the lowest 'sporty' bike I've ever seen/sat on.

And don't worry about "settling" for a ninja 250.  I bought my Honda CBR250R for my wife, and now I ride it every day.  There's something really fun about getting back to basics of riding, and having a bike that you can wind out to it's limits.  Plus, 75 mpg makes me feel great about taking the long way to EVERYWHERE.

Alexi
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 01:12:32 pm »

Wow that was quick!

Thanks everyone Smile Some really good info here.

bluepoof: I look forward to more shorty blathering Bigsmile Experience from those who have 'been there done that' is awesome. I've seen those Ladystar's recommended a few places in my research, I'm just hesitating pulling the $450 trigger EEK! How does the fit compare to the sizing? I'd have to order them blind and would like to minimize my chances of getting the wrong size.

falcofred: I'm not familiar with Ducati's much at all... I don't think there's many dealers anywhere near me, and they don't come up much on craigslist.

naustin: One of my MSF instructors told me the same thing and the other told me to get something I can flat foot. My husband urges me to get something I can flatfoot as well. Headscratch I guess I'm the one that's doing the riding, so I'll have to see what I'm comfortable with. I'll just have to go sit on a bunch more stuff and see if I can finagle some test rides on some taller used bikes. Along with seat height goes weight and weight distribution. Short stems don't leave me much room for leverage. Smile
I've already dropped the Rebel once, and I can flatfoot that with bent knees when I have my boots on, so I realize that seat height is no guarantee. Used is definitely my plan, if I can find something appropriate... I've been scouring craigslist in a three-city radius.

919: Thanks for the link! I will check that out once I'm home. My worry about soft bags is security. Embarassment Ride to the movies, come out and all your stuff is gone! For commuting duty, that's less of an issue obviously, since I could bring the bags into the office.

Alexi: Really detailed input, thank you! Around here, Ninja 250s from about 2006 and newer seem to sell for just under $3k used, regardless of year/condition/mileage, so that's definitely part of the appeal. I was looking at the CBR250R, but no one around here seems to have them. I did have one dealer offer to order me one, but then I'd be a bit stuck... I really like the look of the BMWs, but the price point would take a little work, I think. Unless I went and rode one and it was THE bike...
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 01:38:54 pm »


Wow that was quick!
I'm off today, with nothing I need to get done, so I'm browsing internet forums like they're going out of style.

naustin: One of my MSF instructors told me the same thing and the other told me to get something I can flat foot. My husband urges me to get something I can flatfoot as well. Headscratch I guess I'm the one that's doing the riding, so I'll have to see what I'm comfortable with. ....Used is definitely my plan, if I can find something appropriate... I've been scouring craigslist in a three-city radius.
Well, they're both right...in a way.  To a new rider, flatfooting inspires confidence.  And if you're a new rider, you may not be great at balancing and shifting the weight to the desired side when stopping (shifting to the side of the foot that you will be putting down).  So for a brand new rider, flat footing is a safe way to insure against a dropped bike.  BUT, as you become more comfortable, you'll find you'll be able to come to a stop and keep your right foot on the break and just lean the bike a little to the left putting your left foot down.  At this point, seat height becomes almost a moot point.  Cause you can create that tripod (two wheels and your left foot) with a seat height inches higher than your inseam.  That's why you'll see abunch of short folk like us talking about how they have no problem riding giant GS and adventure style bikes (seat heights of like 34 inches!!!  EEK! )

Buying used is a GREAT idea.  Get comfy with it, learn that balance point so you can lean to the left, and then you can decide whether you want to try out some taller bikes, different bikes, customize your used bike, or whatever.

Alexi
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 01:45:58 pm »

I have a ninja 250 with a topbox.  If you get one I can send you pics of the rack I'm using and you could have a local shop weld up a similar one.  I've put over 40k miles on ninja 250s so I'm biased, but they are hard to beat for cheap fun.  I might get a 500 if this one gets run over in a parking lot (happened to the last 2, joys of grad school).
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 02:01:37 pm »


Well, they're both right...in a way.  To a new rider, flatfooting inspires confidence.  And if you're a new rider, you may not be great at balancing and shifting the weight to the desired side when stopping (shifting to the side of the foot that you will be putting down).  So for a brand new rider, flat footing is a safe way to insure against a dropped bike.  BUT, as you become more comfortable, you'll find you'll be able to come to a stop and keep your right foot on the break and just lean the bike a little to the left putting your left foot down.  At this point, seat height becomes almost a moot point.  Cause you can create that tripod (two wheels and your left foot) with a seat height inches higher than your inseam.  That's why you'll see abunch of short folk like us talking about how they have no problem riding giant GS and adventure style bikes (seat heights of like 34 inches!!!  EEK! )

Buying used is a GREAT idea.  Get comfy with it, learn that balance point so you can lean to the left, and then you can decide whether you want to try out some taller bikes, different bikes, customize your used bike, or whatever.

Alexi


 Thumbsup Couldn't have said it better.  Bigok
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 02:05:58 pm »

This SV650S has a seat height that is 1 inch lower than a Ninja 250. Its ridden by a woman that is 4'11" with probably a 27 inch inseam. It has lowering links with a re-sprung GSXR shock and race-tech emulators and springs up front. It handles just fine but the ground clearance is limited. She is not a super aggressive rider so its not that big of a deal. The Convertibars probably contributed as much to the ride-ability as the lowering links. Now she is sitting more straight up and the reach to the ground is much easier not to mention she is not laying on the gas tank the entire time. Has she dropped it? Yeap once in four years but not a single scratch due to the sliders and spools.  Bigok

Oh and I did purchase the LadyStar GTX for my wife at Poofs recommendation and she loves loves loves them.  Bigok

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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 04:22:55 pm »

One more option on the boots. Buy a nice pair of boots with a 1 inch sole. Take them to a good shoe cobler and have him add a 1 inch sole. I have done this twice with very good results. They look fine and no one knows when your scooting through the twisties! Good luck with your search. Bob
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 04:28:40 pm »

If you want a 4 banger the Yamaha FZ6R has a low seat height adjustment.  My 5'3" spouse could flat foot it.  
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 04:46:26 pm »


I'm off today, with nothing I need to get done, so I'm browsing internet forums like they're going out of style.Well, they're both right...in a way.  To a new rider, flatfooting inspires confidence.  And if you're a new rider, you may not be great at balancing and shifting the weight to the desired side when stopping (shifting to the side of the foot that you will be putting down).  So for a brand new rider, flat footing is a safe way to insure against a dropped bike.  BUT, as you become more comfortable, you'll find you'll be able to come to a stop and keep your right foot on the break and just lean the bike a little to the left putting your left foot down.  At this point, seat height becomes almost a moot point.  Cause you can create that tripod (two wheels and your left foot) with a seat height inches higher than your inseam.  That's why you'll see abunch of short folk like us talking about how they have no problem riding giant GS and adventure style bikes (seat heights of like 34 inches!!!  EEK! )

Buying used is a GREAT idea.  Get comfy with it, learn that balance point so you can lean to the left, and then you can decide whether you want to try out some taller bikes, different bikes, customize your used bike, or whatever.

Alexi

Thanks for that explanation! From what I've been gathering, it sure seems like the NEXT bike is almost never the LAST bike so knowing that I might have some more options as I gain experience/confidence is good to know.


I have a ninja 250 with a topbox.  If you get one I can send you pics of the rack I'm using and you could have a local shop weld up a similar one.  I've put over 40k miles on ninja 250s so I'm biased, but they are hard to beat for cheap fun.  I might get a 500 if this one gets run over in a parking lot (happened to the last 2, joys of grad school).

If I wind up going the Ninja route, I will definitely shoot you a note. Lugging the laptop back and forth on the commute will require SOME kind of storage.


This SV650S has a seat height that is 1 inch lower than a Ninja 250. Its ridden by a woman that is 4'11" with probably a 27 inch inseam. It has lowering links with a re-sprung GSXR shock and race-tech emulators and springs up front. It handles just fine but the ground clearance is limited. She is not a super aggressive rider so its not that big of a deal. The Convertibars probably contributed as much to the ride-ability as the lowering links. Now she is sitting more straight up and the reach to the ground is much easier not to mention she is not laying on the gas tank the entire time. Has she dropped it? Yeap once in four years but not a single scratch due to the sliders and spools.  Bigok

Oh and I did purchase the LadyStar GTX for my wife at Poofs recommendation and she loves loves loves them.  Bigok


I'm guessing that's not a modification I could make in my garage?



One more option on the boots. Buy a nice pair of boots with a 1 inch sole. Take them to a good shoe cobler and have him add a 1 inch sole. I have done this twice with very good results. They look fine and no one knows when your scooting through the twisties! Good luck with your search. Bob

 Thumbsup The Ladystar boots suggested by bluepoof and Giaka above add an additional 1.5" of height over their regular boots, but are expensive. Yours sounds like it could be a slightly more economical option.


If you want a 4 banger the Yamaha FZ6R has a low seat height adjustment.  My 5'3" spouse could flat foot it.  

Good to know! One more to keep an eye out for.



My local BMW dealer just got in a 2010 F650GS that was "lowered as low as they could lower a BMW" as so poetically put by the saleswoman. Smile If the weekend weather is good, I'm going to have to go sit on it.
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 05:34:35 pm »


My local BMW dealer just got in a 2010 F650GS that was "lowered as low as they could lower a BMW" as so poetically put by the saleswoman. Smile If the weekend weather is good, I'm going to have to go sit on it.


If it's a 2010 F650GS, it'll be the twin model.  Definitely sit on it, but personally, I found the thumper version far more comfortable (confusingly also called the F650GS prior to '09, and renamed the G650GS post-'09).  I owned a low chassis '09 F650GS twin for about a year and while the seat height was great, I found the bars too wide and the ergos just generally less comfy than my standard height '01 F650GS.  If I were to get another 650cc, the low chassis G650GS would be top of my list.

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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2012, 06:23:20 pm »




If it's a 2010 F650GS, it'll be the twin model.  Definitely sit on it, but personally, I found the thumper version far more comfortable (confusingly also called the F650GS prior to '09, and renamed the G650GS post-'09).  I owned a low chassis '09 F650GS twin for about a year and while the seat height was great, I found the bars too wide and the ergos just generally less comfy than my standard height '01 F650GS.  If I were to get another 650cc, the low chassis G650GS would be top of my list.




People (well, some people) describe the thumper as too... uh... thumpy. Smile Lots of vibration. Not your experience?
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2012, 06:36:27 pm »


People (well, some people) describe the thumper as too... uh... thumpy. Smile Lots of vibration. Not your experience?


Well, it's thumpier than, say, a V-twin. Bigsmile  But I prefer the thumpiness over the high vibration of an inline four.  Just personal preference.  It certainly wasn't too thumpy to tour on; I rode mine from California to Florida up the east coast to Ohio and back to California.  

It's all tradeoffs, of course.  I did like the smooth engine of the twin Beemer better...but it didn't physically fit me as well as the thumper did.  Shrug  

The other thing I've noticed over the years is that Kawasaki makes really shorty-friendly bikes.  Besides the obvious Ninjette, I owned a Z750S for a while and that was the most comfortable bike I've ever owned.  





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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2012, 07:05:42 pm »


 Thumbsup The Ladystar boots suggested by bluepoof and Giaka above add an additional 1.5" of height over their regular boots, but are expensive. Yours sounds like it could be a slightly more economical option.


If you go the cobbler route and don't have someone local, let me know. I have a link to the Best Cobbler in the Nation  Bigok
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2012, 10:21:35 pm »




Well, it's thumpier than, say, a V-twin. Bigsmile  But I prefer the thumpiness over the high vibration of an inline four.  Just personal preference.  It certainly wasn't too thumpy to tour on; I rode mine from California to Florida up the east coast to Ohio and back to California.  

It's all tradeoffs, of course.  I did like the smooth engine of the twin Beemer better...but it didn't physically fit me as well as the thumper did.  Shrug  

The other thing I've noticed over the years is that Kawasaki makes really shorty-friendly bikes.  Besides the obvious Ninjette, I owned a Z750S for a while and that was the most comfortable bike I've ever owned.  



I'll keep that in mind, if the ergos are off, that an earlier model year will fit differently (in case i run across another in the future)

There's a Z750S on my local CL for $3800, which doesn't seem too terrible.
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2012, 10:22:30 pm »




If you go the cobbler route and don't have someone local, let me know. I have a link to the Best Cobbler in the Nation  Bigok


Good to know. Smile
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