USA's Kim Krause in The Mud

ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions

This question came from a pal’s wife. She’s Petite, barely five feet tall and would love an adventure bike, but they are all a bit too tall for comfortable riding. She’s previously owned a modified 225cc Yamaha Serrow, a nice bike but lacking in go for long days touring. The CCM 450 could be a contender, but, again, not relaxing enough for long days riding when chasing hubby on a 1000cc plus ADV bike. So, what she asked me was, can a full-on adventure bike be easily modified to serve her purpose?

The good news is that she’s not alone in her struggle. Many women (and men) struggle with the height and bulk of adventure bikes to the point where it almost puts them off riding them.

Fortunately, action can be taken to make the ride more comfortable and less intimidating for those shorter in stature.

Handlebars can be changed for a better bend or just tipped back in the mounts, which makes it easier to reach the controls once in the saddle, and there are some bar risers that bring the bars back as well. A lot of the modern adventure bikes now have adjustable seats which can be lowered or raised on the fly, and some manufacturers offer a lower seat version of the model.

Aftermarket saddles are available which lower the height of the seat, but they often come at a hefty price. There is always the option of modifying the original seat, something that you can either do yourself, or find a specialist for.

The real problem here, however, is suspension travel. The whole point of an ADV bike is its capability to travel across rough, adventurous terrain, so you’ll find that adventure bikes have more travel than other road-going machines along with a higher ground clearance, which inevitably raises the seat height.

Changing front fork springs to lower the suspension will lessen travel. Forks can be dropped through the yokes to lower the bike down more still. Rear shock absorbers can be changed for a shorter one, but, again this will lessen travel and ground clearance, plus the price of good shocks aint cheap.

So, modifications make it possible to alter a bike to suit, but, it all comes at a price.

When speaking to her, she made the point that she can go to a Land Rover dealer, for instance, and buy a Discovery which will have seats with a huge range of adjustment to suit her or her larger hubby, without any special mods needed. So why can’t bike manufacturers do the same, or at least offer a range of the same model to suit all sizes?

I don’t have the answer to that question, but I am going to spend some more time researching it. Her other rant to me was the lack of clothing for a smaller female rider. Her words to me were: “We don’t all like pink!”

When I’ve been dragged shopping with my missus into the big department stores, there are floors of women’s clothing with a much smaller corner for men. It seems that this is the opposite in motorcycle clothing stores!

I’m know the better clothing manufacturers offer a good size range, but at a cost. Sometimes it’s worth paying the extra for good gear that will last and do the job well.

If any of our female readers can offer an insight please let me know and I’ll pass on the info (email: dave@adventurebikerider.com).


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