Need help finding a bike for my short wife.


Hey everyone, I need some advice. My wife loves to ride with me two up. However, now she wants a bike of her own but there is a big problem. She is about 5 foot tall and around 100#, her inseam is 28 inches. She cannot find any bike that she can sit on and touch the ground (except for cruisers, which we don’t want). She has tried sitting on just about every make from the 250CC ZX’s to most 600’s (Suzuki’s, Hondas, Kawi’s and Buell) without any luck. I have called Corbin. They said that they make custom seats that can lower the height about 1” but also make it narrower. I’m not sure that it will make enough difference and I don’t want to blow $250 just to see.
Does anyone have any thoughts on what we should try? Any comments are welcome. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.


Donating Member
where there's a will....there's a way . always .
Why the aversion to cruizer's ? There are some awesome ride's out there in the caroozer catagory . I once had a VS 750 (INTRUDER) it had the lowest seat height of any production bike ever built , including harley . It rocked,looked good,decent power .
Anyway....unfortunately , you have a certain set of circumstances , your wife's .....shall we say....her lack of vertical altitude...her height challengement...her,low center of gravity . Hee hee hee .
The four big one's (Zook,Hon,Kawi,Yami) only build so many diff models .
I say , pick one . The one that works the closest,an' make it work . Lower the front,lower the rear,chop most of the foam outa the seat, move the pegs(track rearsets usually move the pegs up an' back) etc etc .
I think you'll find in the end thou...after you butcher the hell outa some sport bike, you wont have much of a sport bike left (bye bye to ground clearance,steering geometry,yadda yadda ) . Take a second look @ the KRUZERZ . Just my know....


ok, my girl had the same problem.
she ended up with a ducati monster, which is about the smallest "sport" bike you can get. it started @ 30.3 and we lowered it ~ 1 inch already, and it can come down with a corbin/sargent seat.
others include:
some buels-no I don't like them, but they have a low seat.
BMW's have a low hieght as well...sometimes...
otherwise you're looking at cruisers...stay away from Harley's please.
hope this helps


Thanks for the replies. Personally I learned to ride at age 14 and started out with an ’81 Yamaha XS 1100 (Midnight Special) which is cruiser like. We have been to several bike shops around the area. I showed her a Virago, shadow, and the Kawi version (not sure of the name), she hated the looks of all of them. Her mind is set on a sport type bike. I have also tried to discourage her from getting a full on sport bike as her very first ride, as they might handle a just little different than a DT100 (lol).
My personal pick would either a RS500 or a Katana 600. There are several Katanas around here and they are selling fairly cheap used. I never thought of “butchering” the seat myself but after looking at my buddies there must be 6-7 inches of room (foam) to play with. I am not too excited about messing with the geometry’s of any bike by lowering this and raising that. If she crashed due to a “mistake” I made when changing the bike I could never forgive myself. I don’t mind tweaking anything I ride but if something unexpected happens I might be a little better able to get things under control (no disrespect to females, I just have 16 years of riding experience and she has never had a bike of her own.).
I think I might just show her all of your comments in hopes she might reconsider something in the cruiser line. Thank you for all your comments. Chris


Donating Member
no sweat chris....the other thing I just thought of,was a little toy I used to play with...had a couple of 'em . Little,supa light,but still rockin' in the power/weight catagory ...Yamaha RD 350 two' RDLC's' RZ's...
They r fun lil' machines....real lite...wheel stand all day long.


Buell has a new "Low" model Firebolt this year. Just read about it in one of the monthly moto rags. Not a bad bike at all. You might want to check that one out.


Racer 222

The rider formerly known as Howlin_Mad
Donating Member
does she want a sportbike ? also you could look at a suzuki sv 650 and have it droped 1-2 inches
Just a guess here but if the SV dog bones raised the busa 2" I am guessing the the busa dog bones would lower the SV about the same amount. 200hp would know he has done this to an SV.

Marc "Howlin Mad"


Re-Recycled, Busa-Less...
Donating Member
<span style='color:orange'><span style='font-size:13pt;line-height:100%'>OH OH</span></span> I had an Idea the other day, I know Buell and their Motors are pretty laughable, BUT, My Wife 5'2" Fits on the little Buell Blast Real Nice, she looks Cute as Hell too.
  It's lightweight, (Makes The Right Vibes) Has a decent powerplant, looks kinda sporty, is low maintainance, and for the price they are asking it makes alot of sense about $5K.  Besides she thought it was pretty cool.  Insurance is cheap and I think it would make a great first "small" ladies bike.   Check them out.



Donating Member
Hey biggar, the firebolt is one fairly serious sporting machine.
Front end comes up like nothing and carves corners with the best of them, nothing like a Busa, on the straights but
probably not a "beginner bike".
Just my .02


Re-Recycled, Busa-Less...
Donating Member
Just my Opinion but the Blast might be a decent way to go, and I agree that the FireBolt is NOT a good first bike, Talk about a twitchy little bastard...
The Blast:
Dry Weight 360 lbs
Oh Yeah, and Price $4,959 MSRP
Two seat heights:  Standard (27.5 in.) or Low profile (25.5 in.)
Check out the web-site   <span style='color:blue'>Buell Blast</span>


Donating Member
Try looking for a CBR400, they are pretty rare in the states. My girlfriends best friend has one and she is 5'0" as well. I know Yamaha made an FZR400 as well that I think sat pretty low. I don't know if you have tried these or not, I think they are Japanese market bikes which are smaller for their "vertically challenged" population. They sound exactly like what you are looking for. I also just found a 1991 GSXR400 and a 1990 FZR400 on eBay. So there are some of them out there. The only drawback is that some of them may be difficult to get registered if they have Japanese titles. Happy hunting.


My fiance went with the Ducati Monster 620 Dark. It is both narrow and low. After adjusting the suspension a bit for her, she can comfortably get both feet down firmly. She's only about 5'2". And the weight is resonable for her. Those Monsters are surprisingly affordable, listing for around $6500. Incidently, the dealer claims there will be a kit avaliable soon for them that will lower the bike about an inch and a half.

The new Buell Lightning has a lowered version. Supposedly set at a very cruiser-like 28". Or is it less than that? I can't remember. It costs the same as a regular Lightning though, so not all that affordable.

The smaller displacement cruisers, by all the makers, are fairly low too. But style issues aside, they are heavier.


My wife is in the same boat as far as height goes and not liking the cruisers. We are looking at a Kawai EX500 you still get the sportbike look and feel and it can still get out if it's own way unlike the Blast. We've been searching around and you can find used one's from $2500.00 on Cycle Trader but we live close enought to Canda to have a new one deliverd to the front door for $4000.00. I'll just be happy to get her off the back of Busa. Good Luck



Re-Recycled, Busa-Less...
Donating Member
Hey SDvanCop,
I was getting ready to poke fun at you but,  I found these stats online, Little EX 500 looks cool and from the sounds of it goes pretty well...Cool...

Make and Model Kawasaki EX500


Standing start ¼ mile 12.73 sec. @
102.21 mph
Acceleration, 0-60 mph 3.76 sec.
45-70 mph, top gears (4) 4.08 sec., 343 ft.
(5) 5.92 sec., 492 ft.

(6) 6.62 sec., 589 ft.
Braking, 60-0 mph 115 ft.
Horsepower @ 60 mph 9.58
Engine rpm @ 60 mph, top gear 4935
Average fuel consumption rate 48 mpg
(20.4 km/l)
Cruising range (main/reserve) 202/29 mi
(237/46 km)
Maximum speed in gears

@ engine redline (1) 44 (2) 63

(3) 82 (4) 101 (5) 118 (6) 133

Bhp @ rpm 51.72 @ 9500

Torque @ rpm 30.86 @ 8000
Type Six-speed, constant mesh,
Type Double -downtube, full-cradle
perimeter frame: box section
Wheelbase 56.6
Rake/trail 27.5°/3.5 in. (89mm)
Brake, front Hydrolic, single-disc with
Dual-piston caliper
rear Rod-actuated, single-
leading shoe dru
Wheel, front Cast, 2.15 x 16
rear Cast, 2.5 x 16
Tire front 100/90-16 54H
Bridgestone Excedra G533
rear 120/90-16 83H
Bridgestone Excedra
Seat height 30.3 in (770mm)
Ground clearance 4.9 in (124mm)
Fuel capacity (main/reserve) 4.2 (0.6) gals.
Curb weight (full tank) 408.5 lbs (185 kg)
Test weight 558.5 lbs (253 kg)


Re-Recycled, Busa-Less...
Donating Member
My only concern would again be seat height. Buell can be had allmost a full five inches lower...


Hey everyone. Thanks so much for your suggestions. We went back to a dealer that had pretty much all the big names. Anyways, the bike that came closest to meeting her needs was the Kawi ZX250. I figure I will take one of your suggestions and carve an inch or two out of the seat foam with a hot knife. Figure I can get the needed 2 inches. If I screw it up too badly I can get it recovered for under $100.

Does anyone know about the power output. The website didn’t have figures. She is concerned that 250cc may not have enough power for her, (she is a hair over 100#) compared to the power of the mighty busa. Personally I figure for a new rider it should have enough power to spare. Any thoughts. It does have a 14grand redline, that could be fun. Again thanks for the help. Chris


Donating Member
I dont think low down grunt (torque) is a real must for anyone, its nice to have , but not critical . She can use those screamin' rpm's to get what she needs .
" Tee it High , an' let it fly ".


I agree rubbersidedown. Another concern is we watched that discovery channel show about the women riders last night. We were planning on going on a trip anyways and saw the roads through Monument Valley, Utah...and OMG. It has always been a long time dream to ride west, I guess a latent "easy rider" desire. We got a bunch of those "mini vacations" that you get at a time share tour. They are spread all over the place, Arizona, CA, Montana...Anyway we will be riding from NC for days and days and days... I wonder how comfortable the 250 would be riding at 80-100mph over long distances. I noticed it is liquid cooled. Any thoughts. Chris


Hey everyone.  Thanks so much for your suggestions.  We went back to a dealer that had pretty much all the big names.  Anyways, the bike that came closest to meeting her needs was the Kawi ZX250.  I figure I will take one of your suggestions and carve an inch or two out of the seat foam with a hot knife.  Figure I can get the needed 2 inches.  If I screw it up too badly I can get it recovered for under $100.  

Does anyone know about the power output.  The website didn’t have figures.  She is concerned that 250cc may not have enough power for her, (she is a hair over 100#) compared to the power of the mighty busa.  Personally I figure for a new rider it should have enough power to spare.  Any thoughts.  It does have a 14grand redline, that could be fun.  Again thanks for the help.  Chris
Start with a used bike for a first bike. That way after she learns to ride you can sell it, not lose much (if anything), and she can TEST RIDE bikes she thinks she's interested in and pick out what she really likes.

My gf is just starting to ride, and I have her on an '88 Honda VTR250. It's perfect for a 1st bike, and good used ones range from $1000 - $1500. The one we found had new tires, cables, gas line, and looks almost new (only a little over 3000 miles on it - it was in storage for 13 years).

I wanted her to start with a bike she wouldn't be intimidated by (light weight - easy to hold up), and also one that if it dropped we wouldn't have to make an insurance claim. She did drop it once (really gently), and all it did was scuff a tiny bit of the cowl under the engine - a little black touch-up paint and you can't tell.

The only problem now is that she absolutely loves the thing! I have a good time terrorizing the neighborhood on it (it'll corner like mad), but on the highway, well, that's busa time. It won't win any awards in the acceleration department, but the stupid thing will go damn near 100mph flat out.

We both know it's going to be replaced in a couple months when she feels she's ready for something bigger (thats another reason I wanted to get her something inexpensive for a 1st bike), but for a 1st bike it's great. The sad part is that I'll probably miss it when it's gone - it's a cool little bike, except for the girly colors (powder-blue seat? WTF was
Honda thinking???).

Anyway, that's my $0.02.

She has some pics (and her story about it) on her web page right now.

Search for "VTR 250" on ebay and a few should come up, too.

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