Top 10 Motorcycles for Short Riders 2017

The Best motorcycles for short riders are…

the ones you like the most! Seriously, seat height and bike weight don’t particularly matter once a rider has built the muscle memory and techniques to ride.  That said, when getting up to speed, having the right bike makes a huge difference.  Thus, we compiled the 10 best bikes for new riders who are short below.

#1 – Honda CBR300R 2015-2017

On of the few modern motorcycles designed with shorter riders in mind.  Replacing the CBR 250R in 2015, this bike is slightly lower, and nearly 10 lbs lighter than its predecessor.  Compared the Ninja 300, this bike is lighter, has more torque, and less top end power.

Honda CBR300r white background

      • Seat Height: 30.7 inches 780mm
      • Wet Weight: 366 lbs (CBR300R) 166kg

2 – Kawasaki Ninja 300

The ninja 250/300 series is quite possibly the longest selling entry level motorcycle sold in the USA.  Endearingly known as the ‘ninjette’, these motorcycles have a formidable presence in the used market, and are also popular among club racers.  It is not uncommon for a rider to buy one of these bikes, ride it for a few months, then sell it a few months later for the same price.  Note- the former versions of this bike are 2 generations with 250cc engines, also worth considering for a starter bike.

Kawasaki ninja EX300 side view white background

      • Seat Height: 30.9 inches, 785 mm
      • Wet Weight:  385 lbs, 174kg

Honda Grom

These bikes are pure fun. Even experienced racers enjoy riding these little bikes around. They’re small, a bit quirky, but just a blast! Unlike some of the smaller cc sportbikes listed below, these also aren’t in the same class of motorcycles one might ride to be the coolest poser with a big bike at the local coffee shop. If I was learning to ride motorcycles now, I’d consider getting a Grom, and keeping it as a second bike.  Known for getting – 100+ MPG.

white honda grom gold wheels transparent background

      • Seat Height: 29.7 inches, 750mm
      • Wet Weight: 229 lbs, 104kg

Yamaha R3

The Yamaha R3 is an entry level sport bike which has been sold in the US since 2015.  It is known for handling well, and having slightly more power than its closest competitor, the Ninja 300.

Yamaha R3 side view white background

      • Seat Height: 31 inches, 780mm
      • Wet Weight: 368lbs, 167kg

KTM RC390

A single cyclinder entry level motorcycle from KTM.  These bikes are fun to ride and have even more torque than the Honda CBR300R.  Good bikes if you’re looking for something a bit different, although because of that, parts are less common.

ktm rc 390 side view white background

      • Seat Height: 31 inches, 800mm
      • Wet Weight: 338lbs, 153kg

Cruiser style bikes

Honda Rebel 250 

A very light bike, low seat height, and used by learn to ride courses throughout the nation for the past couple decades for a reason.  These are some of the easiest motorcycles to learn to ride on, and on the used market, are relatively abundant and inexpensive.

Honda Rebel 250 side view white background

      • Seat Height: 26.6 inches, 676mm
      • Wet Weight: 325 lbs, 145kg

Harley Davidson Street 500

If you’re dead set on getting a Harley, this would be the recommend first bike to get for a shorter new rider.  Although the heaviest motorcycles on this list, the low seat height gives short riders a much better chance of being able to get both feet on the ground, inspiring confidence.

HD street 500 white background side view

      • Seat Height: 25 inches, 640mm
      • Wet Weight: 480lbs, 220kg

‘Standard’ Naked Motorcycles 

These motorcycles are good for people looking to ride who feel like a 300cc motorcycles isn’t enough, and want something they can grow into.  Compared to the above bikes with full fairings, standard or naked bikes do not have windscreens or fancy plastics that easily break if and when a bike gets dropped.  Having dropped my first motorcycle at a stop light a quarter mile from home on the first day riding it, I can attest to the brittleness of most motorcycle plastics when kissing the pavement.  After riding regularly for over 7 years, I picked up a SV650s to use for racing at racetracks, and can attest that bikes in this category are plenty of fun for new and experienced riders both.

Suzuki SV650 2017

Suzuki SFV650 side view white background

The SV650’s have been around for years, with extensive aftermarket support, and a dedicated following at svrider.com  Compared to previous models, the 2017 edition has a slightly lower seat height, along with Suzuki’s proven 650cc motor.

      • Seat Height:  30.9 (2017 edition), 785mm.
        • 1999-2014 SV650s were between 31.5 and 31.9 inches (800-805mm)
      • Weight: 434 lbs, 197 kg (2017)

2006 – 2011 Kawasaki ER-6n 

Kawsaki’s entry in to the standard and naked bike space.  With an aftermarket exhaust, these bikes are often described as sounding like a helicopter.  The models produced between 2006 and 2011 are the most ideal for shorter riders, before the seat height was raised in 2012.  The newer models are also good bikes, but since this article highlights the best bikes for shorter new riders, the 2006-2011 models are the most ideal.

kawasaki er-6n white background side view

      • Seat Height: 30.9 inches , 785mm
        • Note: The Kawasaki 650R with full fairings has a slightly higher seat height of  31.1 inches (2006-2011), 790mm
      • Weight: 449.7lbs 204kg

Yamaha FZ-07

While the seats are higher than most other bikes on this list, a relatively narrow seat, linear power delivery, and reasonably forgiving suspension for a street bike mean there is a lot to like about these bikes.

Yamaha 7z-07 side view white background

      • Seat Height: 31.7 inches, 805mm
      • Wet Weight: 397 lbs, 180 kg

The Best Motorcycles for New Riders Who are Short

What makes a motorcycle one of the best for new riders?  Lower seat heights, narrower seats, rider-friendly ergonomics, and more forgiving power-weight ratios are a start.  There are two types of riders: Those have gone down, and those who haven’t yet.  Don’t get discouraged people saying a bike is too big for you, but also realize that riding can be a life-long passion, and if you hope to have a long riding career, a few months on a starter bike is just a blip on the radar.

What to look for in your first motorcycle

  • Seat Height – Low seat height narrow seats are ideal
  • Weight – Lighter is better
  • Power  Less is more.

Still not sure what to look for?  Check out our free guide to what shorter riders should look for in their first motorcycle.

One Response

  1. MartinNab May 6, 2018

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