When I bought my first sportbike I was like many of you in thinking responsibly about getting a motorcycle that was the perfect size for me such that I could ride it and manoeuvre is safely, either under power or when ‘walking’ it around while on it, and during my research these are the main factors I identified to find the best motorcycle size for my height…
The best motorcycle size for your height is one where:
- Your feet are flat on the ground while stationary;
- The bike is small enough that the weight is manageable;
Motorcycle Seat Height & Touching Feet To Ground
The best motorcycle seat height for you in one where you can touch the ground on a stationary motorbike flat footed.
This is because it gives you the safest control over the motorcycle and the least chance of dropping it sideways while stationary.
It’s also a lot more comfortable as trying to balance on tippy-toes while stopped at lights or waiting to turn into traffic can be tiring and may cause strain on your feet over time if the ground is too far away.
How To Figure Out The Best Motorcycle Seat Height
Sitting on some motorcycles you like to see if you’re flat footed with both feet down is the best way to find the correct motorcycle seat height for you personally.
When you’ve found that particular bike you can refer to the motorcycle seat height table below, which lists the seat heights for many current sportbikes and supersport bikes, and see the exact seat height for the bike you sat on.
The table is ordered so that the seat heights are in ascending order, so when you find the bike you sat on you can easily see which other current sportbikes will have a perfect seat height for you as well by going back down the list sequentially.
|wdt_ID||Make/Model||Seat Height (mm)||Seat Height (inches)|
|3||Aprilia RSV4 RR||840||33.1|
|9||BMW M 1000 RR||833||32.8|
|10||BMW R 1250 RS||820||32.3|
|11||BMW S 1000 RR||823||32.4|
|12||Braaap Moto 3||770||30.3|
|16||Ducati Panigale V2||840||33.1|
|18||Ducati Panigale V4||835||32.9|
|19||Ducati Panigale V4 R||830||32.7|
|20||Ducati Panigale V4 Specialie||830||32.7|
|21||Ducati PanigaleV4 S||835||32.9|
|22||Ducati Superleggera 1199||830||32.7|
|23||Ducati Superleggera 1299||830||32.7|
|24||Ducati Superleggera V4||835||32.9|
|25||Ducati SuperSport 950||810||31.9|
|26||Ducati SuperSport 950 S||810||31.9|
|28||Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP||828||32.6|
|33||Kawasaki Ninja 1000||820||32.3|
|34||Kawasaki Ninja 400||785||30.9|
|35||Kawasaki Ninja 650||790||31.1|
|36||Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R||836||32.9|
Motorcycle Size & “Weight” Considerations
Generally speaking a larger motorcycle means a heavier motorcycle, and a heavier motorcycle will be harder to move around in the following situations:
- When sitting on the motorbike and using your legs to move the bike around in tight spaces;
- When lifting the bike if it has been dropped;
Below is a table showing the seat heights and curb weights of all current and popular current sportbike motorcycles on the market today.
|wdt_ID||Make/Model||Seat Height (mm)||Seat Height (inches)||Curb Weight (kg)||Curb Weight (pounds)|
|3||Aprilia RSV4 RR||840||33.1||204|
|9||BMW M 1000 RR||833||32.8||0||423|
|10||BMW R 1250 RS||820||32.3||243||536|
|11||BMW S 1000 RR||823||32.4||197||434|
|16||Ducati Panigale V2||840||33.1||200||441|
|18||Ducati Panigale V4||835||32.9||198||436.5|
|19||Ducati Panigale V4 R||830||32.7||193||425.5|
|20||Ducati Panigale V4 Specialie||830||32.7||195||429.9|
|21||Ducati PanigaleV4 S||835||32.9||195||429.9|
|22||Ducati Superleggera 1199||830||32.7||177||390.2|
Walking A Motorcycle While On It
To walk a motorcycle around safely while on it you must preferably have both feet flat-footed on the ground and importantly the bike must also not be too heavy for you.
As a larger motorcycle usually means a heavier motorcycle, and even a small slope will mean you’ll have more trouble moving a larger and heavier bike around, for example in a parking lot or garage.
Don’t underestimate how challenging it can be to move a motorbike while on it using your legs alone especially if there’s a slope on the ground you’re moving on.
Ultimately, a smaller bike often means a lighter bike, and an easier time for you man-handling (or woman-handling) that motorbike around.
Picking Up A Dropped Motorcycle
The safest and easiest way to pick up a dropped motorcycle is to crouch down with you back to the bike, putting one hand under the seat and the other gripped the low handle bar, and standing up with the bike.
However, picking up a motorcycle from the ground can be a challenge at the best of times, and of course this only gets more difficult as the bike gets heavier.
While it’s not really practical to test this by laying a bike down and trying to pick it up, and ultimately we don’t ever want to put ourselves into a position where we have to pick the bike up if we can help it, it’s worth bearing in mind that a bigger, higher bike, will usually be harder to pick up if you happen to drop it for any reason.
If you’re around a heavily populated area then you can likely enlist the help of a passer by to get your bike upright again, but you ride in sparsely populated areas you might be waiting around for a long time for assistance.
Is Motorcycle Power Related To Motorcycle Size?
An increase in motorcycle seat height does not necessarily mean a corresponding bigger engine and greater power or torque.
You could argue that if you need a lower seat height that you’re a smaller and therefore possibly lighter person, meaning that the performance of the motorcycle would be slightly different that compared to if you were heavier, however, this would be secondary to all of the other considerations earlier in this article.
Ultimately, you can effectively ignore a motorcycles’ power and torque values when considering which size motorcycle is best for you.
Ultimately, What Is The Best Sportbike Size For Your Height
The best motorcycle size for your height is one in which you can handle it most safely, meaning you’re able to have both feet flat on the ground while stationary, and can walk the bike around fairly easily on flat or slightly angled ground.
In reality, being flat footed may not be practical if you’re a shorter person, or if you’re set on having the bike of your dreams which doesn’t have an ideal seat height for you.
But as long as you try to get as close as possible to flat footed, and also think ahead about manoeuvring your bike safely using just your legs and no engine power, then you’ll be fine.
As this video shows, even if you’re amazingly short, where there’s a will there’s a way…!