Best Sportsbikes For Short Riders 2023

Sportsbikes have just one purpose: to go as fast as possible and handle exceptionally well.

Manufacturers put aerodynamics, reducing weight, and getting maximum power out of the engine first to fulfill this purpose.

Quite often then the bike ends up slammed forward with the rear end flying high.

Therefore things like rider comfort and practical features come in second best, this can mean for short riders it can be a challenge to find a bike that is manageable.

However, it is not impossible, and I have found the best sportsbike options for short riders and gathered them here for you to look through.

We have also put together everything you need to look out for in a sportsbike that will make it suitable for a shorter rider.

So fear not, while some of us are vertically challenged we don’t need to miss out on the thrill sportsbike riding offers, let’s get started.

What Is The Best Sportsbike For Short Riders?

The best sportsbike for short riders is one that has the following:

  • A low seat height
  • Less aggressive ergonomics and riding position
  • Narrow body
  • Light weight

Some of the best sportsbikes for short riders that meet these requirements are:

  • Suzuki GSX-R250 ABS
  • KTM RC390
  • Kawasaki NInja 400
  • Honda CBR300R
  • Honda CBR500R
  • Kawasaki Ninja 650
  • Suzuki GSX-R600
  • Yamaha YZF-R7
  • Ducati Supersport 950

Let’s look at the features that make a sportsbike a good choice for short riders then we will have a look at the best options currently available.

Seat Height And Width For Short Riders

The most important feature of a sportsbike for shorter riders will be a low seat height, but the seat width also plays a big role. A bike with a narrow seat width will be easier for shorter riders to get both feet down.

Unfortunately, sportsbikes traditionally have quite tall seat heights as the rear end tends to raise up with the tail.

However, some bikes do have lower seat heights than others so those are the ones to look out for.

If a seat is a little bit taller but narrow then you might find the bike manageable, this will depend on the bike’s weight too.

Some sportsbikes with lower seat heights include:

  • Triumph Street Triple R – 30.7”
  • Yamaha YZF-R3 – 30.7”
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 – 30.9”
  • Suzuki GSX-R250 ABS – 31.1”
  • Ducati Supersport 950 – 31.8”

While the Yamaha YFZ-R7 has a seat height of 32.9” which is significantly taller it has quite a narrow frame and seat so this may be manageable by some riders.

Weight Is A Factor For Short Riders

The second most important factor in determining if a bike is suitable is going to be its weight.

If a bike is nice and light weight a shorter rider may be able to cope with it even if it is quite tall, as the light weight will allow the rider to just rely on being able to put one foot down at stops.

Usually the heaviest part of the motorcycle is the engine, so on the whole the bigger the engine capacity the heavier the motorcycle.

There are some exceptions to this as some supersport bikes like the Ducati Panigale V4 SP 2 have a dry weight of just 173kg.

Weight is usually only an important factor when you are stationary on the bike or doing slow speed maneuvers like a U-turn, when you get going most good bikes can be deceiving in hiding their weight, which is great.

Therefore, you need to be able to manage the bike at slow speeds and at stops, going for a lighter weight bike will mean you can paddle it around just using your tip toes and balance using just one foot on the ground.

The very nature of sportsbikes means they are more lightweight than many other types of motorcycles as weight reduction equals more performance, which is the end game for sportsbikes.

You also need to consider the way the bike carries its weight, if a bike’s weight is low down then it should be well balanced and easy to control.

If a bike is top heavy then the rider will have to struggle to keep it balanced, which is no good if you can only plant one foot on the floor.

Some of the lightest weight sportsbikes include:

  • Honda CBR300R – 354 lbs
  • KTM RC390 – 365 lbs
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 – 366 lbs
  • Ducati Superleggera V4 – 395 lbs
  • Aprilia RS 660 – 401 lbs
  • Honda CBR600RR – 410 lbs
  • BMW S1000RR with M Package – 427 lbs
  • Ducati Panigale V4 – 436 lbs

*Weights listed are the curb weight for each model. The bike is presumed full of fluids, with standard equipment and over 90% of the tank is full of fuel.

Best Riding Position For Short Riders

You should also consider the riding position of the bike as a motorcycle with extreme ergonomics could be difficult for shorter riders to control properly.

Bikes with huge fuel tanks, and a long handlebar reach are going to be less suited than those that are more neutral in their riding position.

Lightweight and middleweight sportsbikes tend to have more neutral ergonomics with the top of the line liter bikes having the most extreme track-style riding positions.

Some manufacturers will also produce two types of bike with one more aimed at the street and one for the track.

See the Kawasaki Ninja 400, where the bars are raised slightly in a more street bike style and the pegs are neutrally placed.

Now compare that to the Ninja ZX-6R which has a much sportier riding position with clip-on bars that hunch you over the tank and pulled back pegs.

In this example the Ninja 400 would be better suited to a shorter rider as the bars are easily accessed and pegs neutral; the ZX-6R would have the rider leaning right over with their feet back, so it could be more difficult.

Quite often sports tourer bikes are more comfortable with neutral riding positions for longer distances so you may consider looking at these instead of an outright track style sportsbike.

Some sportsbikes with more neutral riding positions include:

  • Kawasaki Ninja 400
  • Kawasaki Ninja 650 and Ninja 1000 SX
  • Honda CBR500R and 650R
  • Suzuki GSX-S1000GT
  • Yamaha YZF-R3
  • Aprilia Tuono 660

Custom Options

If you are struggling to find the right motorcycle to fit, then you could start looking at custom options either direct from the manufacturer or with aftermarket parts.

Some manufacturers like BMW will provide low seat options as standard with their new models, and you can usually find aftermarket seats to fit most bikes that could help lower the seat height.

You could also look at adjusting the suspension or swapping it out for a rear shock with less travel.

It is worth noting though that this can affect the handling of the bike.

Lowering kits are also available for some motorcycles.

Best Sportsbike Options For Short Riders Table

I have put together a table of the best sportsbike options for short riders taking into consideration all the factors mentioned and they have been rated on a 5 star rating basis.

They are also sorted by engine capacity from the smallest to biggest.

MotorcycleSeat Height and WidthWeight and BalanceRiding PositionOverall Rating
Suzuki GSX-250 ABS★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Yamaha YZF-R3★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Honda CBR300R★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Kawasaki Ninja 400★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
KTM RC390★★★★★★★
Honda CBR500R★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Suzuki GSX-R600★★★★★★★
Kawasaki Ninja 650★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Aprilia Tuono 660★★★★★★★★★★★★
Yamaha YZF-R7★★★★★★★★★★★
Triumph Street Triple R Low★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Ducati Supersport 950★★★★★★★★★★★
BMW S1000R★★★★
Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX★★★★★★★★★
Ducati Superleggera V4★★★★★★★★★★


Why are sportsbikes so tall compared to other types of motorcycles?

The priority for sportsbike manufacturers is to get the bikes to go as fast as they can for their capacity and for them to handle exceptionally well, in order to do this they need to reduce weight where possible and make the bike as aerodynamic as they can.

The result of this means sportsbikes end up with full body fairings that direct the wind, a small front wheel for better handling and the overall stance of the bike ends up being taller at the back.

Whereas other types of bikes have different purposes, for example Adventure bikes need to be fit to tackle all terrain and carry lots of luggage.

Cruiser motorcycles are built to cruise, they don’t need to worry about being super aerodynamic they just have to thunder along with the rider in relative comfort.

What impact does engine capacity have on the size of the bike?

The engine is the heaviest component on the bike and therefore the bigger the engine the heavier the bike is and bigger frame it needs to be housed in.

This means for shorter riders big liter bikes can be more difficult to ride, as the chassis is bigger, the bike is heavier and ergonomics less suited to those of a smaller stature.

Do I need to be able to reach the floor with both feet?

Being able to reach the floor with both feet at stops is a great confidence booster, but isn’t always absolutely necessary.

If your bike is lightweight and well balanced, providing you can manage it, just being able to flat foot on one side should be enough for you to be in control, some riders even balance on their tip toes.

Can you have bikes lowered?

There are bike lowering kits available for some sportsbikes but it isn’t a very simple process.

Unless you are handy with a wrench you would be best speaking to your local bike shop about your needs to see if they custom fit a particular model for you.

Swapping out your stock seat and suspension might be enough to give you an inch or two grace and make your bike that bit lower for improved control and confidence.

Final Thoughts

With all things considered then the best sportsbikes for short riders across all engine sizes are:

  • Yamaha YZF-R3
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400
  • Aprilia Tuono 660
  • Kawasaki Ninja 650
  • Ducati Supersport 950

Ultimately the best bike is the one that you love, that you are in control of and confident when riding.

Taking into account some of the key points we have mentioned like seat height and weight, will help you find the perfect sportsbike for you.

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