Lower the Dakar or get her another bike?
My wife is 170 cm and I am 185cm.
I currently have a Dakar which is too tall for her. We are now looking for a bike for her.
We would like to have the same bikes, for all the inherent benefits (same range, same parts, same service, same capabilities, etc).
Should we get her:
-a Dakar with a lower seat (will it be enough?)?
-a Dakar and lower both the seat and the suspension?
-should we just get her a plain GS with the smaller alloy wheels and shorter shocks?
She wants to be able to plant the balls of both of her her feet firmly on the ground...
Thanks for all input.
My wife used to have a Funduro F650. Ok its not a Dakar but is close. She is about 175cm and wanted to plant both feet (fully) on the ground.
I lowered the suspension for her using the BMW lowering kit and the height was perfect however she always complained that she felt that the bike wanted to fall over when cornering. Needless to say, although very supportive of my wife, in my head I was thinking "yeah right!". After a few rides and her complaining I took the thing for a ride and Bugger me she was right. The bike was very unstable in corners and in fact did feel as though it wanted to fall over.
I put the suspension back to normal and the bike came back to normal. Wifey happy again about that but not happy she cant put both feet flat on the ground.
Keep an eye on that.
I'm 165cm's and have a 2007 GS not lowered and it is perfect. All the parts are pretty much interchangable between the Daker and the GS except of course the front wheel and the rear shock.
You mentioned alloy wheels, where will you ride, pavement only? My friends are in Mongolia with a f650 with alloy wheels and recently she bent and cracked both front and back rims hitting a large pot hole at speed, bad luck but may not have happened if they were spoked.
She is aspiring to ride off road...
For this purpose, spokes that more evenly distributes impact is far better, sort of like a suspension bridge. Spoked rims are costly - so I ham hoping the Dakar will fit her.
Also, having interchangeable tubes, etc, between both bikes would be an added benefit. But, being able to plant both feet firmly on the ground is most important I think.
You could try the 2" Koubalinks(rear suspension lowering links) they'll lower the back of the bike 2" and you can lower the front a bit by raising the fork tubes up through the yokes.
That way you can still get the 'offroad advantages' of the Dakar but without the tip toe seat height.
I've got a spare pair of 2" Koubalinks in the shed as i'm using the 1" links on Mrs P's G650GS.
I ride Mrs P's bike even though i'm 6' 4" tall but i use a Dakar seat and take it easy on the tight roundabouts and rough ground as her bike is already factory lowered. It does affect the handling a wee bit but if it makes the difference between getting your feet down comfortably or not then it's worth a bit of compromise.
The GS doesn't have cast alloy wheels it has a spoked 17" rear the same as the Dakar and a spoked 19" front, shorter non adjustable front forks and a shorter rear shock otherwise it's identical to the Dakar but several inches lower.
You can always buy a secondhand Dakar front wheel ( they sell really cheaply) if you want the same wheels/tubes.
I am 163 cm 'tall' and have a 2002 F650GS.(and some parts of a 2007 and Dakar) of which I have a 21" front rim on from the Dakar (better for off road). I have the large 39 TT tanks and therefore the seat is different to the standard. I have not lowered the suspension at all as it is important to make sure you have as much ground clearence as possible when riding off road.
I also have the more progessive springs in the front forks and an ohlins on the rear. which makes the bike taller but not as tall as the Dakar.
however, I have cut out the seat to make it lower and placed a gel seat inside it. this alteration has lasted me the last 10 years on the road (or rather off road!). try to cut out as much of the side padding as you can in the seat as it is (partially) this that makes the legs spread wider and therefore lifts the feet off the floor.
best to look at any seat alteration first prior to looking at anything else. this is also the cheapest option.
i understand that your wife wants to be able to place both feet flat on the floor, especially as she wants to go off-road....however, as long as she can get both feet partially on the floor (I dont mean just tip toes!) this should suffice. make sure her confidence is up - get her off road as much as possible and she will begin to feel happier with not being able to get both feet completely flat on the floor.
with touring and the extra weight of luggage the suspension will compress and the bike will feel lower anyway!
so basic advice - try everything before the last resort of lowering the suspension. you really will need all the ground clearence you can for your travels!
Just as a reminder, there were 650GS available from the factory with "factory lowered suspension" - my wife owned one for a few years, and the seat was also lowered. In the UK they come up for sale now and again.
The rear shock is shorter but I don't know if the front forks were altered in any way from the standard GS. When ours was bought it was stated by the sales staff that the suspension could not be "reversed" i.e. the suspension could not be raised - certainly it was definitely a shorter rear shock.
It handled OK IMO, although I could easily get the outside edge of the sidestand to drag the ground on left-handed bends.
And yes, the standard single cyl bike was supplied with spoked wheels/inner tubes fitted; the later 650 twins have solid wheels.
For me, quoting overall heights of people doesn't tell me much; it is the leg length of individuals that is key to reaching the ground, and for the foot peg to seat height dimension which has a big influence on riding comfort.
To exaggerate, a person could be a 2m tall "giant" with dwarf legs and a very long body! :innocent:
I'm 5'4" and have the F650GSFL (factory lowered) it handles very well but I do wish id bought the standard model as I can ground out the stand far to easily and two up without even thinking. However off road it works ok , solo and unloaded . My feet are both flat on the floor with ease . The rear shock is shorter and the forks are shorter from the factory . I am looking to fit a standard shock at some point and the Dakar wheel just to see how it handles and affects the height.
Lots of good advice above.
But peoples height is immaterial. It is the 'inside leg' measurement that matters for the OP's question - possibly ones gender also.
Having said that, this male 31incher, found the factory lowered seat to be just about OK.
I also tried a Corbin Gunfighter and Lady seat (I think it was called) which was great for the semi-regular 3 day grind between London and Moscow. This also was quite low BUT it was wide, which spread my thighs apart and was effectively the same workable height as the factory standard one, although my feet were wider apart on touchdown.
If going seriously off road, away from graded surfaces, I would not lower my Dakar at all. It is standard height but regularly stuck its belly on rocks, mounds and ruts.
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