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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 5 Dec 2008
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Bike with lower seat hight

Heya,

I want to go on a one year trip mostly offroads through Africa and Asia. The problem is that I am quiet tiny (5,35feed). I am searching for a bike which is not to heavy and not to high as well. My friend wants to go for a honda xr650, which would be quiet light, but soooo high. I also thought about lowering the bike and get a smaller tire, but I heard it is very expensive and just gives you 2,5cm.
Any recommentations?

Thanks Susi

Last edited by SusiAustria; 5 Dec 2008 at 23:17.
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  #2  
Old 5 Dec 2008
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Welcome to the site Susi.
I'm afraid a smaller tyre is not really an option but lowering is.
This topic has been discussed many times in the past, suggest you do a search and then come back with questions that you can't find answers for after that.
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  #3  
Old 6 Dec 2008
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Hi Susi,
As Hustler mentioned, quite a bit here on low bikes for girls.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:14.
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  #4  
Old 6 Dec 2008
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The above advice is all good, but do you really need a trail bike? Just about anything that can be fitted with decent tyres will make it to 95% of places you can get on a trail bike and might be a lot better on the road. Think Enfields, CB250's, ER5's, the Chinese 250's the locals use, just look at the wheel sizes and get a tyre catalogue before you buy (avoid 16" rears and so on).

Andy
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  #5  
Old 6 Dec 2008
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And the bikes he mentioned will be cheaper and more plentiful

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:14.
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  #6  
Old 6 Dec 2008
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I disagree with Patrick on the issue of seat height. In my view you need to be able to reach the ground easily. Sometimes you will have to stop at a T junction which is on a slope across your bike. You may have to rest your foot on the downhill side and if you are on tip toes normally you will topple over. The same applies when you put your foot in a hole ( maybe full of water).
I actually like the ER5 for a modern bike it is simple and unpretentious, but sadly not too low in the seat.
The Enfields can be had as 760mm normal seat height, but there is a low seat option or 720mm ( not sure what that is in old money), The Enfield is an 'old school' bike meaning it is general purpose and not like the highly specialised bikes you can often find today. It does everything compentantly but in its own way. As a pure road bike it is not as good as any of my older Triumphs, or BMW. It will run rings around a BMW on wet grass and other slippery stuff. The triumphs are not quite as good offroad, but better onroad. I would seriously consider customising a lean burn Enfield, They are losing popularity now in India as they only do 80mpg (100KM 3,5ltr) giving a meagre 570 KM range with the optional 20 litre tank (at a staggering £130). or a 1968-1974 500cc Triumph. The Triumph has a very low seat height of 27" (about 686 mm). web search 'Triumph adventurer' but there is no need to go the whole hog, as Patrick suggests, fitting 'universal tyres' will allow you to do most things easily. Pick a single carb version and use 7:1 pistons and it will cope with any fuel. If having the motor reconditioned, fit 5TA/3TA camshafts to make the bike completely tractable. IE it will run from 20mph to 95mph in top gear. The standard equipped bike will run 30-110mph.
Spares are readily available from several good mail order spares shops.

Last edited by oldbmw; 6 Dec 2008 at 21:47. Reason: tripewriter malfunction
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  #7  
Old 7 Dec 2008
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We should all read the 'short bikers list' ... even tall people can learn how to save energy, and reduce risks of red faces ..

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  #8  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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Those are some very useful links!
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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An Enfield? be serious... unless you've really got a thing for the retro, and all the time in the world, avoid it's overweight clunkiness like the plague...

Personally, if I were shorter (or just wanted a lower bike), I'd get a Suzuki DRZ400 Supermoto - the 17" wheels already make it significantly lower than the regular DRZ, and you can always add a Kuoba link to lower it a further couple of inches...

For overland use you could fit something like TKC80's on the stock rims (just put a 130/80 rear on the front, and the 150/70 rear on the rear - lovin' that fat-tyre look!) - or for a few more £££s re-lace the front with a 19" rim and fit the regular 110 front TKC tyre...

You can get a bigger tank for them (lots of sizes/makes to choose from), likewise luggage racks etc. and you're good to go?

The bike itself is damn near bulletproof, the supermoto suspension while slightly stiffer and lower than the S model, is still more than adequate for off-road riding, and a joy to ride on tarmac... in fact I'd say it's a nicer bike to ride all round.

They are also a cheap bike to buy new (warranty, finance etc) and easy to sell on if you don't want to keep it after the trip...

As the Mondo boys would say - result!

xxx
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  #10  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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Thanks a lot!

Thanks a lot for the advice until now, I was reading as well some older articles and there was the Beta Alp 4.0 mentioned, what do you think about that bike? It is not to heavy 133kg dry weight and a the seat hight is 863mm. The frame looks a bit weak maybe? But I have never heard of this bike before, so I don't know really.

I would love to get the honda XR650R lower, cause of the weight (125.6kg dryweight) this is almost the lightest bike I could find and that is for a 650 pretty good I think.

I heard almost all the smaller ones need to get their oil changed pretty often, which could be a pain in the arse in the middle of mongolia and you would not have this problem with bigger bikes.

I was riding a Yamaha YZ 250 (seat height 980mm) in a crosstrail, of course I can handle the bike while driving, but the stopping is an advantage.
It gets even worse going downhill, if I have to stop then.... hhmmmm

I know I definitly need a bike which is perfect offroads, cause our plan is to go as much as possible of the street, so the Enfield might be not the right bike, even if is is low, the weight is a lot.

The DRZ400SM sounds as well pretty good. I think I should get Endurotyres with it for sand. To get smaller tyres for a supermoto is not to difficult, but how is it for stubbletyres (sorry don't know how to spell that )?

Thanks again I will go on searching, with your help it is so much easier!!
Susi
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  #11  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusiAustria View Post
Thanks a lot for the advice until now, I was reading as well some older articles and there was the Beta Alp 4.0 mentioned, what do you think about that bike? It is not to heavy 133kg dry weight and a the seat hight is 863mm. The frame looks a bit weak maybe? But I have never heard of this bike before, so I don't know really.

I would love to get the honda XR650R lower, cause of the weight (125.6kg dryweight) this is almost the lightest bike I could find and that is for a 650 pretty good I think.

I heard almost all the smaller ones need to get their oil changed pretty often, which could be a pain in the arse in the middle of mongolia and you would not have this problem with bigger bikes.

I was riding a Yamaha YZ 250 (seat height 980mm) in a crosstrail, of course I can handle the bike while driving, but the stopping is an advantage.
It gets even worse going downhill, if I have to stop then.... hhmmmm

I know I definitly need a bike which is perfect offroads, cause our plan is to go as much as possible of the street, so the Enfield might be not the right bike, even if is is low, the weight is a lot.

The DRZ400SM sounds as well pretty good. I think I should get Endurotyres with it for sand. To get smaller tyres for a supermoto is not to difficult, but how is it for stubbletyres (sorry don't know how to spell that )?

Thanks again I will go on searching, with your help it is so much easier!!
Susi
Hi Susi -

Hopefully I can answer a few of your questions:

XR650R - fantastic bike (I have one) and as you say, pretty light for a 650 - but that is because it is essentially a desert race bike. The engine oil changes are meant to be every 600 miles! You can easily go to 1000 or even 1500 miles with more gentle trail riding, but the oil is pretty thin and black when it comes out - it only has 1.7 litre oil capacity.

More 'trail' (or 'dual-sport' as the say in the USA) bikes like the Yamaha XT225/250 Serrow have far longer service intervals, same with the DRZ400 - typically 4000 mile oil changes - as they are designed to be used as more day-to-day bikes.

The Beta Alp is a good (if slightly obscure) option. It uses the Suzuki DRZ 350cc engine (good, reliable, air-cooled for simple maintenance) - if you can find one, do check it out. However, you will be limited with fuel range as there is not a huge aftermarket range of parts for that bike.

The 'TKC' tyres I mention in my above post are the Continetal TKC80 Twinduro tyre - an excellent all-road dual purpose tyre (just search this and any other bike forum, you won't find a bad word about them). They are an excellent dual perpose knobbily tyre - very good on the road, and great off road in all but really thick wet mud (when a motocross tyre really is the best option). They last well for a knobbliy tyre - are great in sand, dirt, rocks, mud - everything. They are the tyres fitted to bikes like the BMW GS when taken off road - and nearly everyone who takes a bike long distance with a lot of off-road would use them.

The sizes I quote above will fit the DRZ400 supermoto (17inch wheels), and they also come in a wide range of other rim sizes. For the trip you are suggesting, I would certainly recommend those tyres. However, they will of course eventually wear out, and while most tyres dealers in big cities will be able to get them (at a price), once you get further into Asia, you may find you have to replace them with whatever they have locally of course - that woud be the only reason for having a bike with more regular 21" front, 18" rear rims (TKCs are available in those sizes too btw.).

Do try and find a DRZ SM to ride - I guaranttee you will like it, it's light, nimble, low maintenance, low seat and had a lot of aftermarket accessory options, what's more it is about as reliable as they get these days.

Good luck!

xxx
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  #12  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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can be made a lower easily by installing and raising fork tubes up

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:15.
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Loads of good little bikes around as mentioned TTR250 and KLX250 the new Yamaha WR250R or the Suzuki DRZ250 which has a very easy 2 bolt holes for the shocker and can be lowered very easily. maybe the Yamaha XT250Serrow older bikes look at the Yamaha XT225Serrow (engine is a bit basic) or even the Honda XL250Degree (had a lower seat height than the Serrow but had a good 4 valve water cooled full 250cc engine).

all these bikes aside from the 225Serrow would easily manage with sensible luggage and will cruise at UK motorway speeds.
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