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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 17 Jan 2006
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Bike for woman 170 cm tall

I am looking into buying a bike for my wife. She is 170 cms tall (5 feet 7 inches? if my conversions are not way off).

Preferably we want something which can go off-road. Although not stricty necesary, we would also like to have the same bikes, or bikes with interchangable parts. We are therefore also looking into purchasing a bike for me. Same bikes would be nice, but as I said, it is not strcitly necesary. We are more concerned about getting the better bike for each rider, and this post is primarily about a bike for my wife. There will likely not be any height issues with me as I am 185+ cms tall (6 foot one inch?? Again, if my calculations are not way off).

Which bikes would be appropriate for my wife in terms of height weight (primarily concerned about height)? Which ones are not adequate? Which ones are preferable and why? For myself I would concider one of the following (though I prefer the ones with 600ccs or more):

Honda XL 600 or 650 Transalp?
Honda xl 600?
Honda XL 350?
Honda Dominator 650 NX?
Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin?
BMW F650 GS?
BMW F650 GS Dakar?
Yamaha XT 350?
Yamaha XT 600?
Yamaha XTZ 660 Tenere
Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Tenere

Would any of these be suitable for mye wife? Which ones would not and why?
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  #2  
Old 17 Jan 2006
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My wife has the F650GS and is only 164 cm tall. She fits the bike perfectly (well, toes on the ground instead of flat feet) and absolutely loves it. Unfortunately, at 192 cm I don't fit the F650GS (not even the Dakar) very well so we're on different bikes.

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  #3  
Old 17 Jan 2006
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The two 750's in your list are too heavy off-road, I'd say.
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  #4  
Old 17 Jan 2006
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Honda Transalp and Africa Twin are far too heavy in my opinion. For a woman frame I mean!
Yamaha XT600 is a superb bike but will be far too high and no easy options to lower it (I looked into it few months ago). My husband is 190cm and found it almost too tall for him too.
BMW 650GS is ideal for women: light and reasonably low seat. Dakar is better for men as taller.
In fact I just bought a 650GS, but considering I'm only 163cm tall I had very few options on mid-size off-road bikes in term of seat height and weight. My other half will get the Dakar for our trip next year.


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  #5  
Old 17 Jan 2006
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The BMW F650 GS and the Dakar are my two favourites (the first for my wife, the second for me), but they are also the two most expensive options...

We were hoping to find something a bit cheaper...
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  #6  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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just come across this place http://www.cmcbikes.com/motorcycle_lowering_kits.htm , they do lowering kits for bikes. Africa Twin's, Transalp, XT600, XT660, etc, all listed.
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  #7  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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Hi Wheelie,
I'm a bit of an inflexible crock but I pretty much have to take a running jump to get on my XT (I'm a shade over 5'9"). You wife's reasonably tall, and may not be as out of shape as me but it definately feels high to me. My mates F650 feels much lower.
Matt

[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 18 January 2006).]
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 19 Jan 2006
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I have met recently a couple from germany that had ridden the american continent in two bikes.He with the BMW PD and she with a standard suzuky Freewind! 18 month from north to south.
Don´t leave this option out.Great bike.Not expensive and not to heavy.
KH
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  #9  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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Hey Wheelie,
I am 168cm tall (also a bit vague on the conversion). Initially I was set on getting an XT and then met my Dommie. Height wise, both bikes, as well as the F650, are perfect. (although a couple of the XTs I went to see varied massively in height for some reason (??) The taller of the two was definitely uncomfortably tall for me). I am a fairly strong, but small framed girl, and my Dommie is manageable if I fall over (I have a little too much practice picking her up ). Any heavier though and it would be a real struggle, especially if starting to lag after a few hours on the road.

The KTMs are also good options. The LC4 and the smaller (is it a) 450 (?) are good in terms of height and are lighter, just not as comfortable as the Dommie (or the F650, I imagine) over long distances. Depends on the play/travel ratio that you want out of the bike. For me, KTM (the LC4, that is) is higher on play factor and lower on the points for comfortable travel, but perfectly managable for me. Just depends how many hiney massages you are willing to give, and how many fillings your wife has

I have also been on a couple of Tenere's. Not too scary in terms of height (maybe less able to paddle though) but I found them a little bulky for me and pushing my 'can I pick this beasty up' limit.

There are of course a few women hooning around on Super Teneres without any problems. It comes down to individual preference I suppose... Maybe your wife will fall in love with 'the blue one'.

The F650 is going to be my second bike



[This message has been edited by Shells (edited 19 January 2006).]
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  #10  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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Oh! I forgot - the Dommie, Transalp combo may be a good one for your wife and yourself. Some interchangable parts and both great bikes. Possibly a good size/weight match for each of you too
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Old 19 Jan 2006
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Thanks a bunch Shells... that was some great info! First hand experience is the best!. Do you by any chance know if any of the bikes you were riding were lowered, if so, which?

Anybody else with first hand experience???

As for the KTM, the reason it is not on my list is because of comfort. There are other bikes on that list which are not too comfortable either, but they are dirt cheap in comparison to KTMs and hence a tradeoff I may concider. As for Suzuki, here often known as screwzuki (as in having to turn the wrench a lot), is not on my list due to many odd parts, tools and solutions, difficult repairs and riability issues (or so I have heard from a mechanic).

I have no experience with Kawasaki offroaders.
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  #12  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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I went through the same issues with my partner quite recently (you can see my queries scattered across this site).

We ended up taking a F650 Funduro with a Kouba lowering kit (easy to fit yourself). We took the 2" lowering kinks but they do sell a 1" link which should be fine for a 1.70m person.

She is 5'2" and rides it with comfort with both balls of her feet on the ground. It's a very easy bike to ride, very forgiving, easy to find gears etc

Two up the back wheel hits the mudguard rather frequently on full hard suspension.

Ground clearance is not an issue so long as you are not planning on heading off-piste but should handle the run of the mill African bush track.

I've also now got a F650 Funduro and am very happy with it. Use it every odd day for commute and it's really comfortable ride position and seat etc (me 1.82m). Also very solid with two up which would imply that one up fully loaded for touring would be the same.

[This message has been edited by Bossies (edited 19 January 2006).]
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  #13  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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Sure thang Wheelie!
The 450 (why do I think it's a 460 something?) KTM had been lowered. The XT that was perfect for me was the very first bike that I went to see, so sensible questions eluded me

My Dommie was previously ridden by a big bloke, so I made some small adjustments to the preload (and I know everyone always comments on this as a bad idea, by I weigh much less than he did) and shortened the side stand and find it very comfortable for me.

The Teneres were standard height.

Don't forget, knobblies can also make a bike seem a teensy bit higher.

As a new(ish) rider, the bigger tanked bikes always seemed to feel massive compared to their regular issue counterparts, even if the height was okay. I don't know if your wife is an experienced rider, but maybe you could spring the tank change on her after the first couple of months.

Lowered bikes need not be less comfortable either - you can whack a gel pad on the seat for long journeys (if the lowering included cutting away some of the seat foam).
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  #14  
Old 4 Feb 2006
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Hi Wheelie,

I would agree with Shells on the tank thing - made my XT600 feel huge! If I were to do another trip, I would go for the XT350 or something similar but definately lighter than the 600 Its no fun having to wait for your riding partner to come back so he can help you pick up the bike!!

Sian..
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  #15  
Old 4 Feb 2006
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Something maybe to keep in mind.

Whe you walk into the store to check out bikes, you'll probably try it out without any gear loaded on it. Put 50-60 kilos of gear on it and you'll compress the shocks.

At 5'10 inches (178 cm) I can't put my feet flat on the ground on my 650GSDakar when its "naked" - I use my toes to balance it at lights and such. I have to lean it to one side, or shift to one side of the saddle to get one foot flat. However, loaded with my gear, sitting straight in the saddle, I'm pretty much touching the ground flat-footed (just right!).
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