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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 30 Jan 2004
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Trail bike for a shorty?

Hi,

I currently own a BMW R850r and have travelled a fair bit through out Europe. However, after purchasing Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling handbook I want to discover more adventurous routes. I tried a day of trail bike riding on CCM's but found that they were exceedingly tall and I had trouble placing my feet on the floor which at one point gave rise to an embarrasing fall at 0 mph! I am only 5' 6" tall and would really like to buy a second hand trail bike for longer adventure touring so can anyone offer advice or suggestions?

Regards,
Kevin Holmes.
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  #2  
Old 30 Jan 2004
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My girlfriend is about 5'5" tall & rides an R80GS Paralever with no problem. The only concession she's made is to have about 1" of seat foam removed & then had the seat re-covered. She's managed the bike off road in the Pyrenees with full panniers, top box & tank bag.

I'm selling my R80GS, I've had a couple of guys round to look at it, both were about your height but with very short legs, in even in relation to their height. They found it difficult to dismount the bike when fitted with panniers? I live in Oxford, you're welcome to try it out for size.

Most single cylinder trail bikes are quite tall. Those that aren't tend to have smaller engines.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 30 Jan 2004
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Kuba makes lowering links for several motorcycles, so if you find one you like, but it is to tall lower it.

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  #4  
Old 31 Jan 2004
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Steve, with a loaded touring bike I've always found it easiest to put the bike on the sidestand then get off. BUT you say - the GS sidestand is a horrible contraption that's almost impossible to put down from on the bike. Yep, you need to add a decent sidestand. See: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/johnson/OurBike.shtml

MOST bikes fortunately have a decent sidestand, and sidestand down first works fine then.

Kevin, you'll find that ALL good trail bikes are tall - it's part of the price of long travel suspension. You will get used to it and develop techniques for dealing with the height, but the best thing to start with is a smallish bike - 250cc for instance - and go around to the dealers and sit on them, see what feels reasonable and is a decent price for a starter off-road bike. Despite many arguments about which is BEST - they all work great, and are amazing compared to what was available 20 years ago, and those were amazing compared to what was available when I was racing in the dirt. And we scoffed at the older stuff then...

Of course if you don't want a real dirt bike, the adventure touring bikes are more limited in choice. Have a good read through this forum, the discussion has raged on many times...

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  #5  
Old 31 Jan 2004
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The BMW F650 GS has quite a moderate saddle height as standard. Not to bad off-road either so long as it isn't too technical or muddy.

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Old 31 Jan 2004
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Grant, it was indeed the sidestand that was part of the problem. The pivot point was too far forwards for the shorter guys to use whilst sat on the bike. I'm 5'10" & have quite long legs for my height but I don't like using it. I always find the flattest spot to park, dismount the bike & put it on the centre stand.

Another problem was that neither person had experience of hoisting a sizeable bike on to a centre stand & found it a struggle. They both tried it using only uppper body strength to physically lift the bike up instead of relying on total body weight acting on the stand itself. When loaded with luggage, this is a sure way to hurt yourself.

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  #7  
Old 31 Jan 2004
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I'm fairly short in the leg department, about 30" inside leg. The R100gs was fine for me, but as stated above the original side stand was a piece of junk. It was impossible to put the sidestand down, being situated too far forward and fitted with the return spring, whilst astride the bike. Ernie at Overland Solutions made a fantastic, standard type, sidestand which was welded further back on the frame and had the advantage of a large foot for use on soft ground. The mainstand was a nightmare to use when the bike was fully loaded and once the sidestand was fitted I didn't use it.
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Old 1 Feb 2004
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The BMW F650 & Suzuki DR65SE can be lowered.

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  #9  
Old 1 Feb 2004
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Mcdarbyfeast,

your sidestand SHOULD be a copy of mine, (Ernie and I discussed it at length when I was in the UK) and it has worked flawlessly for 16 years...

recommended for all G/S-GS's.
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  #10  
Old 1 Feb 2004
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Steve, getting a G/S on the centrestand when fully loaded is a struggle for anyone!

Mine's an absolute pig. One of these days I'll shorten the centrestand.

But technique is everything here, as I think you know.

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  #11  
Old 1 Feb 2004
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Grant, Yes from the pic's of your bike it is the same. It is, together with the strengthened subframe, the best mod' for this model. Once done it gave me alot more confidence, especialy with the bike fully loaded.
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  #12  
Old 2 Feb 2004
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Hi,
My girlfriend rides a F650GS and can place her feet flat on the floor. She is about 5'6'and very lightweight. The only problem she has, is the weight of the bike!!
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  #13  
Old 2 Feb 2004
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My 5'2" wife rides a Honda SLR650, no adjustments needed and loves it, basically a dominator with a few changes, kitting it up for some stuff is hard work but there are ways...

Really recommend it!

Tony.
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  #14  
Old 10 Feb 2004
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A really good solution - particularly if oriented in Offroad riding is the BETA ALP 4.0
http://www.betamotor.com/media/enduro/enduro00.html
same engine as DR350 but way better handling/suspensions/brakes
don't be fooled by their tech specs ! the real seat height is 780 mm. (just 5 mm. more than the old XT500)
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  #15  
Old 11 Feb 2004
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Thanks for all the replies. This certainly gives me a headstart into looking at different models and specifications. Test riding some of these is going to take a while nut i'll look in from time to time and feedback.

Regards,
Kevin.
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