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Motorcycle Seat Height, Stability and Rider Fit

Motorcycle Seat Height – The question often arises about which is the best motorcycle to rent or buy as travelers plan their adventures.  Choosing the right size bike can be as important to your overall riding experience as any other factor, so often riders are concerned about the seat height.  While intuition tells us “a larger engine means a larger bike,” this is not necessarily true across the board. (Ride Adventures, 2011)

What To Look For On That New Bike

The correct seat height is critical to an enjoyable – and safe – riding experience. This is why most manufacturers produce a variety of solutions on almost all their models that allow riders to choose the perfect seat height for them: Here’s what to look for:

  1. Height-adjustable seats as standard: on models, seat height that can be adjusted via the saddle mount.
  2. A choice of seats with different heights: low and high seats can often be specified as a no-cost factory-fitted option, and are also available as retro-fittable accessories.
  3. Retro-fittable lowered suspension. All this enables ergonomics to be tailored to individual riders, allowing them to truly feel at one with their machine. Perfect balance.

What Determines Bike Stability

The stability of a bike is key to the rider’s ability to control it. It is determined primarily by the following factors:

  1. The height of the motorcycle: this varies depending on the type of bike; for example, Enduro bikes tend to be higher because of the longer suspension travel.
  2. The weight and center of gravity of the motorcycle:
  3. The width of the seat at the front: Seats that are narrower at the front, make it easier for the rider’s feet to touch the ground.
  4. Step length. Step length is more directly relevant to the stability of the bike than seat height.
  5. The width of the seat plays a big part in step length. Two bikes may have a seat that is the same height above the ground, but if one has a much wider seat, riders who can comfortably place their feet on the ground on the other machine may only just be able to touch it with their toes on this one.

Seat Height Specifications

Motorcycle Model

Standard seat height

Low position adjustable seat

Special seat if available

BMW G650GS 800mm / 31.5 in 770mm/30.3 in
BMW F650GS/F700GS 820mm / 32.28 in 790mm / 31.10 in
BMW F800GS 880mm / 34.65 in 850mm / 33.46 in
BMW F800GS Adventure 890mm 860mm
BMW R1200GS (air/oil cooled) 850mm / 33.46 in 820mm / 32.28 in
BMW R1200GS (Liquid Cooled 2013+) 851mm / 33.5 in 826mm / 32.3 in
BMW R1200GS Adventure (air/oil cooled) 910mm / 35.83 in 820mm / 32.28 in
BMW R1200GS Adventure (Liquid Cooled 2014+) 889mm / 35 in 841mm / 33.1 in
Honda XR650L 940mm / 37.01 in
Honda XL700 Trans Alp 841mm / 33.11 in
*New 2016+ Honda Africa Twin 871mm / 34.3 in
Kawasaki KLR 650 890mm / 35.04 in
KTM 1190 Adventure 889mm / 35 in
KTM 990 Adventure 880mm / 34.65 in
KTM 990 Adventure R 905mm / 35.63 in
KTM 990 SM T 855mm / 33.66 in
Suzuki V-Strom 650 835mm / 32.87 in
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 840mm / 33.07 in
Suzuki DR650SE 885mm / 34.84 in
Suzuki DR-Z400S 935mm / 36.81 in
Suzuki DR200SE 810mm / 31.89 in
Triumph Tiger 800XC 865mm / 34.06 in 846mm / 33.31 in
Yamaha XT 660 895mm / 35.24 in
Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere 867mm / 34.13 in 845mm / 33.27 in

(Ride Adventures, 2011)

About this listing

  1. Where a manufacturer listed a special low seat as an option, it is shown (however this does not necessarily mean an aftermarket brand is not available.)
  2. We’ve listed where adjustments can be made to the original seat to lower the height
  3. This does not show where manufacturers have special suspension-lowering options to lower the overall seat height.  (As this can greatly affect the overall handling and performance and suspension of the motorcycle, we do not endorse such adjustments!)
  4. These specs were taken from each manufacturer’s website, based on typically the 2009-2012 model year

As hinted at before, the seat height or engine size factors alone won’t “fit” the motorcycle for you.  Whenever possible, stop by your local dealer or find the same model you’re interested in locally and check out how it feels for you personally.  Height alone does not determine whether you can touch the ground comfortably.  (For example, a short motorcycle with a wide seat can essentially inhibit your leg-reach the same as a tall motorcycle with a narrow seat.) (Ride Adventures, 2011)

Works Cited

Ride Adventures, E. L.-R. (2011, September 13). What’s-the-seat-height-on-that-adventure-motorcycle. Retrieved from http://www.rideadv.com/: http://www.rideadv.com/ride-adventures-tour-and-rentals-blog/bid/72481/What-s-the-seat-height-on-that-adventure-motorcycle