Motorbike

Best Motorcycles for Taller Riders

“Wow, I always forget how tall you are!”

I can’t help but chuckle when I am reunited with friends who I haven’t seen for a while and that is the first thing they say. I’ve heard that the Dutch are among some of the tallest people in the world, and I guess those genes run deep. I am 6-foot and everyone else in my immediate family is at a minimum 5-foot-8. My “little” brother is 6-foot-4.

For motorcycle riding purposes, my height, more specifically my 32-inch inseam, is very useful for reaching the ground at stops. It certainly boosts my confidence to be able to have both feet on the ground for added stability. Sport-tourers, ADVs, and dual sports often have higher seat heights and more legroom which makes them very appropriate for riders with longer inseams.

This list isn’t a catchall of bikes for tall riders. There are plenty of other street-legal bikes (and dirt bikes) out there that are perfect for the vertically gifted. What motorcycle do you have that gives you a little more wiggle room? Any adjustments you made to your bike to make it feel more comfortable? Leave a comment below and let us know.

BMW F 900 XR

The F 900 XR provides both a high seat and low seat option to adjust the seat height to rider preferences. (BMW/)

When we had a BMW F 900 XR in the office one of my coworkers told me to go sit on it. “Gah, you’re lucky you’re tall.” By that reaction, I apparently aced some sort of seat height test. When aboard the XR, my inseam could comfortably reach the ground from the 32.5-inch seat height. An owner standing at 6-foot-6 reported the seat height to be fine for him, but as a personal preference he was going to get the extra high seat (which raises the seat height to 32.9 inches). There is also a low seat option that lowers the seat height to 31.3 inches or a low suspension option ($200) that, with the low seat, brings the seat height down to 30.5 inches. The riding position is upright which provides a bit more room for longer torsos.

BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

The venerable do-it-all R 1250 GSA has a seat height and comfortable ergonomics best suited for tall riders.

The venerable do-it-all R 1250 GSA has a seat height and comfortable ergonomics best suited for tall riders. (BMW/)

It helps to have long legs to climb aboard a large bike like the BMW R 1250 GS and keep it upright at stops. Seat height is at a claimed 35 inches, but with height adjustability as standard it can range up to 35.8 inches. An adjustable windscreen also allows riders to alter the current of the wind for improved comfort. In our review of the standard 2021 GS, we noted that it has a lofty level of comfort and the nice bend in the handlebars is suitable for both on- and off-road riding. A 32-inch inseam test rider of sister publication Cycle World reviewed the GSA in 2019 and found that in its lowest seat setting with minimum spring preload, the rider was able to flat-foot at stops, so any longer inseam riders have wiggle room here. The BMW accessories catalog also offers different rider seats, footpegs, and handlebar risers as options to customize the ergonomics and dimensions even further.

Ducati Multistrada V4

The Multistrada V4 balances sporty and roomy ergos.

The Multistrada V4 balances sporty and roomy ergos. (Ducati/)

The Ducati Multistrada V4 in all of its variations offers a seat height that can be adjusted between 33.1 and 33.9 inches. While the Pikes Peak version, for example, also offers adjustable seat heights, its different handlebar and peg positioning make the ride more aggressive. Motorcyclist’s Senior Editor Adam Waheed wrote in his Pikes Peak review that he prefers the lower pegs and wider bar of the standard Multistrada V4 S, because the Pikes Peak machine’s more aggressive ergonomics border on overkill for the standard Multi’s already sporty ergos. Whereas the riding position on the Pikes Peak version is comfortable for test riders in the 5-foot-7 range, the standard model’s more relaxed dimensions can provide a roomier rider triangle for those with longer limbs.

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special

Adaptive Ride Height automatically adjusts the seat height based on whether the bike is in motion or not.

Adaptive Ride Height automatically adjusts the seat height based on whether the bike is in motion or not. (Harley-Davidson/)

As many of you know, the Pan America is Harley-Davidson’s foray into the adventure segment. One of the tech features available on the Pan America Special is the Adaptive Ride Height. Harley says this suspension system “automatically transitions between a low stopped position and optimal ride height when the motorcycle is in motion.” This handy feature is not only helpful to those with shorter inseams, but riders of all sizes. The adjustable windscreen does well in deflecting the wind, and reach to the bars is also easy and comfortable according to a 5-10 test rider. Its lowest unladen seat height (with ARH) is 32.7 inches and highest at 33.7 inches. Accessory low and high seats and handlebar risers are also available.

Suzuki DR650S

The DR650S’ seat height can be a stretch for shorter riders, but not so much for taller ones.

The DR650S’ seat height can be a stretch for shorter riders, but not so much for taller ones. (Suzuki/)

A dual sport like Suzuki’s DR650S is also a lighter weight option for those who don’t mind big bike dimensions. With a seat height of 34.8 inches (optional lowering kit brings it to 33.2 inches) the DR650S offers a good stretch to the ground. Riders with a 30.5-inch inseam found that the standard seat height is a little tall, but lowering it brought it down to more manageable levels for them. If your inseam is longer than that, you will be comfortable.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE is slim and roomy for a great amount of legroom.

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE is slim and roomy for a great amount of legroom. (Triumph/)

My husband and I own a Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE. For me, the riding position is relaxed and spacious. Thanks to the narrow tank and seat there is a generous amount of legroom. Reaching the bars is comfortable in both standing and seated riding positions as well. The 33.1-inch claimed seat height isn’t an issue—the balls of my feet touch the ground when at a standstill. My husband who is 5-foot-10.5 and has an inseam of 31 inches is more on his toes, but since he started with dirt bikes he finds this reach comfortable. Without dirt experience he says it would be intimidating.

Yamaha Ténéré 700

This midsize adventure bike has a claimed seat height of 34.4 inches.

This midsize adventure bike has a claimed seat height of 34.4 inches. (Yamaha/)

The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is a tall yet nimble ADV trekker. Its 34.4-inch seat height may be a touch on the higher side, but that will be welcome to taller riders and those looking to have some fun in the dirt. Riders with anywhere from 30-inch to 32-inch inseams can manage the tall seat height, but if additional height is desired, there is the optional rally seat which adds 1.6 inches to stock. Its slim design is almost dirt-bike-like making it easy to stand up on. It offers plenty of legroom when seated as well.

Honorable Mentions

Aprilia Tuareg 660 (33.9-inch seat height)

Honda Africa Twin (33.5–34.3-inch seat height)

Husqvarna Norden 901 (33.6–34.4-inch seat height)

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S (33.4–34.2-inch seat height)

And just about any full-size dirt bike


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