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Old 08-28-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
Ophiothrix OP
Joined: Aug 2013
Oddometer: 3
Adventure motorbikes for shorties?

Dear Adventure Riders,

I have recently moved from Wales to Australia (Melbourne) and am looking forward to some touring (no previous experience). I've owned a couple of bikes before, but haven't done any long trips on them (more of a commute). I've been contemplating to get an 'adventure' bike with the view of going off road a bit. Nothing extreme. More of a 'rough unsealed road' than 'dune climbing'. The problem I have is that I find the touring bikes rather tall for my short legs, I'm about 5'5" (165cm) and not very heavy. I've owned and struggled with Triumph Trident 750. I also did my license training on BMW G 650 GS and BMW F 650 GS and found them a tad too tall as well. I'm fine on the road, but stopping on uneven ground with a pillion was a challenge.

So I wonder if anybody here has any suggestions for a bike(s) that would be suitable for a short rider, comfortable for two-up touring, have some limited off-road capability and won't break the bank. Or is it too much to ask for?

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Old 08-28-2013, 10:40 PM   #2
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: GEELONG
Oddometer: 113
The BMW F650GS (you know the 800 one) can be got with a low seat and lower suspension and I think of hand that bought the seat height to just under 800mm that may answer your first two but not the last and BMW dealers steel from you for servicing if you can not do it your self
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:57 AM   #3
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Location: Northside Brisbane, Qld Australia
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Any model Transalp may be worth a try to see how your ergos work with it.
"I reckon it would be good getting a heap of XR's in the one spot and watching a heap of blokes kicking fuck out of there bikes and swearing."

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Old 08-29-2013, 02:27 AM   #4
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Gold Coast
Oddometer: 2,794
Lower a DL 650. It's probably the most cost effective and reliable option, if tall.

However it can be lowered quite easilly, that does reduce it's off road capabilities, but still fine on maintained dirt roads. It's one of the better touring bikes. I do know a couple of very short people with DL's who have managed to cope well. (Round the world travellers)

BMW F650 Singles, you may find a factory lowered one. A little painful touring, but not impossible.

Another option, though almost useless off road, NC700SA. It'll be low enough.

KLE 650, almost impossible to find now (quite old), but probably perfect.

The height is a real problem sorry, pretty much anything will be a compromise.

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Old 08-29-2013, 03:19 AM   #5
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Glasgow, Kentucky
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How about a lowered DR650? Fairly tight for 2-up but doable for sure. Check out the big DR650 thread here in Thumpers and

'08 DR650, '13 TU250X
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:02 AM   #6
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Location: Hakuba Japan
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This chick was about 5'0" and had her BMW lowered and was off to the Cape. Not much ground clearance though.

Going to Japan? Im there and happy to help.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Central Coast, Cal
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Triumph Tiger 800 roadie with a lowering link? The factory seat in low position is pretty tame, but with a lowering link, which cheap and easy to do, it is positively low rider-ish.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Juvenal
(Who watches the watchers)
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:51 AM   #8
Small Town Hick
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Coastal Texas
Oddometer: 981
In Melbourne, you are one lucky fella.

Go see these guys:

They have dozens and dozens of different bikes for hire. So they have a broad exposure to whats out there and what does what best.

Friendly chaps too. Tell them the Tenere Texan (and his wife) sent ya. :)
(I put 4000+ kilometers on that Blue Beast on the right side out front)
XT1200Z BIGGEST Dirt Bike in the world
500 EXC Dirtiest Street Bike in the world
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:19 PM   #9
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Your post reads like something my wife could have written. Same height, not particularly strong. Wants to enjoy her motorbike without anxiety. She had a factory lowered F650GS twin. It worked pretty well for her when lowered; but she was a bit nervous when it would tip. Never dropped it that I recall, but she was afraid she would. It served her well for a few trips and camping, but she finally replaced it with a lowered DR650. She's much happier. The lighter weight lets her feel a little more confident or in control. Of course, it has less power and handles differently. It can handle two-up, but I wouldn't want to do extended riding like that. The other nice thing was price. The Suzuki didn't cost much at all, compared to bikes like the Beemer. And if we have to do roadside repairs (happens every few years), the Suzuki is a simple design and accessible to work on. The Suzi is much easier for DIY maintenance at home, too.
Mordechai Y. Scher
Santa Fe, NM, USA

'07 aprilia Caponord
'75 Triumph T160 Trident (rebuilding)
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:25 PM   #10
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visit here ...
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:13 AM   #11
Ophiothrix OP
Joined: Aug 2013
Oddometer: 3
Thank you all for your replies! I hoped to get away without lowering seats, suspensions, etc. After all, I'm 5" taller than all those inspiring women in The Shortypants Thread :) But maybe I'm just being fussy. Though I have to say, after lowering my Trident a couple of inches (which still didn't make it perfectly rideable) I was regularly bottoming out on a bumpy track that led to my house. So I'm not a fan of suspension lowering. Especially for two up.
Cruz, I did think of a Transalp, but haven't found one to sit on yet.
PeterW, I like the sound of DL650, will try looking out for one.
Snakebitten, I've been to see the guys at Gamers already. Very friendly indeed. Unfortunately, they didn't have any Transalps I was hoping to have a feel for. Why didn't I think of trying something else. Will definitely go back.
Greer and Medic09, DR650 probably would be ideal. I hope by extended touring you mean multi-weeks trips (not on cards right now) and it should work fine for multi-day trips (planning a trip from Melbourne to Adelaide and Kangaroo island (under 3000 km in 2 weeks).
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:39 AM   #12
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Glasgow, Kentucky
Oddometer: 3,860
I've made two trips to Alaska on DR650's. First time 6 weeks and 13,500 miles, second time 5 weeks and 12,500 miles. Already looking forward to the next go-round.

'08 DR650, '13 TU250X
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:01 AM   #13
Ophiothrix OP
Joined: Aug 2013
Oddometer: 3
And _cy_, thanks for the link. Very inspiring.
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