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Old 03-18-2011, 05:15 PM   #1
Region Riley OP
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The Shortypants Thread: We are short women and this is what we ride

My name is Kelly, I am 39 years old and I have been riding for about 3 years now.
And when I say I’m short, I mean short…5’0” with a 27” inseam.

My good riding buddy and fellow shorty, Bonnie Abbzug and I have been talking about starting this thread for some time. We’ve both been on the quest for the perfect bike and until recently followed a similar path.
We get a lot of questions about what we’ve done, how and why and thought it would be a good idea to put it all in one place.

We have another riding buddy Jen (CJRider) who is our hero, she is 4’10” and rides everything from a KTM 105 to a DR650. And she has had just about every bike in between. She’s not here often but I’m hoping I can get her in on this as well.

This isn’t always an easy sport for a woman and it’s even harder for a vertically challenged one. But at the same time it’s a fantastic sport and our goal here is to share what we have learned.
And, I’d really like to hear what some of the other RFS (really f’ing short) ladies are riding.

It all started for me on Xmas morning 2007, my husband Chris (c.vestal) surprised me with a Yamaha TW200.



It was a fun little bike to learn on, but I quickly realized it was not going to be a good trail bike. It was heavy and didn’t have the greatest suspension. I was a noob and falling a lot, I wasn’t having much fun picking up the heavy bike all the time and this leads us to bike #2.

Bike #2 was a Yamaha TTR 125LE, a great little trail bike to build some skill and confidence.



The TTR weighs 198 lbs wet and has a 31.7 inch seat height which meant no mods were needed to get a toe on the ground.
Trail riding become so much more fun with this bike. It was much easier to maneuver and I could pick it up all day long with out getting tired.
By the end of the summer, I felt like I was riding the wheels off of the poor little teeter.
I was riding more difficult trails and really wringing it’s neck to get up some of the hill climbs.
And 5 months after buying the TTR, I was moving on to bike #3.

more...

Region Riley screwed with this post 03-21-2011 at 05:33 AM
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:18 PM   #2
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Bike #3 was a tough decision, I wanted something that I could ride on the rode (we had a big dual sport trip in the works), was still lightweight, and that I could lower without comprising the suspension too much. I did a lot of research and narrowed it down to either a XT225, KLX250, or a CRF230L. But there was still a problem, I wanted more of a trail bike than dual sport bike. And that’s when my neighbor/bike consultant Neduro suggested a Honda CRF230F.

I bought a used 2006 and it totally fit the bill! The CRF230F weighs 238# dry with a seat height of 34.1 inches. Still pretty tall for me, but that was an easy fix. We cut down the seat and added a Kouba lower link. I just recently sold my CRF and I am still a little sad about it. It took me all over Colorado as well as 1500 miles all over Baja and never a single problem. Loved that bike!







After our big Baja trip, ( BTW, the ride report is Palapa Chair and it’s a good way to kill 3 hours ) as much as I loved the CRF on the trails, I really could have used some more horsepower on the highway…

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Region Riley screwed with this post 03-22-2011 at 07:23 AM
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:20 PM   #3
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I am jealous. Doubt I will ever have my KLR out in such terrain.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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Bike #4 is 2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
Why would someone who is 5 feet tall chose a bike with a 36.5 inch seat height? Well, there are actually a lot of good reasons.



It weighs 233# dry and makes about 33hp (I think the CRF made about 13hp on a good day). It has a wide ratio 6spd transmission, making it capable of getting closer to highway speeds. The longer wheelbase, in theory, should make it feel a little more stable on the road (I havenít really tested it much yet on the road, but I am hoping to change that this summer.) The stock suspension on the KTM is really good and even lowered 3 inches it is still a really good suspension that works. And from my husband/mechanicís perspective, it shares many of the same parts as his 530.

I choose the KTM because, as before, I wanted more of a trail bike than a dual sport bike. Iíd rather give up some comfort on the road for a bike that I know I can ride on any type of trail.

The KTM was a hard adjustment to make. It was a love/hate relationship for a good part of 2010. At this point I still had the CRF and the TTR and I kept wussing out and riding the ďlittleĒ bikes, because I was so much more comfortable on them.

I hated to admit it but KTMís are built for men, not petite women. And if I was going to love this bike, I was the one that had to change. It took a lot of crying, tweaking and riding for me to get used to a ďbigĒ bike, but I had to do it. I had to love this bike. Iím so glad I stuck it out because I really, really love this bike now.



The biggest and most expensive mod (but worth every penny IMO) was the custom lowering of the suspension. Itís not always cheap, but it can be done and done well.

Next, we cut down the seat about one inch and also tapered the sides of the seat.

Even though Iím short I still needed taller bars. I must have monkey arms or something. I put on a Protaper Contour KX high bend which still wasnít tall enough.

I added a Scottís damper and the BRP sub mount which raised the bars to the perfect height.

I switched out the stock brake and clutch levers to the ASV F3 shorty levers. They made a huge difference, much lighter and more adjustable.

The rear brake is still kind of in an awkward position for me, we had to bend it out a bit. Iíve just had to get used to lifting my foot to reach it.

And, no respectable dual sport bike is complete without a Doubletake Mirror.

Iím sure Iím forgetting something, but this is a good startÖI think.

Ok, let the KISS boot jokes and photochops begin.

Region Riley screwed with this post 03-21-2011 at 05:37 AM
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:27 PM   #5
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Awesome thread idea. My GF is 5'2" (she claims, more like 5'0") and we have run into many issues finding bikes she can ride. She will be stoked to see this. She has ridden several small dual sports but we recently got her a TTR125LE to really learn her skills on. Great thread!

R.F.S- I can't wait to use this term!
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jessepitt View Post
Awesome thread idea. My GF is 5'2" (she claims, more like 5'0") and we have run into many issues finding bikes she can ride. She will be stoked to see this. She has ridden several small dual sports but we recently got her a TTR125LE to really learn her skills on. Great thread!


Thank you. IMO, the TTR was the best bike to learn on and so much fun. She'll be hooked!
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:43 PM   #7
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Great idea for a thread Kelly!
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:45 PM   #8
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Thank you. IMO, the TTR was the best bike to learn on and so much fun. She'll be hooked!
Yep, it's perfect and she is already hooked! Looks like yours was street legal? That would be nice but I guess you can't have everything.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:48 PM   #9
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Great idea for a thread Kelly!


Thanks Ben.

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Yep, it's perfect and she is already hooked! Looks like yours was street legal? That would be nice but I guess you can't have everything.


It's not to hard to do here in Colorado. I'm guessing Oregon is a different story.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:30 PM   #11
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Can someone please talk Jitters (Wendy) into giving a review of her KTM? I'm thinking.....

Great thread, Kelly!
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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Thanks for getting this one started Kelly!!

Like Kelly, I started riding late in life and have the same height challenges (I'm 5' nuttin' with a 26" inseam), which is all well and good and cute and all, untill you want to ride a motorcycle!

I started out in 2006 on a Yamaha DT100, which was about the perfect height and weight for me to learn on, but it was kick start (which I suck at) and would burn up a headlight any time I went over 48 mph.



It really was a great little bike for me to learn on, but after a few months I was feeling the need for more power and something that I could load up some luggage on and take off with Hayduke for a long camping trip. Something that would be okay on the Highways and even better off road. So, we found an XT225.

It's electric start, weighs 238 pounds dry and had a seat height of 31.9 inches, which felt tall and intimidating at first, so we cut the seat down a good inch, which really helped me to build up some confidence on the bike.

There was an awful lot of this:



going on before I really got comfortable on the bike. Before I knew it though, it was seeing a lot more of this:





and a little bit less of this:



but, only a little bit less!

I loved this bike, I mean really and truly loved it! It took me all over Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Baja. I had totally and completely bonded with this bike, right up until I killed her.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:38 PM   #13
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Can someone please talk Jitters (Wendy) into giving a review of her KTM? I'm thinking.....

Great thread, Kelly!
Jitters isn't here very much, I'll see what I can do. But she has a KTM 200 2-stroke, which Charla has also.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:38 PM   #14
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I loved this bike, I mean really and truly loved it! It took me all over Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Baja. I had totally and completely bonded with this bike, right up until I killed her.



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Old 03-18-2011, 07:02 PM   #15
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If you'd like to know the full story on how I did this:



to the XT225 in Baja, you'll have to read the Palapa Chair ride report.


Needless to say, I needed a new bike when we got home. I still had the DT100 and had also acquired a TT-R125 (I blame Kelly for that one! ), but neither of those were really great for trail riding (the smaller wheels make for not so much fun on all the rocks we have around here), and were quite awful for dual sporting.

After much deliberation and whining about my short legs and all stupid motorcycles being so damn tall, I decided on a WR250R. The idea of fuel injection, good suspension and a very road worthy bike won me over (plus, why stop my Yamaha streak now? ).

The WRR weighs 298 lbs wet, it's a pig for a shorty like me, and has a stock seat height akin to Kelly's KTM 250, of 36.6 inches.

My first test ride on the bike, Hayduke had to hold the bike up for me while I used a trailer as a step stool to get on the bike. I rode around the parking lot at CVestal and Kelly's shop and the guys caught me when I stopped. Kelly did the same thing, and I know there's a video of her somewhere, but I couldn't find it.



Next, we took the bike home and began to do some heroic lowering.

The first thing we did was the stock lowering adjustment, which gives about an inch. Then we got a Yamalink and attached it for another inch. I was really hoping that would be enough, but I still couldn't get one toe down without hanging off the side of the bike, and I just wasn't comfortable doing that. Next we cut the seat down 2 inches. You'd think that would have done it for me, but nooooo that still wasn't good enough, so off we went to see a suspension guy. He was able to get another inch out of the suspension for me, which brought the seat height down to about 31.5 inches. This was something I could deal with!

It's still a lot of bike for technical trail riding, for me, but it's an awesome dual sport bike!





I'm pretty sure that in the not too distant future there will be another bike added to my stable, and it will most likely be one just like Kellys!!

Bonnie Abbzug screwed with this post 03-18-2011 at 08:07 PM
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