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The Lowest of the Low Motorcycles

The lowest seat heights on the market

5/31/2012


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We thought it would be fun to compile a list of major-manufacturer motorcycles with the lowest seat heights. Seat height is of supreme importance to most women riders, as the ability to place one's feet flat on the ground is perhaps the most important factor in giving women the confidence they need to handle a bike.
      
We chose 26 inches as the cut-off seat height for this list. Our original list, compiled back in 2009, used 26.5 inches as the cut-off height. However, over the last few years, seat heights on new models have been coming out of the factories much lower, so we've lowered the cut-off height by half an inch.
  
We compiled this article by checking the seat heights of motorcycles from all the major manufacturers. Surprisingly, Kawasaki and Suzuki did not make the list. The lowest motorcycle in Kawasaki's lineup is the Vulcan 900 at 26.8 inches.The lowest Suzuki is the entry-level Boulevard S40 at 27.6 inches. Actually, many of the Boulevards have that same seat height. But we had to draw the line, and while the S40 happens to be less than 400 pounds, that 27.6-inch seat height on a 700-pound motorcycle would be a lot for most women to handle.

To illustrate our guide, whenever possible we've used pictures sent in by women who own these bikes and have submitted their photos for publication in our Reader Stories or Reader Reviews section. The photos that don't fall into that category are either from WRN test rides or have been supplied by the manufacturers.      

One important note: While this is a list of the lowest of the low, this is not a list of beginner bikes (to find that list, visit Motorcycles to Get Started On in the WRN Beginner's Guide). We've ridden many motorcycles, and we've found that 26 inches is a seat height that most riders, short or tall, can handle and be comfortable on whether the motorcycle weighs 700 pounds or 400 pounds (of course, the lighter the better for new riders). Finally, remember that this is a list of bikes from major manufacturers—custom choppers and alternative import motorcycles are not included.
     
Harley-Davidson Sportster Models

Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron
Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 565 pounds


Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster<br><i>(discontinued in 2013)</i>
Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster
(discontinued in 2013)

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 562 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow
Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 563 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight
Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 26 inches
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons
Weight: 567 pounds
  Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Low 883 <br>
(discontinued in 2011)
Harley-Davidson Sportster Low 883
(discontinued in 2011)

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight 583 pounds

Harley-Davidson Dyna Models

Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide
Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.5inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 683 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob
Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 670pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider <br>(discontinued in 2010; reintroduced in 2014)
Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider
(discontinued in 2010; reintroduced in 2014)

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.4 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 666 pounds
Read the WRN review.

   
Harley-Davidson Softail Models

Harley-Davidson Slim
Harley-Davidson Slim

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 23.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 701 pounds


Harley-Davidson Blackline <br> (discontinued in 2014)
Harley-Davidson Blackline
(discontinued in 2014)

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 638 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 731 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 725 pounds
Price: starts at $17,195
Read the Reader Review.
 

Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 726 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic
Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 733 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C<br>(discontinued in 2012)
Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C
(discontinued in 2012)

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height 25.25 inches
Fuel Capacity 5 gallons
Weight: 720 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Harley-Davidson Breakout
Harley-Davidson Breakout

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 761 pounds

Harley-Davidson V-Rod Models


Harley-Davidson V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition <br> (only offered in model year 2012)
Harley-Davidson V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition
(only offered in model year 2012)

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1250cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 670 pounds


Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special
Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1247cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 666 pounds

 
Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle
Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1247cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 673 pounds

Other Harley-Davidson Models

2014 Harley-Davidson FXSBSE CVO Breakout
2014 Harley-Davidson FXSBSE CVO Breakout

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1802cc
Seat Height: 24.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 728 pounds

The lowest of the low motorcycles harley davidson street 500
2015 Harley-Davidson Street 500


The lowest of the low motorcycles harley-davidson street 750
2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750


Specs at a Glance
Engine size: 494cc and 749cc
Seat height: 25.7 inches
Weight: 489 pounds
Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
Honda Motorcycles

Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2
Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 542 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Honda Shadow Phantom
Honda Shadow Phantom

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 549 pounds
Read the WRN review.


Honda Shadow Aero
Honda Shadow Aero

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 560 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Indian Motorcycles

The Lowest of the Low Motorcycles Indian Scout
2015 Indian Motorcycles Scout

Specs at a Glance

Engine Size: 69ci (1133cc)
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Weight: 558 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Read the WRN review.

Victory Motorcycles

Victory High-Ball
Victory High-Ball

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 659 pounds


Victory Vegas 8-Ball
Victory Vegas 8-Ball

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 638 pounds


Victory Vegas
Victory Vegas

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 645 pounds
Read the Reader Review.

Victory Judge
Victory Judge

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 660 pounds



Other Victory Motorcycle Seat Heights:
Hammer 8-Ball: 26 inches 
Zach Ness Vegas: 25.2 inches
Vegas Jackpot: 25.7 inches  
 
Editor's Note: This story was updated on September 24, 2014. The reader comments up to this date reflect the original version of this list, which was posted in April 2009. The list you see now reflects the large number of newer motorcycles with very low seat heights that have come onto the market in recent years. We will continue to update this list when new motorcycles that meet our criteria are released.  

Related Articles
Beginner's Guide: Motorcycles to Get Started On

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Reader Comments


I cannot figure out how a woman weighing only 135 pounds and 5 feet 3 inches can hold up and ride a bike that weighs 750 pounds. Help me understand this concept.

Donna
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Editor Response
We are not actually lifting the motorcycle, we are simply holding it upright. A motorcycle that size is very well balanced with a low center of gravity making it possible for someone with any bit of upper body strength to upright the motorcycle from its sidestand. One it's upright, it's not that difficult to maneuver the motorcycle no matter your size and if you have the proper skills.
Genevieve Schmitt
Maybe you could devise a 'flat-foot meter' that accounts for actual stance comfort and factors in all the things the comments mention, such as seat width, reach of controls, etc. Would be helpful. But I have learnt a lot about bikes for women in general from your amazing site and articles. Really helping me narrow down my wish list. Thanks, Genevieve!!

Geri
Hong Kong
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Besides seat height and weight, center of gravity is very important. Seven or 8 years ago, at the Chicago Motorcycle Show, I sat on a 1,000 pound 2000cc motorcycle (can't remember the manufacturer) and was able to stand it up without any sweat. It had an exceptionally low center of gravity.

When I'm asked about first bikes, I generally discourage buying a Harley-Davidson Sportster, any model Sportie. It's the great-grandkid of a dirt bike giving it a high center of gravity, therefore easy to drop and hard to stand up and keep up.

My sister bought herself a Sportie, despite my input. (She was dazzled by the "Harley-Davidson" on the tank.) She rode it exactly three times, sold it and hasn't ridden since. And I've talked to many guys who bought their girlfriends a Sportie because she wanted to learn to ride, thinking it was a good starter. She rode it from the driveway to the stop sign, got off and never rode again.

I know there are women who love their Sportsters. I'm not bashing it. I'm just taking exception with recommending one to a newbie.

The Motor Company has just come out with an 500cc, low bike. It's a great first or forever motorcycle, not to mention good lookin'.

Carol King
Tulsa, OK
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Editor Response
That 500cc motorcycle you're talking about is the Harley-Davidson Street and I agree is it pretty cool new motorcycle. Check it out here on WRN.
Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
I'm 5 feet 3 inches. My first bike was a Suzuki S50 (or Intruder 800). It's a very slim profile and I do agree with others who say seat height isn't everything. The bike is light and I was able to reach quite well (shorter legs too). I now have a Honda VTX 1300. Bigger bike, wider and I still could reach. To make it better I purchased MB shocks 10.5 inches (from 12 inches) and bought some Milwaukee Riding boots with 1.5 inch heel. I didn't lower it mainly because of reaching but with the VTXs, the lean on the kickstand can be way too much and I was having difficulties righting it on a slope. Lowering the bike solved that problem and gave me the extra boost I needed in being comfy with reaching flatfooted. I also have to bring the handlebars back, but that's been on every bike.

Jody
Brighton, MI
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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