Let’s face it; an adventure bike is not for everyone. By definition, they’re built with an eye to rugged-road riding and for that, you need long travel suspension to soak up the bumps and ruts (and ideally a front wheel with a larger diameter to roll over rather than into the potholes). All this usually makes the bike much taller than a standard motorcycle.
If you happen to have a lower-than-average height, Adventure bikes usually get ruled out as riding one safely or comfortably could be nearly impossible.
But what if you’re a short rider and yet still determined to get yourself a slice of the adventure life.
We’ve picked bikes that you probably won’t find in other guides. The ‘Adventure’ market is so blurred these days, that it’s hard to pin down what an Adventure bike really is.
Back in the day, an Adventure motorcycle was essentially a motocross chassis with a bigger, heavier engine. No good for MX but plenty capable for any terrain from boggy Welsh forest roads to rocky Moroccan trails. These days, an R1200GS (now the R1250GS) is the poster-boy for the revival of the Adventure genre and even though they are capable in expert hands, for most riders, a GS is exactly what they don’t need when they’re off-road.
So this guide factors in that for most people, Adventure is a lifestyle choice. They want to look rugged and occasionally hit a gravel-laden road, but they’re not about to cross the Sahara.
So check out our review below. Giving you a leg up into the world of adventure bikes.
Here’s a full run-down of each of these great bikes:
125 Terrain Key Specs
If you’re short, then there are three areas to look out for. The seat’s height and it’s width but also the bike’s weight. If you slightly lose your footing on a big adventure bike, you’re going down.
For years about the only ‘adventure’ 125 you could buy was Honda’s Varadero 125 and it never really was a proper adventure bike. But look at the Sinnis; it’s every bit the adventure bike. We think it’s a seriously cool proposition for a new rider.
Being a 125, the Sinnis 125cc Terrain can tackle countryside roads and dirt trails, giving you the freedom to explore simpler or more challenging routes but its low weight makes it super managable.
A single-cylinder motor kicking out a reasonable 11bhp and 5-speed transmission deliver enough power to get you around country trails. At 800mm high, it also has one of the lowest seat heights among all adventure bikes.
F750GS Key Specs
Finding an adventure bike with a really low seat can be a challenge but the F750GS model by BMW fits the bill wonderfully.
A standard seat height of only 815mm and the possibility to reduce it further by either a low seat, taking it down to 790mm or a lowering kit taking it down to 770mm. The image shows the F750GS with the lowering-kit fitted.
The smaller GS is bike a true contender for the shortest riders who crave adventure.
Ideal for full licence holders, it can also be transformed into an A2-friendly bike with a power reduction kit.
X-ADV Key Specs
Not your traditional adventure bike but an adventure two-wheeler nonetheless, Honda X-ADV delivers comfortable rides thanks to its scooter platform, fully automatic but with a paddle-shift option, mated to a punchy motor.
A splendid example of a crossover vehicle with an off-road soul yet truly capable on tarmac, this sophisticated maxi scooter is a great choice for full licence holders or A2 graduates if restricted.
Whether you want to defeat daily traffic or explore the unknown, X-ADV has what it takes to be your trustworthy ally on all your adventures.
TRK502 Key Specs
Versatile, reliable, and suitable for carefree journeys Benelli TRK502 integrates is a simple, back-to-basics adventure bike that would blend into the countryside landscape.
It’s made for adventure and ideal for all riders thanks to its 150mm front suspension travel and 800mm seat height.
It’s probably the most off-road biased bike in our review but it’ll also make a good road plodder, with good weather protection and ABS.
We think it looks like a mini-Multistrada and that’s no bad thing!
Tiger 800 XRx Key Specs
Whether you want to ride on unknown roads or explore the wilderness, the new Tiger 800 XRx from Triumph is an incredibly manoeuvrable bike designed to take you on epic adventures.
The triple-cylinder engine gives the Tiger excellent road manners but it’s also got the torque you need for off-road riding.
Extremely comfortable, it has a specific low-seat-height-option (the lowest in this review).
A great bike for all riders, from novices to the more experienced. From commuting to touring, off-roading and Sunday blasts, the Tiger is a do-it-all bike for do-it-all riders.
Riding an adventure bike can be a tad more complicated if you’re a shorter rider. Luckily though, the adventure bikes with the lowest seat height above could meet your height requirements, enabling you to ride safely in all circumstances.
Keep in mind that the easiest way to tell whether or not a bike is right for you is by trying it out. So, visit your local dealer, sit on the bike and see which bike is the most suitable for your height and riding style.
Remember, you can use insoles or buy books with thicker soles to give you a tiny bit more height. Some manufacturers like Triumph and BMW sell lower seats and you can also get seats re-trimmed to remove some height and width to allow your legs the best possible chance of making contact with terra firma.
Do you know roughly what you’ll need to budget to insure your adventure bike?
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