Female Beginner and I need help
May 21, 2009 at 1:56 am #2867PGgirlParticipant
I have’t gotten a bike yet, but I’m doing my research now because I want to purchase before 2011 (leaving time to save money). In addition to signing up for safety courses.
I am 5’4, 118, with short legs….what motorcycles do I look at? What will be light enough, fast enough, good MPG, limited manintenance?
What are the disadvantages to have a bike lowered?
I want a sport bike not cruiser or touring…sport bike only!!!May 21, 2009 at 3:22 am #18780gsmurfetteParticipant
I’m about 5’5″ and 120 lbs. My husband is 5’3″, and I have a 2009 Ninja 250r. I love it! It’s a great learning bike, and I think it still has enough balls to be fun. I’ve stalled out a few (to say the least) times and it doesn’t throw me, and I don’t lose control. I dropped it before I learned how to do slow turns, and I was able to pick it up myself.
My husband has no problem reaching the ground, and his inseam is 30 inches. The seat is 30.5 in off the ground. I’ve only had it for about a month, but I love it. The handlebars aren’t too low, and I think it’s comfortable ride. It gets about 63 mpg. It’s plenty fast unless you want to go retarded fast….all I wanted was something that would go highway speeds and had enough power to pass if needed. I think that it’s perfect for my needs.
I’ve only gotten it up to 55 so far, waiting on my new pants because my old ones didn’t fit right. I don’t know about bike lowering, hubby is going to buy a new bike, and he’ll probably have to have it lowered. I would go to a dealer and sit on a few and see what feels good. Hope this helps!May 21, 2009 at 5:57 am #18786molintorchParticipant
yeah the Ninja 250s have a great reputation. Rather than lowering the bike itself, you might also look into having the seat lowered. This way you dont affect the lean angle (lowing the bike, would reduce your available lean angle). Just a thought. Best of luck finding a bike!!May 21, 2009 at 6:03 am #18787gsmurfetteParticipant
I’ll be sure to tell him! Read about it in a few other forums, but it hadn’t clicked in my brain…..May 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm #18798
With short legs, and a smaller frame, you might get away with a Ninja 250, but that may be as far as you can go on sport bikes.
Sport bikes generally have a much higher seat than their fellow cruisers or standards, which means you will probably never be able to flat foot a sport bike (AKA sit on the bike and be able to rest both feet flat on the ground, not on your tip-toes). This could make it really easy for you to drop a bike at a stop, not something anyone wants to do.
Keep your mind open and sit on a bunch of different bikes. It’s important that when you are just getting started to have a bike that really fits you. There are always little things you can do to help a bike fit you better, but changing the geometry of a bike is not something I would recommend for someone brand new to riding.
I would recommend in addition to the Ninja 250, check out a Honda Nighthawk 250 (it’s a standard, not a cruiser) and maybe even a Buell Blast (kinda a sport/standard) as those are pretty small (and yes they are a 500cc, but they are a single cylinder with low output, and are very tame beginner bikes)May 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm #18799SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Installing lowering links are the big guns of bike lowering and usually end up dropping the rear about 2 inches. This should be accompanied by adjusting the fork downward approximately the same amount to preserve the frame geometry. You’ll then need to cut down both the kickstand and centerstand. Downside of this is both cost and the fact that you will drag a peg earlier in corners (and depending on how you ride, this may never be an issue).
But you may also get what you need by making some smaller changes:
1. Set the rear shock preload to the lowest setting — which allows the bike to settle more under your weight.
2. Either replace the seat or take off the cover and shave both the height and width, then reinstall the cover. Make the seat a bit narrower, especially at the front, will often give you more leg reach than cutting down the height. And depending how it’s done, you may be able to preserve plenty of cushion in the mid, rear part of the seat, so you can slide back a bit while you’re cruising.
3. Wear thick soled boots. Not go-go style, but a sole that’s a 1/4″ thicker can make a big difference if you’re right on the border of tip-toe vs full toe down.
4. Make sure you’re sliding all the way forward when you put your feet down — you’ll have more reach.
5. Adjust your expectations for how flat-footed you need to be. I would NOT recommend getting a bike that puts you on your toes, but if you can get the balls of your feet down and not be off balance, that may be enough. The tough part is that while you’re learning, you’ll stop the bike in spots where the bike is sideways on a hill or your feet are in a dip. You’ll have no margin for error, so you have to get through that learning curve or you’ll drop it. But once you learn to not stop in a dip and to put down the foot that is on a high side, you will find that not having your heels down is no real disadvantage. Lots of beginner riders who lower their bikes find themselves reversing the procedure a year later — which is no big deal as long as you can afford the mods.May 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm #18800chaiyaParticipant
If the new Ninja 250’s seat height is to high for you, look at the older models (2007 and older). IIRC, the seat height is a little lower for those models, and there is a ton of foam in the seat to shave down. Shaving the seat should get you to were you want to be. I’m tad shorter than you and I can tip toe the bike without the seat shaved. It would be better to shave the seat down to get the height you want rather than lowering the bike.
good luck!May 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm #18808
After rereading you post (especially the fact that you are planning 2 years from now) I wanted to add one last thing.
Before you go out and buy anything, get yourself signed up for a MSF course. Firstly for saftey’s sake, but more so to make sure riding is for you. It’s great fun, but it really isn’t for everyone. I remember seeing a figure before my MSF course that something like only 70% of people pass. More over, I hate seeing good people waste money buying a bike and all the gear (and in your case possibly the added expense if modifying it) only to realize shortly after that their romance with riding has gone bust, and they no longer want to do it.
So my advice, before you worry about what bike you are gonna ride, go out and learn to ride safely, and make sure it’s for you.May 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm #18843PGgirlParticipant
All the advice and tips I have printed for myself.
I def need to sign up for the safety course ASAP because:
1. the area I live in has almost a 2 month wait period
2. I need the practice
3. I’m too excited to wait until 2011; just hope my funds support my dream
I have heard lots of great things about the Ninja 250 but I had been looking at the GSXR 650 I may have to re-think that and look at the others that have been suggeted above.May 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm #18846TerriKhaliParticipant
Well, it might not be as expensive as you think!
I’m 5’4. 120 lbs, and my first bike was a GS500F. I bought it fopr the KILLER deal of $500.00! Jacket AND helmet inc! (Corse, I bought a new helmet right away!)
I just looked for one 2 weeks BEFORE Christmas…was armed with cash… and got if for FAR less then asking price. Its amazing what desperate people do to get cash just BEFORE CHRISTMAS if they have a family. Thats always been when I look to BUY….
I’m now 5 years in, and STILL ride a GS500F….
Corse, being your first bike, Id HIGHLY recommend stripping it naked, adding bucket, ears and front signals and mirrors, and saving your lovely plastic fairings for your second or third season…. because, as SOON as you hit the smallest bit of dirt or gravel- usually in a parking lot, you’ll tip it. its just SO easy to do…. even my husband started on my old bike, and he’s 6′ 190, and HE dropped it a few times- darn parking lot behind our place! *lol*
So, think about starting on a used one, few years old, then work your way to your dream bike… but you might be surprised. I never thought I’d fall in love with such a small bike… but when its in your comfort zone… why change?
Oh, also, if buying a used bike, especially a sport- spend the $10 or so, and run a check on it FIRST! If its been laid down, and stamped as non- repairable, even if it LOOKS ok, you’ve just wasted alot of money to get it to a point where it can now be plated…. Just a word of caution! But if its stamped Salvage, then you might have a chance. Just be really careful. And if you dont know enough to know what your looking at about the stamps… buy a clear title. But NEVER take anyone’s word for it… CHECK first!
Good luck!May 24, 2009 at 4:05 am #18893owlieParticipant
oohh, great suggestion on time frame for buying a bike. Thanks!May 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm #18977
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