Best Motorcycles for Tall Riders: It's More Than Seat Height
Jan 10, 2024Tags:rentermotorcycles
“Seat height is not a measurement that offers tall guys comfort at all!”
“High seat, high pegs - doesn’t always make it comfortable”
“I tried my buddy’s bike, which is a lower seat height than mine, but it surprisingly felt more comfortable.”
When our team was reviewing the best recommendations for motorcycles for taller riders, we noticed a lot of consistencies. A lot of the existing literature out there focuses mostly on seat height, they’re a lot of the same recommendations over and over again, and tall riders have a lot to say about it. That’s why we took the time to hear your concerns, comments, and corrections- because it’s not just about seat height. It’s largely about the distance available from the seat to the footpeg and what the rider is looking for, which varies from person to person.
Most motorcycles are designed with 5’7” to 5’11” riders in mind. This allows for some wiggle room with adjustments and customizations but doesn’t really make it easy for anyone over 6’1” to 6’4” to find a comfortable bike without some digging. Here are some things to consider first, but scroll down to see our top recs for the best bikes for tall riders.
Things to Consider
- Footpeg to Seat Distance: This distance determines the amount of legroom available and affects how cramped or relaxed your legs will be while riding. Probably the most important factor here and also the most underrated. TIP: You’ll probably want 26-28 inches (66-71 cm) - anything under 25 inches will likely feel cramped.
- Seat Height: People always tend to correlate overall height with seat height- but it’s actually your inseam (leg length) that matters the most here. Many people can be taller, but depending on their leg length, they may still fall within the “average” seat height category.
- Skill Level: Seasoned riders may feel comfortable with their toes barely touching the ground or with one foot, whereas beginners may feel more comfortable with both feet on the ground.
- Overall Size of the Bike: Since it’s more than just seat height, usually an overall larger motorcycle will suit taller riders better, with a longer body and more width.
- Leg Position: Finding a relaxed position with foot pegs will create a more comfortable riding experience.
- Suspension and Chassis: A motorcycle with a more robust suspension system can better accommodate extra height and weight. The larger and studier the frame, generally equates to more comfort.
- Handlebar Reach: The distance between the seat and the handlebars should allow you to sit upright without hunching over. Cruiser motorcycles typically offer a more stretched-out posture, which might be more comfortable for tall riders.
- Windshield and Fairing: You might find that standard windshields direct airflow towards their helmet rather than over it, causing discomfort and noise.
- Customization: If you find a bike you love that might not check all of these boxes, try and find a bike that is at the very least, customizable. This will allow you to modify things like footpegs, handlebars, and more to your liking.
- Type of Motorcycle: Adventure bikes, touring bikes, and some cruisers are generally better suited for taller riders with their larger frames, higher seat heights, and more accommodating ergonomics.
Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
A tall friend of mine recently acquired a Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure and found it to be a perfect fit after some personalized tweaks. He appreciated the bike's standard seat height of 32.87 inches but went a step further by adding a tall seat kit, enhancing legroom and comfort for his longer legs. He also adjusted the foot pegs, lowering them to reduce knee bend and increase comfort on extended rides. These modifications transformed the V-Strom into an ideal ride for his stature, balancing performance with ergonomic comfort, making it great for both daily commuting and longer journeys.
Moto Guzzi V85 TT
After interacting with riders on various forums, I discovered a consensus about the Moto Guzzi V85 TT being a great choice for tall riders. The bike's seat height, at 32.6 inches, is praised for providing comfort for those with longer legs while maintaining enough clearance for diverse riding conditions. Riders particularly enjoy its handling, especially in turns and acceleration, credited to its substantial torque in the lower gears. The latest 2024 model brings several enhancements, including improved power through new variable valve timing and refined torque for smoother rides. Additionally, the updated braking system and the adjustable suspension, offering 6.7 inches of travel at both ends, have been well-received. These updates have made the V85 TT even more appealing, offering a nice mix of power and comfort.
Kawasaki Versys 650
The Kawasaki Versys 650 really hits the mark for tall riders. With a seat height of 33.3 inches, it gives plenty of legroom for those with longer legs. Its upright riding position is a big plus, offering great visibility and comfort on longer trips. Tall riders will appreciate the high handlebars and low footpegs, adding to the roomy feel. Plus, its long-travel suspension - 5.9 inches up front and 5.7 inches at the back - handles various road conditions with ease, making it a top pick among adventure-style street bikes for taller riders.
Yamaha Ténéré 700
While visiting a motorcycle dealership to explore options suitable for taller riders, I met an employee who was quite tall and had a wealth of experience with various bikes. He enthusiastically recommended the Yamaha Ténéré 700, highlighting its suitability for taller riders. He pointed out its 33.3-inch seat height, which offers plenty of legroom for comfortable riding on long adventures. The bike's slim profile and narrow fuel tank, he explained, allow for effortless movement and control in various riding conditions. He was particularly impressed with the Ténéré 700's long-travel suspension, featuring 8.3 inches in the front and 7.9 inches in the rear, making it adaptable for off-road adventures. He also praised the bike’s balanced power and control, courtesy of its advanced twin-cylinder engine, underscoring that these features collectively make the Yamaha Ténéré 700 a superb choice for tall riders seeking a versatile and capable adventure motorcycle. Thanks, Tom, for the recommendation!
BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
The BMW R 1250 GS Adventure is a popular choice for taller riders, offering a comfortable and controlled riding experience. The bike features a seat height of 35.0 inches to 35.8 inches, accommodating taller statures. Its ergonomics are designed to provide excellent visibility and control, both on and off-road. The handlebars can be raised by up to 30 mm, improving comfort for taller riders. The R 1250 GS Adventure's powerful engine, delivering 136 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque, ensures a smooth and responsive ride across different terrains. The bike's semi-active electronically adjusted suspension, integral ABS Pro, and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) add to its appeal, providing a balanced ride that caters to diverse riding conditions and preferences.
Honda Africa Twin
In discussions about motorcycles best for tall riders, the Honda Africa Twin often surfaces, accompanied by some debate, yet it ultimately stands out as a commendable choice. The bike caters well to taller individuals with its adjustable seat height, spanning from 32.5 to 34.3 inches, which, alongside its design, makes for a comfortable and upright riding position. It's not just about comfort; the Africa Twin is ready for diverse terrains with its 9.8-inch ground clearance, balancing off-road capability and on-road manageability. Powering this versatility is a 1084cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine, delivering a robust 101 horsepower and 77.4 lb-ft of torque. The bike's technological features, like throttle by wire, selectable ABS, and multiple riding modes, enhance its adaptability.
KTM 1290 Super Duke R
The KTM Super Duke R (SDR) emerges as a clear winner for tall riders in online forum discussions. Riders over 6'3" praise its ergonomics, with features like comfortable seat height and well-positioned handlebars and footpegs accommodating longer limbs and larger frames. Its impressive power-to-weight ratio provides effortless overtaking and smooth long-distance riding, ideal for tall riders seeking both performance and comfort. Further customization options like performance seats, adjustable rear sets, and bar risers allow for personalized fitting. At the same time, the Super Duke GT variant offers a relaxed riding position for touring-focused taller riders. In essence, the SDR family ticks all the boxes for tall riders, offering both great performance and comfortable ergonomics, with customizable options and touring-friendly variations for good measure.
Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak
The Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak, tailored for tall riders, features an adjustable seat height ranging from 33.1 to 33.9 inches, allowing for a comfortable and commanding riding position. The bike's ergonomics are further enhanced by a lowered and narrowed handlebar, reducing the sweep and promoting a more forward-leaning, sporty posture without compromising on comfort. Powered by a 1,158cc liquid-cooled Granturismo V4 engine, it delivers an impressive 170 HP, supported by a comprehensive electronics suite that includes customizable power modes, traction control, ABS, wheelie control, and Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension. This suspension, shared with the Streetfighter V4 S and Panigale V4 S, provides adaptability to the rider’s style, allowing for a smooth transition from luxurious touring comfort to sporty agility.
If you’re a taller rider over 6 feet tall and are looking for the best motorcycle for tall riders, consider test riding one of these models. There are tons of options out there, and honestly, if you’re set on riding a bike, there are often ways to modify it to meet your needs. I have a friend who’s around 6’2” and rides the Honda Grom comfortably (yes, the MiniMoto). It comes down to preference. For many tall riders, posture becomes an issue because your knees end up being too crunched, and your overall posture is bad. Remember, it’s more than just seat height. Consider renting a motorcycle for a few days rather than just a few minutes to get a better feel for the bike in question and discover if it's the right one for your height.
- Suzuki V-Strom
- Moto Guzzi V85 TT
- Kawasaki Versys 650
- Yamaha Ténéré 700
- BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- Honda Africa Twin
- KTM 1290 SDR
- Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak