Best Motorcycles For Tall Riders

Best Motorcycles For Tall Riders

Posted by Team Motorcycle on Apr 7th 2016

When a manufacturer designs a motorcycle, they usually take an average person's build as rider. As long as you are close to those dimensions, you will be comfortable on the motorcycle. But if you are taller or smaller by quite a margin, your problems start. You will need to start customizing your ride to fit your dimensions.

But not every motorcycle is designed around the “average” person. Some motorcycles are made for tall riders. It's not that the bike was designed for tall riders, but it's more usually because of the type of motorcycle and the conditions is needs to travel under.

For example, most dual-sport motorcycles are high. The reason for that is they need to clear obstacles that can be found on trails, and they need to be able to ride with heavy loads. Therefore these bikes are ideally suited for tall people. The most common dual-sport motorcycle that has always been associated with tall people is the King of the Dual-Sport; the BMW RxxxxGS with the xxxx representing the cylinder displacement. Currently the BMW dual-sport is the R1200GS.

Saddle Height

The most important thing to look at for tall people is the saddle height. The higher the saddle, the taller the rider has to be. Often you will find that the manufacturer offers lower saddles, but we're talking a small dip, not something a not-so-tall person could ride. It's usually the difference between an inch or two.

Take the above example, the BMW R1200GS has a saddle height of 33.5 inches adjustable to 34.3 inches (the Adventure version of the same bike has a saddle height of 35.2 inches). You can get optional seats that can be adjusted between 31.1 and 35.0 inches.


Another item to remember when looking at big motorcycle and tall riders, is that if the bike is very heavy, your legs will need to be able to support the weight when standing still. Smaller riders will have more problems balancing the bike when standing at a red light than taller riders. A BMW R1200GS will weigh 525 lbs, and that is without the rider's weight.

Adjusting the height

Adjusting the saddle height is not only dependent on the actual saddle. You can adjust the suspension, lowering or raising them, but it does mean that your ride might be less comfortable.

So it's probably not the smartest thing to do, unless we're talking about a minor gap, let's say an inch or two that needs to be gapped.

How to find out if the saddle height is right for you?

For that, you will need to know your own inseam measurement. If you don't, take a tape measure to a “tight” fitting pants, typically jeans, and measure the end of the trouser leg to the crotch. That should be a pretty close inseam measurement.

Once you got the inseam measurements, you should be reasonably safe taking 110% of that for your saddle height. It's not an exact science, but it's close. But the best way is to sit on the actual motorcycle.

What is the best for you?

When you sit on the motorcycle, your feet should be flat on the ground, with a very slight bend in your knees. This will ensure that you can hold the bike upright, and most importantly, firmly. If you have to be on your toes, then the bike is not for you, unless you like performing balancing acts. Or like some riders I know, jump off the bike when you reach a red light.

What are the motorcycles suited for tall riders?

Basically all dual-sport, off-road and supermoto bikes have tall saddles. Many touring bikes are ideally suited for tall riders (like the Honda Gold Wing or BMW LT series).

Here are a couple of bikes suited for tall riders. There are many more, it's just an example:

  • Aprilia Dorsodure 750 – 34.3 inch


  • BMW R1200GS – 33.5 – 34.3 inch


  • Ducati Multistrada – 33.5 inch


  • Honda NC700X – 33 inch


  • Kawasaki KLR650 – 35 inch


  • KTM 1190 Adventure R – 35 inch


  • Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX – 33 inch


  • Suzuki V-Strom 1000 – 33.1 inch


  • Triumph Tiger 800XC – 33.2 – 34.0 inch


  • Yamaha Super Tenere – 33.3 – 34.3 inch

For more information about which motorcycles are best suited for you and your height, check out There you will find all motorcycles, and you can enter your height and inseam.