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Best Motorcycles for Short Riders from Harley-Davidson

May 22, 2024 Comments Comment

Shorter motorcycle riders can often face a few challenges when selecting a motorcycle they can ride in comfort and with confidence. One of the most common challenges is that the hand and foot controls may be beyond comfortable reach while seat height may make it challenging to touch feet down when the motorcycle is stopped. If you’re short, don’t fret; there are many H-D motorcycles on the market that have the right features to suit a short rider. 

The best motorcycle for short riders from Harley-Davidson® addresses these challenges by placing the rider within the “triangle of comfort” that represents an ideal distance from their hands on the handgrips, to their hips in the saddle, to their feet on footpegs. The result is a motorcycle that fits the rider in a comfortable way.

We outline some of the best motorcycles for short riders from Harley-Davidson that are well equipped to meet the needs of a shorter rider’s triangle of comfort. 

Best Motorcycles for Short Riders from Harley-Davidson

Here are some Harley-Davidson motorcycles best suited to short riders.

The Nightster model combines a laden seat height of 27.1 inches with mid-mount foot controls and a ready-to-ride weight of just 481 pounds, a combination that makes this bike a top choice for shorter riders interested in a sport motorcycle. Mid-mount foot controls place the footpegs with brake and shift levers closer to the seat, making this an ideal motorcycle for a short rider. The Nightster Special model offers the same fit with some added features, including passenger accommodations.

For a rider looking for the classic style of a cruiser motorcycle, the Street Bob 114 model offers a seat height of only 25.8 inches and has mid-mount controls and a mini-ape handlebar that can be adjusted rearward to move the controls closer to the rider, making them easier to reach for a shorter rider. 

The Softail Standard model has the same dimensions as the Street Bob 114 model and comes equipped with a solo seat and all of the riding essentials at a price that makes it the most attainable Harley-Davidson cruiser model. This model is also an ideal blank canvas for customization for short riders who seek a customized bike.

Short riders will find the Street Glide model hard to beat for long-haul touring. Harley-Davidson ergonomics engineers shaped the seat to place the rider’s hips in a neutral position, reducing the effort required to maintain a comfortable riding posture. The nose of the seat is shaped to reduce reach to the ground, making it an ideal fit for short riders. This model is equipped with rider footboards, rather than pegs, which allows the rider to move their feet to a position of comfort as the miles roll by.

For the rider seeking the ultimate in confidence-building stability, a trike model like the Freewheeler model is an option to consider. The Freewheeler model combines performance, style and comfort in a singular riding experience. Handlebars can be easily adjusted rearward for an easy reach to the grips and controls, and reverse gear makes it easy to park the Freewheeler model.

Buying a pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycle through the H-D1™ Marketplace or the Harley-Davidson Certified™ program can be a great way to get riding. Models from the XL Sportster® platform like the Iron 883 are readily available and have a compact rider triangle that can be ideal for shorter riders. The Iron 883 model checks all the boxes, with mid foot controls, a seat height of just 25.7 inches and a weight of only 564 pounds – making it a perfect fit for short motorcycle riders. 

Found the perfect bike? 

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How to Make a Motorcycle More Comfortable for a Short Rider

Harley-Davidson offers a range of motorcycle parts and accessories designed specifically to help shorter riders to realize an ideal fit on most Harley® models through customization. Some common customizations for short motorcycle riders include:

1. Adjusting the Handlebar 

Many Harley-Davidson models have a handlebar that can be rotated rearward to reduce the reach to the hand controls. If more adjustment is desired, a Reach® Accessory Handlebar designed to place the grips and controls closer to the rider can help dial in the fit for a shorter rider. When adjusting the handlebar rearward, be sure the handlebars can be turned to the full left and full right steering lock positions without contacting the fuel tank, frame, or other parts of the motorcycle which could interfere with the full range of steering. It’s important to note that handlebar height is regulated in many locations. Check local laws to ensure your motorcycle meets applicable regulations.

2. Purchasing a New Motorcycle Seat

Harley-Davidson Reach® Seats are available for many models and can help make a bike more comfortable for a short rider. A Reach Seat is designed to position a rider lower and forward, closer to the ground and in a comfortable and confident relationship to the hand and foot controls.

3. Adjusting the Foot Controls

Accessory Mid-Mount Foot Control kits can be used to relocate forward controls on some models to reduce the rider’s reach to the foot pegs, brake and shift control. These kits move the foot controls back as much as 7 inches, which can be a helpful adjustment for shorter riders.

An authorized Harley-Davidson dealer is a motorcycle fit expert that can help you dial in your ideal triangle of comfort with accessories for many models that can be used to adjust the triangle of comfort to better fit a short rider. Visit your local dealer for more custom fit recommendations. 

To see the wide selection of new and pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles and riding gear, visit your local authorized Harley-Davidson dealer, where you can reserve a motorcycle and more.

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