short legs, tall bike - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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Old Nov 29th, 2009, 2:44 pm
jrhSeattle jrhSeattle is offline
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short legs, tall bike

Picked up a 2007 R 1200rt with standard suspension and standard seat this summer and am in love after being 30+ years away from motorcycles. The one issue I do have is not being able to be flat footed. So far this has only resulted in one drop at a gas station, but there have been a few near misses. I wear a 30 inch inseam jean and can go flat footed on a low suspension rt (if only I could have afforded a new one!).

Had the seat customized by Rich in Kingston a few months ago with the aim of getting closer to the ground and more comfortable. He accomplished the second goal, but resisted lowering the seat with the reasoning that my knees would kill me in that position. I figured he has made thousands of seats, and probably knew a thing or two about cycle ergonomics, so I went with his recommendation.

Still would like to be flat footed at stops after a few months more of riding. I am wondering if my issue might be resolved by getting the seat lowered as I originally wanted, and then getting some lowered pegs to get my knees lower. I know I will give up a little clearance, but I doubt I will ever be cornering close to this bike's cornering capabilities anyway.

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old Nov 29th, 2009, 3:22 pm
cpallen cpallen is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

With a 31" inseam I had a similar problem for the 5+ years I rode my GS and still to some extent with the RT. I got into the habit of keeping my right foot on the brake at stops (clutch in, in gear - the MSF way!) and leaning to the left to a bit to put my foot down. Once you get used to paying close attention to read the road surface and pitch it's not that big a deal. You will occasionally have to lean right instead but you never need to have both feet flat on the ground. If you are going to stab at the brakes at slow speeds and dump it it's gonna go over an inch or so of seat height won't make that much difference.

Unless I have a slope working in my favor, I still will walk along side my RT to back out of or in to a parking space, and put the side stand down to get on or off it. That is really the only time tippy-toeing both sides can be a minor pain.

I thin seat on a long ride is never a good thing.

Good Luck!
Courtney (also in Seattle)
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Old Nov 29th, 2009, 5:52 pm
cwillson cwillson is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

30 ' inseam here and I am completely in agreement with Courtney. I did purchase the BMW low seat (hard to even describe it as a seat), and added the Suburban lower pegs. With that set-up I can flat foot at stops, but hate the seat and not real happy with the change it made in general riding position. Left the lower pegs on (I have wonky knees) and went back to the standard seat. Like Courtney, I just got used to it and to reading the road.

On longer trips, I will put the standard seat in the high position. I find it much more comfortable for extended periods.

Unlike many, I have no real complaints about the BMW stock seat.

Craig
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Old Nov 29th, 2009, 6:47 pm
jrhSeattle jrhSeattle is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

Just got back from a quick ride to keep the batteries charged (mine and the bikes) and managed to dodge the Seattle rain in late November. An accomplishment!

Have been riding at the stops per Courtney anyway, since doing otherwise would have me horizontal more often than not! Its the loose surfaces, and side sloping situations that make me wish my inseam was 2 inches longer. Other than that, I am pretty comfortable at stops with the left foot down and the right on the brake. I don't even mind tip toeing backwards out of my garage too much.

As for lowered pegs, what did you not like about the riding position Craig? I assume it was with the combo OEM low seat with lowered pegs. My tentative plan to lower the seat and go with lowered pegs would be a big waste of $$ if the resulting riding position was uncomfortable. If I try to go lower seat I will steer away from the OEM one since most people seem to think it is some kind of torture device. I would just have my already modified OEM standard seat re-modified to make it thinner. Presumably Rich can work some magic that way regarding comfort, and I am sure he would tell me if he couldn't.

Forgot to mention I got some BMW Pro Touring boots which have a lower heel than the old Redwing Pecos boots I was using before. I will probably get my boots re-soled to add an inch or so regardless of whether I do anything to the seat or get the lowered pegs.

Other than that, I hear they do cosmetic leg lengthining surgery in China.

Thanks for the input.
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Old Nov 29th, 2009, 6:55 pm
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R1200RG R1200RG is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

31" inseam here too. I'm a big guy so my 250lbs compresses the suspension which gets me closer to the ground than some. I find it easy to balance the bike with or without my wife on the back or ladden with fully loaded luggage. I personally think that as long as you can get one foot down flat at stops your good to go. I have friends with Harleys and 27 in seat heights and they still dump their bikes at slow speeds so I don't consider seat height to be the only factor in minor slow speed spills. With any motorcycle once it starts to tip over, it's going to tip over! A 600 pound RT or a 900 pound Goldwing. Same result. I always put the side stand down before dismounting and pay REALLY close attention to road irregularities and debris (gravel, sand, etc.). Oh, and I have the stock height seat and ride with it in the low position. Just my 2 cents.
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Old Nov 29th, 2009, 7:19 pm
jbry5 jbry5 is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

Hyper Pro -40mm lower shocks...did the trick for me..I am not fully flatfooted as I went with Russell day-long seat but the lower shocks make it a lot more comfortable for me at "foot down" time...
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Old Nov 29th, 2009, 9:18 pm
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WINDMAN WINDMAN is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

30" inseam here. So I bought a low seat and tried the Air Hawk and Sheepskin-Gel to add comfort. Finally settled on the bead riders. Great combo!
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 4:33 am
cwillson cwillson is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

It is not the lowered pegs I disliked - they are still on. It was the combo of the lowered seat and the pegs that seemed to put me into a position that caused the dreaded neck and upper back pain. I am, um, not in the bloom of youth, and have had chronic back problems. I am still trying to figure out the perfect solution, Interesting in that my Ducati MST, which would appear to be uncomfortable, can be ridden all day with no back pain.

The most comfortable I have found is with lowered pegs and standard seat in high position. I did try bar rises, but removed them after 20,000 KM.

Craig
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 8:32 am
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hopz hopz is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

Sorry for the late reply, but I have been on vacation....

One thing not mentioned so far, that actually works is........

You can get an extra inch or more, if you get boots with thicker soles.

I wear jeans with 29 inch inseam. I have a stock '05 RT with stock shocks. I do have the Suburban Machinery lowering pegs and have never scraped anything even here in our mountains with great curvy canyon and I can push it pretty hard.... I use the Low seat in the Low Position for "normal" rides. I put it in the high position for touring 2-up. I am an official old fart at 66 y.o. I use Alpinestars Boots which have a nice thickness, but I have friends who had their cobbler add on thicker soles which are unnoticeable unless you look at them closely.

So there.... good luck
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 12:48 pm
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Trojan Trojan is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopz
Sorry for the late reply, but I have been on vacation....

One thing not mentioned so far, that actually works is........

You can get an extra inch or more, if you get boots with thicker soles.

I wear jeans with 29 inch inseam. I have a stock '05 RT with stock shocks. I do have the Suburban Machinery lowering pegs and have never scraped anything even here in our mountains with great curvy canyon and I can push it pretty hard.... I use the Low seat in the Low Position for "normal" rides. I put it in the high position for touring 2-up. I am an official old fart at 66 y.o. I use Alpinestars Boots which have a nice thickness, but I have friends who had their cobbler add on thicker soles which are unnoticeable unless you look at them closely.

So there.... good luck

Hi guys. Hopz, I'll be taking this advice. I've been wearing a Cabela's hunting boot for riding, as I can get it in a 4E. Not only am I short, but I have wide feet.... 30" inseam, and I got to thinking that there's no reason I can't have the shoe guy put an extra layer in there to add some thickness. I suppose I guy could use an insert too. I'll be taking delivery of an '09 RT when it gets into the dealer pretty soon, ESA suspension, low seat, and I'll bet the extra thickness in the boot will add a comfort measure.

Best, John
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 5:09 pm
rdwalker rdwalker is offline
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Flat-footing is unnecessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhSeattle
...Still would like to be flat footed at stops... Any thoughts?
Flat-footing is unnecessary. With my 30" inseam I ride both the LT and the GS at their standard heights. Normally, I do touch the ground with my toes. That is enough.

When riding with a passenger, I require more "touchdown", thus I always slide forward in preparation to a stop. The seat is narrower there and I can put my legs lower.

I believe that your problem is not with flat-footing, but with being able to control the bike. Spend some time (a lot of time) practicing slow-speed maneuvers, it is an invaluable skill. Practice makes perfect! As others wrote here, if you hit the brakes with the front wheel turned, you will dump the bike regardless whether you are touching the ground.

The only problem I have with low inseam is that on a long ride, when tired, I am having problems throwing my leg over tall bikes' seats (like that of a GS or a KLR). Then, I mount/dismount standing on the footpeg.
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 5:29 pm
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hopz hopz is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

Off Topic...

I would like to say kudos to rdwalker... anyone with a 30 inch inseam that rides a standard GS gets my respect!

Good on ya man!

Bob
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 5:51 pm
DavidMR DavidMR is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

I ride a 2000 RT with stock suspension. I could reach the ground better with the BMW comfort seat all the way down, but it drives better with it up a notch. I then can tip toe.

Then I bought a used corbin seat. I can put that one on the top setting and just tip toe.

I don't tune my seating position for 5% of my riding time. If I'm going to be in the city for a day, I move the seat down one.

30" inseam.

David
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 8:56 pm
rdwalker rdwalker is offline
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Re: short legs, tall bike

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopz
Off Topic.... anyone with a 30 inch inseam that rides a standard GS gets my respect!
Thanks, Bob. Nevertheless, I do not feel uncomfortable at all on taller seats. I did put in a lot of miles on KLR's before the GS and got used to those.

As a matter of fact, I am very much in agreement with David:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMR
...I don't tune my seating position for 5% of my riding time...
Of course, I am concerned with wrestling both my not-so-light bikes at low speeds, and thus I think about that a lot and practice a lot. It does help - then, anyway, I did drop every one of them at some time. No biggie, they are designed to take that.

As David says, you have to be comfortable for the bulk of your riding time. I actually installed lower footpegs on the GS in order to relieve the tension on my knees on long rides.

I don't own an RT, but I do spend a lot of time on these as rentals (most recently, last June in the Pyrenees) and in the tens of thousands of kilometers so far on RT's I've never thought of bike height or inseam length as an issue on a stock RT.

Obviously, everyone of us has different ideas about that, but I do not believe that the OP, jrhSeattle, should feel impaired. YMMV.
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Last edited by rdwalker; Nov 30th, 2009 at 9:04 pm.
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