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Thread: Changes of motorcycle seat heights overtime?

  1. #1
    Cowboyatheart
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    Question Changes of motorcycle seat heights overtime?

    A general question, for educational purposes. (Perhaps for no one but me.)

    I didn't want to hijack the thread on lowered suspension RT, so I started this new thread.

    Is it my imagination or have motorcycles just gotten taller and taller since the 1970s?

    Were BMWs always this tall ( seat height)?

    If the seat height of the opposed cylinder motorcycles has grown since the 1970s, why is that?
    (I assume it's not good nutrition, or the hormones that are in the milk and meat that we eat.)
    Neil
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    An old airhead looks a lot smaller than a current RT and is also one heck of a lot simpler. All the added systems on new stuff take space- the computers and sensors, added brake hardware and electronics. Engine displacement is way up. Suspension travel is increased and that also adds height if other stuff is kept constant- modern dirt racers can have at least a full foot more suspension travel than stuff I rode when young. Newer stuff hauls way more luggage more easily.
    Height is up and weight is up according though BMW does a better job of weight control than the J brands, by a large margin.
    A lot of us have our initial motorcycle size impressions based on stuff we rode in the 60s and 70s- when the largest BMW would be what we'd call a mid size today. Hence the interest many of us have in seeing a premium quality mid size tourer from BMW. Perhaps the new 800-GT will address it but it isn't a boxer and has no shaft drive, the two ingredients most of associate with the brand. Personally, I don't consider those Asian built motors as potentially durable as the traditional boxer.
    There is no doubt all the modern tall BMWs have hurt sales to females and those short of stature. My SO rides an R1100S that I've done touring type farkling on, mostly because nothing else BMW makes except dumbed down things fits her. We've got female local BMW club members on J brands and cruisers due to the lack of suitable models. While we've got women on this site to whom even the GS appeals, by and large most of the BMW models don't call out to women.

    BMW response so far seems to be limited to a cute "showroom" trick- fit the bikes with sidestands way too short so its easy to swing leg over in the showroom. The recent F and G bikes have examples of this. Just what every newbie needs is a bike that will readily fall over on a soft surface. Like many, I'm getting a little bored adding feet or extension feet to every BMW in the garage to correct what could so easily be done correctly in manufacture.

    One of the things contributing to height and size increase is model specialization. There was nothing resembling modern motocross bikes in the old days- only modded enduro or dirt bikes depending on era. All purpose "trail" bikes have pretty much disappeared except for a few. I had some interest in seeing the new Husky Terra and Strada, the first "basic", closer to all around bikes in that range in a while and wish BMW had kept the line to develop it further- but the economics of selling it are easy to understand.

  3. #3
    na1g
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    Either the bikes are getting taller or I'm getting shorter.

    With the hi-tech suspensions around these days maybe they could have a system to lower the suspension when the bike is parked ("kneel") then rise up when the engine starts. As a certified geezer that would help me get a leg over.

    pete
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyatheart View Post
    A general question, for educational purposes. (Perhaps for no one but me.)

    I didn't want to hijack the thread on lowered suspension RT, so I started this new thread.

    Is it my imagination or have motorcycles just gotten taller and taller since the 1970s?

    Were BMWs always this tall ( seat height)?
    Comparing motorcycles from my riding era 1970's to present I haven't noticed seat height increasing much, if at all? Off-road bikes may be an exception since that category has, in some cases, seen their suspension travel double in this time period. Since we're talking about BMW's and the RT was mentioned let's compare;

    R1200RT Adjustable 32.3"ÔÇô33.1"
    (Low seat option: 30.7"ÔÇô31.5")


    The 1980 R100RT seat is 32.3ÔÇØ My first BMW was a 1976 R75/6, its seat height was 31.9ÔÇØ.

    Essentially no difference in height. What I notice on newer BMW's is the foot pegs are getting higher, which tightens the seat to peg dimension.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  5. #5
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    I could use another inch in height to get more leg room. Yes, I have the peg lowering kit.
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  6. #6
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    I've either gotten about 3 inches shorter over the last 45+ years of riding, or the bikes have gotten taller, maybe both. I don't remember manufacturers offering lowering kits back in the early days of my riding career either. Do not understand it, or the reasoning for putting the passenger sitting several inches higher than the rider. I hate that my choices of bikes is limited by the length of my legs. Even at 6 feet I cannot safely hold up some of the more modern bikes.

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    I have wondered, given the new suspension adjusting techno-stuff, why BMW doesn't go to a parked/sitting at stoplight, suspension position. Like a city bus picking up passengers, the bike lowers itself when parked or at say 2 mph or less. Not a good off road application, but on hard surface when parked or at idle, seat height automatically settles to say a 26 - 28" height. Pull the throttle back and bike automatically ups to the under way height. Easy mount/dismount and feet on the ground at stops. May be the next suspension feature.
    MOA #46783
    2014 R1200RT

  8. #8
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    The problem is a motorcycle cannot offer all four; comfortable leg room, ample ground and cornering clearance, adequate suspension travel, and a low seat, at the same time. Nevertheless there may be more low seat motorcycles to choose from now than any other time.

    We thought it would be fun to compile a list of major-manufacturer motorcycles with the lowest seat heights. Seat height is of supreme importance to most women riders, as the ability to place one's feet flat on the ground is perhaps the most important factor in giving women the confidence they need to handle a bike.
    ******
    We chose 26 inches as the cut-off seat height for this list. Our original list, compiled back in 2009, used 26.5 inches as the cut-off height. However, over the last few years, seat heights on new models have been coming out of the factories much lower, so we've lowered the cut-off height by half an inch.

    http://www.womenridersnow.com/pages/....aspx?lid=1170
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  9. #9
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    I have thought that a really neat feature, if BMW could do it, would be to develop an "active seat height" system. When the bike is first started, not yet in gear, the seat would lower itself to allow for a low seat height/feet on the ground at boarding.

    Then once started and in motion the seat would raise to a comfortable riding position to minimize knee bend and hip articulation. Also, as the bike would come to a stop, in 1st gear only, say below five mph, the seat would quickly lower so the rider could more easily reach the ground.

  10. #10
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    Finally, this year 800GS is available with a low suspension. The prior std height model was so tall that swinging leg over while on the centerstand was undoable fo me at age 66 and 6 ft tall- maybe if I was a bit younger and mpre flexible.
    It doesn't create any riding problem- the thing is light enough and blanced enough that one footing at stops is simple and not much different from the first bikes I rode in the 60s except for the height difference.

  11. #11
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    There is no question regarding bikes getting bigger and taller. Like many I have owned bikes since the 60's and I remember just how huge a Norton 750 or 850 was back then. The men rode those along with riding Triumphs. I owned an 850 Norton about ten years ago, OMG, it was like a toy compared to my other bikes. Low seat, very narrow and it was not light but you never noticed the weight because it was so low and narrow.



    Like many I'm looking to down size. My favorite displacement has been the 800's. I loved both my VFR 750 and 800 I owned in the past. I don't need more than 90-100hp. I ride a R1100S now, my second S, and I like its size. I have a 32" inseam so I can ride any bike, but I'm more comfortable nowadays on a 32" or so seat height and a bike south of 500lbs.

    The rub for me, it must still handle the road well. I thought the BMW 800st was going to be the bike for me, then I rode one on the highway, just not planted enough. It did not even come close to the highway manners of my 2005 VFR. The new 800GT may just work; it has a 2" longer swing arm, which might make the difference I'm looking for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    There is no question regarding bikes getting bigger and taller. Like many I have owned bikes since the 60's and I remember just how huge a Norton 750 or 850 was back then. The men rode those along with riding Triumphs. I owned an 850 Norton about ten years ago, OMG, it was like a toy compared to my other bikes. Low seat, very narrow and it was not light but you never noticed the weight because it was so low and narrow.
    You're right in pointing out how small those "big bikes" from the past seem today. A K1600GTL is a giant compared to any bike of the 1960ÔÇÖs or even 70ÔÇÖs. But that category of bike didnÔÇÖt exist then. Us old riders sometimes complain ÔÇ£bikes are too big and tall nowÔÇØ yet we have the choice to choose bikes that are very comparable to those of old. Compare the Norton 850 to a BMW F650GS Twin;



    BMW F650GS Twin, 798cc
    Power 71 hp
    Length 89.7ÔÇØ
    Dry Weight 395
    Seat Height 32 3ÔÇØ (optional heights vary from 30.1ÔÇØ to 32.9ÔÇØ)


    Norton 850 Comando Twin, 830cc
    Power 60 hp
    Length 88ÔÇØ
    Dry Weight 430
    Seat Height 32ÔÇØ
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  13. #13
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milo View Post
    ........................... Compare the Norton 850 to a BMW F650GS Twin;



    BMW F650GS Twin, 798cc
    Power 71 hp
    Length 89.7ÔÇØ
    Dry Weight 395
    Seat Height 32 3ÔÇØ (optional heights vary from 30.1ÔÇØ to 32.9ÔÇØ)


    Norton 850 Comando Twin, 830cc
    Power 60 hp
    Length 88ÔÇØ
    Dry Weight 430
    Seat Height 32ÔÇØ
    That is a crack up.

  14. #14
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milo View Post
    You're right in pointing out how small those "big bikes" from the past seem today. A K1600GTL is a giant compared to any bike of the 1960ÔÇÖs or even 70ÔÇÖs. But that category of bike didnÔÇÖt exist then. Us old riders sometimes complain ÔÇ£bikes are too big and tall nowÔÇØ yet we have the choice to choose bikes that are very comparable to those of old. Compare the Norton 850 to a BMW F650GS Twin;



    BMW F650GS Twin, 798cc
    Power 71 hp
    Length 89.7ÔÇØ
    Dry Weight 395
    Seat Height 32 3ÔÇØ (optional heights vary from 30.1ÔÇØ to 32.9ÔÇØ)


    Norton 850 Comando Twin, 830cc
    Power 60 hp
    Length 88ÔÇØ
    Dry Weight 430
    Seat Height 32ÔÇØ

    Triumph makes some nice old style standards too that would be more like the old Norton, if that is what you want.
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  15. #15
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponch1 View Post
    Triumph makes some nice old style standards too that would be more like the old Norton, if that is what you want.
    Na, not what I'm after. They really are heavy and way down on power. I do like the Thruxton; but it has no ABS and it has tube tires.

    I just went and looked at the new 800GT. Wow! Very nice bike. I will go back and test ride it when I have more time.

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