The motorcycle’s seat height can seriously influence how confident you are on the bike, especially for beginner riders or if you ride in technical terrain. Some motorcycle types have lower seat heights than others.
The average seat height of any motorcycle is 31.6 inches (803 mm). The lowest motorcycles are cruisers with an average seat height of only 27 inches (686 mm), while the tallest bikes are dirt bikes and dual sports at 34 inches (864 mm). The Yamaha YZ 125 has the tallest seat height of any bike at 38.6 inches (980 mm) and the Harley Softail Slim is the lowest motorcycle at 25.5 inches (648 mm).
Seat height should not be your only consideration when buying a motorcycle, but it will greatly influence how quickly you learn to ride if you are a beginner rider. My short wife learned to ride on a small Yamaha MR 50 from 1979 and within weeks she got onto a 421 lbs BMW 650 Funduro. If she had started on the BMW, she would have taken that much longer to gain confidence.
The only way to know which bike is best for you is to take it for a test ride. Second prize is to at least go sit on all the bikes on your shortlist. That will give you a feel for the seat height and how easily you are able to touch the ground and balance it upright.
Once you are experienced at riding a motorcycle, seat height is almost totally irrelevant. It is during those early days while learning to master clutch and throttle control, and how to properly stop the motorcycle the right way, that seat height can be important.
All the Seat Heights of All the Motorcycles
This table below lists all the seat heights of all the major motorcycle manufacturers from the tallest to the lowest in inches and in milimetres.
|Bike Model||Seat Height|
|Yamaha YZ125 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RACING EDITION||38.6||980|
|Yamaha YZ250 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RACING EDITION||38.2||970|
|Yamaha YZ250F MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RACING EDITION||38||965|
|Yamaha YZ450F MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RACING EDITION||38||965|
|Kawasaki KX450 SR||37.6||955|
|Kawasaki KX450 X||37.4||950|
|Kawasaki KX250 X||37.2||945|
|Kawasaki KLX230R S||35.4||899|
|Honda CRF300L RALLY||35.2||894|
|Honda CRF300L RALLY ABS||35.2||894|
|BMW R 1250 GS Adventure||35*||889*|
|BMW R 1250 GS Adventure – Edition 40 Years GS||35*||889*|
|Kawasaki KLX230 ABS||34.8||884|
|Honda CRF300L ABS||34.7||881|
|BMW F 850 GS Adventure||34.4||874|
|Yamaha Tenere 700||34.4||874|
|Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS||34.3||871|
|Kawasaki KLR 650 ADVENTURE||34.3||871|
|Kawasaki KLR 650 TRAVELER||34.3||871|
|Kawasaki KLX140R F||33.9||861|
|Kawasaki KLX300 SM||33.9||861|
|Suzuki V-STROM 1050||33.7||856|
|Yamaha YZF-R1 World GP 60th Anniversary Edition||33.7||856|
|BMW R 1250 GS||33.5*||851*|
|BMW R 1250 GS – Edition 40 Years GS||33.5*||851*|
|Yamaha Tracer 900 GT||33.5*||851*|
|Honda AFRICA TWIN||33.5*||851*|
|Honda AFRICA TWIN ADVENTURE SPORTS ES||33.5*||851*|
|Honda AFRICA TWIN ADVENTURE SPORTS ES DCT||33.5*||851*|
|Honda AFRICA TWIN DCT||33.5*||851*|
|BMW R nineTUrban G/S – Edition 40 Years GS||33.5||851|
|Suzuki V-STROM 1000||33.5||851|
|Suzuki V-STROM 1000XT||33.5||851|
|Suzuki V-STROM 1000XT ADVENTURE||33.5||851|
|Suzuki V-STROM 1050XT||33.5||851|
|Suzuki V-STROM 1050XT ADVENTURE||33.5||851|
|Yamaha Super Tenere ES||33.3*||846*|
|Kawasaki VERSYS 1000 SE LT+||33.1||841|
|Kawasaki VERSYS 650 ABS||33.1||841|
|Kawasaki VERSYS 650 ABS LT||33.1||841|
|BMW S 1000 XR||33*||838*|
|BMW F 850 GS||32.9*||836*|
|Kawasaki NINJA H2 SX SE+||32.9||836|
|Kawasaki NINJA ZX-10R ABS KRT EDITION||32.9||836|
|Kawasaki NINJA ZX-10R ABS KRT EDITION||32.9||836|
|Kawasaki NINJA ZX-10RR||32.9||836|
|Kawasaki Z900RS SE||32.9||836|
|Suzuki V-STROM 650||32.9||836|
|Suzuki V-STROM 650XT||32.9||836|
|Suzuki V-STROM 650XT ADVENTURE||32.9||836|
|Yamaha NIKEN GT||32.9||836|
|Yamaha YZF-R7 World GP 60th Anniversary Edition||32.9||836|
|BMW M 1000 RR||32.8||833|
|Honda CB500X ABS||32.8||833|
|Honda CB1000R BLACK EDITION||32.7||831|
|Kawasaki KLX230 S||32.7||831|
|Kawasaki NINJA H2 R||32.7||831|
|Kawasaki NINJA ZX-6R||32.7||831|
|Kawasaki NINJA ZX-6R ABS KRT EDITION||32.7||831|
|Kawasaki Z H2||32.7||831|
|Kawasaki Z H2 SE||32.7||831|
|Honda CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP||32.6||828|
|BMW F 900 XR||32.5||826|
|Kawasaki NINJA H2||32.5||826|
|Kawasaki NINJA H2 CARBON||32.5||826|
|Yamaha MT-09 SP||32.5||826|
|BMW S 1000 RR||32.4||823|
|BMW G 310 GS||32.3*||820*|
|BMW G 310 GS – Edition 40 Years GS||32.3*||820*|
|BMW R 1250 R||32.3||820|
|BMW R 1250 RS||32.3||820|
|BMW R nineT Scrambler||32.3||820|
|Honda CBR1000RR ABS||32.3||820|
|Honda CBR600RR ABS||32.3||820|
|Kawasaki NINJA 1000SX||32.3||820|
|Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE||32.3||820|
|Suzuki GSX-S750Z ABS||32.3||820|
|Suzuki GSX-S750 ABS||32.2||818|
|Kawasaki CONCOURS 14 ABS (incl. hard cases)||32.1||815|
|Kawasaki VERSYS-X300 ABS||32.1||815|
|Yamaha TRACER 9 GT||31.9*||810*|
|BMW S 1000 R||31.9*||810*|
|Honda CB650R ABS||31.9||810|
|Honda CBR650R ABS||31.9||810|
|Harley Pan America 1250||31.8||808|
|BMW R nineT||31.7||805|
|BMW R nineT Pure||31.7||805|
|Kawasaki Z125 PRO||31.7||805|
|Honda NC750X DCT||31.6||803|
|Honda CB300R ABS||31.5||800|
|Honda TRAIL125 ABS||31.5||800|
|Kawasaki KLX140R L||31.5||800|
|Kawasaki NINJA ZX-14R ABS||31.5||800|
|Kawasaki Z900 ABS||31.5||800|
|Kawasaki Z900 SE||31.5||800|
|BMW F 750 GS||31.1*||790*|
|BMW F 900 R||31.1*||790*|
|Harley Pan America 1250 Special||31.1||790|
|Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS||31.1||790|
|Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT EDITION||31.1||790|
|Kawasaki Z650 ABS||31.1||790|
|Suzuki GSX250R ABS||31.1||790|
|Honda CB500F ABS||30.9||785|
|Honda CBR500R ABS||30.9||785|
|Honda CRF125F BIG WHEEL||30.9||785|
|Kawasaki NINJA 400 ABS||30.9||785|
|Kawasaki NINJA 400 ABS KRT EDITION||30.9||785|
|Kawasaki Z400 ABS||30.9||785|
|Suzuki SV650 ABS||30.9||785|
|Honda CBR300R ABS||30.7||780|
|Honda SUPER CUB C125 ABS||30.7||780|
|Honda SUPER CUB C125 ABS||30.7||780|
|Yamaha YZF-R3 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Edition||30.7||780|
|Yamaha YZF-R3 World GP 60th Anniversary Edition||30.7||780|
|Honda MONKEY ABS||30.5||775|
|BMW G 310 R||30.3*||770*|
|Honda GROM ABS||30||762|
|BMW R 1250 RT||29.9*||759*|
|Harley Electra Glide Revival||29.6||752|
|BMW K 1600 Grand America||29.5*||749*|
|BMW K 1600 GTL||29.5*||749*|
|BMW K 1600 B||29.5*||749*|
|BMW K 1600 GT||29.5*||749*|
|Honda GOLD WING||29.3||744|
|Honda GOLD WING AUTOMATIC DCT||29.3||744|
|Honda GOLD WING TOUR||29.3||744|
|Honda GOLD WING TOUR AIRBAG AUTOMATIC DCT||29.3||744|
|Honda GOLD WING TOUR AUTOMATIC DCT||29.3||744|
|BMW R 18 Transcontinental||29.1||739|
|Harley Sportster S||28.9||734|
|Kawasaki KLX110R L||28.7||729|
|Kawasaki VULCAN 1700 VAQUERO ABS||28.7||729|
|Kawasaki VULCAN 1700 VOYAGER ABS||28.7||729|
|BMW R 18 B||28.35||720|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD C90 B.O.S.S.||28.3||719|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD C90T||28.3||719|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD M90||28.2||716|
|BMW R 18 Classic||28||711|
|Kawasaki VULCAN S||27.8||706|
|Kawasaki VULCAN S CAFE||27.8||706|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD M109R B.O.S.S.||27.8||706|
|Harley CVO Limited||27.7||704|
|Harley Fat Bob 114||27.7||704|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD C50||27.6||701|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD C50T||27.6||701|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD M50||27.6||701|
|Suzuki BOULEVARD S40||27.6||701|
|Yamaha Star Eluder||27.6||701|
|Yamaha Star Eluder GT||27.6||701|
|Harley Ultra Limited||27.5||699|
|Honda REBEL 1100||27.5||699|
|Honda REBEL 1100 DCT||27.5||699|
|Yamaha Star Venture||27.4||696|
|BMW R 18||27.2||691|
|Harley Road Glide Limited||27.2||691|
|Honda REBEL 300||27.2||691|
|Honda REBEL 300 ABS||27.2||691|
|Honda REBEL 500||27.2||691|
|Honda REBEL 500 ABS||27.2||691|
|Honda REBEL 500 ABS SE||27.2||691|
|Yamaha Bolt R-Spec||27.2||691|
|Kawasaki VULCAN 900 CUSTOM||27||686|
|Yamaha V Star 250||27||686|
|Honda MONTESA COTA 301RR||26.8||681|
|Kawasaki VULCAN 900 CLASSIC||26.8||681|
|Kawasaki VULCAN 900 CLASSIC LT||26.8||681|
|Harley Low Rider S||26.5||673|
|Harley Road King Special||26.4||671|
|Harley Heritage Classic||26.3||668|
|Harley Road King||26.3||668|
|Harley CVO Street Glide||26.1||663|
|Harley Electra Glide Standard||26.1||663|
|Harley Street Glide||26.1||663|
|Harley Street Glide Special||26.1||663|
|Harley CVO Road Glide||25.9||658|
|Harley Fat Boy 114||25.9||658|
|Harley Road Glide||25.9||658|
|Harley Road Glide Special||25.9||658|
|Honda SHADOW AERO||25.9||658|
|Honda SHADOW AERO ABS||25.9||658|
|Harley Softail standard||25.8||655|
|Harley Streetbob 114||25.8||655|
|Honda SHADOW PHANTOM||25.8||655|
|Harley Iron 1200||25.7||653|
|Harley Iron 883||25.7||653|
|Harley Sport Glide||25.7||653|
|Honda MONTESA COTA 4RT RACE REPLICA||25.6||650|
|Harley Softail Slim||25.5||648|
Where a motorcycle have different seat height options from the factory, it is indicated with an “*”. This can either be more than one seat option or lowered suspension. I tried to include the lowest seat option that is available without paying for a lower kit or replacement seat.
Choosing the right seat can make a big difference in some bikes, for example: The seat height of the BMW R 1250 GS is anywhere between 31.5 inches (OE lowered suspension) and the standard 34.3 inches.
Seat Heights of Different Types of Bikes
Dirt Bikes and dual sport motorcycles have the tallest seat heights of all motorcycles, while cruisers have the lowest seats. Adventure bikes tend to be very tall too, while the large touring bikes have lower seat heights than the average street bike. The graph below shows the average, maximum and minimum seat height of each type of motorcycle.
The average dirt bike seat height would have been even higher was it not for the kiddies bikes that are included in the data. This is also why there is such a large difference between the maximum and minimum seat height of the dirt bikes.
Let’s have a brief look at the seat heights of each type of motorcycle:
Dirt Bike Seat Height
Adult dirt bikes are very tall thanks to long travel suspension that has to be able to soak up big jumps. Dirt bikes also have large wheels and high ground clearance to clear obstacles on the trails. In order to have a neutral seating position, the seat can’t be too close to the foot pegs, which further limits how low the seat can go.
The average dirt bike or dual sport motorcycle seat height is 34.2 inches (869 mm) tall. If we exclude the four 50 cc kiddies bikes, this average goes up to 35 inches (888 mm). The tallest dirt bike is the Yamaha YZ 125 race bike with a seat height of 38.6 inches (980 mm). The dirt bike with the lowest seat height is the Yamaha PW 50 kiddies bike at only 18.7 inches (475 mm).
There is a dirt bike to fit any rider, no matter your age or body type. To find out everything there is to know about dirt bike seat height, go check out my post on dirt bike seat height. In that post I also discuss how to choose the right dirt bike for you.
Adventure Bike Seat Height
Adventure bikes are generally quite large motorcycles with big capacity engines for long-distance comfort. They also need to be able to ride comfortably on dirt and gravel roads, without bottoming out on fast bumps while fully loaded with luggage. These demands require long travel suspension, high ground clearance and big wheels, similar to dirt bikes.
The comfortable, upright ergonomics and big engine (that needs to fit between the foot pegs and seat) further pushes the seat into a higher position.
The average adventure bike has a seat height of 33.1 inches (841 mm) which is taller than 93% of all street bikes. The BMW R 1250 GS Adventure is the tallest adventure bike with a seat height of 35 inches (889 mm). The adventure bike with the lowest seat height is the BMW F 750 GS and the new Harley Davidson Pan America 1250 Special with seat heights of 31.1 inches (790 mm).
I wrote a detailed post on adventure bike seat heights which you can read here. In that post I discuss some advice for shorter riders than want to get an adventure bike.
Street Bike Seat Height
Street bikes come in a range of different shapes and sizes. Some are tall, like the sports bikes, for high ground clearance when leaned over in fast corners on a race track. Other street bikes are small and light for easily zipping through traffic while commuting in the city.
The average street bike seat height is 32 inches (813 mm). A good example of an average sized street bike is the Honda CB 650 R. It is not as aggressive as a track race bike, yet it is sportier than a standard commuter.
The tallest street bike is the Yamaha R1M with a seat height of 33.9 inches (861 mm). The Suzuki DR-Z 400 SM is taller (35 inches), but it is basically a dual sport bike with street tires. The lowest street bike is the quirky little Honda Grom with a seat height of only 30 inches (762 mm).
Choosing the right street bike can be tricky if you are a beginner. While seat height is mostly irrelevant for an experienced rider, a tall bike can be intimidating while learning to ride. Being able to put both feet flat on the ground while practicing clutch and throttle control will give the beginner rider much more confidence.
To help you choose the right street bike for your length, check out my post on street bike seat height. In that post, I chat about the best street bike for beginners, as well as some tips for shorter riders.
Touring Bike Seat Height
Touring bikes are big, heavy machines that are designed for comfort on the freeway. In fact, the average touring bike weights nearly as much as the heaviest cruiser. Generally, touring bike riders are older and therefore touring bikes tend to have lower seat heights to make it easier to put both feet flat on the ground at standstill. This makes it easier to balance these heavy machines while waiting at a traffic light.
The average touring bike seat height is 28.7 inches (729 mm) which is lower than the shortest street bike, the little Honda Grom. The tallest touring bike is the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT sport tourer with a seat height of 33.5 inches (851 mm). The Kawasaki Concours 14 has the tallest seat height of the ‘true tourers’ at 32.1 inches (815 mm).
The touring motorcycle with the lowest seat height is the Harley Davidson Road Glide Special with a seat height of only 25.9 inches (658 mm). Almost all of the the Harley Davidson touring bikes have lower seat heights than the Japanese touring bikes. This is because the Harley tourers are basically cruisers (the lowest bike type) with large fairings, luggage, and comfy seats.
Cruiser Bike Seat Height
Cruisers have low seat heights due to very little suspension travel, a low center of gravity, a shallow rake angle and very little ground clearance.
Cruisers are designed to ride on smooth asphalt which doesn’t require much suspension travel. Cruisers also don’t have to lean as far over as sports bikes, so ground clearance (when leaned over) is not that important. The shallow rake angle allows for a more stable ride on the highway at the cost of sharp handling.
The average cruiser motorcycle has a seat height of only 27 inches (686 mm) which is lower than the lowest street bike (the little Honda Grom). The tallest real cruiser is the Suzuki Boulevard C90T with a seat height of 28.3 inches (719 mm). The Harley Sportster S is slightly taller (28.9 inches), but it is more of a street bike than a true cruiser. The lowest cruiser is the Harley Davidson Softail Slim with a seat height of only 25.5 inches (648 mm).
I’ve written a post that covers cruiser seat heights in more detail. You can read it here. In that post, I also discuss the top three cruisers for beginner riders and whether cruisers are suitable for tall riders.
How Much Does Motorcycle Seat Height Matter?
For very experienced riders, seat height doesn’t matter at all. Dirt bike racers are used to not being able to flatfoot it on both sides of the bike. The high ground clearance and long suspension travel that is responsible for the seat being so high is what make it possible to ride these bikes hard off road.
Similarly, sports bikes need to be tall in order to lean almost flat into a corner without scraping on the tarmac of the race track. Moto GP and World Superbike racers have no problem with tall sports bikes.
For the average rider with enough experience, seat height should also not be a problem in most situations. If you employ the correct techniques at the bottom of this post, you should be fine. A motorcycle is very stable while moving and perfectly balanced around the mid-point when standing still. It is only when you don’t have a firm, dry, flat spot to put your foot down when a tall bike can cause trouble.
Even experienced riders can have difficult keeping a large adventure bike upright if it stalls on a rocky uphill. And paddling through slippery mud or thick sand on a dirt bike that is too tall for both feet to touch is near impossible. A bike with a lower seat height will make it easier in these situations, but nothing trumps developing the skills to master any situation on any size bike.
Even though dirt bikes are very tall, they are also very light. The average dirt bike weighs only 217 lbs (98 kg) compared to the average adventure bike that weighs a porky 499 lbs (226 kg).
What about beginner riders?
Beginner riders are better off learning to ride on a bike that is not too tall. Being able to put both feet flat on the ground will help a beginner rider master clutch and throttle control, and stopping the bike the right way, without the risk of toppling over.
Learning to ride on a lower motorcycle will give a new rider more confidence and you will become a much better rider that much faster. You can always upgrade to the tall dream bike of yours once you are ready.
If you are new to motorcycling, get a bike where you can put both feet flat on the ground. Measure your inseam (from the floor to the inside of your crotch) and compare it with the seat heights in the table in this post.
Don’t be tempted to start off on a bike that is too tall for you. You will only get frustrated as you struggle to balance the bike while learning to pull away and stop. Better yet, get a second-hand bike that is low to the ground to learn on. You’ll thank me when you drop it for the 10th time in the parking lot.
Then when you are ready and more confident, get that dream bike of yours. If it is one of the tall ones, keep honing your skills until you master it.