No matter where they go or what they do, it seems that people who are vertically challenged always get the ‘short’ end of the stick, pardon the pun. Historically, if a pint-sized person wanted to get into the hobby of motorcycling, their choices were limited to bikes like the Suzuki Marauder, Ninja 250 or HD Sportster (the thought alone makes my back hurt.) BMW Motorrad now has good news for riders who either need or simply prefer a lower seat height, but do not want to compromise on model choice. BMW is the first motorcycle manufacturer to launch a range of models that can be ordered from the factory with lowered suspension – to provide customers with low seat height options. Visitors to the Carole Nash NEC 2008 Bike Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham were able to check out the bikes in person. Models available with a lowered suspension and seat height include the, F800S, F800ST Sports Tourer,F650GS, R1200R, R1200GS and R1200RT Tourer. Beemer bikes brought this fleet of six Low Seat bikes to the show in order for visitors to ride them and get an experience of their low speed maneuverability first-hand.
Representatives from BMW claimed that feedback from female, novice and shorter riders confirmed that controlling a machine can be difficult at slow speeds, especially when riding motorcycles with a higher seat height. This is a move that clearly has safety benefits for shorter riders, as I am sure we have all seen those riders who stand on tip toes or wobble from side to side when sitting at a stoplight. These riders feel more secure when they’re able to place their feet firmly on the ground, especially under stop-start conditions.
This move by BMW comes as no surprise since Beemer appears to be in an ongoing mission to appeal to as many riders as possible these days. So although it surely came as a historic revelation when the brains behind this operation had their epiphany, my question is why no other OEM has thought of this before. Short people ride motorcycles too? Who knew?!