Can You Adjust a Motorcycle’s Seat Height?

You have found the perfect motorcycle. It ticks all the boxes you set out to find in your dream bike, but there is just one small problem: the seat is too high or too low. Raising or lowering the seat height on a motorcycle is not as easy as loosening and tightening a bolt as one does with a bicycle seat. 

Depending on the style of motorcycle, height can be a significant deciding factor for many riders. Furthermore, no matter what type of bike, a rider has other options besides changing the seat to lower or raise the height of the motorcycle. Whether we are talking about a cruiser or a sports bike, let’s look at how to adjust a motorcycle’s seat.

Why adjust a motorcycle’s seat?

1964 Kirby BSA motorcycle sidecar seating
1964 Kirby BSA sidecar seating | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Balance is key when riding a motorcycle. For shorter riders, finding a bike with the appropriate seat height to maintain balance while stopped can be challenging. For some, this may mean going with a bike that has less power than a rider would like. However, if you can adjust the height, the sky is the limit.

Another reason someone may want to adjust their seat height is that the motorcycle may be too short, and they would like to raise it for a more comfortable ride. For a taller person, riding a bike that is too short for them can cause fatigue quickly. 

Can a motorcycle’s seat be adjusted?

Yes, a motorcycle’s seat can be adjusted, but this isn’t the only way to raise or lower the seat’s height. According to Women Riders Now, there are two main ways to adjust the height of the bike: either by changing out the seat or by changing out the shocks. However, changing out the stock shocks for after-market may affect how the motorcycle handles. Changing out the seat will not affect the handling, so this should be the first option when trying to adjust the height.

Changing out the seat is also more cost-effective than changing the shocks because it is less labor-intensive, and you can try out the new seat before the installation is finished to make sure it is comfortable. Also, lowering the motorcycle by changing the shocks may affect ground clearance and create hazards such as scraping speed bumps and curbs. You will also feel the imperfections in the road more due to a stiffer ride, which could affect ride comfort.

Finding the right fit for your bike

When seated on a motorcycle, the rider should be able to plant both feet flat on the ground while stationary. If the rider is on their tiptoes or can only have one foot on the ground at a time, then the bike is too tall for them. On the other hand, if the rider’s legs are cramped into an awkward position while riding, they may need a taller motorcycle.

Another consideration is the type of motorcycle that you have. In general, cruisers are lower than sport bikes. NADAGuides points out that sports bikes are built for speed and leaning into curves, so they typically sit higher than a cruiser. So, for a sports bike, changing the shocks could severely affect the performance, making it less aerodynamic and more likely to scrape a peg when cornering. This is definitely a case where opting for a new seat would be ideal.

Buying a motorcycle, in many ways, is like buying clothes. For them to function correctly, they need to fit correctly. Thankfully, if riders have their heart set on a specific type of motorcycle, they can make adjustments without compromising the features they want most. 

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