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First off, I've only been riding for near two years now. When I finished my class my husband took me to buy my very first motorcycle, this was in April 2013. We found a 2012 650 brand new. I thought it was the perfect bike. I'm no dainty flower, I'm almost 5'10". When I first got it the second day I was sitting at a stop sign with a decline on one side. Needless to say standing on the balls of my feet wasn't much help to keep the bike upright. Thankfully I dropped it slowly and only scuffed up the tank and broke the end off the brake handle. Of course this didn't go over well. We've invested in Kuba links and a lower seat. Which only lowered the stupid thing by about 1.5" which does nothing to help the situation. It would be different with the bike being as top heavy as it is if my feet were flat on the ground. I'm also one of those girls which isn't into riding a motorcycle in heels. I feel much more sturdy with both my feet planted firmly and flat on the ground. Shortly after getting everything fixed on it we moved to the Azores which should have been the perfect place for the vstrom. Unfortunately it wasn't. Nothing but freaking hills. Of course I get convinced it isn't the right place for me to ride so the bike only got ridden when he took it to the office. Well, now we're in Germany. Still can't ride the stupid thing. Where we live the only way is down steep hills in either direction or the autobahn. Hmmmm, neither one of those are happening. I don't feel comfortable taking a top heavy motorcycle out on the highway with people cruising past me at 130 kmp. What can I do to feel more comfortable on the stupid thing, or lower it more so it is safer? All these mini women are riding the stupid thing and it's too heavy for me. What is the deal? I either have to get this figured out or I'm selling the dumb thing. Worst thing is it's a 2012 with less than 50 miles, yeah that's fifty. I just won't ride it because I can't get it low enough to stand flat footed. Please help.
:headbang:
 

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Just so you know, I'm 5'9" and don't have particularly long or flexible legs and find I can manage my 650 fine with everything at the stock height and a lambs-wool cover on the seat. It's just technique and confidence.

There's a few things you can do that help.
First off, get used to sliding over on the seat a little to get one foot down further.
Next, get used to using EITHER foot rather than always the same one, that way you can put down the foot that's on the uphill side of the bike and take advantage of the shorter reach. Every road has a degree of camber (slope towards the side) and you can take advantage of that to make the stretch easier.
Also, it's not top heavy, it's just tall. And yes there is a difference. It isn't a feather-weight by any means but these bikes are quite well balanced. You can use the height to your advantage in traffic and it lets you see further ahead on the highway. Once you get it rolling the Stroms become much easier to handle and are quite stable.
You can improve the stability and control in low speed manoeuvres by giving it a few revs (say 2000), slipping the clutch, and dragging the rear brake to control your speed. You'll be surprised how stable the thing becomes. Don't do this at highway speed.
Normally for new riders I suggest finding a car park that's empty and practising there, or finding a quiet street to ride around on. If you're stopping on hills a lot you'll get used to keeping one brake firmly on while stopped. Remember to slide over a little on the seat and put down the foot that's on the uphill side of the bike.
On the autobahn, I'd personally just line it up and open up the throttle. It will run at 130 quite happily without much struggle. The thousand pulls harder of course, but the 650 can do just fine.
 

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More practical. Pull the seat bumpers off, replace with rubber stick on furnature feet.

3/4"

1" Lowering links, and lower the front by raising the forks 3/4". That'll give you 1-3/4 without messing the bike up too badly.

Taller soles on the boots. Another 1/2 to 1"

Crash bars, barkbusters to cut down the scrapes.

It's all reversible, so when your confidence level goes up, it can be put back to stock.

FWIW: I did the seat mod, I'm not much taller than you, but I ride on some fairly gnarly dirt roads, and scrabbling for grip on a slippery surface when you can barely reach the ground is no fun at all.

Also guys. I didn't complain when my wife got herself a CTX 700, quite a lot lower than a DL, she has nowhere near the leg strength I do so once the bike starts to topple, it's a real effort to save it.

Pete
 

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slide over

If you think the DL is too high then never try to ride an Enduro or MX bike, their seat height is much higher.

As stated above, the trick is to slide over to the higher side and catch the edge of the seat with your knee when you stop. When you start off again, let out the clutch a little and push/pull yourself back into the centre for the saddle.

I am 5'11" tall and I had to cut some foam out of the seat on my DRZ400 so I could avoid tippy toeing when stopped. I dropped it a few times before doing this. I have been riding for many years so it can happen to anyone. It is called " foot down, no ground". Once the bike starts to fall over, just let it go and get your leg out to the way.

My short arsed mate ( 5'8") had to drop the front and rear suspension 2" on his DRZ until he could flat foot at stop signs.
 

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i rode an SV650 for a year first. gained a lot of confidence on that (13k miles). i can no-where near flat-foot my DL 650. i'm 5-10. one foot down at every light. usually left foot, cause i leave my right foot on the brake most of the time. no big deal once you get used to it. if you can't get comfortable on it, you may want to find a cheap "beginner bike" (i hate to use that term) like a ninja 250 just to get used to riding and gain some confidence. find something for a grand and enjoy it for a month. then try riding the DL again.
 

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Sounds to me like you have only an hour or two of total riding experience? If you can afford it, you might buy a used smaller bike or even a scooter to learn on. Or you could rent a small, lower bike for a few days and/or take a riding course to boost your skill and confidence. Hang in there, it'll come!
 

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The DL is not "the stupid thing". I know you're frustrated but you chose the wrong bike to learn to ride on so you can't blame the bike. The DL can be lowered a bit as suggested above but to really enjoy the sport and gain confidence you would be better suited to a smaller cruiser or the Ninja 250 as recommended.
 

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Based on what you have already said and tried, don't waste your time with the Strom. Move on to something else. You are not going to be happy with that bike and if your not happy with it you won't ride it, obviously.

Good luck, there are several bikes out there that will work for you.
 

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Tall heavier bikes and inexperienced riders typically don't get along very well.

I think you purchased the wrong bike for your riding style.
 

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I say sell it too... I'm only a 5'11" dude and have no problem on the stock bike.

If you lower it way down, you need the shorter kickstand, center stand won't work, etc.
 

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If you can't find anywhere to ride in Germany, you should not own a motorcycle. A change in your attitude might help too...
 

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The problem is not the bike but your lack of experience and confidence!

Sell the bike and get something lower/lighter to get some experience and build your confidence. If you like this kind of bikes and want more than one cylinder Honda CB500X comes to my mind.

The Strom isn't that tall and I sure don't find it top heavy for this kind of bike.

My girlfriend rides a F800GS. She can only reach the ground with the tip of her toes, but she loves it a rides it everywhere - the difference is that she has been riding for 10 years and done around 160.000km/100.000 miles.
 

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Time to get a bike that is more appropriate for you. It is very obviously not the bike you need right now, particularly if you are a new rider.

You need a bike you can ride confidently. Head out to the cycle shops in your area and just spend a day sitting on different bikes. You'll find the one that's right for you eventually. It will be time well spent.

The 'Strom is a great bike, but it really isn't for everyone.
 

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I learned to ride on my Glee and I'm 5'8" with a 28" inseam on a good day. Sure, I dropped it a few times but the Barkbusters and engine guard did their job. I also did all the lowering stuff and had the side stand shortened. The center stand works fine, you just need to roll the rear wheel up on a 6" piece of 1X2. After about a year, I put the bike back to stock height except for the seat bumpers and reinstalled the stock side stand. When I come to a stop, I usually put my left foot down and keep the right on the peg/brake. I can get both balls of my feet on the ground if I want. It's just a matter of experience and chooseing your stopping spots a little more carefully. The Strom is a great bike and it will do pretty much whatever you ask of it. As to top heavy, that has nothing to do with how fast you ride and/or control. Once it's moving, you can throw it around to your heart's content. Here in N. California we have a lot of twisties and freeways so I get to do both. Handles the twisties as fast as I like and will hold 90 mph all day long.
 

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Sell it. Buy a bike that puts a big smile on your face. Motorcycle riding is for fun. Find a bike that is fun for you.
 

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I'm 5'9" w/ a 29" inseam. I have a standard height (Sargent) seat, and Kouba (3/4") Links. I'm on the balls of my feet at stops, if I have both feet down. The *only* place this gets a little tricky is backing down an uneven driveway onto a cambered street. Otherwise, I don't even notice it.

I agree with the above, that this might not have been the best 1st bike... However, contrary to your current feelings, it's an incredible bike. Having your license for 2 years doesn't mean squat, if you've only racked 50 miles *total*.
Take it to a large empty lot. Learn how to ride *your* bike. Learn how to stop with one foot down. Learn how to turn slowly, putting weight on the *outside* peg. The bike is tall, but *very* manageable, if, like anything else, you get familiar with its nuances and behavior.

Going down steep hills, or cruising the autobahn, have *nothing* to do with reaching the ground. If you're moving, you could be ten feet above the ground, and it's irrelevant. The *only* time it becomes relevant, is when you come to a *complete* stop (which isn't going to happen on the autobahn, and on which, you'd have no trouble keeping up with prevailing traffic).

Your issue is not that the Strom has a lower IQ than a 26" seat height Harley. It's simple familiarity and confidence.
 

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Just sell it, or trade it in for a bike you can improve your confidence level. Just like you, when I was getting my first bike I had the same fears, I went for a cruiser where not only I could flat foot, my knees were even bent :)

Once you develop your confidence on the bike, you learn that only the balls of your feet or even tips should be sufficient to cover majority of the cases. You also need to learn to read the road, which will happen only as you ride. For example seeing the road camber and imperfections before you come to a full stop, and adjusting your stopping actions and location to that, like finding a curb to rest one foot, or sliding over to one side to extend your reach. Having a bike you can't ride does not provide you any help from any of these aspects.

I recommend trading in for a Suzuki GS500F as a great starter bike. Low seat, parallel twin, very smooth, still powerful, and virtually undroppable. This was the first bike for my wife, who is 5'7" and she never had any problems with the height. The bike was lowered by the previous owner, and we removed the lowering links in the first month she spent with the bike. In 2 years of ownership she put a happy 14000 miles with not a single drop, in almost all terrain. It is a very nice confidence building bike, which you can use for many years before returning back to a v-strom.

With only 50 miles under your belt, trust me you will not be needing nor missing any features that a V-Strom offers (maybe except for the cool looks). You can save them for later where you can confidently exercise the bike's capabilities.

I hope this helps.
 

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I suggest you to sell the bike. The point is that you don't feel comfortable with that.
This bike is tall, and you can only lower so much, it is not the bikes fault, the bike is not a "stupid thing".
When I saw your post I first thought your bike has mechanical problems and thus you call that stupid. However when you bought that, a simple seat and try would show you that your bike was not this configuration. If you fell the need to plant whole feet, then this is not the bike for your ergonomics.
Sorry about that.

I started riding with a Honda Shadow ACE 750. It may not be the design you like, there are others that feature a lower seat as well, and you will definetely be able to put the whole feet when you stop. Why don't you try going to a dealer and trade in your bike? Your bike seems to be descent value, low mileage, so think about that.
 

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I got my permit, took the MSF course, got my license and bought my 13 Strom all in the same week late last summer. I now have over 8k miles on it and absolutely love the bike. It did take some time, though. Get on teh glorious back roads in Germany and get some riding in. I think you'll change your tune.

For me, it was a great bike to start on. Remember what Rumsfeld said in 2003: "You don't go to war with the army you want, you go with the army you have." Go ride!

JB
'13-DL650
 

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First of all, what you're experiencing is normal. Most riders out there aren't very skilled and just ignore the intimidation ( most don't have to learn in traffic in a crowded European Country without going through the stepped graduated training program).

But most do people go through in one form or another what you're going through at sometime in their riding experience. Whether you get past this challenge is up to you. Do you really want to ride or is it your husband's idea? You need to be honest because you'll need to really want to ride to put in the time and effort it requires to become a good confident safe rider.


Riding skills and staying safe in traffic are two completely different skill sets. You have to develop your riding skills first so when it's time to go into traffic your motorcycle riding will be comfortable and confident.

Don't feel that something is wrong with you or wrong with the bike.
It's important (critical) to stay away from traffic while you develop your skills. I know Germany is pretty much wall to wall traffic but you should be able to ride on Saturday afternoon or Sunday on back roads and parking lots.

There are ways to build up your confidence that are fairly simple.

So how are your bicycle skills? Bicycling will build up the muscles used in motorcycling. Mountain biking or biking off road (MX) is used by many professional motocross riders as a training routine.

Do you do parking lot exercises? This skill builders are essential to develop and tune up basic riding skills. Look online for guides and articles that address your areas of concern such as this series... Riding Tips Article Index - I Ride My Own

I think a smaller bike will speed you on your way but it's been my experience that most riders quickly outgrow them. Practice, practice, practice is a normal mantra for dual sport riders.

Hope you figure it out and quickly find your happy place.
Keith
 
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