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I bought a 650 V-Strom! A little background: I'm a new rider, took the MSF course, a couple of private lessons and rented a couple of bikes before buying the 650. I rented a 250 and I loved the lighter weight, but I'm 5'10" and it was very uncomfortable, especially after riding it 100 miles. So I rented a 750 Shadow & loved the larger bike on 100 miles, but my back didn't like the cruiser feel. My husband has a BMW F800ST & has been riding for 35 years, so I have someone experienced to ride with.

I read thru this wonderful forum & got some great ideas, like making sure I had crash bars installed b4 I took it off the dealer lot. I bought the Givi crash bars & they saved my bike. I was fine riding it. Got home, turned off the engine & tried to back it up a little rise into the garage ... and of course I dropped it. Due to those wonderful crashbars, the only damage was breaking off 1" of the brake handle ... an inexpensive fix. THANK YOU for your advice!

I love how the bike handles when I'm moving, but I'm uncomfortable when coming to a stop on uneven surfaces & walking the bike, like described above. I'm considering lowering the bike a little. I'm 5'10", 33-1/2" inseam, 150 lbs, I won't be taking passengers/heavy loads or taking it off road. I've read pros & cons about adding link(s) in the back & adjusting the front fork, like I'll have to shorten the kickstand. My dealer thinks it will be very hard to use the center stand if I lower the bike. Instead of the links, if I soften the suspension, will that give me a break in height?

I plan to spend a lot of time on quiet back streets & parking lots before doing any longer rides. I want to be comfortable handling the bike at slower speeds and walking the bike around pkg lots. Any thoughts & advice would be greatly appreciated. (I know the safest bet would have been for me to buy a 250, but after riding one for 100 miles, it's not comfortable at all for a 5'10" person.) Thanks!
 

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Welcome to the WEE-eeeeee!! I wouldnt have thought it makes a good first bike, but as long as u keep your right wrist under control, you should do ok. Like you already said, try a lot of parking lot maneuvers to ensure you get a good feel for the bike, before venturing out on freeways and such.

I did lower my bike before going back to stock even though i have a hard time flat footing. You can buy lowering links on fleabay for $20-$30. I suggest you try them first, that way if you wanna go back to stock, its only a $20 loss (you can probably resell them). Raising the front forks is almost a must. Whether you lower the back or not, raise the front by 15mm, and you would have a much better bike :)

Have fun and keep the rubber side down!!
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I'm 5'10", 33-1/2" inseam, 150 lbs,
If that isn't a misprint, you should have plenty of leg. I'm the same height with a 32" inseam. I lowered the bike 3/4" only because of my bike lift. After the front wheel is on the lift, getting proper footing was a bit iffy for the transition. Also, with the front wheel on the ride on chock, the rear wheel wouldn't clear with the bike on the center stand. I don't see how a guy with a 33-1/2" inseam is going to benefit from lowering the bike but anything that works for you is fair game.
 

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The lowering links do make the center stand harder to use, but you might want to endure that inconvenience until you are more comfortable with the bike and managing its weight. One way to do that is to roll the bike up on a piece of plywood such that the bike is lifted by the amount that your links lowered it so that rolling it back on the centerstand is not as much lifting.

The links can be temporary. As you get more accustomed to it, keeping it upright and knowing how far over it can go before you can't hold it will become second nature and then you can do it without having to have both feet flat on the ground.
 

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My husband has a BMW F800ST & has been riding for 35 years, so I have someone experienced to ride with.
Yo GW

I don't think it's a guy with a 33.5" inseam.

LA Strom

Welcome to the Collective. My 32 inseam has also found this top heavy bike to be a challenge at times. Your plan to practice in parking lots and uncrowded streets is a good one and it may give you the confidence you need to keep it at the original height. You can also lower the bike some by raising the fork tubes and adjusting the preload.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Missed that part. This place is lousy with women having longer legs than me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
lol -- yep, I'm a tall lady :) Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice. All suggestions are very much appreciated!
 

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Welcome to the Collective. My 32 inseam has also found this top heavy bike to be a challenge at times. Your plan to practice in parking lots and uncrowded streets is a good one and it may give you the confidence you need to keep it at the original height. You can also lower the bike some by raising the fork tubes and adjusting the preload.
I would have to agree with Mr. Harlot here. Try the method of raising the fork tubes and adjusting the preload. This should get you far enough that you may not even need the lower links.

I must be doing something right, as I have a 30" inseam and don't have all that many issues with the Wee's height. Sure, I can't flat foot the bike (3/4 of both feet on level ground), but I feel confident enough. Only issues being sharp inclines with where I can't get a foot down solidly.

Though...I do have two things going for me. I'm 215 lbs, which does lower the bike a bit :rolleyes:. And I can leg-press close to 450 lbs (3 x 10 reps), or max 600+ lbs, so if the bike goes over on it's side I can hold it up.

Anyway, what Mr. Harlot said.
 

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I wish I had a 33-1/2” inseam. I wish I was at least 5’10”. As it stands, I’m 5’7”with a 30” inseam…fat and rather ugly with thighs that rub when I walk…and I'm bit scary looking. Kinda like SittingDuck but a bit more refined. But at least I can flat foot the Wee.
 

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LA Strom, there's your fix:

Gain another 65 - 80 lbs. You'll be able to lower your Wee without any modifications to the bike.
 

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I wish I had a 33-1/2” inseam. I wish I was at least 5’10”. As it stands, I’m 5’7”with a 30” inseam…fat and rather ugly with thighs that rub when I walk…and I'm bit scary looking. Kinda like SittingDuck but a bit more refined. But at least I can flat foot the Wee.
Better than me, I'm 5'11" with a 29" inseam and pushing 265lbs makes damn near most things designed for an "average person" just a little too 'off' for me. I lowered the bike 3/4" and removed the rubber pads on the seat which helped me a lot. Still can't flatfoot the bike though.
 

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I'm 5'11" with a 31" inseam and I have had similar experiences when I first got the Wee. As a matter of fact, I laid it down twice within a couple of weeks at stops 'cause I simply wasn't used to the height (after coming off a cruiser).

I bought lowering links then returned them unused as I felt a lot more comfortable after the first couple of weeks.

Some advice.

1. Look and plan where you stop to avoid putting your foot down then finding the ground is another six inches away. (like stopping half in and half out of a driveway)

2. In tricky locations I'll put the bike in neutral and move it while alongside rather than mounting first (like inclines)

3. Practice slow speed maneuvering and stops somewhere safe for a while until you are more confident with the bike.

The Wee is a great bike, enjoy.
 

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...and removed the rubber pads on the seat which helped me a lot.
This is another good suggestion that I had forgotten about. I cut my rubber pads in half, and it gave me a good amount of lowering in the seat.

Also, give it some time as you practice. Your bike's suspension will settle in and the bike will sit a bit lower than when you first got it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions -- different ways to lower the bike, pros and cons, and the technique suggestions are very helpful! But leg pressing 600 lbs may take me awhile to accomplish ... however I'm a cyclist and enjoy climbing up mountains with pedal power, so I have a pretty good start ;)

I'll let you know what I decide to do and how it works out. I'm really looking forward to getting comfortable on the bike. I loved how it handled and cornered ... as long as I'm moving it's great! Now I have to conquer slow speed and parking lot maneuvers. Thanks for all of your thoughts! :D
 

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Excellent.

Three things for low speed / parking lot maneuvers:
- Clutch control, clutch control, clutch control! Keep a steady throttle and use the clutch to control your power.
- Stay off that front brake!!! Use it only when slowing / coming to a stop in a straight line. Use the rear brake instead to help stabilize the bike when doing slow turns. It'll help to keep the bike upright.
- Look where you want to go, not what you might hit...because if you're looking at that car at the apex, and not the exit, you'll hit it. Get your head around and keep your eyes up, staring straight out at eye level...not at the ground. Move around in the seat if it's particularly tight.

You probably know all of this from the MSF course, but trust me, it's hard to get into the habit. I forget to do a few of these from time to time, and I've taken the course twice already.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Three things for low speed / parking lot maneuvers:
- Clutch control, clutch control, clutch control! Keep a steady throttle and use the clutch to control your power.
- Stay off that front brake!!! Use it only when slowing / coming to a stop in a straight line. Use the rear brake instead to help stabilize the bike when doing slow turns. It'll help to keep the bike upright.
- Look where you want to go, not what you might hit...because if you're looking at that car at the apex, and not the exit, you'll hit it. Get your head around and keep your eyes up, staring straight out at eye level...not at the ground. Move around in the seat if it's particularly tight.

You probably know all of this from the MSF course, but trust me, it's hard to get into the habit. I forget to do a few of these from time to time, and I've taken the course twice already.

Hope that helps.

Thank you!!! Yes, I remember using the friction zone in the MSF class, I need to think about that more -- great reminder.

I've been using both front & back brakes. I'll try your suggestion about rear brake only for slow turns. BTW, I forgot to mention I bought the ABS model, a 2008. I've heard too many stories from experienced riders (30 yrs experience) tell me that ABS brakes saved them big time and figured it would be a good thing for me to have.

And thanks for the "look where you want to go" reminder, especially not looking down.

You took the MSF course twice? Hmmm, maybe I should pop in for a repeat of the 2nd day riding. They told us that we can join on a standby basis at no charge.

I really appreciate your suggestions on technique.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
la strom:
don't forget, the bike will settle a bit over the first month or so of riding.

I could barely get my tippy-toes down on both sides when I rode it out of the dealer, and now, i can get both my heels down, even if I'm barefoot.

but yeah, backing it up on uneven surfaces is a bit of work. maybe getting off and walking next to it is easier than backpedaling (not so much for me, but it might work for you).
Thanks, that's something I'll look forward to. I didn't realize that it will settle that much. Wrt backing it up on inclines/declines, I'll experiment with walking next to it. It would be great if that could work for me until I get a better footing.
 

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yeah, back into and out of parking spaces is my biggest difficulty. I am 5'7", 160lbs and a 30" inseam. I put the balls of my feet down. Most of the time though, my right foot stays on the brake and I lean on my left foot. But backing up the bike can be difficult...especially on wet surfaces...such as this morning when my foot slipped. Luckily nothing happened.

Good luck with it. Practice is all I can say really.
 

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If that isn't a misprint, you should have plenty of leg...
Right. Surely you can flat-foot the thing easily. I don't think you should lower it. Just give it some time, and do some of the parking lot exercises like those in the MSF course.
 
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