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Short Riders - by Daffe Duc on 5/6/2003

For those of you who are vertically challenged, it is possible to still find a ride that is enjoyable and doesn't make you feel like you're going to tip over at the stop-light every day. Familiarity with a motorcycle (i.e. months and eventually years on a bike) will give you the confidence to be able to sit at a light on almost any bike.

The Ducati Monster is a great bike for those of us who are vertically challenged. The seat heights of this line range from about 30.3 in. to 31.5 in. depending on the model. A 5' tall person can comfortably straddle this motorcycle with both feet just about being totally flat on the ground. There are several ways to add a little height if you feel you need extra help.

Stock Monster Seat Heights:
  1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
M600/dark 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3   29.1  
M620 i.e. /dark   30.3 30.3
M620S ie   31.3
M750   30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3  
M750S   31.3  
M800S i.e.   31.3
M800 dark   30.3
M900/S/Solo 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 30.3 31.5  
1000S i.e.   31.5
MS4   31.6 31.6 31.6
MS4R   31.6

NON-MOD ways of changing the seat height:

  • Try tilting the bike slightly while you're stopped. This will allow you to flat-foot either the L or R foot. Be careful not to tilt it too far over or it will drop. Since the monster is much lighter than most bikes, it is not as difficult to pick up off the ground.
  • Wear riding boots that have more of a heel to them. Sport-designed boots tend to not have a high heel. Hooligan boots or non-sport oriented boots may have a higher heel. Women will find that there are more choices for them due to the designs available to them. There are many unisex boots out there now that have heels. For more information about riding boots, please read the FAQ on them in its dedicated section.

MOD ways of changing the seat height:

  • Adjust the suspension: you can gain up to 1/4" by adjusting the suspension. If you ride solo, this may not be too much of a problem, as it requires compressing the spring on the rear. Be sure to not adjust it too low or you will bottom out the rear shock. If you're not good with hand tools, take your bike to a motorcycle shop and ask them to help you. Nichols MFG in Milpitas, CA (for those of you CA riders) will be able to help you!
  • CHANGE the rear shock: you can go with a shorter shock that has a stiffer spring for your monster. This is a much better alternative than adjusting the stock shock for your height. Aftermarket shocks in general, compared to stock ones, will make the stock ones feel very crappy. Shocks can be bought between $400 - $1000. Look for a used one and modify it for cost-effectiveness.
  • Modify the seat: you can either BUY a new aftermarket seat, that can be tailor-made for you OR alter your stock seat to your body. This can give you a lower seat of up to 1" Bank on spending around $350 - $500 for a custom seat.

NOTE: as of today 5/9/2003, Corbin is holding a Summer Sale on saddles (1993 - 2003 Monsters). @260

Aftermarket seat specialists:

- Saddlemen/Travelcade 800-397-7709.
They will custom-make your saddle for you.

- Bill Mayer Saddles 800-242-7625.
They will custom-make your saddle! I've heard only good things about this company.

- Corbin 800-538-7035
I've heard that this company is going out of business. Their website is still active so not sure of the rumors. Originally good products but their quality and customer service has fallen by the wayside lately. Nice styling.

- Sargent 800.749.7328
Only have heard good things about them! The styling looks much better (from rider polls) than the Corbin. Also, there is a tool-cylinder built into the bottom of the seat for your tools. Also, retractable bungee-type hooks are a built-in mod for this seat.

Seat Lowering Link: for 02-03 620, 750 and 800

Although there may be somewhat of a height disadvantage for some people, being shorter than the average rider can turn into a great advantage. Shorter proportioned riders generally weigh less than their taller riding friends. This means that the rider will be quicker in acceleration as well as being able to maneuver, compared to a rider who is taller, has the same exact riding abilities, and is riding the same exact motorcycle. Riding experience and good riding skills will always offset any disadvantages of a shorter rider. That said, keep practicing, take advanced motorcycle safety classes or track classes, and have fun!

- Daffe Duc (webmaster SFBMHA site)

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