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Wow, this is a great topic. I, too, am vertically challenged, but in love with my Duc. But I have found it incredibly intimidating, and it takes everything I have to muster the courage to keep getting on it.

I have found that while I'm getting started, it is easier to practice with a half-tank of gas or less, as opposed to having it filled up- the bike is lighter, easier to handle, and the weight is a little lower. I have a hard time backing up though.

I put the lowering link on when I bought it, and am happy with the result- the balls of both feet can now touch the ground. I am considering shaving the seat too, to give me just that much more clearance- anyone have any advice on seat shaving? Is it worth it? Is it as uncomfortable as I've read, or does it really make a difference on a bike that is clearly not designed around comfort, but rather style?

Other than that, how did you get over the fear of the bike, and when did you begin to trust yourself?
My seat is shaved and its comfortable for me (do not have a link. just forks, seat and suspension tinkered with). Its my wrists that get sore from the weight of leaning forward. I am only 4ft 7in and the balls of my feet don't even touch the ground unless I hang my butt a tad to the side and lean the bike a little. Then only one side the balls of my feet touch the side. But the bike balances real well. When I'm totally upright I tippy toe and it stays up fine even in the wind. ( I just rock back and fourth on each foot depending on direction of the wind) You would be surprised how little you need to hold it up once you are comfortable with it and trust it. I stand to the right to back up the bike. I cant back it up while sitting on it. Its just one of those things I have gotten used to even though its my least favorite part dealing with my height on the bike. It takes longer to move around, but I have gotten faster at it.

Also if you get frame sliders, then if you drop it, they make it easier to lift the bike.

The more you ride it, the better it will get. The adrenaline rush you get when you are still learning will eventually go away and you will not feel as nervous and not even think about it when you get on it. I ride pretty much every day as much as I can. So the more practice, the better you will get and less butterflies you will have. ;D
 

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too short?

I can't express how much I've enjoyed reading all the posts in this thread - going all the way back to 2007. At 5', I learned to ride on a Honda Rebel 250, quickly moved up to a 450, then had a Yamaha VStar Custom 650, but I yearned to ride a sport bike. So I bought a Ninja 250 and had it lowered. Well, that ride home was so exciting and I haven't looked back. Two years ago I bought a Monster 695 and had it lowered. I love it and I have adjusted to the weight and height, if not completely the riding position. I, too, have to be off of the bike to back it up because my legs are too short to do otherwise. Unfortunately, the dealer moved farther away and isn't terribly pleasant about servicing or modifying my bike. I'd like to put risers on the bars to make the position more comfortable. When I had a major service last year, the bike came back with an oil leak. Not mechanically inclined and with no garage here in cold Massachusetts, I've not been able to have it resolved. Feeling frustrated, but still in love with my Monster.
 

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Perfect example of excellent short riders ... Jason DiSalvo. Claims to be 5'3" and having been on the track along with him I've witnessed him tip toeing his machine on the starting grid. Please keep in mind this is a race controlled setting without 4K+lb automobiles but, with experience it can be done.
 
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