New Rider Advice, Should I Wear Taller Motorcycle Boots?


A new rider from Kuala Lumpur wrote me awhile back about whether or not she should wear tall, 3" boots. She rides a brand that we don't really get here, a Benelli Keeway RKV 200. It weighs less than 300lbs and has a ~30" seat height. A little taller than other beginner bikes, but certainly not impossible. She's 5'2" and my guess is she has a ~26-27" inseam. She says:

"I'm okay with riding really slowly, until gear 2, but my shortness is really killing it for me. Especially when i have to backup. Plus, i'm awful at even maneuvering the bike even when i'm off it.. lol! I guess i'm not that good at faking it when it comes to how heavy the bike is. Well, just wanted a word of advise from you and do you think wearing 3 inch high boots will help?"

First off, I have to ask if you've had any basic rider training? If not, I hope that you have some local resources to take a basic class. Being a shorter person, I have learned that your skills and riding techniques compensate very well for lack of height. Otherwise, I'd never would've been able to ride any of these bikes.

As far as taller boots, they definitely help. I'm not a fan of wearing non protective boots for riding, so ideally I'd suggest buying any of the models in this previous blog post. They will all offer extra traction and the protection you need. But if you don't have access to these or can't afford to order them and have them shipped, then work with what you can get but AVOID high heels/fashion heeled boots. If a chunky heeled boot works, then great. Given where you live, I imagine women's gear choices are really limited.

The other thing I'd highly recommend is learning how to push your bike around while standing next to it. I also wrote a blog post about this here. Sometimes our bikes weigh A LOT. There is nothing wrong with getting off the bike to park. Sometimes it's easier and faster. I always park my bike like this if it's there's any kind of incline/slope. Why fight gravity? I've learned to back up with one foot and it works quite well for me :)

Modifying my motorcycle to fit me?

A listener from the Pace Podcast emailed me recently, asking me how I've modified my SV650 to fit me.  My answer is probably not what you'd expect from a shorty like me... "I've been listening to you on the Pace podcast and want to thank you for doing what you're doing! I love the fact that you break down in detail you review of products instead of the typical simplistic responses of "Great" or "Lame". Anyhow my question is not about gear, but about your SV. I love the look and V-twin sound of the SV. I'm not so crazy about the seat height, I'm only around 5'4" w/appox 28" inseam. I used to ride a 93VFR - which I could flat foot a single foot and was *OK* doing so. Do you have any mods on your SV to lower the seat height? If so, what do you find works best? Do you have bar risers? I'd like to use a bike like this to commute. The 2012 Ninja 650 is on my short list as well but it lacks the "coolness"/vibe of a V-twin - but the ergos are much closer to what works for me."


I also have a 28" inseam.

I've never modified my bike, ever (or any of my previous bikes). My best friend has been my Daytona boots as well as my riding experiences since I started on a scooter back in 2003.  For me, spending time on a ninja 250 for a couple years after that, and then a ginormous z750s made me appreciate the nimble and lightweight abilities of the SV650s. I never even thought about modifying it.

Are you wearing protective footwear? If so, the traction on them will give you extra leverage and help compensate for the lack of height.   If you aren't, something like these will give you an extra inch, easy:

I also wear Sidi Fusions, and they offer absolutely no additional height. Actually, they took away a good inch from me. I really had to modify my riding technique (focus on smoother breaking) to adapt to them and be comfortable with just relying on my left foot.

Even in my daytonas, I still can't flat foot both feet in those, even with the additional 2 inches. I'm flat on my left, and that's all I've ever needed on that bike (or any bike for that matter).  It has such a low center of gravity and is so light that I've gotten used to the weight distribution and just using one foot. Being a twin certainly makes things a lot skinnier between um, your legs. :P

I guess I'm a bad person to ask about this, because I've actually lost vertical height but haven't done anything to my bike to compensate for it.... I've just modified myself!

I can only recommend checking out to see what others may have done to modify/lower their bikes.