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Get Your Motor Running: The 10 Best Bikes for Women

Motorcycles  /   /  By eBay Motors

By contributing editor, Amy Garrett

There’s nothing quite like taking a motorcycle road trip when the weather finally transitions to warm summer temps, and these days more and more women are enjoying this lifestyle. While some estimates put the percentage of female riders at about 5 percent of the total, other reports indicate it’s closer to 10 percent.

One doesn’t have to be out on the roads long to see that the number of female motorcycle riders is on the rise, and we’re not just talking about the gals who sit on bikes as passengers behind their men. These are women who are twisting their own throttles, enjoying all the thrills, and fresh air this lifestyle has to offer. They don’t mind if people stare — in fact, most of them enjoy it!

Women are not only riding more. They are taking more safety classes than men, notes the Tampa Bay Times. This is a great thing during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Women are also working on their own machines more often and perusing catalogs to customize their rides with motorcycle parts from the Motorcycle Superstore on eBay or  Bikebandit.

Despite this growing trend, the current range of motorcycles on the market doesn’t tend to cater to the average female rider very well. When it comes to ideal seat height, width and other ergonomic concerns, women have far fewer choices than men. Most men don’t have to worry about how tall a bike is, but a majority of women riders say it’s one of the first things they ask about when shopping for motorcycles. Here are ten of the top motorcycles — with ideal height, width, weight and engine capacity — currently available for women:

Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883L

harley davidson xl 883l sportster
This bike was definitely designed with females in mind and is Harley’s best selling bike with women. It has a very low seat and smaller front wheel. Though not light, the handlebars are close and it sits low in the chassis. The engine sounds large, but is only 50bhp. A classic looking bike at a good entry level price.

Honda VFR400R NC30

triumph bonneville se
This is a great baby sportbike, but pricing is somewhat high for what is essentially a 20-year-old bike. The light weight and nimble handling are very appealing to women, and this model has a shorter seat height that women appreciate.

Triumph Bonneville SE
triumph bonneville se

The Bonneville blends classic looks with modern reliability and technology. It’s somewhat heavy, but has a 800cc parallel-twin engine to offset the weight. The SE features 17-inch wheels instead of the 19-inch standard. Women find that this is a comfortable bike and love its looks.

Victory Hammer S

victory hammer s

This is a smaller capacity motorcycle with an ultra-low seat and an amazing engine. Its manageable size and fun engine make it a favorite with women.

Suzuki Burgman 400

suzuki an400 burgman
Although this is technically a scooter, it’s a great option for some women. It has a very low seat and room for storage underneath. It’s also automatic, so no need for shifting.

Suzuki Inazuma 250

This is a no-frills bike that gets more than 60 mpg. It’s a lightweight bike with a seat that’s tall and wide. But as long as you’re over 5’6” you should be fine. Top speed is 80mph, so it’s best for commuting or short trips.

Suzuki Marauder GZ125
suzuki marauder gz 125

This bike has a low seat, manageable weight and great fuel economy. It’s also fairly economically priced, and you can really save if you get one used.

Kawasaki Ninja 250R
kawasaki ninja 250Ra

The Ninja has evolved. It stil looks very much the sportbike, but underneath is a tame engine that’s more suited for winding country roads rather than racing. This bike is reasonably priced.

BMW F650GS Low


The “Low” version of this bike has a lowered chassis and thus a lower seat — great for the female rider. This is a fun, manageable and capable adventure bike.

About Amy Garrett
Amy is a car show fanatic who shares her tips on how to preserve the authenticity and glow of antique automobiles.

About the Author

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  1. Lisa Glover July 27, 2013 at 9:57 am Reply

    Insulting list. This is a list for shorter, weaker people of both sexes. I have had a R1200GS Adventure, K1200R, ZX-9R, , Super Tenere… and am comfortable on them all. I am a woman.

    • derek July 27, 2013 at 10:38 am Reply

      Hi Lisa,

      To give us some perspective, how tall are you and how much do you weigh?

      Granted one size does not fit everyone. As a person who is 5’5″ and weighs only 120 lbs., I doubt any of your motorcycles would fit me.

  2. Patrick July 27, 2013 at 10:43 am Reply

    Really ????? My wife is 5′ 2″ 120 lbs. 07 1600 mean streak. She can and will outride most. Do your research before you print or look foolish and uninformed.

  3. Al July 27, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

    Its a general list for people that fall into a shorter and weaker stature, which is what women typically do. (sorry, but get over yourself) I find it sad when people jump to be offended without seeing the obvious. Anyways…..I also find the Yamaha Star 950 to be a great bike for women…makes me wish i was smaller. Aside from the fact that it looks great, the geometry and handling are excellent for a tourer. I am not a woman, but this post was approved by my lovely wife.

    • Cheri July 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm Reply

      Al, I couldn’t agree more.
      I ride a Yamaha v star 650 and love it. I am 5’4 and find the seat height to be perfect.

  4. Maggie July 27, 2013 at 11:20 am Reply

    I would say this list is made for beginner riders. I am 5’5″ and have been riding since I was a teenager (late seventies), and licensed for 27 years. I drive a 1450 HD Heritage Classic. I started out on smaller bikes (500cc+-) and I think that it is a good way to start. It gives you some time to get the hang of things with a bike that is easier to manage. I would suggest going cheap for the starter bike though as you will soon want bigger!

  5. Jim July 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm Reply

    I want to know why is there two pics of Triumphs and no pic of the Honda VFR400R NC30?

    10 Best Beginner bikes is a more likely title for this article. Besides the Victory and maybe the Triumph, I believe even most female riders would outgrow most of these bikes pretty quickly.

  6. Akinola July 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm Reply

    One size does not fit all and I believe the list is meant to be a simple pointer for the rider and should not to be seen as d most affirmed top bikes for the female rider. After all, it still all boils down to personal choice. Good list.

  7. Nilda July 28, 2013 at 6:44 am Reply

    Im surprise they dont mention here the Honda Shadow Phantom Edition. As a female I find this bike to be perfect and you can lower the seat which is what I did, and I love my bike. Like others, I started with a 250 cc engine that I quickly outgrew.. Now I am on a 750 engine, I think the size of a motorcycle is not only determined by you being a male or female but also about personal preference and what you are physically able to handle..

  8. Derek Mau July 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm Reply

    Keep adding to the list of suggestions. This is NOT a definitive list and we welcome your ideas. Let us know why you think a particular model is suited for women and include parameters such as beginner, intermediate, or advanced rider, tall or short stature, etc.

  9. Tony Edwards July 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm Reply

    I can’t believe you printed this ! I know quite a few women riders who can handle bikes much bigger than the bikes you listed. When they see your list I have a feeling you will be ” on a list “.

  10. Kevin S. July 29, 2013 at 7:07 am Reply

    I cant believe you left out the all time number one beginner bike…
    the Honda Nighthawk 250.

  11. CJ D. July 30, 2013 at 4:05 am Reply

    Let’s start out with demogrpahics: 4’11 (okay 4’10-3/4″). Started out with a Honda 250 Rebel, then the 450 Rebel, 700 Shadow (1986)-gorgeous cruising bike, and now have a 2000 Suzuki 800 Intruder (now the Boulevard). Loved every bike I’ve ever owned. The Intruder has great balance, not as top heavy as the 700 Shadow, more comfortable and manageable for me. So, if height is a major consideration, as it is for me, look toward the Honda Shadows or Suzuki Intruder (Boulevard). The bikes you have listed … I couldn’t touch the ground on my tippy toes with any of them.

  12. Solo Craft December 16, 2016 at 2:39 am Reply

    Superb Bikes…………….Every one will enjoy driving those in bike trips.

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