Top 10 Motorcycles For Tall Riders – Adventure Bikes

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1. Kawasaki KLR650

Kawasaki KLR650

The Kawasaki KLR650 may well be the most underrated adventure bike on the planet. Don’t believe me? Look at the photo above, from our journeyman Fonzie’s eight-part trip to South America and back. The 33-hp KLR performed like a champ, easily gobbling up the miles of torn up pavement, hidden fire roads and secret trails he encountered along the way. There’s gobs of aftermarket support for the KLR, too, so you can easily turn it into whatever bike you want, for whatever trip you have in mind.

At $6499, KLRs hardly break the bank. Factor in its 35-inch seat height, and budding NBA-players-turned-motorcyclists will find the cost-to-leg-room ratio highly in their favor. Adding to that equation, Cycle-Ergo rates the knee bend at 92 degrees, the most relaxed on this list. If that still isn’t enough, the aforementioned vastness of the aftermarket is sure to have solutions to make even the tallest riders feel at home on a KLR. If an affordable, back-to-basics, go-anywhere, tall-person-friendly motorcycle is high on your priority list, look no further than the Kawasaki KLR650.

Have another suggestion? Say so in the comments section below.

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  • Cam

    Not the BMW F800GS with its 34-inch seat height? That’s taller than most in this listing.

    • james lagnese

      Yeah, I thought of that too. What about the triumph Explorer XC? It’s ergos are better than the Ténéré.

  • Geoff Wood

    So, basically all of them then.

  • james lagnese

    Seat height isn’t everything. It’s the distance between the pegs and the seat as well as the height of the bars and the distance to the bars. They call this the rider triangle. The other thing is, what parameters did the author put in for those numbers? While we can go to Cycle Ergo and put our own numbers in, it’s good to know from what the judgement is being made. Tall people aren’t all built the same and not just longer legged versions of shorter people. Inseam could be longer, torso could be too, arms too and then there is the thickness and width of the body and body parts which can throw things off as it affects position on the bike. So what I am saying is that cycle ergo is a start. Test riding is the next step and not a 4 mile loop the salesman dictates. The one thing I like about some BMW dealers is that they will let you ride the bike a bit. if the bike is that good, it will sell itself on an extended ride. Lastly, the KLR is a great utilitarian bike, but wouldn’t be my first choice due to lack of power and stopping.

  • jose

    Interesting. The Tiger Explorer is not in this list. I ride one. I’m a rather short guy. With the standard seat in the low position my reach to the ground is barely adequate. When I put my seat pad for long trips reach is just marginal. However, seat to peg distance is so good that I’m reluctant to get the low seat. For really tall folks there is even an OEM high seat. I also had to install a set of bar risers to get into a true upright position. A friend of mine that is 6’3″ said that the TEX is really a tall people bike. He does not know how I can handle it. I guess I’m used to tall bikes.

  • A.C

    Why Kawasaki just don’t do of the KLR a better machine ? Come on Kawi take a versys 650 motor (shouldn’t expensive the motor is developped and tested) and drop in the frame of the KLR. Bang you got something near the BMW or better. Why they don’t do that ?? Just try Kawi it will work you’ll see.

  • Brian

    Wr250r has a 36.6″ seat height, and quite generous seat to peg ratio, AND it out performs the klr 650 at everything except fuel range… But an IMS large capacity fuel tank takes care of that…..

  • Vrooom

    I think you could leave this list at simply any dual sport. I have a 36″ inseam, and the KLR and V-Strom fit me great, as have GS’, KTMs, Tigers and other DS bikes.

  • thomas nanninga

    Interesting that a 33 inch seat height is the only consideration. Actually, it should be only a portion of the evaluation equation. With a 38″ inseam I am not able to fold up my legs in the four places necessary to actually get my feet on the pegs, avoid cylinder heads, and body parts, while attempting to operate foot controls with size 15 boots. Consider this the fore mentioned “Rider Triangle”. Another issue is the total weight and body mass. At 6’7″ I am not skinny lil been pole, nor is my 6’1″ wife. With leathers & luggage total combined weight can break the 500# barrier. Riding 1800 to 2000 miles on a week long trip, the bike better have some ergo features also.
    I’d highly recommend a cross section comparo that includes Kawasaki Concours, Harley FLTRU Road Glide, a Metric Cruiser, a Sport Touring entry. Not all riders are drawn to Dual Sport bike riding.