Last year my colleague Seth Richards offered up five spot-on motorcycle suggestions for taller riders, but I have a few ideas of my own so am going to add five more to the pile. There are some ADV bikes in there, since the fact that this segment remains the most accommodating to the vertically blessed hasn’t changed. But I’ve got a standard and more traditional cruisers too in case the adventure look isn’t your thing. This is far from a complete list, so if you have any hidden gems that taller riders need to know about, please let us know in the comments.
The Kawasaki KLR650 is the bike that immediately came to mind when I started thinking about machines that fit this bill. It’s got a tall, 35-inch seat height, but more than that the mid-mount pegs aren’t too high, so long legs will have some room. Plus the handlebar is fairly wide and the flat seat makes it easy to move up and back on the bike, giving the cockpit an open feel while allowing a rider to adjust the rider triangle slightly depending on where he or she sits. The added bonus is that this bike has been around for so long that the catalog of aftermarket upgrades is huge…not necessarily a tall-rider-specific observation but enticing nonetheless, particularly for a bike that can be had brand new for under $7,000.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
If you’re wanting a little more punch from your adventure bike, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is like a hit from Mike Tyson in his prime. We included the 1290 Super Duke in our previous write-up, but this 1290 is just as suitable for taller riders. You get the upright position, seat height comparable to the KLR, adjustable footpegs, wide, adjustable handlebar, and a windscreen. Not to mention the suite of sophisticated electronics and high-quality build. While the 1290 Super Adventure S is the latest in KTM’s Travel segment, the R’s taller cockpit makes it slightly superior for taller riders in my estimation.
Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
The Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic is pure cruiser. But taller riders who enjoy the laid-back ergos of H-D will appreciate the 26-plus-inch seat height and forward-mount floorboards. Along with the tall, wide handlebar, there’s an open, relaxed rider triangle created on the Heritage Classic, much more than on some of the other models in Harley’s line. You can have a brand-new Heritage Classic with either the Milwaukee-Eight 107 or 114 V-twin too, so if you’re needing that extra oomph, you can have it.
This big rig is the cruiser you want to have on those occasional transcontinental tours. Like the Heritage Classic, you get a 26-plus-inch seat height and forward mount floorboards on the Indian Roadmaster. A nice wide handlebar and a sophisticated wind-buffeting setup keep the ride comfortable. These elements include the broad front fairing and windscreen but also lowers that have vents to dial airflow around the bike to your preference. This is a really nice touch for riders who have long legs that would otherwise catch wind going down the road.
This pick was suggested by a commenter in the last write-up, and I’ve got to agree. It might not seem like the XSR900 would be right for tall riders, but the triangle is really comfortable for people above 6 feet. Now, if you’re somewhere in the 6-foot-8 range, you’ll probably be a little cramped, but the 32-inch seat, mid-to-slightly-rear-mount pegs and fairly long reach to the bars over the lengthy tank creates a lot of space while still providing a standard, mostly upright ride position.