Top 10 lowest motorcycle seat heights

We're not saying cruisers are for the vertically challenged, but...

IT’S all very well to list bikes with the highest top speeds or the biggest engines but when it comes to practical information the seat height is one the most significant figures on any spec sheet.

So here we have the lowest of the low, the bikes that even the most diminutive riders will be able to straddle with their feet flat on the floor.

But beware – a low seat alone doesn’t make for the ideal short rider’s bike. Less obvious dimensions are also key, including the distance to the pegs (since these are virtually all cruisers, many have forward-set pegs that might be a longer stretch than to the ground) and to the bars; it’s no good having a bike for short legs if you need a gorilla’s arms to go with them.

So, in terms of altitude alone, here are the 10 (well, rather more than that, actually) lowest-seat bikes we can currently find on sale in the UK. Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.

10=: Indian Chief/Chieftain 660mm

Honestly, we initially reckoned that anything under 700mm would probably make this list. Not a bit of it; as it turns out, the market is full of machines with ultra-low seats, albeit virtually all of them cruisers. Indian’s 1811cc Chief is the biggest-capacity bike on the list, and several variants mean you can have it as a cruiser or a bagger, while the full-on touring Roadmaster version is a little higher at 673mm.

10=: Victory Hammer 8-Ball 660mm

Those chaps at Polaris are keen on their low-seat bikes, with Victory’s Hammer 8-Ball coming in at the same height as the Indian Chief made by its sister company. And we’re not even at their lowest bikes yet… The stock Hammer/Hammer S has higher suspension, and the 8-Ball version loses out on the ground clearance front, so expect scraping pegs if you start to get enthusiastic.

10=: Harley-Davidson Breakout 660mm

Weirdly, given that Harley has several models with the word ‘low’ in their names, none of them make this list. The Softail-derived Breakout does, though, at 660mm. While the low seat might be appreciated by some shorter-legged riders, you’ll be needing long arms to reach those wide, flat bars.

9: Victory Judge/Boardwalk 658mm

We said that there were more Victories coming on this list, and here’s the next. At 658mm the Judge and Boardwalk models are only a fraction lower than the Hammer 8-Ball, but it’s a numbers game and every mm counts. While the Judge and Boardwalk are quite different in appearance and aimed at distinct sets of buyers, the matching seat heights are an indication of how similar they are under the skin.

8: Harley-Davidson CVO Softail Deluxe 655mm

Weirdly, the ‘normal’ Solftail Deluxe is too tall for this list at a towering 670mm but the pricy CVO version, at £23,195, is 15mm lower at 655mm. Sure, a different seat would probably make the same change to a stock Softail, but we’re not opening this list to modified or optioned-up models.

7: Victory Magnum 654mm

The Victory Magnum shares many parts with its siblings but its long, low look translates into an even lower seat at 654mm. Now that we’re halfway through the list, and all the bikes so far have been in the region of 1700cc or more, there’s clearly no restriction on capacity when it comes to making low-slung bikes.

4=: Harley-Davidson Softail Slim 650mm

The name might refer to its slimness, but the Softail Slim has the lowest seat we can find on a stock Harley, at a mere 650mm, giving it fourth-equal billing in this list. As with several other bikes here, while reaching the ground will be no problem and the low-carried weight means it should be easy enough to paddle about, the wide bars might prove a challenge for small riders in real-world scenarios.

4=: Honda VT750 650mm

Sticking at 650mm, we get to the first sub-1000cc bike on the list, the 745cc Honda Shadow Black Spirit, or VT750C2B. As an A2-legal machine, the Shadow is also perhaps one of the most realistically-viable choices here for a new rider or a particularly short one. The 251kg kerb weight isn’t exactly light but it undercuts most of the machines here by some margin.

4=: Honda NM4 Vultus 650mm

The only bike in the list not to fit the traditional mould of a cruiser is Honda’s oddball Vultus, the NC750-derived parallel twin. Looking like a prop from a sci-fi movie (rather than a period drama, like all the others here) it’s also packed with technology, not least Honda’s automatic DCT twin clutch gearbox. There’s no big stretch to the bars or foot-boards and no controls for your feet to worry about anyway. Is the Vultus the ultimate short guys’ (or short girls’) bike? Maybe, if you’re the extrovert type who can cope with the stares that it’s sure to attract.

3: Indian Scout 643mm

The water-cooled Indian Scout is one of the most impressive cruiser-style bikes we’ve seen in a while, and its all-new engine is likely to form the basis of a new range of sportier Victory machines as well, suggesting it’s capable of much more than the 90-odd horsepower it makes in this form. The firm has also made a good fist of combining traditional looks with a water-cooled engine and the associated radiator. The low seat, at 643mm, is an additional attraction to a bike that’s already surely sending tremors through Harley-Davidson.

2: Victory Vegas 8-Ball 640mm

And we’re back to Victory again, with the Vegas 8-Ball and it’s ground-scraping 640mm seat height. Despite the high-end image of Victory and the bike’s 1731cc engine, the price – at £8,999 – is surprisingly low. Most casual onlookers might well see the Victory badge and think it was a near-£20k machine. 

1: Victory Highball/Gunner 635mm

It’s those Victory boys yet again, and now fewer than two of their models in the form of the High-Ball and Gunner. Both are again based on the same engine and chassis as the other Victory bikes in the list, with the 1731cc, 110lbft engine, but their seats are shaved down to an incredible 635mm. If you’re a six-footer, that’s just above knee height.  So however stumpy your pins are, reaching the ground shouldn’t be an issue. You might need a bit of muscle and long-ish arms, though, since their no lightweights and feature high, wide bars.

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