Modifications for short/petite rider - Honda Rebel 300 & 500 Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Modifications for short/petite rider

I'm a 5ft, 105lb female.. definitely not the "average rider" for whom motorcycles are built off the assembly line. I've had my 500 ABS for a couple of months now.. it's my first bike. And though I'm fairly new to all this, it seems I'm mechanically inclined so I love exploring and doing my own work.

After several weeks of commuting daily to work and a long 225 mile ride over Labor Day weekend, I think I need to make some modifications to make my bike fit ME. Currently, both my feet rest flat on the ground when the bike isn't moving, and when I ride, I have to lean forward at an angle and also sit up on the seat - at the end of a daily 10 mile commute (that takes 50 minutes) each way, my back and shoulders hurt! I called a motorcycle shop near me that's highly rated... they said they would shorten my rear shock, but I don't need my bike lowered so I don't want to mess with that.

Here are the issues that I attribute to my height (or lack thereof):

1) Clutch and brake levers
Problem: My hand isn't big enough to use the clutch lever comfortably; I have to almost take my hand off the grip so that I can reach up for it.
What I've tried: I replaced the clutch and brake levers with adjustable shorter ones.. seems to be working, but is there maybe something else I should do?

2) Handlebar
Problem: When I turn the handlebar as far as it'll go, left and right, my hand has to come off the grip.. I mean, I can keep two fingers on the edge closest to me, but this makes tight turns extremely difficult. I need it closer to me. Do I need to replace it?
What I've tried: I tried to rotate the handlebar a little to see if it brought it closer, but I had to put it all back.. . is it me or is the stock handlebar not intended to be rotated?

3) Seat
Problem: It needs to be replaced.. it is too wide and uncomfortable; it's part of the reason I scoot up.

I think my footpegs and everything else is OK but there may be other things I don't know about. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 11:52 AM
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Besides adjustable levers there isn't really much other options, not as far as I'm aware of at least.


In regards of the handlebar problem there is a few things that could help.

https://www.hrpmotors.com/shop-rebel

Take a look at page 4, at the bar clamps there (sadly I can't link directly to the item, but you'll see it)
Some call them raisers. They will raise the handlebar a little bit, but also make the handlebar come further backwards, thus making it closer to you.
Be aware thou, there are ofc other universal ones out there that are cheaper, and would fit on the Rebel, BUT, these and the originals that is one the bike now holds the bracket mounting for your display. A universal pair does not have this. So be aware of that.
As far as I'm aware of the original wires/cables should be long enough when using such risers.
If you need the handlebar even further back, or plan on changing the handlebar to one that is "pointing" more backwards, you will have to get longer wires/cables.
Also be sure that it stears clear of the tank with a full turn.

As for the seat: There has popped up quite a few different options for this now, not difficult to find at all. But be aware of what you're getting and not, since not everything out there is worth it's price, even if it looks nice.
The quality might not always be the best or the safest on some seats.

Hope you're able to make your riding experience more plessant!
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Lyoko - Black Rebel 500
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 08:10 PM
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I actually sat on a chopped Rebel customized by HRP Motors, with aforementioned handlebars, a chopped fender and replacement single seat. I'd be very careful about getting seats from them. The single was OK, the doubles were crappy, as @KennyG can attest.

Seat-wise, I think going to a specialist upholster that can modify it to your exact needs (replace foam with gel, perhaps flatten it and raise it slightly so you sit closer to handlebars), would be the way to make sure the seat fits your exact requirements. It might take a couple of trials and errors, but with a specialist you should get a good result.

The custom handlebars on the HRP Rebel I saw were pretty cool and comfortable, but they removed the display completely and placed it on the front-left shock absorber, which I disliked. Also the handlebars didn't feel "closer", just a little narrower - not sure if that'll do the trick?

Maybe you can find a bike shop that specializes in customizing bikes, and they can help with adjustments to the stock handlebars?

Looking forward to seeing your customizations
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 09:12 PM
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When I had my seat customized they had me come back in when they had the foam glued together to try the height, which I approved.

Next they had me come in and sit on the bike after the foam was shaped.

Third trip I picked up the bike.

Now that the seat fits the handle bar position fits too.

Surprisingly this cost me less than recovering the seat by Steady Garage.

Kenny G
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-09-2017, 03:53 AM
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My wife is slightly shorter than you at 4' 11". I've made adjustments to both hand levers to bring them closer. (Spacer in clutch side cable and screw stop on brake lever). I've also welded on a new gear change peg about 35mm closer to the footrest. Handle risers are on their way from Thailand at present. It's worth spending a bit of time getting the gear shift position right for you. It's so easy to adjust with just a 10mm wrench.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all this info! I should probably hold off on the handlebar replacement since it's possible that the risers and more customized seat might do the trick. I wear an airbag vest and noticed that the combination of jacket, vest, and my forward lean prevent me from being able to turn my head around as far as I need to be able to take that quick glance before I pass. So that's a major suck. I'll search for a bike shop that does customizations ASAP. Until then, I'll install my fusebox, engine guard, and gear indicator.. baby steps to a more comfortable and safe bike for a small newbie.
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnít do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Author Unknown (though often attributed to Mark Twain)
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 06:38 AM
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I fitted the HR2 risers today. They arrived from Thailand this morning. Small change but big difference. I can clearly see my wife's posture is much better already, not stretching quite so far for the bars. Also very important to adjust the levers height to make them inline with the forearms. This simple step is often overlooked and causes strains and pains over distance.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Corbin is going to customize their 2017 Rebel seat so that it pushes me forward.. no extra charge. I just need to send them measurements, which I will get this weekend! Crossing my fingers..

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnít do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Author Unknown (though often attributed to Mark Twain)
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2018, 10:09 AM
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I am having the same issue too, I am also height challenged at 5'-1". I bought a set of Rox 4" pivoting risers which allow the display to stay where it is. However I found out that no cable extensions are available and the dealership and also a good local bike shop quoted around $ 800 for the install. Too much for my blood! I think if I get 2" risers I might be able to reroute all the cables but might need to splice some of the wiring. The Rox risers are well made and have a great black satin finish.
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