Bike shopping is many things to many people. If you do it all the time, just for fun, then I don’t need to explain that to you. However, if you’re either a new or returning rider, it can feel like you’re getting thrown in at the deep end of the pool. Every year, the list of new and returning models just gets bigger—so how do you choose?
For this list, we focused on what it says in the title. As a 5’4” rider with a 27-inch inseam, while there are certainly ways for us shorties to ride bigger bikes, that’s not what this list is about. Here, you’ll find an assembly of bikes that should be pretty easy to just throw a leg over and go—no complicated mounting and dismounting strategies necessary.
Seat height is a consideration, but it’s not the only thing—seat shape also has a lot to do with ease of use. A seat that’s narrower in the front can make getting in the saddle easier for the vertically-challenged among us. Additionally, a bike that’s lighter in weight will usually be easier for new and returning riders to handle with confidence. (No one actually enjoys wrestling a hefty bike off its side stand so they can start riding it, do they?)
While these aren’t the only bikes that fit the brief, they’re definitely ten good options you can buy in 2023. Please note that while these models are available in multiple regions, for our purposes, the specs and MSRPs quoted apply to the U.S. market. If you’re interested in any of these bikes in other regions, your best bet is to check with dealers in your region for the most up-to-date information.
2022 Honda CRF300L Rally
- Curb weight: 331 pounds
- Seat height: 35.2 inches
- Power: 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine
- MSRP: $6,099
Remember our discussion about seat height and seat shape? Although seeing 35.2 inches as the listed seat height on a bike might be intimidating at first, the narrowness of the saddle and the lightweight maneuverability of this bike put it solidly in the plus column
If you’re at all interested in doing more dual-sport and off-road exploration, you’d be hard pressed to find a bike that fits the bill better than this one. Also, since it’s made to take a bit of a beating, and since it’s so comparatively lightweight, you should have a much easier time picking it up than you might a lot of other options in the dual sport or adventure category.
2023 Suzuki SV650 ABS
- Curb weight: 437 pounds
- Seat height: 30.9 inches
- Power: 645cc, dual overhead cam V-twin engine
- MSRP: $7,849
Ever since its 1999 debut, the stalwart SV650 has been a lot of things to a lot of riders. First moto love, first track bike, reliable commuter, sturdy jack-of-all-trades—the SV650 is all these things and more. Does it thoroughly fit into the ‘it’s a classic for a reason’ category? Probably, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
While it’s certainly far from the lightest bike on this list, it’s the full recipe that makes the pie tasty—er, bike. It’s a perennial favorite for all kinds of riders, and if you haven’t checked one out and you’re in the market, you should at least consider sitting on one.
2023 Royal Enfield Scram 411
- Curb weight (without fuel, per Enfield): 407.85 pounds
- Seat height: 31.3 inches
- Power: 411cc air-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder engine, as also found in the Himalayan
- MSRP: $5,099
If you’re one of the people who wished that Royal Enfield would develop a more road-focused Himalayan, then you’re probably already at least passingly familiar with the Scram 411. While it’s still capable of some dual-sport activities, its real strengths lie in attacking the back roads and finding out what’s over there. Where? Pick a direction and point, then go. That’s the purpose of the Scram, and luckily, it’s a pretty friendly machine for all kinds of riders.
2023 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401/Vitpilen 401
- Weight (without fuel): 335 pounds/332 pounds
- Seat height: 32.87 inches for both
- Power: 373cc single-cylinder engine
- MSRP: $5,649
If you want an extra dose of style with your urban commute, then Husqvarna’s twin ‘Pilens might just be the right bikes for you. Nimble, compact, small, and lightweight, they seem like particularly welcoming choices for your everyday riding needs. No muss, no fuss, nothing overly complicated—just a fun, good-looking bike that’s ready to go when you are.
2023 Kawasaki Z650RS
- Curb weight: 412.3 pounds
- Seat height: 31.5 inches
- Power: 649cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine
- MSRP: $9,099
For a strong dose of neo-retro moto styling in an extremely accessible package, look no further than the Kawasaki Z650RS. Tuned to deliver the torque low down in the rev range where you need it, this is a machine that’s built for all the city fun you could want, as well as fun longer rides on your weekends and days off. A solid and good-looking all-rounder, for sure.
2023 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- Curb weight: 452 pounds
- Seat height: 34.4 inches
- Power: 689cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine
- MSRP: $10,499
The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is not the lightest weight machine on this list, nor does it have the lowest seat height (although in its defense, it is pretty narrow). However, within the adventure bike category, it’s one of the lightest-weight, most accessible machines you’re going to find. If that’s the type of riding that interests you, then you may want to consider checking it out to see if it fits your needs.
2023 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
- Curb weight: 408 pounds
- Seat height: Standard seat height is 31.3 inches; can be lowered to 30.7 inches with low seat accessory, or raised to 31.9 inches with high seat accessory
- Power: 803cc air- and oil-cooled Ducati Desmodue L-twin engine
- MSRP: $12,195
This is the sportiest version of the current crop of Ducati Scramblers, and it certainly looks the part. An up- and down- quickshifter comes standard, along with a racier, lower handlebar setup than the Icon, abbreviated front fender and completely eliminated rear fender. It’s also the only bike on this list that comes with a Termignoni silencer as standard equipment.
2023 Triumph Trident 660
- Curb weight: 416.7 pounds
- Seat height: 31.7 inches
- Power: 660cc liquid-cooled triple
- MSRP: $8,595
Triumph loves its triples, up and down the range—and the Trident 660 is an incredibly accessible entry into the Triumph triple-powered legacy. By now, chances are good that you probably already know whether you like Triumph’s modern design tendencies or not—and if you do, then the Trident 660 is a particularly strong example. Low-end torque, a thrilling sound, and eye-catching good looks—what's not to love?
2021 Aprilia RS 660
- Dry weight: 403 pounds
- Seat height: 32.2 inches
- Power: 659cc liquid-cooled parallel twin
- MSRP: $11,499
Containing what’s approximately half of the V4 engine found in its bigger sibling, the Aprilia RSV4, the RS 660 is definitely more than half the fun. It’s also living proof that you absolutely don’t need a liter bike to have fun, particularly if you spend most of your time on public roads instead of at the track. At the same time, the RS 660 is more than happy to pound out the laps at your favorite track, if that’s your cup of tea—and if you want a bike that can do both, this might be the best option on our list.
2023 BMW G 310 R
- Curb weight: 362 pounds
- Seat height: Standard seat height is 30.9 inches; low seat is 30.3 inches, and high seat is 31.5 inches
- Power: 313cc single-cylinder engine
- MSRP: $4,995
While it’s true that BMW Motorrad is more well-known for the likes of the legendary GS, the enduring performance of the S 1000 RR, or its many sport touring machines, the G 310 R remains an extremely fun, accessible, and surprisingly affordable entry in the brand’s current motorcycle lineup. You’ll note that we said “fun” first, because while we may have a whole bunch of other reasons why we ride, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rider who doesn’t want to have fun with a given machine.