For riders with shorter inseams, the motorcycle struggle can be very real sometimes. While there are a few potential solutions, most of them involve some kind of compromise. Go with a lower-profile saddle, and maybe the thinner padding isn’t very comfortable to sit on for long rides. Lower the bike, and suspension travel and ride quality may suffer. Choose a less expensive eBay special option from a vendor you’ve never heard of before, and maybe installation results aren’t what you hoped.
If you, like me, are a rider with a shorter inseam (27 inches here), there has to be a better way, right? Why isn’t an Adaptive Ride Height option available on more motorcycles than just the Harley-Davidson Pan America Special? I mean, it's not 1993, it's 2023 (at least, last I checked).
For anyone who’s been wondering that question quietly (or not so quietly) to themselves, we have good news in 2023. Triumph Motorcycles just announced a new feature for its existing Tiger 1200 line. It’s called Active Preload Reduction. According to the House of Hinckley, it “has been developed to lower the resting seat height by reducing the rear suspension preload as the Tiger 1200 slows.”
Gallery: Triumph Tiger 1200 Gets Active Preload Reduction
While it won’t help all riders, it will give a greater range of riders an opportunity to ride Tiger 1200s with greater confidence—and, in some cases, also safety. If a rider can get one or both feet more solidly on the ground, it can only enhance the riding experience of a given bike.
Just how much of a difference does the Active Preload Reduction update for the Showa semi-active suspension across the Tiger 1200 lineup make? The option will reduce ride height by a full 20 millimeters across the range. That’s just under 0.8 of an inch, which is a big deal when you’re talking about ride height.
According to Triumph, the Tiger 1200 GT range (including the GT Pro and GT Explorer) have seat settings that are either 33.46 inches (850mm) or 34.52 inches (870mm). Go for the more off-road capable Tiger 1200 Rally models (Rally Pro and Rally Explorer), and the stock seat heights are 34.44 inches (875mm) and 35.23 inches (895mm). An accessory low seat option is available for the Tiger 1200 range, which can reduce GT line height to 32.67 inches (830mm) or 33.66 inches (855mm) on the Rally line.
With those numbers in mind, it’s easy to see that an additional 20mm could make a significant difference, depending on a rider’s inseam. (Rider height is important, but some short riders have longer inseams than others, and it’s the inseam that matters most in this conversation.)
Triumph is releasing this new feature across the existing Tiger 1200 range. Riders will be able to access it via the right-hand switch cube, and it will come standard on all Tiger 1200 models—not just ones of a premium trim level. Even better, existing Tiger 1200 owners will be able to receive this new standard feature from Triumph as a simple software update.
“The new Tiger 1200 range is already a global success, attracting new fans and increasing Triumph’s share of this highly competitive market. This new feature can be enabled on the fly, lowering the center of gravity at slower speeds, making it even more accessible, offering riders more confidence at slow speeds and better contact with the ground as they come to stop,” Triumph Motorcycles chief product officer Steve Sargent said in a statement.
Speaking as a short rider, news like this is heartening to see. There are undoubtedly plenty of riders who would love to enjoy several bikes—but who also find the height-related obstacles and potential compromises disappointing, at best. Greater accessibility across a range of motorcycles—for short riders and tall riders alike—can only help the sport grow. For OEMs that are constantly thinking about future ridership and attracting new riders to the sport, offering more solid options like this could legitimately change the game.