When you go new bike shopping, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Maybe you have a vague idea of what characteristics you want, but haven’t narrowed down your list enough yet to start seriously looking. Rest easy, friend, because you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to do our level best to line up a list of lightweight bikes that I, a 5’4” rider with a 27-inch inseam, can tell you are quite easy to get on.
If you love cruisers, finding bikes with low seat heights is a cinch. However, if you’re into other types of bikes, the struggle can sometimes be all too real. It’s getting better, with most manufacturers offering OEM solutions to help more bikes fit more riders. However, that doesn’t help as much as you’d think it would when those lower seat height options are not frequently seen in showrooms.
Honda CB300R ABS
Honda refers to this as one of its ‘neo-sports café’ bikes, and the phrase does hold up pretty well as applied to this little naked bike. For 2021, ABS is standard. As for color choices, both the 2020 and 2021 models only come in matte pearl blue.
Interestingly, the 2020 model did not offer ABS, and yet it’s still available and also costs the same as the newer 2021 model that does. I know which one I’d pick if I was the one doing the shopping and decided that I needed a CB300R in my life. If you absolutely don’t want ABS, you can choose the 2020 model and be happy.
Kawasaki Ninja 400 ABS
If you’re looking for a reasonably lightweight, zippy, fully-faired sportbike, look no further than the Ninja 400. It’s been a favorite in its segment among many riders for some time, and its winning combination of features make it easy to see why. It’s a sportbike scaled down to a smaller size, perfect for smaller riders, beginners, and anyone looking to hone their skills before tackling its bigger siblings.
It’s also a pretty rad commuter bike, and is available in your choice of Pearl Blizzard White or the Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Magnetic Dark Gray/Phantom Blue colorway. Both choices look good, so your only difficulty will be in choosing which one you want in your possession.
Is there a bad member of the MT family? I’m not sure, but I do know that like Goldilocks and her bowls of porridge, this one seems just right to hit that sweet spot between power, accessibility, and approachability.
Some smaller bikes may make you wish you had a bit more power in everyday situations, but the MT-07 won’t leave you feeling that way at all thanks to its masterfully torque-y character. It might seem at first that the “master of torque” designation is just Yamaha doing a bit of clever marketing, but the way this bike uses its torque is awfully convincing.
Royal Enfield Himalayan
This isn’t an all-the-bells-and-whistles adventure bike. Instead, it’s a stripped-down-to-essentials adventure bike, and one that Royal Enfield claims is its most versatile current offering. While its 650 Twin siblings are busy winning all the popularity contests, it’s easy to see why. Once again, small and lightweight definitely doesn’t have to mean a bike is incapable, and that’s exactly what the Himalayan is most eager to prove.
It’s available in your choice of Graphite, Sleet, or Snow. Sleet is the sort of gray camouflage colorway, while the other two options are solid-color paint schemes.