QnA: Finding a Motorcycle to Lower?

2006 Triumph Speed Triple Reader Susan asks me what kind of sportbike should she get in order to lower and learn to ride. 

I am trying to find a bike that is safe to lower... I have a 27 inch inseam... all of the sport bikes are too tall and I dont want a cruiser or rebel.... wanted a ducati 696 but thats too tall and too much power... any suggestions ? - Susan ( love your page too )

Dear Susan,

First, thank you for reading GearChic.com!

A Ducati Monster 696 can be a terrific bike to start on. But it's not for everyone. And it certainly wouldn't have been for me. If you've read about me, then you know I started on a lightweight scooter. No, you don't have to start on a scooter. However, it's MUCH easier to start on something LIGHTER AND TALLER than heavier and taller. My scooter weighed ~250lbs but had a 30" seat height! But it didn't matter since the weight was really low (below my butt) and I could easily pick it up when I dropped it. :D

If the Ducati Monster 696 is the sportbike if your dreams, then I really recommend starting with something smaller and spend the time you need to learn how to ride! Just because you start on something like a Ninja 250 doesn't mean you are going to be married to that bike forever. We can't grow taller, so what can we do? We can hone our riding techniques and skills so balancing a bike with 4-5" of extra seat height doesn't matter!

suzuki drz 400 sm

By the time I started riding a Ninja, it was an easy transition. I was already used to using my left foot first and keeping my right foot on the brakes to keep the bike from falling over. I was already used to something almost 300lbs, so jumping up to ~350lbs was easy.

The other thing to know is that with a 27" inseam, you will probably never flat foot anything if your dream is to ride a taller bike like a Ducati. Also keep in mind that lowering sportbikes means losing ground clearance, meaning when you lean you will be limited to how much you will be able to! Something that you don't understand know, but trust me you will learn to love especially when you ride a sportbike.

A Ninja 250/300 might have a 30" seat height but that doesn't mean you can't ride them. Keep in mind that when you buy a proper pair of motorcycle boots like these you will automatically be 1.5-2" off the ground from the heel to the arches of your feet. You're now close to 29". And when you take your motorcycle safety class, you will learn the proper techniques to brake and use your controls so you don't drop you bike.

2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250

The key to all of this is being willing to learn, grow and make mistakes. It's not easy, it's not quick and it's going to take time. But trust me, when you put the time into a smaller, lightweight bike the payoff is amazing!

But that's what worked for me, and I feel I'm a MUCH better rider because of it. There's absolutely NO WAY I'd be able to ride bikes like these without having invested the time and making mistakes.

Whatever you decide, just know that motorcycling is something you work at, constantly. Even after 12 years, I still struggle every time I ride to do it better and safer each time.


Ride Report, Bike Review and Pants!

2012_ducati_monster795 Last week I went home to see my family for Christmas. Of course, I had to carve out some time to go riding on some of my favorite roads! Luckily, a wonderful friend of mine had this gorgeous little lady for me to ride up to Bodega Bay. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except that I now know a Ducati Monster isn't really in my future :)

First off, I have to say that a Monster is a really really great motorcycle. And I can definitely see why many people love them so much, especially as first or second bikes. However, after having ridden many different bikes with really really great suspension, performance and handling it's very difficult for me rank this bike near the top of my favorites.

I thought the height and weight were nice, certainly a lower ride than what I'm used to on my SV650 and the Speed Triple. However, after having ridden the (Triumph) Speed Triple, I can definitely say that I want a Triumph of my own. But the STreet Triple, the smaller and more compact version of the Speed. The main reason is the suspension!

So this is where I'm coming from, having ridden an amazing bike with superior handling especially on the front end. I would definitely recommend a Monster to anyone moving up from 500-600cc or looking for a mid size twin over a mid size inline 4. I certainly enjoy my twin very much. But I'm tired of stock suspensions that aren't adjustable so saving up for a used Street Triple R is my current plan for next Spring.

As far as the Monster, I would have to say it's a much better version of the SV with a little more power, ABS, nicer wheels and a few other bells and whistles. But for me it just doesn't compare to what a Triumph has to offer, so unless it had an upgraded suspension you don't find me looking for one anytime soon.

However, what I would recommend is riding these two roads!

one of my very favorite motorcycle roads, san francisco bay area


The big yellow highway is 1, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The white road is the Panoramic Highway which takes you to Muir Woods. It's one of the most perfect, twisty roads that I love love love to ride. Something I can't find anywhere near the state of Pennsylvania. Perhaps down to West Virginia but I still need to find it. Le sigh....

riding_sanfrancisco_bayarea 2

I also wanted to mention the pants my friend Aleks and I are wearing. Unfortunately those exact models are discontinued (Rev'it Marryl and Gear Pants). However, the latest version is the Gear 2 pant, which I reviewed a couple seasons ago here. There's a reason why Rev'it is my favorite brand, and it's because they know how to put us in gear that fits and looks great!

best women's motorcycle leather pants


(my friend's Triumph Speed Triple on the right and my borrowed Monster on the left)

Happy Riding, and don't forget to Gear Up!

PS, If you live in the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to ride these roads, asap. You just have no idea how much I miss them.


Movin' on Uppp err, Over


Last week my husband and I flew out to Philly to check out the various neighborhoods and figure out where we want to live. We had no idea it would be so hard to find parking! How am I supposed to start a collection if I don't have anywhere to put them? Oh well. I guess my plan to hoard a fleet of motorcycles is going to have to wait until we get there, settle in and maybe move again in a year or so when we buy a house or find a garage to rent.

ducati monster Philly

I'm contemplating selling my beloved SV instead of hauling it out East. Monsters are on my mind as a next motorcycle but certainly not ready to buy anything yet. Since we're driving across right in the middle of winter (mid-late January) we won't be able to ride very much anyway.

Fingers crossed we find something cool with parking. Two Wheels Rule!


Ducati North America reports increase in sales for Q3

Ducati Motorcycles Women San Francisco 848

Ducati just announced a 24% increase in quarterly sales for Q3 2012. 

If you don't ride a Ducati, have you ever considered owning one? Why or why not? 

If you currently have one, what would you tell someone who's considering one? 




• Q3 Retail sales increase by 24 percent 

• Nine consecutive quarters of retail sales growth

• The Diavel sets strongest product family growth in September

Cupertino, Calif. (October 24, 2012) – Ducati North America reported a 24 percent retail sales increase in Q3 compared to the same period in 2011, earning the company its ninth-straight quarter of retail sales growth. The month of September was especially positive with a 40 percent increase versus 2011.      

“We have paid very close attention to the desires of our customers in North America and believe that we have successfully developed the most appealing product offering in the brand’s history,” said Cristiano Silei, CEO of Ducati North America. “With this consistent, positive momentum in retail sales, we are confident that 2012 will finish as a record year for Ducati. And, we look forward to a great start for 2013, with the recent announcement of several new models.” 

Ducati credits its growth to the strong customer demand of several new products, including the brand’s newly released Superbike, the 1199 Panigale. Ducati’s flagship motorcycle, characterized by its revolutionary design, state of the art technology and extraordinary performance, has achieved unprecedented sales records across North America.

Significant growth is also attributed to the innovative Diavel, which recently received the prestigious Cycle World Magazine “10 Best” award in the cruiser category for the second year in a row. The Diavel is gaining a tremendous following: in the month of September it was the company’s highest growing product with a 66 percent increase compared to the same period in 2011. 

For more information about Ducati North America and Ducati’s line of performance motorcycles, please visit the new www.ducatiusa.com or your local Ducati dealer.


Tim Collins

Public Relations Manager

Ducati North America, Inc.

10443 Bandley Drive
Cupertino, CA 95014
off. +1 408 343 4414
cell. +1 408 326 9957
efax +1 408 877 1539

Who Wants a Purple Ducati Panigale?

They're making a sequel to the movie Kick Ass. Apparently, Hit Girl rides a matching purple Ducati (just for the movie) in this one. And a matching one piece with some crummy armor attached. Why couldn't they get Dainese to make her one instead?  

Photo linked from DailyBlam.com 

Would you buy a purple motorcycle? I'm still trying to decide.....

Motorcycles for Short Riders

Motorcycles for Short Riders

Motorcycles for Short Riders aka Tips for Success if You're Short

MotoGP Laguna Seca 2011

Ben Spies (That's Ben Spies, btw. Go Ben!!)

Going to Laguna Seca this weekend? If so, check out some of the features and events going on all weekend on and off the raceway:

Official MotoGP Race Schedule, Friday-Sunday

Afterparty at Carbone's - This site says that you can meet MotoGP racers at parties held after the races all weekend. But there aren't any other details. Hmmm.

Cannery Row Bike Night - Friday, July 22nd. Jason Britton and Eric Hoenshell from Team NoLimit will be performing during the XDL Sportbike Freestyle championship in downtown Monterey.

Cycle Gear Tent - Overheard on FB: "If you're going to Laguna Seca for the MotoGP races this Saturday, be sure to head over to the Cycle Gear tent (located at turn 3) and keep your cameras handy. We'll have a special guest there at 5:30 p.m..."

Ducati Island - As always, Ducati Island is for all you Ducati fans and owners. Free parking for Ducatis of course!

FIM e-Power/TTXGP Electric Races - I went to a TTXGP race last year at Infineon. It was th weirdest, coolest experience I'd ever had at a race. Silent motorcycles!  Check out the schedule.

Suzuki Customer Appreciation Party - Fri July 22-Sat July 23, 9pm BlueFin on Cannery Row. In case you're not an FB person, here's what's happening:

-Autographs by Ben Bostrom and Roger Lee Hayden (9-10PM) -Photographs with the famed Michael Jordan Motorsports Umbrella Girls -Great prizes from Suzuki and Michael Jordan Motorsports -Music and entertainment provided by BusaBeats

Yamaha Marketplace - Special guests, seminars (including mine at 1pm!), and more. If you're going to the track on Friday, I'll be at the MotoGP Fan Party from 5-7pm.

Zero Motorcycles Demo Rides - Demo Rides will kick off on Friday at 10am in the Yamaha marketplace and continue throughout the weekend.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook, I'll be posting pics and updates all weekend for those of you who can't make it to LS or have never experienced it.

DC, NYC, now Cleveland

It's been a crazy month.  I've never traveled this much before in my life.  I'm kind of enjoying it. Even if my body still thinks I'm on the East Coast. I've met so many interesting, exciting people.  Mingling with the motorcycle industry has been my dream for so long.  My dream would be to work fully in a motorcycle capacity and never go back to a finance/technology/blah blah blah company ever again.

I have 3 shows left, I don't know what I'll do with myself once I'm back at home.  Oh yeah, keep up with my website! With only 2 days home every week, and working nonstop from the minute my plane hits the ground, it's been difficult for me to keep things up to date.  (Big, huge, ginormous apologies to my newsletter subscribers!) I'm truly, truly sorry and will try to at least post some short and sweet updates every week.

I have a few shout-outs, so to speak, on some cool companies that I've met this month. First, in Greenville, I must give a big thanks to Donnie Unger, the Owner of Duc Pond Motorsports in Winchester, VA! I scored the gorgeous Ducati bag above at the Greenville show, and wouldn't be looking as good without it.  Thanks Donnie!!  I've already customized it. :D The DucPond also carries one of my favorite brands, REV'IT, so stop in and see them if you're in the Greenville, SC area.

In NYC, I met Todd McNabney, the founder of Heroic Racing. It's so hard to find one piece suits for women, off the rack.  And it's even harder to find dealers that actually carry them! Gloves are a tough one too, especially real race gloves for those of you who love track days. (Which I fiercely avoid, since I KNOW that I'll become addicted. All I'll want to do is race and I just can't do that right now).

As soon as I passed by the Heroic booth, I had to stop and smell the roses.  I'm a huge fan of black and white when it comes to gear.   The first thing that caught my eye, and I'm sure yours too, especially in the pics above, is the agressive gauntlet.  Most people wouldn't want something that 'crazy'. Even myself, I only wear Racer High End gloves, which I wouldn't wear on the track, but trust on the street.

I hope to get in touch with Todd sometime over the next month or two and do an in depth review and interview about these gloves, as well as the suit.  Unfortunately, by the time I went over to take a pic of the suit, he had the nerve to sell it to a needful woman who needed a suit! I hope she's thrilled with it. If it fits nearly as hot as it looked, she'll be utterly satisifed.

Speaking of suits, I'm going to see Michael, one of the founders of Veloce about the new women's Achillia suit and boots! I can't wait, and hope to post something in 2 weeks.

The other cool thing I saw was a collection of motorcycle inspired tees from Art of the Bike,   Although he doesn't have a lof of "women's tees", I really loved the designs, and especially the use of Alternative Apparel organic tees.  Now, if only I could get a Norton....

I think one of the best things I've been able to see so far, is all the cool women who stop by the Women's Center.  If you're a woman, and you have questions about riding motorcycles, but don't have anyone to talk to except your SO/Husband/Boyfriend/Male Friends, come to the Center!! We're here to talk about Anything related to riding.  The 2 amazing women I've come to know and love have more than a million miles of combined riding experience.  Sue Slate and Gin Shear are the founders of the Women's Motorcyclist Foundation, The work they've done in recent years to help find a cure for Breast Cancer is unbelievable.  We're also giving seminars (not for women only) on everything from taking your first MSF class, to Dual Sport Riding, to Gear (how to shop!), Twisties, choosing the Right Bike, and More.

Of course, I'm going to brag about me too and tell you that if you wish you could have a personal shopper help identify what sizes/fits/cuts work for you, then the IMS is the perfect opportunity!