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Short newbie looking at very few options

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I am 5'3" with inseam a little more than 29".

At least 10 years ago I wanted to get a dual sport bike and learn to ride, but a salesman told me there was nothing available for me. Instead, he steered me towards cruisers, which I thought was lame given that I had told him I actually did want to ride off pavement.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when I saw a Grom parked by the street. Whoa. I practically skidded to a halt...and I was walking. I did some net searching on Groms, went to a dealer to confirm that the size was comfortable, found out there are knobbies for it, and tried to come up with alternatives so that I was not considering ONLY one model.

I signed up for the BRC, had a choice between one too-tall dual sport and a bunch of cruisers, used the cruiser, felt uncomfortable with the riding position right from the start, and ended up being asked to leave the class. I am athletic and fit, so this came as a surprise, but I wasn't about to give up.

Next I took an intro class geared towards dirt biking. I rode a Yamaha TTR125 that felt right "at home", more like something I would enjoy working with. And I did. The class was loads of fun and I loved the physicality of it--standing up, moving around, counterweighting.

So now I want an offroad-capable bike even more, but it has to be street legal, because I do not want to tow or haul a bike around when it has its own motor and wheels.

I keep hearing that a 125cc engine is too small for much highway use, so I checked out the Yamaha XT250 dual sport. On the website spec list, it is shown as having a 31.9" seat height, versus the TTR

125's 31.7", nearly identical. But a reality check in person revealed that those two bikes do NOT have similar seat heights! I can straddle the TTR with both feet securely on the balls of my feet, or one foot flat on ground with the other on the footpeg. Not so for the XT250. On the latter, if I put one foot on the footpeg, the other is on toes only, not a good feeling. Ditto for Suzuki DR200 SE.

A shop guy told me they could convert a Kawasaki KLX140 (whose seat height was good for me) to street legal, but there is a hitch, namely there is only one model of DOT tire for it in its stock size. The alternative is to put knobbies and a better footpeg on the Grom, giving up some dirt trail capability as well as back to the highway speed question for either the Grom or KLX140.

Since I decided it was better for me to get my own bike and practice with it rather than trying to learn from ground zero in two days on a cruiser that I hate the feel of, I need help in choosing between these two options, or finding another one. I plan to take the written exam to get a learner's permit soon, good for 90 days, but am holding off buying a bike just yet.

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You could look into "lowering links"  for the bike you really want.

Edited by EarthCruzn

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