Practical to ride a motorcycle that you can't put feet flat on the ground on?

I recently bought a 1979 Honda CB750F on Ebay with the intention of taking the ABATE motorcycle class and then using the bike to get around in good weather in lieu of a car. Since I bought it on Ebay, I was unable to sit on it and see if it was comfortable, which I knew was a disadvantage, but I was told by many people that it was a good beginner’s bike and a good deal, so I bought it.

I have noticed, sitting on the bike, that I can’t put my feet completely flat on the ground while sitting on it. I can still stand in a balanced way, but about a third of the rear part of my foot is off the ground. I am 5 foot 7. I was advised by a friend that I should sell this bike and buy one with a lower seat.

I paid 1500 for this bike and it is in A+ condition, looks and runs incredible, so I think I could probably sell it for even more if I’m lucky. Should I do this?

It is a very heavy bike (over 500 lbs) and very top-heavy. This, too, bothers me. I am thinking about getting a smaller and lighter bike to start out on, like a Yamaha RZ350 or CB400. But then on the other hand, I figure that after taking the ABATE class I may well be comfortable enough to ride the 750. What’s the better choice? Sell it and get a smaller one, or just try to get used to the height?

It’s not unusual to have to ride a machine that you can’t get your foot flat on the floor. I’m surprised you have trouble, as you are very slightly taller than me and I had one of these bikes precisely because it was my first larger capacity machine and it has a low saddle, and this bike is particularly suited to the learner as it has a very easy power delivery and all the controls are light to operate.

Quite often you have to slide across the saddle a little to put your foot down.

The CB750 isn’t a particularly tall machine, there may be a certain amount of adjustment in the saddle height. If you unlock and lift the saddle, you’ll find underneath that it rests on some rubber bung type things, you can either cut them down, its possible Honda actually do some thinner replacements, and you might get it another half inch lower.

The other way is to get another saddle, or get yours covered in a different profile of padding, to make it narrower, its wide saddles that cause problems as much as tall bikes.

Sell it and get one with a lower seat. I learned to ride on a 1976 Kawasaki Z650, another relatively top heavy bike. I am 5’3" and could put my toes and the ball of my foot on the ground and keep the bike stable if on flat ground. Any variation in the ground put me at a disadvantage, especially waiting at a light on an uphill grade. Backing up while seated gave me no leverage. (I dropped the bike on that maneuver.) Consequently, I never attempted to ride the bike alone. My SO or someone else with long legs was always a passenger. The CB400, while it will feel small and underpowered at first, will allow you to learn to ride safely.

The CB400 was the second bike I rode. Now I’m feeling nostalgic and old. (On preview, see if casdave’s solution will work.)

Even at 6’2" I can’t put my feet down on some bikes. Even after 85k on my current bike I’m not 100% I can put my feet flat. Now you’re going to make me look on the way home. I think you’ll be suprised once you get started that you can hold the bike up with one leg, as a matter of fact you should learn to do that because often there are things on the road and you’ll want to avoid putting your foot on them, be it a hole or oil. If you’re strong enough to hold the bike up now then I personally wouldn’t worry about it.

Oh a top heavy bike doesn’t mean a whole lot once you get moving. My Connie is very top heavy and I don’t notice it when I’m riding. Only once has it screwed me, that’s when I put a case of beer in the trunk and it made it a bit heavy, and no I wasn’t drinking and riding, just picking up the beer.

If you can get the balls of both feet down solidly, it shouldn’t be a problem. On the weight issue, you might be concerned that you won’t be able to pick it up if it falls over. If it doesn’t have “crash bars” in front of the engine, get some. That changes the geometry of rocking the bike back up. It will be almost balanced on the bar, and by the time the tires are back on the ground, you won’t be lifting even half of the 500 lbs.

Go ahead and take the ABATE class. I’m told they loan you a bike for the class. Ask the instructors about your concerns. If you’re still wary of the 750 at that point, trade down.

It does have crash bars. When I was first unloading it from the truck, it fell over and I was able to get it upright fairly easily.

Thanks for the advice.

Have you tried getting boots with a thicker sole? That may give you the extra bit of height you’re looking for. Alternatively you should be able to swap out the seat for something shorter – it’s just foam, after all. Check your local scrap yard.

It’s really only necessary to get one foot down. Indeed, dirt and dual-sport bikes (which are bikes that can travel both on and off road) tend to be very tall. Some have seat heights approaching 40 inches. But it comes down to how comfortable you feel, and beginners usually feel better if they can flat-foot the bike. The CB750 is a really nice bike, I wouldn’t sell it if I could help it. I’d hang on to the bike until after your class and see how you feel about it’s size and weight then.