Quote Originally Posted by Paddler Ed View Post
The challenge is for the manufacturers to then keep the seat height low enough - my wife is only 5' and is short in the leg as well, so her old XT600 was pretty good with a 31" ish seat height. It's getting replaced with a WR250R which again has a lowish seat height.

One other bike that isn't mentioned, and seems like it is taking forever to come through to the market is the Royal Enfield Himalyan, again in the 400cc-ish bracket.
I'm 5'6" so I have a similar issue with bikes. From my experience most of the lower bikes simply reduce ground clearance with seat height so that makes a case for buying a tall bike and having it lowered to fit(you'll end up with the same clearance after). The XT225 had very very impressive ground clearance with a 30" seat height but the rest hover around 10".

Here's some I've owned and a few i've had long seat times on.

WR250R seat height is actually pretty tall @ 37" but the bike is one of the lighter ones in the segment so it doesn't feel that bad. The DRZ400 weighs the same and has the same seat height for what it's worth. To be clear I don't think the DRZ is better but I do think it's as good if you don't mind a carbed bike and you can get them much cheaper(I prefer the extra CC to the refinement of the WR).

I'm currently riding a CRF250L which has a 34" seat height and much more friendly for shorter people than the WR250R(250L has weight down low but more of it). Unless your wife is a MX rider the 250L is all she'd need and with a few mods it pulls the same as a WR250R(stock).

The XT225 is down on power but not as much as you'd think. It was one of the most manageable bikes and crazy lightweight(230lbs dry). Mine would hold 75mph with a fatty on it. The suspension couldn't handle the fatty though. This bike was alot of fun and I miss it. I never hesitated to run it through a huge mud hole or obstacle because I could just hop off and drag it out.

CRF230L is pretty much the same bike in feel to the XT225 but slower(had both). More suspension though. The 250L is simply a better bike in all situations and you don't feel any of the weight unless you pick it up or have to drag it through mud.

TW200 Very cool bike and we have alot of sand here so I liked the wide tires. It has a very low seat height(maybe the lowest) but lacks HWY speed.

XT250 is actually an overlooked bike with a 6" lower seat height compared to a WR250R. It's a trail bike but has no problems holding hwy speeds. My only seat time on one is after a buddy wrecked bad and I had to ride his bike back to his house for his trip to the hospital. Bars were bent but I came away a little bit impressed for a trail bike. This bike is the "update" to the XT225 but lacks a 6speed and might be a tad slower due to weight.

Not recommended bikes

KLR650 is simply too top heavy even though it only has a 35" seat height. I shaved mine down and i'm considered very strong(built like a short bodybuilder) and had trouble with it sometimes. I would absolutely not recommend this bike to her.

V-strom 1000. Only a 33" seat height but gave me fits due to the weight and wide seat. This is a bike for guys over 5'10"(friends under this had similar trouble)

XR650L Simply too tall she'd be climbing it like a tree. I'd personally like to own one lowered an inch or 2. This is my riding buddies bike and I've got alot of seat time on one. Love the torque.

KTM 690 enduro. Even taller than the 650L. I found this bike a let down actually. It was my "dream bike" and although I could see why people would want one i'm not a street hooligan so the extra power in my area isn't needed(tight sandy trails).

I've had short rides on some dual sport bikes but they don't stand out.