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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thinking out loud. My first bike, when I was very young and still growing, was a '64 Yamaha YG1, which had a seat height of around 28". I rode that thing into the ground, and learned a great deal about motorcycling on it commuting to a job 27 miles away one way, rain or shine. I also learned that 54 miles a day really requires more machine.

Here is the YG1's spec sheet. Try not to be too impressed with its shocking awesomeness.... (Keep in mind that adverts at the time were all tongue-in-cheek humorous.)

Wheel Tire Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting

I am in no way advocating that any new rider dig up a vintage YG1 as their first ride. We live in a different world today, that makes this vintage beast obsolete. Today, a bike of similar general attitude might be the Honda Grom, which can at least do regular modern street riding speeds, with 50% more horsepower. For a young or very small complete novice, these little bikes provide a safe entry point, and tend to be kept around for fun runs in the neighborhood for many.

That out of the way, I do wonder whether the R3, or any sport bike for that matter, is a fit for first time riders with short statures. Sport bikes, Enduros, and Adventure Tourers are inherently the tallest seat height bikes. The seat height is part of the design to get the rider's center of gravity and ground clearance high to enable agility and cornering capability. These often require riders to learn to deal with not having both feet planted flat under them at a stop.

Regardless of Yamaha marketing the R3 as a perfect starter bike - the purpose of a first bike is to get on the road for seat time to build basic skills and confidence. For shorter riders, it seems to me that a bike with a low seat height, like the Honda Rebel 300 at 27.1" or Yamaha V-star 250 at 27" would make a better first bike, and are commonly used in motorcycle training schools. Even a max lowered R3 will sit at 30". Purchased used, the Rebel and V-star are a bargain - and will hold their value well so you can get your money back when you pass them along once past that uncomfortable learning phase. After a season or two, you sell them and move on to the bike of your dreams - without going all the scratched and broken fairings to deal with. Also, a used Rebel in good condition is far easier to sell than an R3 that has been dropped several times, should one decide that riding is not for them after all.

My sister is 5'1" and started on a Honda 250 Rebel (recommended by a reputable dealer). She resisted this step at first, wanting something more impressive. But, when she took her riding safety course on one, decided to pick one up to learn the basics on further. She did a full season on it, then sold it for what she paid for it - and has been riding much larger toys ever since - which, BTW, she can't reach the ground on without sliding off the saddle. Once becoming comfortable with the experience of riding, adding to that the skill of riding taller bikes is much easier.

No criticism intended here. Just thinking out load.
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