Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Lowering Your Seat Height


motoinmoab

There are several ways to lower your bike, from cheap to expensive. All have their advantages and issues. Warning: When you lower the bike, your frame and foot pegs go down. Do only as much as you have to, you will bash your skid plate and kick bad stuff that others will clear.

The cheapest thing you can do is cut your seat foam. You can do this yourself, it's pretty easy, but you’ll need a very powerful stapler to put your cover back on. Take out 1" to 1 1/2" and you'll really feel the difference, in height :thumbsup: and comfort :thumbsdn: There are many companies that sell a lower seat pad with a wider profile and more comfortable foam, I’ve used Seat Concepts and like it much more than when I just cut down my stock foam. You’ll notice immediately that when sitting you've just raised your bars and tightened up your knee bend. Some people don't like that, while others feel better balanced sitting lower into the bike.

Also reasonably cheap and easy is a lowering link. I've used a Kouba Link on a couple of my bikes, there are several other manufacturers of lowering links out there. They’re very easy to install and don’t cost too much for most bikes. Usually several different lengths are available, but the more you drop the seat the more it affects your suspension travel. You’re changing the length of a lever arm in the middle of a very complex mechanical system. Here’s a quote from the Kouba site FAQ’s: “They put more leverage on the rear spring and make the rear more compliant on the small stuff but may require a heavier rear spring to help prevent bottoming if a rider is very aggressive.” In my experience the model that drops your seat about 1" is the best compromise, going more than that and the suspension tuning and steering problems can start to arise. If you’re not a real aggressive rider, lowering links are great. If you ride “race pace” then you might need to buy a stiffer rear spring. A new spring makes this mod a lot more expensive.

You can take your suspension to a specialist shop and they will put spacers inside your forks and shock. These will restrict the overall length of your shocks, lowering your whole bike by reducing the amount of travel you have available. This service will require new fork springs, and can include custom tuning the suspension valving for how you ride. Cost runs from $500 to $800, and you lose some travel, but if you’re a trail rider with a harsh MX suspension, this mod can take care of both issues. I have lowered the suspension on 3 of my bikes over the years and never liked the ride as much as stock. I cut them down from 1” to 1 1/2” and used 3 different Well Known companies. Many riders post that they Love this mod, posting “Best Money I Spent On My Bike!”

A different rear tire can lower your seat a lot. The typical 110/100x18 knobbie is a tall tire, racing has proven the need for that tall sidewall design. If you don’t race, a Dunlop D606 is a much lower profile dual sport tire, 120/90x18, that is still very aggressive in the dirt and DOT legal also.

Some riders choose to cut their sub-frame. You cut out a small (+/-1/4”) piece of the diagonal strut of the sub-frame and weld it back together. Be Careful- too much and you will bottom your tire into your fender before you use full travel. The subframe and seat will now slope backwards a little; a friend did this to his KTM and it felt weird to me. The back of the seat got lower, the front not so much.

Lower the bike too much and your kick stand will be too long.

If you ride aggressively off road, lowering the suspension a lot can come at quite a cost in ride quality. And speaking from personal experience- I’ve had my feet swept off the pegs by rocks and in deep ruts that everyone else cleared on their taller bikes. And that shit hurts.


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


User Feedback


I plan to lower my DRZ400E by an 1" or 1 1/2" with the Soupy's lowering kit. I am 5' 8'' and that should make the bike easier to keep upright while stopped. I am wondering about the kickstand going to have to be modified but I hope not.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 1/2" is no problem with the stock kickstand.  You just have to be more careful off road because of uneven ground.  The DRZ-SM stand is shorter if you want a shorter stand.  Also you can just cut and weld your stock one but that can affect resale: if your buyer wants the bike back to full height he can just pop the stock links back in but now the cut sidestand is too short.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems that lowering the subframe by cutting it in the front where it meets the frame above the shock mount is the best place to take out some vertical height and then remove the same amount from the rear subfranme supports. That would keep the bike even across the top and lower the seat where it counts most, in the middle of the bike,  Has anyone tried that and can they share the experience with us?

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


  • Similar Content

    • By mjf6866
      Hello all, I have a basically bone stock XR400 that i've owned since 1999 that i'm doing some maintenance on over the winter.  Basic stuff really, rebuilding calipers and brake system, changing fork oil, re-greasing stuff.  I bought a pumper carb on a black friday special that I'll be putting on as well.  As of now, its just got the basic gordon mods done (snorkel removed, rejetted stock carb and the exaust baffle drilled)  yes, i still am running the stock baffle and muffler because i need it to be quiet where i ride.
      So anyways, i ride in the North East (Pittsburgh PA to be exact) and my trials are mostly tight, rocky and rooted.  not a whole lot of high speed stuff at all, just technical stuff with some good hills thrown in there.  Now I've always toyed with the idea of changing up the front fork springs to something a little more aggressive, but not sure how that would effect my riding style with my trails.  I installed the Summers Racing fork brace (that mounts right above the front wheel) way back in 2000, but i've never actually felt the bike with stiffer springs.  I've heard many people rave about it, but always wondered if it would work in my application.  I weigh about 175ish so if i were to get different springs, which ones would you guys recommend?  I figure i'd change them out while i have the bike apart over the winter if it would improve an already awesome trail bike.
       
      Thanks!
    • By TheSnide
      My son's CRF 100 needed linkage and swing arm rebuild.   I bought the Pivot Works kits that replaces the OEM plastic bushings with steel needle bearings, seals, and roller pins.   The needle bearings are super tricky to install.  The needles are in open races with no retainers, and want to just fall out.  For the linkage I used the dust caps as guides and just pressed them in.  I Still had a few needles fall out but wasn't a huge problem.   The swing arm is really hard.  The kit comes with 2 bearings to replace each plastic bushing.  I've heated the swing arm and froze the bearing but still having a hell of a time getting them pressed in. 
      Question 1.  What are the tricks to getting these bearings pressed into the swingarm?   
       
      Question 2.  Why are there 4 bearing seals instead of just 2? 
       
      Question 3.   I think it might have been better to just buy new plastic bushings?   
    • By caseym
      I am thinking of lowering my 16’ TE 125 but i have no clue on options or cost. Honestly, i am not to worried about throwing a little cash into it. At 5’5, im tired of high siding 5 times a day. Side note, I ride a mix of single trac and open woods, hare scrambles/enduros, and a tad bit of mx. Thanks for the help!
    • By gphilip

      Greetings!
      I just bought an electric 2017 Alta Redshift MX. Love it to pieces!
      I have been trail riding it on powerline roads for the last week. It has a ton of traction, a lot of instant HP, and it is always in the right gear. It weighs 260 lbs, but without a heavy flywheel if feels very light, I swear, not any heavier than my 2015 Husky 250TC 2-stroke. Very flickable and maneuverable.
      The suspension is exactly the same as on my Husky. Same 4CS fork, same shock, and same linkage and motion ratios. Alta spec'ed an excellent valving, this 4CS works! The bike is very nicely balanced too.
      But it feels way too soft for motocross. And it is not the damping but the springs that feel soft. I can easily tell, the bike is very well controlled but feels wallowy, slow to respond to large road bumps, whoops, etc. Compresses the suspension almost fully on even small jump. Lots of slow but very significant acceleration squat and brake dive. It definitely needs stiffer springs. I noticed this when riding two other Altas as well. And some magazines and YouTube videos are also saying that the Alta Redshift MX is sprung too soft.
      I initially thought the springs were much softer than on my Husky. But they are NOT, according to the manufacturer. The stock springs are 0.52 kg/mm front and is 6.3 kg/mm rear. The bike weighs 260 lbs. It is heavy. The Alta has much stiffer springs than all my other MX bikes, including the YZ450F!
      So I bought the Motool Slacker digital sag scale and measured the sags accurately.
      Here is the kicker: The race sags are the same or less than on my 2-stroke Husky! The Alta suspension engineers must have copied the 2014 KTM and increased the spring rates proportionately to the weight of the bike + the weight of the rider. The static sags were a little larger, showing that the stock Alta is sprung 1% stiffer than my well-tuned Husky, when adjusted for its weight + the weight of the rider.
      However, when the springs rates are compared to just the weight of the naked bike, they are 6% SOFTER. OMG!
      This is why it wallows, squats, pitches and bottoms out so much! The bike itself has a lot of inertia, including the pitch inertia. There is no other way to fix this but to stiffen the springs.
      So... I think I have reached a conclusion:
      I have to stiffen the springs proportionately to the original specs, approximately the same percentage front and rear.
      The static and race sag numbers will not match the traditional specs. I can make a reasonable static sag, or race sag, but NOT BOTH.
      I wonder if there are some suspension gurus here who have experience with re-springing bikes that are much heavier, much lighter, or have a much stiffer suspension, like the pro bikes. They can't match the same 35/100mm rule of thumb rear sag numbers either.
      So, please check my spreadsheet and let me know what you think. I am leaning towards Variant 2. Thank you for reading my post.

      - - - - - - - -
      Last thought: I cannot understand why people do not care about the decimal point in spring rate specs? For pete's sake, MXA and MX-Tech, 4.9 N/mm is NOT the same as 5.0 kg/mm! Race Tech has figured it out though, it appears.
       
    • By idratherberiding
      I need to do the forks on:
      2012 WR450F
      2007 YZ250
      Is there a trick to getting the compression damper piece out without that special fork cap tool?  Heres what im talking about: 
      2012 WR450F

      2007 YZ250

      I rebuilt a pair of AOS forks with no special tools but I think the compression body came out with a 17mm socket.  It was off a 2008 KLX450, I'm PRETTY sure top looked like this:

       
      Maybe someone can verify that 2008 KLX450R forks have that style of top cap.  I cant remember and the bike is not in my possession atm.
      I dont like buying model specific tools so if there is a trick to getting those compression caps off let me know!