Lowering my CRF450R

Hello everyone. I am about 5'7 and want to know how to lower my 2004 CRF450R. I hear about all the lowering techniques such as linkage, seat trim, and sub frame. I hear that the linkage mod will affect the suspension in a negative way. Is this true??

I also want to know about lowering the sub frame and how its done. I have read about lowering kits but haven't been able to locate one.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

Here's what your gonna do:

 

Your gonna not lower it.

 

Your gonna ride it.

 

Your gonna get used to it.

 

And daggonit your gonna like it.

Shave the seat. It's easiest. Doesn't require buying anything either. You don't want to screw with ground clearance or any of that.

Ok...first off anybody who tells you to just basically "shut up and just ride it" is almost ALWAYS tall enough to not be effected by fact the not easily touching the ground has never posed any type of problem!  It is EXTREMELY insensitive or humiliating in many regards for ANYBODY to say that unless they have been there!!!!!!!!!!

 

Having said that I am 5'5" with a 27" inseam.  I am 45yrs old and understand very very well what its like to not be blessed with long enough legs to make certain phases of riding easily achievable....some things that those that can easily touch the ground take for freakin granted!  Also....last bikes include 2001 yzf426 (read: titanic), 03 CRF450, 06 YZF250, 07 CRF450, 09 CRF450 and currently 2013.5 KTM 450SX-F FE.  To date I have not "lowered any of these bikes except for shaving the seat on the Yamaha's and buy the optional lower KTM Power Parts seat for the new bike.

 

I have mostly ridden MX as off road presents too much of a challenge when it comes to needing to get a foot down, dab a bit, or GOD FORBID be forced to stop on uneven/odd chamber ground!  It is very frankly ZERO fun to ride in the woods or "Enduro" type environment with my bikes setup as the are from factory.  I have revalved/resprung suspension, lowered the subframe, and shave the seat on the taller machines (not the Honda's)..it all helps.  But I have not YET lowered a bike via the suspension.  There are MANY different opinions on the subject, but the most credible ones come from guys that have been there at the highest level....meaning Pro Race Teams.  I have had opportunity to speak with several guys (names left out as to not cause any grief to them) and Factory Race Team guys who have told me it is VERY common to lower a bike to suit a rider!  One of the Pro Circuit guys told me that they lower many of their race team bikes.  Ricky Carmichael (although he has had many unconventional setups) had many bikes lowered, James Stewart, the list is pretty extensive overall actually.  And take a look at Ashley Foilek's CRF250 she rode for several years....she is 5'2" and she can actually touch on her bikes!  The thing looks like a minibike!  And yet there she was busting out huge jumps on a lowered bike!  Now, some full factory guys DO have options that the average guy does not...hand made subframes, special fittings to lower different components on the bike to make it look "stock", factory linkages...all kinds of things.  But, what the trick to lowering the bike is to keep it balanced!  It is not all taken from one area...it is a little "here" and a little "there".  a little from the seat, lower the back of the subframe a few millimeters if desired, and lastly shortening the suspension a touch....which is completely reversible!

 

"Lowering Links" designed to simply reduce seat height are, in my opinion, detrimental to the bikes geometry and overall handling...let alone suspension performance.  However, companies such as FC, PC, RG3, Ride Engineering, SDI, Ect......have come up with linkages that are claimed to improve handle and performance of the bike in general by altering the linkage in a positive way....many times lowering the seat height in the process.  But it is typically in the 6-12mm range.  Not a ton but perhaps enough to help.  Usually nothing is required from the fork with this type of link as its supposed to effect the geometry of the bike.  

 

Now...having the suspension shortened comes with pros and cons.  The cons...less ground clearance and the fact you are starting with the rear suspension partly through the stroke and into a different part of the ratio to start.  You "may" be giving up some of the plushness in the initial stroke as you are getting into a slightly more progressive part of the ratio depending on how much it shortened.  It has been suggested that shortening should be limited to to no more than an inch to minimize the effects on the linkage ratio.  Most have indicated the neg impact on the rear would likely be neglegable if limited to 1" or less.  The biggest concern is keeping the front and back balanced.  If an inch is taken from the back than an inch should be taken from the from the front...or at least enough taken from the forks so that, along with raising/lowering them in triple clamp, the desired geometry is preserved.  That is important.

 

Pros...well assuming its done correctly.....reduced seat height, lower center of gravity, better overall handling, and an improved overall experience for the person riding the bike.  All of which may lead to increased confidence and we all know that is a big thing when riding!  

 

I was told that they, being Factory XXXXX, first make the bike "fit" the rider.  Than they go ahead and deal with anything neg that may have arisen from the changes made in "sizing".  

 

I am actually considering seriously lower the KTM a little just to see how I like it.  Oh yea, was also encouraged to try one thing at a time....like lower suspension and go ride it.......don't revalve it yet, just lower and try it.  Than address any issues you may have with a good tuner.  It takes more patients and a good suspension guy, but the end result may be just perfect for you.  

 

So, hopefully my little mini novel here helps some.  Good luck!

 

PaulP

 

 

 

Ok...first off anybody who tells you to just basically "shut up and just ride it" is almost ALWAYS tall enough to not be effected by fact the not easily touching the ground has never posed any type of problem!  It is EXTREMELY insensitive or humiliating in many regards for ANYBODY to say that unless they have been there!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Actually I'm 5'6 and ride a YZ250 with a taller seat foam. I have had lowered seats, lowering links, internally lowered, and it all makes the bike handle bad. 

Oh...I actually didnt ask what your skill level was?  If you are a total beginner and are just nervous about the height of the bike, than I would actually do as one poster above said...ride the bike and get used to it.  My thoughts and opinions are based on my experience..or for those that really have a disadvantage when it comes to seat height.  Making a bike fit you is very important in my view....very important.  It is one of the biggest advantages a factory backed rider has compared to the average guy.  But at 5"7' honestly you should do just fine overall.  Set the sag at approx 100mm, make sure the spring rates are right for your weight and skill level, and go ride for a bit.  The Honda's are among the lower bikes out there.....approx 1 1/2" lower than the KTM I now have....which is why I am thinking of lowering it.  Of course E-start helps in my case!  It rocks for sure!!!!  

 

As far as the subframe....I had my 06 yamaha professionally done...the lower rails were cut a few millimeters (4-5 I think) and rewelded, which resulted in approx 10mm lower at the rear fender.  Any more than that you may start to get into problems with the rear wheel hitting, the exhaust no lining up, airbox misalignment....just becomes an issue.  On some bike simply elongating the lower mounting hole can work.  Just be careful and find experienced help if our unsure.

 

As for shaving the seat...keep in mind that the more you cut out of it, the harder it becomes to moves fore and aft.  Not the end of the world, but it can change the ergo's.  For shorter riders I think that it can become an issue if your not careful.

 

PaulP

Actually I'm 5'6 and ride a YZ250 with a taller seat foam. I have had lowered seats, lowering links, internally lowered, and it all makes the bike handle bad. 

Well I did say "ALMOST" every time!  Lol!  Yea I have managed to deal with it and the ergo's are better with a stock seat I think, but in my case the stock seat is IMPOSSIBLE to touch the ground!  So it's just not an option.  And honestly...it's all about inseam.  another inch or two and I could manage ok, but not so much with 27" and a 39" seat height.  I just can't make up 12"!!  Lol!  Almost, but not quit!  

I'm 6'4", and all my bikes are set up with tall seats so 'it's impossible to touch the ground', on purpose, so my knees are not bent.

 

A CRF450R is not the right bike for you if seat height is such a major concern.....

 

If you have to do anything, modify the seat.

 

If you have to lower it, have it done professionally, FRONT AND REAR, so won't under-steer yourself off a cliff......

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