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Too tall suspension. Any fixes?

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Hi all!  I'm new to this forum but certainly not to Hondas.  Back in the day, I was pretty big into racing the CR line in Ohio.  That's back when Ricky Johnson (do I have that first name right?) and Jean Michelle Bayle were all the poo.   Around that time, I discovered that turning 25 meant that things started to hurt when I fell, so only hair scrambles after that.  Stayed out of the dirt scene for about 15 years.  Then I bought enough property to have some fun on.  Got my girls a pair of Honda atvs  and that got the blood hot again.  Not wanting the mind numbing power of a build CR250 or *gasp* the CR500, I chose the XR 200 and 400.  Both ran great.  I actually enjoyed the 200 more due to its size.  But I sold it and decided to keep the 1997 XR400 due to it only had just under 500 actual miles as of 3 years ago when I bought it for $1000.  Looks new and runs new.  Only problem is how tall it is.  I'm not tiny, bout 5'9".  But this thing was built for the green giant.  Was able to lower the front forks about 2 inches but need to lower the rear about 2 inches to really do any help.  I don't really need all the extra height as I only trail ride. 

Any suggestions without breakin the budget?  Thanks guys (and any ladies listening).

The original Moo

 

 

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We must be porportioned differently, cause I'm 5'9" and have no trouble with seat height.

Have you set the rear sag? Set it to 4 inches. That should get your feet on the ground.

If that's not enough, I think a lowering link is available, but I can't remember from who.

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We must be porportioned differently, cause I'm 5'9" and have no trouble with seat height.

Have you set the rear sag? Set it to 4 inches. That should get your feet on the ground.

If that's not enough, I think a lowering link is available, but I can't remember from who.

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First things first, very easy to lower the rear with an INTERNAL spacer that any competent tuner can accomplish. That is far better than with a link and that '97 shock probably needs fresh fluid anyway. What I find interesting is that I am 6'1" and my 97 feels tall also. I just had my shock serviced and I feel it is taller now, everything else being equal. I am on my third XR4 and this one seems taller than the others. ???

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Are you sure you need to lower it? Do you think you could stand to ride it a bit longer as it is? You may get used to it. I'm 5'8" and long-waisted (another way of saying I have short legs). My KX250 has got some height to it (over 1/2" taller than your bike), but it has never bothered me. Maybe you are suffering from the shock of something like a 3" jump in seat height.

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I'm 5' 7 1/2" (YES, the 1/2" IS important!! LOL!!) with a 31" inseam. The XR4 is a tall ass bike, no 2 ways about it. Make sure rear sag is set to 4 to 4-1/8" with you on it, wearing all your normal riding gear. If your good on that, look for write ups on here or other sites on how to re-shape your seat. You can cut an inch of foam off the height and I would also suggest making it just a little bit narrower right where your legs are when stopped and at a stand still. That way your legs go more straight down to the ground rather than splaying way out to the sides as well. Leave the full width where your ass sits for comfort. Then try and find a seat cover and someone to install it so it doesn't look like a sacked out pillow (easier said than done).

 

Sag and seat are the cheapest ways.

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Lowering links are made Devol. Google XR400 lowering link.  They're like under a $100.000 but you only get less than an inch.  The way to spend that hundred bucks is to have the shock rebuilt and have the re-builder lower it an inch or so for you.  I have the lowering link and it's pretty much a waste.

 

Lowering the front that much without lowering the rear can make you bike handle a little more squirrelier too.

 

If you can't find anybody to do that shock mod for you let me know.  There is a guy in Lower Michigan I know who can fix you up.

Edited by XR-rated

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I really appreciate all the advise.  I'm going to work on the sag.  I don't have any problem riding the bike and my toes will just barely touch when stopped.  Problem is getting on and balancing bike while starting it and getting my leg over the seat when getting off.  I'm telling you, this sucker is high.  I NEVER had issues getting off my CRs or starting them due to height.  My buddy had a KDX 300 and we all know how tall those things are.  This XR is taller, it has to be.  It looks taller than the other pics that I see too.  The original owner I got it from claims that there are no add ons to this bike.  Original tires and everything yet.  I'll get a pic posted soon.  I will admit, this thing has all the power of my built CR250 tho.  If only it handled as good... 

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I have a 96, 98 and 02 all are within about a half inch of same height , I'm 5'-11"  and both feet flat on ground usually still isn't happening.. don't be tempted to kick it while on the kick stand or you will end up breaking the kick stand off of the frame where it is welded on. I generally have them leaned over to the left when kicking them so my left foot is flat on the ground. usually when I stall out or come to a stop there is a hole where I go to put my foot down and I tip over anyway ....lol

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Kicking over a tall bike is really just a matter of practice. Look at RV or (better yet) JS kick their bikes during a race. These are not tall boys, and their bikes are taller than yours, but they start them on the run in seconds or less. You're sacrificing suspension for height; is it worth it? If it makes you happy, definitely. But a week or two of riding first might be worth a try to see if you can get used to the body adjustments necessary to get on/off and start the bike.

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I agree, the seat height is tall and depending on where you might end up after a bailout, getting back on board and re-lighting the beast can be a real challenge because of this. In any case, I personally would be very hesitant to lower the bike at all due to the already fairly low ground clearance under the motor.

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Lowering links work just fine with a stiffer spring. 

 

This may be true for riders in a specific weight class.

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Love my 99XR400, but due to being only 5'6'' tall presents challenging balance issues.  Have applied all the lowering strategies available and that helped a lot.  Recently hit upon another application that was recently installed with great success!  Gained 5/8" doing so, was extremely cost effective and am a very happy rider.  Ready for this?  Find an old tire with good tread, cut out the tread with a saber saw, enough to cover the bottom of..........................your riding boots!  Yeah, riding boots!  Super clean the boot tread and the inside of the tire tread with acetone or other suitable solvent and adhere in place with polyurethane adhesive, I uesed Sikflex 1a construction sealant, awesome stuff!  Clamped them over night and finished to match perfectly the boot tread with a #60 sanding belt!  Cut out a groove on the right boot tread to catch the kick starter.  You won't be disappointed!

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The cheap way,pull the forks up,sack the spring a little more. Dont like the lowering links.The right way is the $ way.Take apart susp install spacers to lower it. Also use smaller tire to lower.You can also cut and lower sub frame. Dont cut seat,it will give you the red ass.Or do like Mike cut off old pair of boots,glue,nail,wire it under your boots.My buddys xr4 is lowered 1 inch (with spacers) it works so good. It feels light,corners better,feet on ground,he stays with us over the woops.I need to do it to my bike

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This may be true for riders in a specific weight class.

??

Link changes the leverage, use a stiffer spring.

 

I would add check your tires. Huge variables in sidewall height that can make a real difference. As does airing down the tire for offroad.

I'm 5'9" with 30" inseam and I love my lowering link with slightly stiffer spring, but i don't race or ride fast. YRMV

Edited by MindBlower

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I raised the forks in the trees. The tops are about 2" above the top stanchion. Does two things lowers the bike and improves the steering. Most of my riding is single track and double track. Not a lot of jumps.

 

 

 

No doubt that originalmoo has his suspension squared away this past Spring.

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