Need lowering/suspension help!!!

I have a 97 XR600 that I recently purchased, and I really want to lower it. I find myself unable to get my feet to the ground on just about any uneven surface, causing some serious awkwardness and crashes (I am 5'9" & 205# with gear). The height also makes the bike feel even heavier than it is, which is making me overwork it. Is there anyone who sells lowering links or some type of lowering kit for this bike? I have tried out an older XL600, and it sits quite a bit lower, which also seems to make the bike feel much lighter and more manueverable to me.

Also, I am riding a lot of really rocky terrain with lots of hill climbs and slow, rocky decents. I have a hard time getting the rear tire to hook up on downhills regardless how far back on the bike I get. This is making rocky downhills overly challenging. I am wondering if I am not successfully loading the rear suspension, allowing the rear tire to lose traction and slide out? I am thinking a much softer setup might be beneficial here, as I have yet to bottom out on this bike, and I never jump it. I just want it to soak up harder mountainous terrain without getting spongy. I have ridden my friend's KTM 450 which he had lowered and softened, and I can absolutely fly on his suspension setup. While I don't expect miracles from the XR, any gains at all would be helpful.

Are these mods possible? What kind of costs are involved? Who do you recommend for parts/labor?

I had my XR400 lowered for the same reasons you mention, It was so much easier to ride, my confidence was greatly improved.

I had my shock lowered internally because the lowering links on offer did not do too much.

They basically pull the shock apart put a nylon spacer below the piston, effectively reducing the travel of the shock. The spacer size depends on how low you want to go, a 10mm spacer will make the back of the seat approx 40mm lower.

The spring pre-load has to be backed off the same amount as the spacer size (ie. 10mm spacer - 10mm less pre-load). This gives you the same suspension set up as it was before lowering, in your case you may want to back it off futher.

40mm at the back of the seat is a fair amount, and remember to lower the front end by pulling the forks through the clamps at least 20mm so as not to upset the geometry of the bike too much.

As for cost, who knows. I happen to be mates with a suspension tuner so it cost me a case of Coopers!

Good luck.

Thanks for the input. I was starting to wonder if everyone was completely happy with the stock suspension setup of the XR600 :cry:

In your post you mentioned lowering links as not really being that effective. I have seen lowering links for the XR that lower the rear 1 1/2". I am not sure if that will be enough or not, and I have no idea how smooth they function.

I have heard what you are talking about referred to as "blocking" the suspension. This is what my friend had done on his KTM. After doing your 400, did you feel that the bike felt like it wore its weight lower, and felt lighter overall? Also, do you have any problems now with bottoming out?

I just bought a KOUBA LINK for my 2001 XR650L, I haven't installed it yet, but it supposedly will lower my bike 1.75", I do know that it is definitely a VERY high-quality piece of work, with 2 Zerk grease fittings, and shipping was prompt ... try a web search for KOUBA, thats the fella's name that developed it ... from what Ive read in here, others are very happy with theirs ..

After adding the lowering link and dropping the front forks, what differences does it make in the handing with the weight distribution and steering geometry changes ? Did anyone notice any difference other than the height ?

only thing Ive heard about the Kouba Link affecting handling was VERY positive ... posts in here, and on web searches indicated it not only lowered bike, but greatly improved handling over whoops ... I also read that while it lowers the bike 1.75". it also INcreases travel by 1/4" ... that surprised me ... ??

Weight did feel as if it was being carried lower. Made the bike a lot easier for me to throw around, probably the best mod I ever did on the XR.

I tried a lowering link before having the suspention lowered internally, I didn't think it made a good enough improvement so I sent it back to the supplier for a refund!

So long as you lower the front end (slidding forks through clamps) geometry is not altered too much, the XR steers pretty quick anyway, so I only lowered the front by 10mm to give it a little more stability. :cry:

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