Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

lowering seat height

Recommended Posts

I'm 5'10", not exactly short, but I wanted to more easily dab with my feet on the gnarly, without compromising ground clearance or suspension travel.

So I cut my seat down. It was easy to do. Remove the staples and peel off the seat cover. Use a bread knife to make a rough cut on the foam. Use a cheese great to contour it the way you want. Use (2) vise grip sheet metal pliers (flats on the jaws.) Use the vice grips to hold the cover to one edge of the seat. Spray the underside with 3M spray adhesive. Stretch the cover across tight to the other side and staple it. Stretch it real tight for a professional appearance. Some upholstery people say you can use steam. I didn't need it.

------------------

'01 KTM 520 EXC

'95 Suzuki DR350 Dirt

'01 Silverado 2500HD 4x4 Duramax/ZF-6spd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would advise the same. We lowered my wifes bike with spacers in the shock and forks and had a really hard time getting the bike set up properly as all of the leverage angles and geometry changed when we did this. Not to mention that the first initial inch and a half of travel that absorbs the small junk was no longer there so the ride was pretty harsh. Cutting seat foam is the only way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by SUnruh:

the *ONLY* way to go is have a suspension shop (that knows what they are doing) lower it for you.

i had 2 inches taken out of my bike and it is the best setup i've ever been on. a quality shop like:

www.trakcontrol.com

www.gp-racing.com

or even

www.mx-tech.com

can do it CORRECTLY for you.

seat foam shaving is NOT the answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by quadrunner500:

I'm 5'10", not exactly short, but I wanted to more easily dab with my feet on the gnarly, without compromising ground clearance or suspension travel.

So I cut my seat down. It was easy to do. Remove the staples and peel off the seat cover. Use a bread knife to make a rough cut on the foam. Use a cheese great to contour it the way you want. Use (2) vise grip sheet metal pliers (flats on the jaws.) Use the vice grips to hold the cover to one edge of the seat. Spray the underside with 3M spray adhesive. Stretch the cover across tight to the other side and staple it. Stretch it real tight for a professional appearance. Some upholstery people say you can use steam. I didn't need it.

DID YOU CUT THE TOP OR BOTTOM OF THE SEAT FOAM?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by SUnruh:

When you lowered the front, did you have to changes the top triple clamp? I have thought about lowering but it looks like the top of the forks would hit the bars.

I lowered my seat by buying a new low foam from Ceet.

------------------

aka Rich

1996 300 EXC

(dual sported)

1987 Suzuki LT250R

(Glamis chrome beast)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by SUnruh:

the *ONLY* way to go is have a suspension shop (that knows what they are doing) lower it for you.

I totally agree. At 5'5" and about a 30" inseam any full sized bike I ride has to have suspension work. I have ridden two radically lowered full sized bikes, one a 97 CR125 and one a 2001 KTM400mxc, both were lowered enough that I could put my feet solidly on the ground on both sides (usually both feet are a couple inches from the ground). Both were fantastic to ride and handled great. The CR was done by Pro Action, the KTM by Race Tech.

The KTM had been professionally lowered, the seat foam shaved, and the sub framed cut down as well. For someone my size, it was a blast to ride!

I have also seen RC's KX in person and that thing is low! I could probably touch the ground. You can safely get bikes really low and have them handle fantastic, but have it done right by someone who knows what they are doing. I finally had my little bike re-valved and set up by Aftershocks, and the difference is amazing. I don't think I will ever ride another bike without investing in having my suspension set up by an expert, wether I lower it or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by hodaphile:

When you lowered the front, did you have to changes the top triple clamp? I have thought about lowering but it looks like the top of the forks would hit the bars.

I lowered my seat by buying a new low foam from Ceet.

why on earth would you change the top 3 clamp?

the forks REMAIN at the same place in the 3clamp as they did before the lowering. if you slide the forks up in the 3clamp you are gonna be needing a dentist asap as it with slam your ugly face into the dirt faster than you can blink.

i guess you just don't understand. by having your suspension done by somebody that KNOWS what they are doing, you do NOT change the geometry of the suspesion from that of stock. moving the forks up and lowering links and wacko preload on springs is akin to snorting coke. just plain stupid. you can't tell a difference between mine and stock, except that it is 2 full inches lower.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kalitude, can you give me specifics on your bike? How much did you take out of the sub frame and did you have trouble with the silencer mount? How much out of the seat?(did you shave the top or bottum? How much on suspension? Thanks for your help.

Originally posted by Kalitude:

I totally agree. At 5'5" and about a 30" inseam any full sized bike I ride has to have suspension work. I have ridden two radically lowered full sized bikes, one a 97 CR125 and one a 2001 KTM400mxc, both were lowered enough that I could put my feet solidly on the ground on both sides (usually both feet are a couple inches from the ground). Both were fantastic to ride and handled great. The CR was done by Pro Action, the KTM by Race Tech.

The KTM had been professionally lowered, the seat foam shaved, and the sub framed cut down as well. For someone my size, it was a blast to ride!

I have also seen RC's KX in person and that thing is low! I could probably touch the ground. You can safely get bikes really low and have them handle fantastic, but have it done right by someone who knows what they are doing. I finally had my little bike re-valved and set up by Aftershocks, and the difference is amazing. I don't think I will ever ride another bike without investing in having my suspension set up by an expert, wether I lower it or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by frank whitsell:

Kalitude, can you give me specifics on your bike? How much did you take out of the sub frame and did you have trouble with the silencer mount? How much out of the seat?(did you shave the top or bottum? How much on suspension? Thanks for your help.

Frank,

I WISH it was my bike! It belongs to a woman down in SoCal who does the desert series. I would recommend calling Race Tech and seeing what kind of information they can give you, they did the majority of the work on the bike. I am also sure that any good, reputable suspension shop can give you much better information than anyone else. Just know that it isn't unheard of to lower a KTM a good 3" or more with the right skill. Here is a photo of Darla and the bike so you can get an idea. Darla is a bit shorter than me, and I am 5'5"

http://albums.photopoint.com/j/ViewPhoto?u=1412541&a=13847700&p=55006910&f=0

I am pretty sure they shaved as much as they could off the seat, but it wasn't any less comfy than I regular seat (neither is comfy!) Race Tech will probably know about the sub frame trick since it seems to be a well known mod to the KTM's. They were able to shave 2" or more off the suspension. The bike is a blast to ride, although set up a bit stiff for the woods (she rides almost exclusively in the desert).

Again, as has been noted by others, talk with, and have the the work done by a good suspension guy - it is well worth the few hundred bucks you will spend.

[This message has been edited by Kalitude (edited October 08, 2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do some of you folks not think???? Lowering the suspension and changing the linkage DOES affect the leverage angles and the way a bike performs. That is why factory teams change lower linkages on alot of the bikes.....BECAUSE IT CHANGES THE LEVERAGE RATIOS. Just by adding a longer link to lower the bike affects the way the swingarm travels upward and how and where the shock becomes more active or stiffer. There is no way to calculate exactly how these leverage ratios are changed as there are too many variables. Raising the fork in the triple clamps will cause the bike to turn sharper and be more prone to headshake at somewhat slower speeds than if ridden at the stock height. Using spacers to preload the fork rebound or the shock rebound as any shop would do, will take away from the tunability of the suspension and make the bike ride in a stiffer portion of the suspension because the first inch or so of travel is actually been taken up with a spacer of some kind....ergo....the smaller chop is not soaked up by the suspension (because it cannot move in the plushest part of the travel) and that is transferred more directly to the rider. Chop the sub farme, shave the seat foam.....the only REAL way to effectively lower a bike and not have it affe ct the handleing and geometry. Have been down this road twice with my wifes race bikes....She is 5'3" and has very short legs for her height..... have tried this on her XR250 and her YZF250.....she now rides with the YZF at full race height with just the shaved seat foam. If she can do it, pretty much any man should be able to. Who let Kalitude in here...? Oh great, now are we all gonna have to walk on eggshells here too, so that we don't offend the the Politically Correct police? She was officially booted from DRN. Keep an eye on her.

[This message has been edited by helmetcam guy (edited October 09, 2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, sorry for the long tirade.......just hate to see anyone go thru all of the crap that we did and have to fight the set up as much as we did. Works much better at full height..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by helmetcam guy:

Man, sorry for the long tirade.......just hate to see anyone go thru all of the crap that we did and have to fight the set up as much as we did. Works much better at full height..

Ist KTM's don't have a linkage 2nd full height works if your on a track but not in the woods. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frank, are you getting shorter as you get older? Maybe a 1974 Husky 250 would be about the right size. It seemed like you were plenty fast on that back at Stonetown.

Why don't you come out to Colorado and stay at my place next spring.

Mike Troast

2001 400EXC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frank I agree with you about the height thing in the woods vs. MX. Allthough the KTM does not have a linkage, lowering it from the shock will cause the rear wheel to ride higher in the travel, thus changing the angle of the swingarm, which in turn flatens out the steering angle, which will make the bike more difficult to steer. Try to compensate by raising the forks in the 3clamp and pretty soon the bike is sitting so far into the suspension that the headshake starts. this is what our experience was. Also, to lower the bike for woods riding using the rebound spacers, takes up the initial plushness that you would need for soaking up the chop and tree roots of woods riding. Folks will always do what they want, I would definately try another approach esp for woods riding. It is more important to be able to touch a foot down in the boonies than on an MX track. After a few months of messing with my wifes bike we (me) pulled the spacers out and returned it back to full height. Much better now. Here goes Kali!...watch for the smoke coming out of her ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by helmetcam guy:

Who let Kalitude in here...? Oh great, now are we all gonna have to walk on eggshells here too, so that we don't offend the the Politically Correct police? She was officially booted from DRN. Keep an eye on her.

Keep your personal issues, and your 'friends' personal issues to yourself, I am sure no one really wants to hear it. You and your 'friends' really need to grow up and get a life. You are acting like a child calling someone names on the playground.

Some people (including your wife from what I understand) have gone to great lengths to create a bike that fits properly, and maybe after several years riding those who now need to lower their bikes no longer will. Until then, there is a lot that a good suspension shop can do to make a bike lower while still handling great, for those of us who want or need the security of a bike we can touch the ground on..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HelmCam,

I agree that the bikes are best left stock. However, there are times when a possible decrease in performance could be worth it.

I have looked into lowering. It is complicated! Everyone has an opinion on it. Even though working on suspension may not be the greatest way to go, it is reversible when you sell the bike. Also, depending on the type of riding you do, it may not be as bad.

For desert, I make do with not being able to reach the ground. With one leg solidily on the ground, my other leg has the knee hanging on the seat. Starting the bike can be a bitch and hopefully an e-button will get rid of that! Stopping can be tricky too, always looking for a good rock.

But my riding is a good 80% very technical single-track woods riding with lots of rocks and logs. Therefore, I'm not so concerned about massive SX hits that need a full range.

The option I have looked at involves lowering the front and rear suspension. This involves lots of revalving, respringing, though no change of the actual linkage. Yes, there would be less suspension travel.

I agree that the geometry will be different. But it seems hard that 2" can be taken out of the frame without changing geometry either?

I finally decided against it as 2" doesn't make a whole lot of difference vs. the cost and trouble involved. Hopefully the e-start will eliminate the hopping back and forth over the bike that is now needed. Try that when you stall on a rocky uphill!

------------------

aka Rich

1996 300 EXC

(dual sported)

1987 Suzuki LT250R

(Glamis chrome beast)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by SUnruh:

why on earth would you change the top 3 clamp?

the forks REMAIN at the same place in the 3clamp as they did before the lowering. if you slide the forks up in the 3clamp you are gonna be needing a dentist asap as it with slam your ugly face into the dirt faster than you can blink.

i guess you just don't understand. by having your suspension done by somebody that KNOWS what they are doing, you do NOT change the geometry of the suspesion from that of stock. moving the forks up and lowering links and wacko preload on springs is akin to snorting coke. just plain stupid. you can't tell a difference between mine and stock, except that it is 2 full inches lower.

OK, enlighten me?

So you have go to the pro suspension shop that knew what they were doing and what is it that they did?? Did they shorten the suspension? Chop the frame? Glue a 2x4 to the bottom of each boot???

------------------

aka Rich

1996 300 EXC

(dual sported)

1987 Suzuki LT250R

(Glamis chrome beast)

Share this post


Link to post
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:

Sign in to follow this  

×