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My experience lowering suspension using Kouba Links


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Well as some of you might have seen in some of my earlier post I was researching options on lowering my DRZ400’s suspension for SuperMotard racing. Since I occasionally want to switch back to dirt riding I wanted something easily reversible and preferably inexpensive. Therefore I didn’t want to send off my shock to get it shortened or have to buy a different swingarm. So I took a look at the Kouba Links. http://www.koubalink.com But I wasn’t able to find any info from anyone who had used them for lowering for SuperMotard racing. I called the manufacturer and although he thought he had sold some to people wanting them for SM; he didn’t have any feedback as to their effectiveness. So I was pretty much on my own. The good part was that Norm Kouba was very understanding and said if they didn’t work for any reason just send them back and he would refund my $70.

I didn’t think that using the #1 link which only lowers the rear ¾” or the #2 link which lowers it 1-1/8th“inch would be worth the cost/effort so I ordered the #3 links as they lower the rear about 1-3/4” especially since our Pevely track currently has no jumps. A few days later they showed up so I measured the height of my triple clamp and rear fender hoping to preserve the quick turning geometry I currently had. Installing the links only took about 20 minutes. You should really use an arbor press to press the plain bearings out of the stock links and into the Kouba Links as their pretty tight and the bearings looked like they’d be easy to damage. I re-measured the rear to find that it did drop about 1-3/4”. So next I lowered the front suspension by raising the forks in the triple clamps. Per the links instructions, I raised the handle bars so as to allow me to raise my fork more by inserting another set of bar clamps under my bars which allowed me to lower my front end up to 1-1/2”. So next I jacked up the preload on my rear shock so that the rear was only lowered the same amount.

Since I raised the bars which also mount my GPR steering damper I needed a slightly longer damper frame rod. So I called GPR and despite that I had never bought anything from them (I bought my damper used on TT) they were nice enough to send me a longer rod, 2nd day FedEx in time for my race AT NO CHARGE! I talked to them a great deal and learned that once you buy a product from them they support it for life for free! What a great company! They also told me about some of their neat new products coming out so I know where I’ll be buying my next damper from.

Well I have to say I was a little nervous thinking that I may have just tuned my bike into an evil handling beast the night before my next SM practice... So the next day I was glad to find out that this was not the case. Now I’m no SuperMotard/suspension expert by any stretch but boy was I pleased with the results. Left/right transitions seemed much quicker and easier and the suspension just seemed more composed at all times.

So I just wanted to let you all know my experience with using the Kouba Links for SuperMotard as it’s cheap, fast, effective and easy to switch back to the original height. Pretty cool if you ask me. 🙂

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Right on JT

Thanks for sharing that.

The cool thing is that you liked the results, one issue that I would suggest you keep an eye open for is the rebound (on both ends) for SuperMoto you want the bike to stay down in the corners once you brake hard, I say "stay down" loosely so take it that way please, What I mean is that one of the biggest challenges to overcome is the weight transfer back and forth that takes place with too LITTLE rebound under hard braking and transition back to power on.

Picture it in your mind and ask your self if this may be what you experience on track? : : "I brake hard into the corner and when I release the brakes the front end gets a little vague" or "when I release the (front) brake the rear end snaps back in line if I was stepped out any"

Either of these 2 conditions CAN be attributed to the front end comming back up too fast resulting in weight transfer when you LEAST want it to.

I only say this because in your post you said you didnt want to send the suspension out for rework, but I think it will be pretty tough to get good results in both worlds (trail and supermoto).

That brings us all the way back around to the other threads we have been working regarding comfort at speed and commitment in the corners, if the thing is moving around too much on you, then you will be reluctant to get on the gas sooner or harder.

Great post tho.....Let me know what you think??

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You slid your forks up 1 3/4" (44mm) without any problem? That's a lot! Although you may not have tire to fender clearance issues due to the 17's what you do have to look into is fork travel clearance... seems like the lower (outer) tubes can come up and smack the bottom triple clamp. I think you'd be a lot better off putting a spacer inside the forks that doesn't allow them to extend fully and then slide the forks back down in the clamps.

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Actually I only slid them up 1-1/2". But I'll have to look into the potential of a slider/triple clamp clearance problem. Although the Kouba instructions said they didnt recommend sliding them up more than that as you could have tire/fender clearance probs.

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I'm close to dragging my pegs now as I can occasionally hear them scape but it hasnt been to the point of upsetting the chassis. Yes I have stiffer Race Tech springs front and rear but I don't remember the rates off-hand. The forks and shock have also been re-valved by Pro-Action (by the previous owner) for 180lb fast woods riding. I'm going to contact them soon to see what they recommend particularly in fork oil weight and height.

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Dauv,

Thats a good point and something I will keep an eye on as I'm sure there's room for improvement there. In fact I'm going to look at some pics and video I was given to see if I can learn anything in that regard.

As far as setting up the suspension for both SM and dirt my priority is SM. For dirt I'll just have to live with whatever I can do inside of that. But thats exactly why I like the idea of a 10 minute link swap as opposed to shock re-work. As I mentioned in another post I'm going to check with Pro-action who did my shock and fork work to see how what they've done for fast woods riding compared to what they'd do for SM. I'll keep you posted. Please do the same for us as your input is VERY helpful to a lot of us I'm sure.

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