The effects of raising/lowering on handling - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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The effects of raising/lowering on handling

1. General

Lowering the bike lowers the center of mass and the moment of inertia. This makes it easier to change the lean of the bike when turning or changing its line. It also helps shorter riders reach the ground. On the other hand, this increased flickability comes at the expense of ground clearance and, possibly, suspension travel. Hard parts can run into each other. Raising has the opposite effect.

2. Safe limits regarding bottoming

The safe limit of lowering is about 1-1/8" or 28mm in the rear of the DL1000 and the DL650. The front limit is about 13/16" or 20mm for both bikes. DL650s with ABS and fork braces are more limited. The Superbrace that reaches a little above the top of the fork legs forces a lowering limit on ABS bikes to about 7mm. Other braces that are even with the tops of the fork legs allow about 10mm. If approaching the limits, test your specific bike to insure safety.

3. Front rear relationships with regard to geometry

As far as geometry is concerned, having the front lower than the rear in relationship to stock decreases rake and trail, making steering quicker, the bike easier to change line but making the bike less stable in a straight line. Lowering the rear more than the front has the opposite effect.

4. Front rear relationships observed

It seems however, lowering the front by 10-15mm with respect to the rear seems to be a preferred setting by many. It has the benefit of making the bike more agile as geometry would predict, but many report the bike is more stable, contrary to geometric prediction. Conjecture is the lower front lowers the angle of attack of the fairing through the air, creating a down force or, at least, negating or abating any lifting force the stock settings provide.

5. Mechanics

The front can easily be lowered by loosening the triple clamp pinch bolts on one side and tightening them again at the selected position. Then do the same on the other side. It's free and easily modifiable or even reversible. Raising the front is more difficult and requires new/modified hardware.

The rear is normally changed by replacing the dogbone links with different sized links. Longer links lower the rear and shorter links raise it. Some after market shocks also have adjustable lengths. Every 1mm change in dogbone hole spacing makes about a 2.8mm change in rear seat height.

6. Sag

The Science and Black Magic of Suspension Setup

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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post #2 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 05:22 PM
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Very informative! Thank you Greywolf! Thew timing is prefect since I will likely be lowering my DL1000 tomorrow.
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post #3 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 05:32 PM
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biggest diffeence in handling I found was wheeling it around when walking beside the bike, at stock height, the top heaviedness require more care than when manuvering a lowered bike around, the one inch difference not only lowers the center of gravity but also puts controls within a more controlable reach



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post #4 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
The rear is normally changed by replacing the dogbone links with different sized links. Longer links lower the rear and shorter links raise it. Some after market shocks also have adjustable lengths.
The correct way to do this is to change the shock. If you're a featherweight, you can get away with lowering the rear by swapping out the dogbones, but you'll never get close to enough preload if you're a heavyweight, riding 2-up, or riding with fully loaded luggage if you lower via dogbone swap. BTDT.

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post #5 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 06:00 PM
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I just lowered my rear with the Kouba links, I have not lowered the front because I want to wait until I get a fork brace. I found a noticeable increase in stability running down the slab vs stock height. Low speed maneuvers seem to be easier, too, although that may be just due to increased confidence because my stubby legs now reach the ground.

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post #6 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdude999 View Post
I just lowered my rear with the Kouba links, I have not lowered the front because I want to wait until I get a fork brace. I found a noticeable increase in stability running down the slab vs stock height. Low speed maneuvers seem to be easier, too, although that may be just due to increased confidence because my stubby legs now reach the ground.
I'll agree the low speed confidence is about easier ground reach. Low speed maneuvering actually takes more effort with a lowered back because of the increase in rake and trail. Be careful with high speeds as the plastics will act like a lifting body. It will feel fine until the steering gets vague. The trip from vague to dangerous is a short one. A fork brace is important with that kind of lift. I'll also recommend a Scotts steering stabilizer.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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post #7 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 07:00 PM
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Great post, as usual GW!

I lurked here for about six months prior to buying my DL1K and have put about 6K on it since. I didn't do anything to the ride geometry right away because of being 6' 4" and 250lbs. I know the average rider tends to be a lot less so I thought I'd try stock for a while before jumping on the bandwagon, just so if nothing else, I'd have a benchmark to go by. I'm not unimpressed by the ride but I think I might give a 10mm front lowing a shot just to see how it compares. First thing tomorrow the wrenches come out. You've never lead us astray, GW, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and see how it differs... for better or for worse.

Update to follow in a few weeks! :mrgreen:

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post #8 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 07:29 PM
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aerodynamic lift of the front fairings

has anyone instrumented their bikes to quantify this reported effect ?
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post #9 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrman View Post
Great post, as usual GW!

I lurked here for about six months prior to buying my DL1K and have put about 6K on it since. I didn't do anything to the ride geometry right away because of being 6' 4" and 250lbs. I know the average rider tends to be a lot less so I thought I'd try stock for a while before jumping on the bandwagon, just so if nothing else, I'd have a benchmark to go by. I'm not unimpressed by the ride but I think I might give a 10mm front lowing a shot just to see how it compares. First thing tomorrow the wrenches come out. You've never lead us astray, GW, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and see how it differs... for better or for worse.

Update to follow in a few weeks! :mrgreen:
This might be ok to try it out but if you want to stay with this geometry for the long term I would suggest you return the front to standard and raise the rear
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post #10 of 41 Old 06-04-2011, 07:45 PM
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You sound like a scientist Greywolf! Good stuff.

I personally wouldn't want to lower any Vstrom. I think they're too low already....at least for a bike that's supposedly designed for some off road usage.

The only 1000 I've ever ridden had been lowered. While I completely loved the power of that engine....I absolutely hated the way that bike handled. I felt like that bike was trying to throw me the entire time.

The Wee on the other hand....handles excellently (IMO). But there are times when I sure could use that extra horsepower.

I just reconnected with a friend who has a 1000 in stock form. I can't wait to switch bikes with him and try a non-lowered 1000 to see how it compares in the handling department to the Wee.
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