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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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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
 

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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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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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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. :fineprint:
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Discussion Starter #6
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. :fineprint:
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.
 

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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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aerodynamic lift of the front fairings

has anyone instrumented their bikes to quantify this reported effect ?
 

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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:
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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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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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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The Wee on the other hand....handles excellently (IMO). But there are times when I sure could use that extra horsepower.
Downshift and you'll keep up with the DL1000 until about 80mph. After that it's all about the bigger engine.
 

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Has anybody tried the Soupy's adjustable links? That seems to make the most sense to me.



I was considering lowering my Vee just a bit to get better footing. I dropped the forks 15mm and liked that. I reduced the preload on the rear shock and it dropped just a bit and softened it up a bit which I was after. I also played with the preload on the forks a bit.

I'd like to reduce the dampening in the forks and was considering going to a lighter weight oil. I probably need to search some other threads for that info.
 

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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.
Huh????

The correct spring for the load weight and the preload (sag adjustment) are to get the laden bike into the center of its suspension travel (and not exactly the center, but so it is equally unlikely to top-out or bottom-out). Lowering or raising links do not affect this. A correctly set up rear suspension has both adjustments if needed...links (or shock length) for ride height and spring & preload setting for the weight carried.
 

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Has anybody tried the Soupy's adjustable links? That seems to make the most sense to me.



I was considering lowering my Vee just a bit to get better footing. I dropped the forks 15mm and liked that. I reduced the preload on the rear shock and it dropped just a bit and softened it up a bit which I was after. I also played with the preload on the forks a bit.

I'd like to reduce the dampening in the forks and was considering going to a lighter weight oil. I probably need to search some other threads for that info.
well, not me personally, but this guys I know... a good friend and frequent poster here "Cbrxxess" has a set of the adjustable dogbones for lowering his wifes Vee and has nothing but good things to say about them... adjustablilty on the fly! I've been thinking about these to raise my Vee a scosh. PM him for any further questions in case he doesn't see this thread.
 

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For those of us with the superbrace and ABS....if triple clamps are lowered 3/4 inch to match lowering links installed (I hadn't seen GW's interference info before I made that adjustment), do the forks just bottom out sooner, but safely on hard parts that can take it, or do they hit sensitive ABS or other elements?

Sounds like I need to back my triple clamps up about 3/8" or so regardless...not looking forward to that!
 

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Huh????

The correct spring for the load weight and the preload (sag adjustment) are to get the laden bike into the center of its suspension travel (and not exactly the center, but so it is equally unlikely to top-out or bottom-out). Lowering or raising links do not affect this. A correctly set up rear suspension has both adjustments if needed...links (or shock length) for ride height and spring & preload setting for the weight carried.
Yes, you need the correct spring, but the stock preload adjuster is out to lunch if you use links to lower the bike, you've changed the geometry of the suspension enough that it is no longer possible to make those adjustments.

I tried both 5/8" and 1 1/8 lower links and it just wasn't right. Ultimately, I went with an adjustable shock and that's the best way to do it.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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Discussion Starter #18
For those of us with the superbrace and ABS....if triple clamps are lowered 3/4 inch to match lowering links installed (I hadn't seen GW's interference info before I made that adjustment), do the forks just bottom out sooner, but safely on hard parts that can take it, or do they hit sensitive ABS or other elements?

Sounds like I need to back my triple clamps up about 3/8" or so regardless...not looking forward to that!
The brake line junction under the lower triple clamp crashes into the brace at full compression when lowered too much. If you are willing to sacrifice a little fork travel you don't usually use anyway, especially if you are running proper fork springs like the Sonics, there is a workaround. Get a pair of Rancho RS1952 fork boots. Cut off the bottoms at the wide part of the second pleat from the bottom. The lower end will rest on the brace like it was attached, though it isn't. When fully compressed, the rubber will pleat bind, creating a relatively soft bumper stop and preventing any damage. They will also prevent stone and dried bug damage and save fork seals as a result. Those who ride the tough stuff off road may want all the travel they can get though.

 

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Adjustable Links

Has anybody tried the Soupy's adjustable links? That seems to make the most sense to me.



I was considering lowering my Vee just a bit to get better footing. I dropped the forks 15mm and liked that. I reduced the preload on the rear shock and it dropped just a bit and softened it up a bit which I was after. I also played with the preload on the forks a bit.

I'd like to reduce the dampening in the forks and was considering going to a lighter weight oil. I probably need to search some other threads for that info.
I have a set of Soupys adjustable links. For riding around in the states I have my bike lowered 3/4" with forks raised 1/2". For riding around Mexico I return everything back to stock because of the topes (speed bumps). It nice to be able to adjust bike height as required. The Soupys are very easy to install and adjust.
 

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I just lowered my bike on the front forks by a full inch since I didn't know any better. Previously, the forks were exactly even with the top of the upper triple clamp.

I did this by loosening the bolts on the upper and lower triple clamps and lifting the bike off its side stand. The forks rose up naturally. I adjusted them to be exactly equal with a few taps on a wooden down on top of each fork.

The difference in low-speed handling is dramatic. No sense of the bike being awkward or top heavy. In the twisties, the bike might be just a little lighter, but I think the 19-inch front wheel continues to require a little extra input to begin a turn. I don't notice a difference in high-speed stability, but the 650cc doesn't invite terribly high speed riding anyway.

If you do this, retighten the bolts at hundred-mile intervals until they don't loosen up after riding.

I like this adjustment very much. It's a fifteen-minute fix that completely changes the feel of the bike for me. I'll watch for the front suspension hitting on larger bumps, but I don't go off road to speak of and haven't had any problems with hard braking.
 
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