Lowering questions - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 03-27-2013, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Lowering questions

Ok, so I should lower my bike to better fit my 5'7" self. Particularly since I'm just learning to ride, and my off roading will be pretty tame to start.

The owner included a set of multi-position lowering links for the rear, so this won't even cost money.

That brings me to my first question - the prior owner said he set the suspension "to the softest setting", which made it easier to reach the ground. I looked, the stock shock doesn't look adjustable, at least in height. Is the bolt on the side to adjust compression on the shock? I have an adjustable suspension in a car I autocross, I'm guessing this is similar? Does anyone adjust this, if it is adjustable?

Second question:
Since I can at least reach the ground, I was thinking of just 1" front, 1" rear. Or, for on-road riding, should I stiffen the shock (if adjustable) and maybe set the back link to the 2" setting? There's also a 3" setting on here, believe it or not.

Third question:
To lower the front, I understand I can move the fork up in the triple tree. It looks like I've got at least an inch clearance above it, it's flush to the tree right now.
Is there a guide on here on doing that? Seems simple conceptually, but I'd rather read up first.

I'll search on that part when I can get to something other than my phone - I did browse some guides Tom put up, and I was blown away at the knowledge in there. Amazing work.

Anyone here done this? Thanks in advance!



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post #2 of 34 Old 03-27-2013, 10:37 PM
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The factory adjuster is the bolt on the side of the rear shock and has 5 positions. Turn the bolt clockwise to increase the preload/ride height. Continue to turn past the #5 setting there will be a bang(normal) and you will be back at the #1 setting. You can raise the ride height more than an inch by going from #1 to the #5 setting. It is easier to adjust with the rear wheel off the ground but is dooable when on the ground. On the bottom of the shock there is a slotted screw. This is the rebound dampening adjustment. Turn the screw in fully then out one turn. This is the starting setting. In for more rebound dampening, out for less. A little trial and error is in order to see what does what and how you like it.
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post #3 of 34 Old 03-27-2013, 10:46 PM
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geolemon -

The lowering links change the geometry of the rear suspension, effectively making it softer as they do the lowering.

What you want is to have the sag at about 1/3 of the suspension travel, or 3" on the KLR. To do that you adjust that nut on the top of the shock, which changes the pre-load. It drives an eccentric with five steps to increase the pre-load.

What you need to do, then, is set the height first with the lowering links and then set the pre-load for the correct sag.

That shock also has a rebound adjustment down on the lower clevis on the right hand side.

Front end height should be reduced commensurate with the rear by sliding the tubes up in the triple tree. Pre-load on the front is set using spacers. If you need to make an adjustment you can build new spacers out of heavy wall PVC pipe.

Most people find that if they can touch the ball of one foot to the ground they become quite comfortable with the height of the KLR. Your links are very good in that regard, as you can lower the bike as much as you need, then raise it back up as you become comfortable on the bike.

Newer riders often feel that they should be able to flat-foot the bike, which is not true at all. You merely need to be able to control the thing at low or no speed.

T

edit - what Jeff said. He types faster.

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post #4 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 11:21 AM
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BTW "sag" is measurement of the difference of the unweighted suspension vs. fully loaded.

The bike needs to be on a stand with the suspension full relaxed. To find the rear sag measure from a point towards the end of swingarm/wheel axle and a spot on the frame/fender above as vertically as practical. Record that measurement. Now with the bike sitting on the ground sit on the bike with all your normal gear/load. The bike needs to be as unsupported as possible with all the weight over the wheels. Re-measure using your first locations. Subtract the 2 measurements, the difference = sag.

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post #5 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 01:27 PM
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I've never seen links like that before, when you said adjustable I was thinking of the ones with a threaded rod that you can adjust.

You will find though (I'm guessing anyway), that once you get used to the bike you will jack it back up. Like Tom says, as long as you can get the ball of one foot on the ground at lights or when stopping, that's all you really need. The only time I have difficulties is when I'm trying to back it up on loose gravel, then things can get interesting! The fellow I bought it from was only around 5'5" and he had the 1.5 inch lowering links and a Corbin dual platform seat. He could still barely touch the ground... That's why he ended up selling the bike, he said he was terrified of stopping on gravel and dropping it.
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post #6 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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I actually do have a Sargent seat on the bike, maybe that helps. I bet it's the pre-load that the former owner was referencing- I can touch the ground with both feet on either side.
So I'm thinking maybe I'll try them with the 1" setting, and lower the front forks 1" - that's doesn't seem too extreme. And thanks Tom and Spec - I'll check and set sag both before and after lowering it - it might make an impact on which setting I do end up using!

Yep, I've seen the ones with that look like turnbuckles. I think these ones actually look more solid, in comparison. Less risk of having them maladjusted asymmetrically at any rate.

One thing I do need - a lowered kickstand!
I'd like to avoid cutting/welding this one (I do own a MIG welder), because as you say - I might put it back to stock someday.
Where can I get one that's 1.5" or 2" lower (and preferably with a big foot - I have one I could unscrew that's on my kickstand now, worst case)?

I missed one that seemed perfect on Ebay - a 1.5" lowered kickstand.
The seller's account was messed up, so I couldn't "buy now", but I wanted it so I alerted him to it, he looked into it, I tried again, told him it was still messed up, he apologized, actually fixed it - told me to try again - then sold it to another person who snuck in. Bastard. That's probably legitimately worthy of negative feedback but not worth my time.

Last edited by geolemon; 03-28-2013 at 02:58 PM.
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post #7 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 03:07 PM
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I'm sure you already said, but I have a horrible memory, your bike is a Gen 2 right? If it is, it probably stands up way to straight anyway (Gen 2's are prone to falling over very easily on the sidestand). You can safely cut an inch or so off the stand and it will be fine in the lowered, or stock height position. Actually if you raise it back up it will have a nice lean to it and it wont be so prone to falling to the right on the stand. I cut an inch off of mine and rewelded the foot and it's perfect for when I'm at stock height, a nice lean to it.
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post #8 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, an '09 - and that's what I thought too!

It's pretty upright, and [granted, it sounds like the pre-load right now is probably at the lowest level, but] when I sit on the seat, I can't take my feet off the ground because the kickstand makes it tip over to the other side.

I'd like to find a 1.5" or 2" lowered kickstand, for lowering the bike 1".

Anyone know of any? I saw a cool machined adjustable one somewhere, but I'm not paying $150 + a foot for a kickstand...
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post #9 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 05:20 PM
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Personally I'd just chop the one you got, probably be a lot quicker and easier than finding one already chopped.
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post #10 of 34 Old 03-28-2013, 05:28 PM
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I don't remember where I saw it, but someone cut their kickstand and took out an inch or so, inserted a bit of pipe and welded it to the upper half, then drilled a cross hole in the pipe and two cross holes in the bottom half of the stand and bolted it back together. They could have the shortened stand, yet return it to normal length.

I can't remember if they found a standard tube that would fit inside or if they had to turn it down to fit.

T

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