Kawasaki KLR Forum banner
1 - 20 of 78 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am 5'9" and the 2022 is just a little too high for me. I believe I need to lower it about an inch.

My question is, are the adjustable lowering links reliable and safe?

In the past I've only used wishbones and they worked great so I want to get your opinion before I purchase the adjustable links since I have been unable to find wishbones to lower it 1 inch.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,528 Posts
If you weigh more than 150lbs, the BEST solution is a lower seat. Lowering links soften the suspension & alters steering geometry.
Corbin Saddles has lowered seats for the 2022, I'm certain that Saddleman & Seat Concepts will also soon have them.

And no side-stand modification will be required. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
I am 5'9" and the 2022 is just a little too high for me. I believe I need to lower it about an inch.

My question is, are the adjustable lowering links reliable and safe?

In the past I've only used wishbones and they worked great so I want to get your opinion before I purchase the adjustable links since I have been unable to find wishbones to lower it 1 inch.
I lowered mine 1.5 inches and have been extremely happy.

I put a top gun spring on with a progressive spring kit in the front. Dog bones used to lower bike.

It's very stable and safe and I did not have to modify my side stand.


I'll see if I can find the wishbone link.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
I'd like to be closer to the ground also but don't want to mod the bike. A lowered seat is a good idea, but this bike has the most comfortable seat I ever owned, beating several Harleys and a Yamaha...

I would hate to have to pay money and wind up with a less comfortable seat!! 😕
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,528 Posts
I would hate to have to pay money and wind up with a less comfortable seat!! 😕
Another new member is selling an OEM Low seat in the forum Marketplace.
He wound up receive 2 of them. Ask him about the comfort level of the one on his bike.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Torquey

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I am 5'9" and the 2022 is just a little too high for me. I believe I need to lower it about an inch.

My question is, are the adjustable lowering links reliable and safe?

In the past I've only used wishbones and they worked great so I want to get your opinion before I purchase the adjustable links since I have been unable to find wishbones to lower it 1 inch.
Not to disagree, but I'm also 5' 9", 30" inseam. It feels fine to me. Sure, I don't get a full flat foot on both sides, but there are techniques to make it work anyway. I can get the ball of the foot down both sides, and with a slight swivel of the hip you can get a full foot down.
I've been riding it and testing techniques on a number of odd situations and it feels like technique will do the trick.

Check out this video by PetroHead who is 5'6" and explains that he regularly rides bikes bigger than the KLR and using a few techniques has made it work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
If you feel the need to lower it and don't want to use a lower seat; use the 1" lowering links and keep your stock ones.....most want to restore it to stock height once you are more comfortable. I'm not a fan of lowering links because the longer links increase leverage on the shock, effectively reducing both springrate and damping. Some people compensate for this by using a heavier spring but that only helps overwhelm the damping further creating an unbalanced suspension (oversprung, underdamped). To lower a bike properly is fairly involved though Cogent offers a Moab that can be set up for use with lowering links, they also offer a shorter shock. .......but the real solution is practice and getting used to it; my son is 5'9" and rides a stock height Gen1 and my ex-wife is 5'4" and also rode at stock height on the KLR though both have extensive offroad racing experience.

2 cents,
Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
If you feel the need to lower it and don't want to use a lower seat; use the 1" lowering links and keep your stock ones.....most want to restore it to stock height once you are more comfortable. I'm not a fan of lowering links because the longer links increase leverage on the shock, effectively reducing both springrate and damping. Some people compensate for this by using a heavier spring but that only helps overwhelm the damping further creating an unbalanced suspension (oversprung, underdamped). To lower a bike properly is fairly involved though Cogent offers a Moab that can be set up for use with lowering links, they also offer a shorter shock. .......but the real solution is practice and getting used to it; my son is 5'9" and rides a stock height Gen1 and my ex-wife is 5'4" and also rode at stock height on the KLR though both have extensive offroad racing experience.

2 cents,
Dave
I'm surprised by this reply and have to say i disagree. Motorcycle riding is all about skill but there are limitations. Its like saying a kid can use tiger woods golf clubs he just has to "get used to it". You can adjust the damping on a klr shock. If you adjust front and rear springs there is no unbalancing. With a 1200lb street bike yes it a little more complex, but with the KLR it is not complicated or expensive at all to lower the bike.

The real question is what makes the bike easier to manage for you? What are you willing to sacrifice to make the bike fit you?

For myself i don't need the suspension clearance i need stability. Lower weight = stability. When i have all my gear on a bike, having the weight lower has helped me ride more aggressively on and off road. Now if i was single track all day, no i would not lower the bike. It depends on what you want your bike to do for you. You don't need to spend 1k on a cogent system by any means.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
I'm surprised by this reply and have to say i disagree. Motorcycle riding is all about skill but there are limitations. Its like saying a kid can use tiger woods golf clubs he just has to "get used to it". You can adjust the damping on a klr shock. If you adjust front and rear springs there is no unbalancing. With a 1200lb street bike yes it a little more complex, but with the KLR it is not complicated or expensive at all to lower the bike.

The real question is what makes the bike easier to manage for you? What are you willing to sacrifice to make the bike fit you?

For myself i don't need the suspension clearance i need stability. Lower weight = stability. When i have all my gear on a bike, having the weight lower has helped me ride more aggressively on and off road. Now if i was single track all day, no i would not lower the bike. It depends on what you want your bike to do for you. You don't need to spend 1k on a cogent system by any means.

I kinda figured I'd get this response based on your earlier posts and I wasn't trying to pee in your cornflakes, but my experience supports my post. I'm not going to rehash all my previous posts on the subject or write a novel, I'll just say that KLR suspension is a hobby of mine and I've tried a dozen different setups and have been fiddling and researching this topic for many years. I will also admit that my "offroad centric" usage and offroad racing experience means that I'm far more concerned about the suspension working properly than many KLR Owners so my opinion is biased to that end.

I will agree that everyone's needs, experience and expectations are different and you are correct that you don't need to upgrade your KLR suspension and it works OK (but just OK) as is for many riders. That said, the lowering links compromise the suspension for the reasons stated and I don't recommend them for that reason. Luckily the 2014.5 and newer bikes have additional damping built in but not so much that they can afford to lose a bunch by use of the lowering links. This is all why I say, if you are convinced you need them, limit them to the 1" ones. I've lost track of the number of people looking to swap to stock height links after trying the lowering links for awhile. The imbalance I spoke of was the springrate vs. the damping rate, not the front vs. rear suspension height.

At the end of the day, everyones usage, experience and expectations are different and lowering the bike will make some people more comfortable but you can adapt with practice and experience; as I said my ex-wife is 5'4" and rode a stock height Gen1 but then she was also the PNWMA Women's offroad champion for 4 years in a row.

As far as lowering your center of gravity is concerned, there are better ways of accomplishing that vs. the small difference that lowering the bike and inch or so makes.

2 cents,
Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
I kinda figured I'd get this response based on your earlier posts and I wasn't trying to pee in your cornflakes, but my experience supports my post. I'm not going to rehash all my previous posts on the subject or write a novel, I'll just say that KLR suspension is a hobby of mine and I've tried a dozen different setups and have been fiddling and researching this topic for many years. I will also admit that my "offroad centric" usage and offroad racing experience means that I'm far more concerned about the suspension working properly than many KLR Owners so my opinion is biased to that end.

I will agree that everyone's needs, experience and expectations are different and you are correct that you don't need to upgrade your KLR suspension and it works OK (but just OK) as is for many riders. That said, the lowering links compromise the suspension for the reasons stated and I don't recommend them for that reason. Luckily the 2014.5 and newer bikes have additional damping built in but not so much that they can afford to lose a bunch by use of the lowering links. This is all why I say, if you are convinced you need them, limit them to the 1" ones. I've lost track of the number of people looking to swap to stock height links after trying the lowering links for awhile. The imbalance I spoke of was the springrate vs. the damping rate, not the front vs. rear suspension height.

At the end of the day, everyones usage, experience and expectations are different and lowering the bike will make some people more comfortable but you can adapt with practice and experience; as I said my ex-wife is 5'4" and rode a stock height Gen1 but then she was also the PNWMA Women's offroad champion for 4 years in a row.

As far as lowering your center of gravity is concerned, there are better ways of accomplishing that vs. the small difference that lowering the bike and inch or so makes.

2 cents,
Dave
No offense taken Dave. to each his own, however i think you're splitting hairs when you say lowering links "compromise" the suspension. They change the suspension but they do not make it unsafe or lesser than. Did your wife become an offroad champion on a stock bike that had no suspension mods that was too tall or heavy for her? I highly doubt it. I would bet the bike was the platform to which was changed to match her style of riding and body type.

My point is, why encourage a person to spend a fortune on a cognent suspension or a corbin seat because you couldn't get lowering links to work for you? There just is no support to the links "compromising" the suspension any more than the weak stock springs. $25 bucks and the guy could love the bike.

I feel the same about the doohickey thing, I dunno, how about adjust the tensionor that came with the bike every oil change until it can't? Then replace? There is no reports i've found of bikes blowing up due to the part. There are reports of the bike having issues when not properly maintained.

The one thing I've learned here is some KLR guys are super cheap, and others are super finicky.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
No offense taken Dave. to each his own, however i think you're splitting hairs when you say lowering links "compromise" the suspension. They change the suspension but they do not make it unsafe or lesser than. Did your wife become an offroad champion on a stock bike that had no suspension mods that was too tall or heavy for her? I highly doubt it. I would bet the bike was the platform to which was changed to match her style of riding and body type.

My point is, why encourage a person to spend a fortune on a cognent suspension or a corbin seat because you couldn't get lowering links to work for you? There just is no support to the links "compromising" the suspension any more than the weak stock springs. $25 bucks and the guy could love the bike.

I feel the same about the doohickey thing, I dunno, how about adjust the tensionor that came with the bike every oil change until it can't? Then replace? There is no reports i've found of bikes blowing up due to the part. There are reports of the bike having issues when not properly maintained.

The one thing I've learned here is some KLR guys are super cheap, and others are super finicky.
Maybe I am splitting hairs but the loweriing links decrease damping which is a step in the wrong direction for most KLR's and thier owners.......many won't notice but the effect is there and that's why I say that if you absolutely need to lower the bike, a proper lowered shock is the best way and a lower seat works without compromising the damping. Are lowering links unsafe? No.....are they "lesser" of the options to make your bike comfortable for you? yes....but it is the cheapest option. My wife raced many bikes, some were stock (except for bars, skidplates, etc.) and some were not. Her last race bike was a KTM200XC that I had professionally lowered about 1.5".......but I did it properly so it didn't affect the damping rates. The KLR isn't used for extreme single track so she adapted to it just fine despite her small stature. Most KLR riders would balk at the price of that exercise.

I don't consider a Cogent shock, much less a seat to be "spending a fortune", but I've also always said, eveyone has different wants, needs, expectations and budget.

I'll leave the doohickey for my next post.....


Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
My Doohickey post:

I have spent significant time reading and researching this issue over the years as have others......my opinion is thus:

- Gen1: failure of the stock lever and/or spring is highly likely.......the people "in the know" guesstimate around 33% though I'd suggest the figure is somewhat mileage dependent with the 33% being around 20,000 miles.....higher mileage = higher percentage of failure.

- Gen2: doohickey lever failure is almost non-existant.......the issues of loose fit on the shaft and loss of spring tension are real. Loss of tension is said to occur around 6,000 miles though some have zero tension from new and some still have tension at 20,000 miles.

So is this all an internet myth? No, it's real enough IMO. There are several reasons that I believe contribute to the lack of even more documented failures:

- A great many people never adjust their counterbalance system. If the adjustment is never attempted, the system doesn't get the huge slack that an attempt with a broken spring would introduce. I always tell new owners NOT to adjust the system without physically checking to see it's intact first.

- Most grenaded doo and spring bits float around harmlessly in the bottom end without causing catastrophic failure. My 2001 was opened up at 15,000 miles to find the typical broken doo (three pces) and spring (two pces). I found all the pces in the bottom end and oil screen and the bike was likely ridden for some time in that condition.

- the "upgrade" in 2008 significantly reduced the likelihood of a broken doo lever.

- a large percentage of bikes die of old age, crashes and neglect long before they can be considered high mileage units.

- many failures are never diagnosed......i.e. bike is "broken" and parted out or otherwise discarded.

- Sometimes other failures (i.e. 2008/2009 low oil level/oil burning) takes out the engine before the counterbalance system has the opportunity to.

At the end of the day, I believe that the stock counterbalance adjustment system is problematic but the vast majority of KLR owners are ignorant of the issue and it doesn't come up on their radar for the aforementioned reasons.

On a Gen1, I believe replacement is critical to longevity. On a Gen2 you could get along fine by just periodically checking the spring to ensure it is intact and has tension. Due to the loose fit on the shaft, the springs are put under significantly increased duty cycles, EM's superior lever with better fitment and the torsion spring design completely eliminate this concern.

A KLR, especially a Gen2 can live for quite awhile without even acknowledging the counterbalance adjuster.....but it's still a weak link that is worth replacing if you want some piece of mind.

2 cents,
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
My KLR Suspension post:

OK, here's my 2 cents.

Stock KLR suspension is 1980's tech with a damper rod fork and emulsion shock with weak damping and springrates which MAY be marginally acceptable if you weigh 160lb or less and stay on graded gravel roads at worst. 2014.5 NE and up have better spring and damping rates but are the same crappy old design.

The bandaid (cheapy) fixes are;

- many use progressive springs for the forks and heavier oil. This will help with bottoming, wallowing and brake dive but the suspension will be overly harsh and not compliant. Better than stock though. Rather than using heavier oil, I’d recommend trying an increased oil level first which reduces the “air spring” and can stiffen it up a bit without all the harshness of heavier oil…..especially on high speed damping.

- Eaglemike's raising links; these change the geometry and reduce leverage on the shock which raises the effective spring and damping rates. Hopefully you aren't short! Easy and cheap but it's a "one size fits all" deal and it doesn’t deal with the inherent quality issues with the stock shock body and emulsion design.

or

- a stiffer shock spring. While you likely need a stiffer spring to properly set sag, adding a stiffer spring exacerbates the damping issues and creates an unbalanced (oversprung and underdamped) suspension, particularly as the oil becomes contaminated.



Proper suspension fixes;

- forks: cartridge emulators from Racetech, DDC's from Cogent or Ricor Intiminators all with the proper wt springs. The DDC's are my choice because they work at least as good as the RT emulators AND have the simple install of the Ricor Valves.

- shock; a proper aftermarket decarbon shock. Available from Progressive, Cogent, Ricor, Elka, etc. Again, I think the Cogent shocks offer the best value and use top quality, made in the USA components.

While usage, budget and expectations are different for everyone, spending money on the stock shock is false economy IMO and the more you do, the less sense it makes.....better to spend the money on a decent shock. Many people have done the shock rebuild and spring only to replace it later anyway. I've yet to hear a single regret from anyone upgrading to a good shock.

2 cents,

Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,694 Posts
And since I'm posting, my shock post:

The stock shock is a budget emulsion design without hardened internals. It also has inadequate compression damping and springrate for the majority of KLR riders. The 2014.5 and up bikes have stiffer springs and damping but still maintain the 1980 emulsion design.



The problem with the stock shock is that the combination of the soft body and emulsion design means that under hard or long term use the oil turns to a nitrogen entrained mess contaminated with aluminum wear particles (grey foamy sludge) and the damping goes to crap.



Many people put heavier springs on the stock shock and while that helps set the sag properly (which is necessary, read: Suspension and Springs ) the stiffer spring overwhelms the already weak compression damping making the shock "pogo" and the damping situation even worse…particularly as the shock degrades.



Raising links are an option if your tall enough; the shorter links decrease leverage on the shock which effectively increases both springrate and damping. You still have the quality issues with the stock shock and the effect isn't adjustable (without changing links) but it's something to try for those on a budget.



The best solution is a quality aftermarket DeCarbon shock. There are many shocks available; Progressive, Touratech, Ricor, Cogent, Elka, etc. ....they range from $499.00 to $1000.00 plus. For reference a stock Kawi shock is around $800 from the dealer. The best value IMO is Cogent's Adventure; it's a high quality shock, hardened body, DeCarbon design, deflective disk damping and an Ohlins spring. www.motocd.com



I have the full Cogent set up (DDC's and springs up front and an Adventure and Moab on the rear ) of my two Gen1's and the difference in performance and capability is massive. Easily the most drastic functional change of the 50+ mods I've done to my bikes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
If you weigh more than 150lbs, the BEST solution is a lower seat. Lowering links soften the suspension & alters steering geometry.
Corbin Saddles has lowered seats for the 2022, I'm certain that Saddleman & Seat Concepts will also soon have them.

And no side-stand modification will be required. ;)
alters steering geometry, puhlease!!! so in what way? negative or positive?
 
1 - 20 of 78 Posts
Top