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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I have had to lower a 2005 KLR for my girlfriend so she can touch the ground. We used dog bones to do this and although I don't recall which ones (the bike is parked in Uruguay) it was likely as much as we could go. Now she can barley touch the ground on tip toes so going taller is not an option. Now the problem is that the seam in the stock exhaust canister is beating the crap out of the swing arm. Even with the sag adjusted as firm as possible. I've had to zip tie a bumper to the swing arm to protect it during our last trip (read: road fix). I'm wondering if others have had the same experience? It sounds to me like the shock has packed it in on us and needs rebuilding/replacing. Before taking the bike south I did as well replace the stock spring with an aftermarket spring to carry a greater load for the touring gear.

Thoughts?
 

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That's what I was going to suggest too. KLR 650 isn't a one size fits all bike.

If the bike is in Uruquay where are you? You are probably right that the shock needs repair. Do you plan on doing that there? A new shock isn't going to change the tippy toe situation though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We are in Canada and return annually for trips around that part of the world. Originally I road down to Ushuia and and have kept my KLR in Uruguay (8 years now). For my girlfriend this is her second trip. It's not so easy to just buy another bike when you live in another country. Especially when you are crossing borders. The shock it would seem is getting prematurely tired as it wasn't this big of an issue for her last year.
Tippy toes is good enough but taller than that (different dogbones) is not an option for her. I have heard that KLR shocks suck but I am surprised that a rebuild might be needed so soon. (less than 20K klm).
I guess I am wondering if others have had the same problem with lowering a KLR to it's max. The questions begs to be asked, "what is the max?" maybe I should repost?
 

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dolickc,
The lowering links do 2 things.
#1, They physically reposition or lower the rear half of the bike.
Some were available in .5 / 1.0 / 1.5 and 2.0 inch versions.
This physically moved the swingarm closer to the muffler.

#2, The longer they are the more drastic the leverage ratio change of the rear suspension linkage. So the 2.0 inch lowering links with No Rider or Load becomes 4 or 5 inches of sag with rider and load.

Without spending much effort or money, one could slide the rubber bottoming cushion Up on the shock absorber shaft and slip in a slotted plastic disc to limit total travel.
Try 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick increments. (3-6mm)
Kawasaki used this trick on a early single shock motocross bike back in early '80s, which the tire was rubbing the rear fenders when landing from big jumps.
 

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You might also be farther ahead to raise the bike back up a bit and use a lowered seat, that way it's not messing up the suspension geometry so much. When I got my KLR the previous owner had used 1.5 inch lowering links and also had a low seat on it (he was pretty short!).

It was too low for me and I was dragging pegs when cornering so I stuck the stock links back in and it was much better! Not sure how much your wifes bike is lowered, but I definitely wouldn't want to go more than an inch and a half myself, and then I would put on a low seat to help her touch the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
pdwestman I like the idea of the slotted discs to limit the shock travel length. Other than making something up here, any idea of where I could buy such a thing?

650Stew - sorry I failed to mention that we already have a lowered seat.
 

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dolickc,
Sorry to disappoint ya'.
Kawasaki part #92026-4005, is No Longer Available (NLA) any more! Used on 1980 and 81 KX250's.

Another thought, How about spacers cut from mud flap material???
1/8 to 3/16 inch thick?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
pdwestman - One thing that I absolutely love about KLR's as travel bikes is their simplicity. Anyone can fix them anywhere. You don't need a wifi app on your smartphone to interface with the diagnostic system on the bikes' motherboard telling you what particular dealer you must take your bike to for service ..... (ok that was a rant! lol) . I love your idea and even better that I cut it from a mudflap or something similar. It's a great idea that I will try. It would be much better that the shock is bottoming out than the exhaust beating on the swingarm. Of course neither is is ideal but... Thanks!
 

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Boots with a higher sole is also an option. A buddy of mine has a KTM 1290 and it is tall for him. He had a shoe repair guy add 1" of material to the bottom of his boots. Worked perfect.
 

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It's all been said but add me to the list of people that aren't fond of lowered KLR's or lowering links (which cause issues with geometry and exacerbate the already weak shock spring and dampening).

I'll echo the sentiment that I'd rather see a lower seat and taller boots than lowering. To lower properly, you need to lower the forks in the triples the corresponding amount and ideally the shock needs a stiffer spring AND stronger dampening to make up for the lowering links.....of course, at that point you may as well leave the stock links in place and get a lowered (reduced travel) shock from Cogent or someplace similar.

I know; if she's short and inexperienced you have to address it somehow....just be careful with it and try everything else first!

As far as the exhaust hitting the swingarm goes: it shouldn't and is bent; bend it back or replace it. The suspension should bottom without causing exhaust damage.

2 cents,
Dave
 

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Further reflection;

you know the lowering links provide more leverage on the shock, affecting the spring rate and dampening (lightening both) right?

Is your exhaust stock?


Dave
 
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