Lowering, handling, and the highway - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Lowering, handling, and the highway

Ok so Ive ridden sport bikes, choppers, bobber, hardtail/softtail, you name it, but ive never ridden a tall sport touring bike. I will be getting a 12 versys soon and im not a huge fan of the taller look or fairings for that matter (doesnt come with them anyways).

Im wondering if with the taller stature/higher COG how the bike handles on the highway and windier conditions? Will lowering the bike in front and rear help to combat this?

If lower wont effectively help the feel ill likely leave it as it. Seems the lowering blocks alone are $90, and looking at new lowering springs front and rear...Seems these lowering pieces are more for those not tall enough. I wont have an issue with height, but not sure how I feel with the tall look of the bike or sitting on it.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by borjawil View Post
...Im wondering if with the taller stature/higher COG how the bike handles on the highway and windier conditions? Will lowering the bike in front and rear help to combat this?...
I have had ZERO problems w/ my Vs on the highway in windy conditions (over 100K miles on Vs), and I'm NOT a fan of lowering bikes.

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...Seems these lowering pieces are more for those not tall enough. I wont have an issue with height, but not sure how I feel with the tall look of the bike or sitting on it.
Let it "grow" on you... it WILL...!

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 04:34 PM
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I love my 650 on the highway. No problems with getting blown around.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 05:07 PM
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I have my '09 lowered now, but I plan on raising it back to stock for the summer. I'll let you know if it is better or worse for me.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 06:44 PM
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my '12 is lowered...I have no more trouble than anyone else on a windy day..and I don't think another inch higher would be a big deal...the bike's tallish nature means it kind of "flops" into a turn..I don't find any problem with this...not as smooth as a sport bike because of that..but I chase a lot of them around..scrap my pegs and everything...

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by borjawil View Post
Ok so Ive ridden sport bikes, choppers, bobber, hardtail/softtail, you name it, but ive never ridden a tall sport touring bike. I will be getting a 12 versys soon and im not a huge fan of the taller look or fairings for that matter (doesnt come with them anyways).

Im wondering if with the taller stature/higher COG how the bike handles on the highway and windier conditions? Will lowering the bike in front and rear help to combat this?

If lower wont effectively help the feel ill likely leave it as it. Seems the lowering blocks alone are $90, and looking at new lowering springs front and rear...Seems these lowering pieces are more for those not tall enough. I wont have an issue with height, but not sure how I feel with the tall look of the bike or sitting on it.
I have a 2012 too and got all Speedy's ergo stuff, but I finally went to lowering kit because the low mph close calls in parking lots with multitaskers was too hard on my toes (6'-0", 32" inseam.) I just put the lowering link on the rear and left the front up due to similar height rider's feedback. It feels great to me now.

But the lowered cog handling was a real plus at higher mph I found out too. All the ergo stuff should be stock imo, but I'm glad as heck we have alternatives available, and they are growing. But go for the best in your ergo equipment if you can: it's well worth it if you ride a lot or even a little. It's a whole new machine in confidence and handling.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome feedback guys. I suppose Ill plan to keep it stock for now and see how I like the "flop" ive read about many times. Im definitely keen on the smooth sport bike turning/leaning and used to it, so i guess ill have to check for myself. I drive 2 hours to work and sometimes its stop and go traffic. A floppy bike would not be fun.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 10:25 AM
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A floppy bike would not be fun.
It would not be fun, but I don't consider the V to be a "floppy" bike at all. It has a decently quick (but still smooth) turn-in which makes for less effort to work it into a curve. Like a sport bike, it responds nicely to the rider using good body position while executing the corners (read Lee Park's book "Total Control").

Riding technique, front vs. rear height and front tire profile all work together with the bike geometry. I guess that a person coming from a cruiser to a V (or to any sportier bike) could initially think that the bike is floppy until they got used to its better handling. The transition from a sport bike to a V should be an easy one.

The stock suspension on these is pretty decent (even the Gen 1 bikes like I have and I'm a big guy). It took a bit of attention to get it dialed in on the front (mine was set too soft on preload and damping), but after that it's a good ride.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 02:49 PM
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Yep, Kawdog is right, I forgot the bike does get sketchy when turning at slow slow speeds and touching the front brake (don't do that..). Had a couple of those butt puckering moments myself. Since I lowered it I can't recall having any parking lot drama. I still want to return it to stock height just for looks.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 08:02 PM
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I'm 5'9", 29" inseam, and not fond of negotiating tight spaces on my toes. So, Speedy's fix fixed it. I also lowered the front an equivalent distance to keep the riding geometry the same. I've lowered 3 previous bikes as well (the rest weren't as tall, and didn't require it), and *never* regretted it.
This is what I've found (my experience on all the lowered bikes were basically similar):
Pros-
- I can now flatfoot the Versys, which not only helps me stabilize on cambered surfaces, but *definitely* instills a feeling of confidence, and makes stopping on any incline or camber 2nd nature.
- If you lower the bike you increase the rake and trail. This makes the bike turn in slower -- bike geometry 101. That's why it's important to lower the front as well (so more of the fork is visible above the triple), which reduces rake and trail. One change in rake/trail cancels the other, and you end up with the same turning geometry, however, the bike is slightly lower to the ground, and so is the center of gravity, which makes correcting a standing lean a bit easier. I've never dropped one of my lowered bikes (I've had someone else rear-end me, and drop it for me, but that's another story).
- I actually *like* the look of the lowered bike... has the ergos of a standard, without sitting up so high.
Cons-
- You have to cough up the cost of the dog-bones (or in Speedy's case, the extremely well made lowering coupling).
- You have to either cut down the kickstand a bit (which another one of Speedy's little miracles facilitates) or you find a Ninja kickstand to mount, in order to maintain the parked lean angle. NBD
- A center stand is more difficult to negotiate on the lowered bike.

I *have* scraped my pegs a bit more in the twisties, but that's just sloppy (or lazy) riding. It really doesn't bother me... been thinking about replacing the feelers with flint, and give anyone following a spark-ling show...

Bottom line, it's owner's preference. I *love* it lowered, and have no intention of raising it up again. Between that and the sticky PR4s I have on the V, cornering (at any speed) is an absolute pleasure...
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKP View Post
I'm 5'9", 29" inseam, and not fond of negotiating tight spaces on my toes. So, Speedy's fix fixed it. I also lowered the front an equivalent distance to keep the riding geometry the same. I've lowered 3 previous bikes as well (the rest weren't as tall, and didn't require it), and *never* regretted it.
This is what I've found (my experience on all the lowered bikes were basically similar):
Pros-
- I can now flatfoot the Versys, which not only helps me stabilize on cambered surfaces, but *definitely* instills a feeling of confidence, and makes stopping on any incline or camber 2nd nature.
- If you lower the bike you increase the rake and trail. This makes the bike turn in slower -- bike geometry 101. That's why it's important to lower the front as well (so more of the fork is visible above the triple), which reduces rake and trail. One change in rake/trail cancels the other, and you end up with the same turning geometry, however, the bike is slightly lower to the ground, and so is the center of gravity, which makes correcting a standing lean a bit easier. I've never dropped one of my lowered bikes (I've had someone else rear-end me, and drop it for me, but that's another story).
- I actually *like* the look of the lowered bike... has the ergos of a standard, without sitting up so high.
Cons-
- You have to cough up the cost of the dog-bones (or in Speedy's case, the extremely well made lowering coupling).
- You have to either cut down the kickstand a bit (which another one of Speedy's little miracles facilitates) or you find a Ninja kickstand to mount, in order to maintain the parked lean angle. NBD
- A center stand is more difficult to negotiate on the lowered bike.

I *have* scraped my pegs a bit more in the twisties, but that's just sloppy (or lazy) riding. It really doesn't bother me... been thinking about replacing the feelers with flint, and give anyone following a spark-ling show...

Bottom line, it's owner's preference. I *love* it lowered, and have no intention of raising it up again. Between that and the sticky PR4s I have on the V, cornering (at any speed) is an absolute pleasure...
I too posted in another thread, plan is to post the completed thing once I get into it.Pick up is this Friday.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 07:16 AM
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Ok so Ive ridden sport bikes, choppers, bobber, hardtail/softtail, you name it, but ive never ridden a tall sport touring bike. I will be getting a 12 versys soon and im not a huge fan of the taller look or fairings for that matter (doesnt come with them anyways).

Im wondering if with the taller stature/higher COG how the bike handles on the highway and windier conditions? Will lowering the bike in front and rear help to combat this?
I'm assuming you don't have the V as yet. In any case, just ride it. I don't think you will find it more affected by wind than any other bike and probably less than many fitted with full fairings.

The 650V steers quite quickly. If you're coming off a chopper you will notice this. If off a sport bike, you probably won't notice it.

By far the biggest difference you will find is that the riding position and longer travel suspension makes the bike a bloody site more comfortable. It just soaks up bumps with no whack up the arse or spine. The upright riding position also provides a good view of the road ahead when commuting.

I reluctantly lowered my 2015 650V because I couldn't reach the ground and I got tired of getting myself in a mess when coming to a stop. I can now tippy toe on both sides. Much better.

Lowering the bike made no difference to handling, but I can now scrape the pegs if I'm really trying. The really noticeable difference is that the bike no longer feels top heavy when pushing it around in the garage.

Given my experience, and I suddenly gained 50mm of inseam (I can dream, can't I), would I lower the bike? Probably not.

Hope this helps,

BruceC
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2016, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Ill ride it as is for sure to get an idea of how it feels first. If I do decide to lower it, any suggestions on rear lowering? Ive seen the lowering blocks for about $90, but have also heard of a different shock or an AM spring that can be put on. What about a zx6 or ERN6 rer shock- easy swap/shorter? Where can I find a shorter spring? Also read about shorter front springs.

In my experience for front forks and dual rear shocks on bikes, front fork springs can be cut if done carefully or shorter springs put in. With the rears Ive always cut the rear shock spring but im not sure how that would affect this mono shock bike with a longer suspension travel.

I am also well aware of rake and trail. Building chops and bobs has taught me a lot.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-27-2016, 10:47 PM
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Borjawil,

I used the Speedy lowering kit and just followed their instructions. They recommend sliding the front forks through the triple clamps (35mm from memory). This is really easy on the V as it has spring on one side and damping on the other fork leg. Put a lift under the bike and loosen the trip clamp bolts on ONE side and adjust the height. Then do the other side. You do not have to remove the wheel.

Its not like older bikes where adjusting ride height was a real pain. If you loosen both sides at once and do not use the lift the whole bike will collapse on the ground. Do not ask me how I know this!

On the 2015 650V the rear shock, in my opinion, is good enough. Not brilliant, but more than adequate. Spending money on aftermarket stuff is just a waste. I will do that when the shock dies.

I am light (71kg) and the lowering kit made the ride a bit harsher. I now do not use any preload. If you are heavier than this, it will probably be a bonus for you.

BruceC
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 02:18 AM
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If you wait to get it, I'd suggest a crash bar that covers your radiator (like Hepco Becker, but there are many now), and a rear storage rack so you will be covered front to back if you drop it. It's not hard no matter how careful you are! At low speeds, it is hard to control but if someone dives at you in a car (playing chicken) in a parking lot, it just got more difficult to hold the tall heavy bike upright on your toes,
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