Lowering Forks - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Lowering Forks

In anticipation of receiving "Speedy Gonzales'" lowering kit, I dropped the forks to the lowest end of the non-chamfered portion of the sliders two days ago.


I have been fiddling with bike suspensions for many years and have gone through all sorts of preload/fork oil/damping/compression/geometry settings to make a bike work for me. I did not expect much to change with the Versys, but boy, it made a very noticeable difference.

First, I noticed the bike lowered about 0.5 inches. I can more comfortably get the balls of my feet on the ground.

I also noticed that, for some reason, it feels more comfortable to sit nearer the tank. I have been sitting with my butt at the stop end of the seat, sliding up to the tank for twisties action, but now it feels more natural to sit closer. I suspect the angle of the seat is the reason, but the angle is no more uncomfortable than before.

Then there is the handling. The bike still flicks side-to-side easily. Maybe a little more than before. What really got my attention is how much more solid the front feels. I can feel the road through the suspension much better than before. I am sure that the increased weight on the front wheel is the reason for this. On the highway, I could sense no instability. In fact, it seemed almost more stable than before.

I thought the reduced trail might make make the bike a bit less stable, but so far that is not the case. It does not appear that fender clearance will be an issue, either.

An unexpected bonus with the drop was with the fairing. I seem to sit a little bit higher over it. The angle of the windscreen is now a bit more upright than before, so wind seems to part a bit more effectively over me. For those of us in warmer climes, the extra bit of air spill-off around the sides was welcome. No buffetting, just a bit more air on my arms and chest.

For those of you looking for just a little bit lower seat height and a more solid front end, try lowering the forks. It's free and it works well.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 09:53 PM
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Has anyone stiffened the fork? I love my Versys but one thing I don't like is how the nose dives when you hit the brakes...I don't want to lower the fork, just make it more sportier and stiffer...any feedback or recommendations on this would be appreciated.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 04:33 PM
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I raised my forks 5/8" yesterday and found the same results as you did. I also stiffed up the forks to five turns out from full,(standard is 7) and set the rebound to 1 1/4 out from full. Now tracks real straight and steady,turns in a little faster with less input, and with the rear set at the lowest preload the bike seams to be better balanced as far as stiffness goes. Thanks for the tip! Angus
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 10:52 PM
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Front end lowered

If you do decide to lower just the front end, don't forget to raise the head light! IT's best to set it at night with you and your usual load on it.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2008, 05:54 PM
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Raised front end back up

I tried lowering the front end as Danomar suggested, but only 5/8". Then I had to raise the headlights. I could get both feet on the ground and the bike turned in faster. Last week the seat had a makeover, now I sit about 3" back further, and about 1 1/2" lower. So I raised the front by lowering the forks 3/8". That still makes the forks about 1/4" lower than where the initial setting was when the bike was new. After a short ride today I think I'm finally in the sweet spot for me. Turn in seems smoother and the bike feels as if it has reached a better balance overall. These changes are simple to do and it's interesting to see how they affect the ride. They can be undone in a short time if you don't wish to keep them. A ride in the dark will tell me if I've got to lower the headlights back.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2008, 08:43 PM
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What happens if you hit the front brakes hard? Does it pitch you forward?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 11:44 AM
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Front brakes

Since the front end is adjustable for preload and rebound, if you feel that when you squeeze the front brakes hard and there is too much dive, just increase the preload. Don't hammer on the brake lever, squeeze to a count of one-two like they tell you to in the MSF course.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 08:40 PM
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Sitting towards the front of the seat feels comfortable for a while, but after 6-8 hours of riding you'll feel like you're sitting on a 2X4 & realize why the back is wider than the front!
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