Considering lowering and I need input. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Considering lowering and I need input.

Apologies up front this may get too long for some.

I love my bike, really really love it, and I feel very competent on it, but what I do NOT feel confident about is low speed maneuvering and anything where I could potentially slide laterally a little bit (read: dirt), because I'm so damned short on the tall bike. That seems to somewhat negate the purpose of having a bike in the ADV class, so I want to rectify it. I should note that I've slid it a few times and always caught it---but I have a terrifically bad back and I'm always afraid of standing it back up on the one leg without really hurting myself. It's about to be spring here in the Mountains and I'm really wanting to hit some more gravelly stuff.

I'm 5'7" with only like a 28-29" inseam. I always ride ATGATT, with boots on I can either get both toes on the ground or, more often, one foot almost flatfoot, bike leaned a little bit. You see my concern.

I'm aware of Speedy's lowering mod, I'm afraid that 1.8" won't do much for me. I'm a smidge concerned about having to relearn the physics of the bike but that shouldn't be an issue. Are you short like me? Did it affect you?

I was also considering pairing it with some sort of aftermarket seat, one of the lower ones, or possibly trying to mod my seat. I think a few of them will buy me 1.5-2", for a possible maximum 3.8" drop, which would be significant I think.

That said, I'm not really all about spending $600 on lowering that could go to metal panniers or something.

I know lowering is a common topic, just wanting to hear some real feedback from folks who are as short as me and what you've done to be safer. I was talking to some BMW R1200GS guys about my height and they were telling me about it's adjustable seat position and telling me they have no issues. I know the Tigers adjust too. Maybe I just need a different bike?

Edit: I also found these, for dramatically less than the Motowerk's. Anyone tried them?

Last edited by AdventureSeeker; 01-15-2016 at 10:21 AM.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:51 AM
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I'm a bit taller at 5'10" (or so) w/ 31" inseam, so when I got a KLR650 back in '04 I installed lowering 'dog-bones' as I was "afraid" of its height.

Sometime later (after I had 'bottomed' the skid-plate several times on some whoops - the suspension travel was NOW more than the ground-clearance...!) I put it back to stock height, which by then my confidence on the KLR made comfortable, and liked it much better.

Just my experience w/ lowering....


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 11:06 AM
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I am 5'6", 150 lbs, with a 29" inseam and installed Speedy's lowering block, and also removed the seat cover and carved the seat a bit flatter, and removed about 2 inches from rear bump to allow me to move back a bit. I didn't like being stuck in position, now I can move fore and aft as needed. Raising the fork tubes exactly one inch, combined with the lowering block makes me feel much more confident when needing to touch ground. No issues with ground clearance.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to both of you. Much appreciated.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 04:00 PM
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I'm 5'7" no idea what my inseam is but I have short legs. I loved my Versys however at stop lights and low speed maneuvering I was just uncomfortable. I installed Motowerks lowering link and did the forks as recommended and it was perfect. I also at a later date obtained the Kawasaki lowered gel seat but ended up putting the stock seat back on and sold the gel seat.
I have since bought other things from Speedy (Motowerks) and am extremely impressed with his engineering skills. Regarding the ebay link you posted you get what you pay for.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 04:08 PM
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I too am interested in the motorwerks lowering link. Is there a procedure to raising the fork tubes which will give you the same height ratio as stock so that I don't throw off the geometry?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by SpyvsSpy View Post
I too am interested in the motorwerks lowering link. Is there a procedure to raising the fork tubes which will give you the same height ratio as stock so that I don't throw off the geometry?
This has come up numerous times, however the time to search is greater than what it would take for me to give a simple response. I have many Speedy add on parts, lowering pegs, highway pegs, mirror extenders , lowering link.
I am 5'7, 30 " inseam, I followed the instructions by Speedy, in my opinion, the bike is even more responsive in turns than original. I changed the front sprocket to a 16 tooth about 4 years ago, I have a 07, purchased in 08, the reason I mention this, you stall the bike on a start from a stop sign ( in second gear--------rider has mind on other things), chances are good that you will lose your balance and also good that both your feet were on the footpegs.
I have said it before, anything from Speedy, usually exceeds what you would expect to get from Kawasaki.
Last-- I can flatfoot with the lowered bike, also have a Corbin seat as my but just couldn't conform to the OEM seat.

As a last note, you can go to his site, full instructions are there on the lowering procedure.
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Last edited by onewizard; 01-15-2016 at 04:31 PM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 04:39 PM
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I have the Motowerks lowering link (aka Speedy's) and the lower Sargents seat...I also lowered the front end to match...that with a pair of big lugged boots (Sidi) and I am flat footed at 5'-9..30" inseam...has it effected the bike's handling..I couldn't say..but I chase sport bikes all of the time..and I've scrapped my pegs more than once in a fast corner..so I'm saying if it does have an effect it ain't much...I also don't weight all that much..145 dripping wet..so I haven't had any bottoming out problems with humps and bumps..my rear hugger is still all in tact...here's a video on riding a tall (for you) bike...I found it quite helpful...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s07hML6bJOA

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpyvsSpy View Post
I too am interested in the motorwerks lowering link. Is there a procedure to raising the fork tubes which will give you the same height ratio as stock so that I don't throw off the geometry?
Here ya go..https://www.motowerk.com/uploads/Kaw...Suspension.pdf

I put the lowering link on my 09 and lowered the front also but after 2 weeks i put the forks back to the stock position. Liked it much better that way.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by weljo2001 View Post
Here ya go..https://www.motowerk.com/uploads/Kaw...Suspension.pdf

I put the lowering link on my 09 and lowered the front also but after 2 weeks i put the forks back to the stock position. Liked it much better that way.
I went off of Joe's advice and it worked out great. The 17" front wheel is dicey enough for me in twitchy handling, and I'm 6'-0" w/32" inseam and shrinking. The lean back helped me from the stock 17" wheel hypersteering, and keeps me from crawling the tank, lake Fast Eddies washer stack in the front of the seat. It's a more relaxed position at all speeds.

Of course you are shorter and may need the additional 1/4" reduction in (ground clearance) height to feel more comfortable. Planting your feet as close to flat on the ground is nice and safe at lower speeds and redlights.

And as far as T-Rex, they are a quality manufacturer, but Motowerks is more proven and expensive machined piece. On something this critical in your handling, I would go with the proven solution from all the members here. Speedy has been following his product closely through the years and uses it too. You would almost have to try both out to be sure, but as an engineering statistician, I went with the overwhelming survey evidence and visual machining quality. If you try T-Rex out, tell us how it works. If Speedy was not around, I'd give it a shot.
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Last edited by kawdog; 01-15-2016 at 06:44 PM.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:36 PM
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I'm 5' 9" with a 29" inseam and after too long on tip toes installed Speedy's lowering kit (and lowered the fork tubes as recommended). Even with my Corbin saddle the difference is rather dramatic. The set up results in much improved confidence for this 70year old rider. And Moto Werk products are first class and worth every penny in my opinion.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the input. Looks like I'll lower and then go from there. Horray for being short. I'm also looking at a T-Rex engine guard/skid plate/frame slider as well, glad to hear they're a quality manufacturer. I feel like I may go with the T-Rex just to give it a try, that other $50 can be redirected elsewhere. Once I get around to it I'll take pics and such.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 03:20 PM
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T-Rex lowering link

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Originally Posted by kawdog View Post
I went off of Joe's advice and it worked out great. The 17" front wheel is dicey enough for me in twitchy handling, and I'm 6'-0" w/32" inseam and shrinking. The lean back helped me from the stock 17" wheel hypersteering, and keeps me from crawling the tank, lake Fast Eddies washer stack in the front of the seat. It's a more relaxed position at all speeds.

Of course you are shorter and may need the additional 1/4" reduction in (ground clearance) height to feel more comfortable. Planting your feet as close to flat on the ground is nice and safe at lower speeds and redlights.

And as far as T-Rex, they are a quality manufacturer, but Motowerks is more proven and expensive machined piece. On something this critical in your handling, I would go with the proven solution from all the members here. Speedy has been following his product closely through the years and uses it too. You would almost have to try both out to be sure, but as an engineering statistician, I went with the overwhelming survey evidence and visual machining quality. If you try T-Rex out, tell us how it works. If Speedy was not around, I'd give it a shot.
So happens just put one, the T-Rex lowering link on yesterday. I have yet to ride the bike, as we are currently getting another round of snow in northern Michigan. The difference between the Motowerks and T-Rex, so far is that I believe the Motorwerks is one piece and the T-Rex is 2 piece. The T-Rex came with no instructions of any kind? Easy enough to install, any lowering link is going to require you to remove the right side rear support so you can get the shock bolt removed. Installation wasn't too difficult to figure out, I am concerned a bit that there wasn't any kind of spacer with the through bolt for the swingarm, or any torque recommendations But it's fit up and looks OK, if you like black. It definitely lowers the bike, with a 30" inseam I can "flat foot" it now and that's without dropping the front end. Some seem to prefer it that way, I'll wait and see. At 220+ the rear spring seemed too stiff and I was set on the lowest setting, don't like the jarring from expansion joints or ruts. This should have the effect of softening up the spring, so may have to make some adjustments. The stock stand still works, but as others have mentioned bike is more vertical. It's not an issue for me to cut it shorter, and add a larger foot plate. Pay your money and take your choice.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 01:27 PM
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I have a 929 front end on it so that lowered it 2-3". Then I cut about 1.5 coils of the rear spring. Perfect height for my 30"ish inseam.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 08:52 PM
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I know I've posted responses to lowering previously, but, in short:

1- If you're considering lowering, Speedy's link is about the most impressive link I've ever installed (and I've lowered previous bikes, with various iterations of links/dog-bones).
2- I'm 5'9", but have about the same inseam as you, at 29" (which is really what it's all about). For me, it's not only a logistical adjustment, but it instills confidence to be able to flatfoot, and perception is reality.
3- If you *do* install the link, make sure you adjust the forks (raise them in the triple) an equal distance. This will maintain the same rake/trail ratio on your bike, and there will be *NO* change in geometry.
4- The above being what it is, there *is* a change in handling, if only because your COG (center of gravity) has been lowered. You might find turns are tighter, and handling is a bit snappier.
5- 1.8" is more significant than you might give it credit for. I wear Durango harness boots to ride (they have heels), on a Sargent aftermarket seat (same approximate height as stock - but *much* more comfy on long hauls), and I can now flatfoot *both* feet simultaneously.

The OP is a couple of months old, so you might have already made up your mind. In the event you haven't, I've *never* regretted lowering the bike. It is *much* more comfortable, confidence inspiring, handling is better, and riding is eminently more enjoyable.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-05-2016, 08:28 PM
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Restoring to Original

I won't mention who, but I have been asked what would be involved in restoring to original height if you were 6' tall. To be perfectly honest I don't know why you would want to change back, unless you plan on just sitting on your bike and never starting the motor.
One thing for sure for me, the Rivco pegs are the best that I have ever come across for the price and Speedy's Highway mounts go with them, I wouldn't be without either. Many times I have been on the highway pegs even in the city, it allows me to stretch my leg and also changes the angle on my seat, so I am pushing away from the tank.
And as to handling,those that ride original height say it is our imagination about cornering, I disagree, however your ride make it the way you want. I like my Hugger, no dirt bikin for me
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Cherrypicker7 View Post

So happens just put one, the T-Rex lowering link on yesterday. I have yet to ride the bike, as we are currently getting another round of snow in northern Michigan. The difference between the Motowerks and T-Rex, so far is that I believe the Motorwerks is one piece and the T-Rex is 2 piece. The T-Rex came with no instructions of any kind? Easy enough to install, any lowering link is going to require you to remove the right side rear support so you can get the shock bolt removed. Installation wasn't too difficult to figure out, I am concerned a bit that there wasn't any kind of spacer with the through bolt for the swingarm, or any torque recommendations But it's fit up and looks OK, if you like black. It definitely lowers the bike, with a 30" inseam I can "flat foot" it now and that's without dropping the front end. Some seem to prefer it that way, I'll wait and see. At 220+ the rear spring seemed too stiff and I was set on the lowest setting, don't like the jarring from expansion joints or ruts. This should have the effect of softening up the spring, so may have to make some adjustments. The stock stand still works, but as others have mentioned bike is more vertical. It's not an issue for me to cut it shorter, and add a larger foot plate. Pay your money and take your choice.
I have an '08 V. I weight 175 lbs. I found that when I put the rear shock preload to the softest setting, the ride became worse! I eventually realized (with help from this forum) that I was "riding on the bumper" much of the time, thus making the ride worse. I went back and did a proper setting of the preload using the common "setting sag procedure". This gave the shock the ability to operate more in the middle part of its range, where damping is best. I would think that the stock rear spring rate would be about right for someone in the 220 lb range.

Last edited by trialsguy; 04-06-2016 at 02:27 PM. Reason: clairity
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by onewizard View Post
I won't mention who, but I have been asked what would be involved in restoring to original height if you were 6' tall. To be perfectly honest I don't know why you would want to change back, unless you plan on just sitting on your bike and never starting the motor.
One thing for sure for me, the Rivco pegs are the best that I have ever come across for the price and Speedy's Highway mounts go with them, I wouldn't be without either. Many times I have been on the highway pegs even in the city, it allows me to stretch my leg and also changes the angle on my seat, so I am pushing away from the tank.
And as to handling,those that ride original height say it is our imagination about cornering, I disagree, however your ride make it the way you want. I like my Hugger, no dirt bikin for me
I'd be willing to bet that guy that was inquiring about going back to original has changed his mind. :guilty
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 02:37 AM
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I'm 5'6" with a very short inseam. I installed Speedy's lowering kit according to his instructions. For the 2015 V the kit includes a jig to reposition the remote preload adjuster as it would foul the shock with the bike lowered. The instructions tell you how much to bring the forks up through the triple clamps. I thought this was going to be difficult (used to older bikes with springs and damping in both legs), but it was a cinch.

I can now get both feet on the ground - just. But I feel much more confident at low speeds when stopping and starting.

The most significant difference I noticed was the lowered centre of gravity. The bike no longer feels top heavy, especially when moving it around whilst not on the bike. The handling is fine. The ground clearance is fine. I've since done something like 800km on dirt roads since lowering without an issue. Some of this was on some reasonably rough forest roads (Dundarrabin to Dalmorton for MaverickAus).

There is no way I will ever go back to original settings.

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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 05:20 PM
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Guess I'll have to have somebody do a visual check with me mounted, but I am relatively sure that, I'm not riding on the bumper. With the lowering block, I'm assuming the shock will be easier to compress. As for the sag, guess I wasn't aware there is any particular settng, dirt bikes seem to require about 1/3 the travel, probably a good rule for the road bikes as well. I've put zip tys on the front fork legs, and don't appear to be using only about 2/3 of the travel, probably should measure that, maybe there is more tube than available travel.

Eager to see how the bike handles now, with tubes in original and then lowered position.
I've always felt that the Versys frequently need mid corner adjustment, just wasn't a drop it in and maintain.
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