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Lowering the DRZ400S

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 PRODUCT REVIEW Comments Off on Lowering the DRZ400S

My lowered DRZ

I guess some of the shorter off-road studs get used to sliding off their seat at a stoplight with one foot on the ground, while maintaining total balance and control of the bike at the drop of a green light. Personally at 5’6″ with a 31″ inseam, I like to feel both balls of my feet on the ground for traffic riding mid-week. It gives me more peace of mind with cell-distracted LA drivers coming up on my rear at a stop.

I opted to initially lower my DRZ-S with the premiere craftsmanship of a custom Renanzco Racing seat. Not only did this lower my bike about an inch, but it also added extreme comfort with its ergonomically shaped wider spread. James Renazco personally contacted me to go over the specifics of the seat build to make sure that I understood the ins and outs of accommodating my body type and riding style as well as their methodology, time issues and costs. Renazco customizes the hand-crafted seats by reconstruction, so my stock seat was shipped to them for its transformation to a masterpiece that was built with premium materials to achieve durability, practicality, comfort, function and style.

Renanzco Racing seat from above

I chose the combo materials of a black suede top and yellow vinyl sides that have worn extrememly well following the detailed instructions of seat cleaning and care two years into its regular usage. After adding the suede water-proofing and conditioner, Pecard’s product “PNP4,” the seat has been able to endure rain and bike cleanings without any problems. Aside from being one of the best-looking seats out there, I have to say their personal and extremely attentive customer service jets them to the top of their class in the seat industry.

In addition to the seat, I discovered another way to lower the very tall DRZ. Enter the genius of Norman Kouba and his brilliant product, the #3 Kouba Link, which is a lowering link that dropped my bike another 1.75″. You also need to drop the front forks to match, so that the overall resulting bike geometry doesn’t change dramatically. Norman provides info on the differences between the three Kouba links and the recommended race sag (the difference between the unloaded suspension and the suspension with you on it) for each link. The Kouba site FAQ states: “They put more leverage on the rear spring and make the rear more compliant on the small stuff, but may require a heavier rear spring to help prevent bottoming if a rider is very aggressive.”

#3 Kouba link

Sure, when opting to lower your bike with links you take the chance of compromising suspension travel, effective spring rate (feels softer) and steering stabilization. These issues can be addressed, somewhat, by adjusting the suspension setting and the rear shock preload, and adding a steering stabilizer. You may also need to add bar risers in the front to lower your fork tubes.

What it comes down to is setting the bike up according to the rider, and his/her type of riding. While you may find info out there explaining the differences in the various lowering techniques, only you know through personal experience and riding style whether it’ll work for you. In the end, if lowering your bike provides more confidence on the trail and street, then it may very well be worth the money for guaranteed peace of mind and comfort in the saddle and off.

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Arai XD or Bugs in the Teeth

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 PRODUCT REVIEW Comments Off on Arai XD or Bugs in the Teeth

Got bugs?

High grin factor!

I thought the whole purpose of the visor on an Arai XD is to keep bugs, and the like, out of my teeth. But, it does just the opposite when I’m on the trails. What’s the point of being on a bike if I’m separated from the exuberance of feeling the wind on my face and the earth’s aroma in my nose? If I wanted my senses dulled by a silencing cushion of plexi/glass then I’d climb in my car. Ultimately, having the visor down only makes me want to flip it up.

The beauty of this helmet, though, is that freedom is just a flip away. I have a choice. Plus, it’s best suited for me, because of top quality construction, light weight (3 lbs 10oz), communication ability and great visability.

I can either be protected from the elements or I can flip for freedom. With that flip, of course, comes a higher percentage of “grin factor”. Actually, I shouldn’t refer to it as the flip, but rather the non-flip, because I rarely flip it down unless behind a rooster tail or speeding down the tarmac. So, in essence, it’s not there to keep the bugs out of my teeth. It’s there to remind me that I really do want bugs in my teeth.

Check out the Arai XD at the Rugged Rider store through the links below:

Purchase silver Arai XD helmet

Purchase black Arai XD helmet

Purchase white Arai XD helmet

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