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Are You a Shorty One Footer or Two?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009 TECH Comments Off on Are You a Shorty One Footer or Two?

"Ain't no thang!"

"I got it. Ain't no thang!"

I guess some of the shorter off road studs get used to sliding off their seat at a stop light with one foot on the ground, so they can maintain the optimum performance of their bike. 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 better peace of mind with cell-distracted LA drivers coming up on my rear at a stop light.

I opted to lower my DRZ-S with a Suzuki gel seat, which shaved off 5/8”, and the #3 Kouba Link, which dropped it another 1.75”. You also need to drop the front forks to match, so that the geometry of the rake doesn’t change or changes less.

Norman Kouba provides valuable info on 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 at www.koubalink.com . Here’s a quote from the Kouba site FAQ’s: “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.”

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, with adjusting both 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.

One additional thing to notice after lowering, though, is the steeper angle of the side stand. This is easily fixed after locating a new DRZ-SM kickstand, which are 1-2” shorter, because of the 17” wheels.

Since I’m a lighter chick, even after lowering my bike I don’t bottom out…even with some aggressive moves.

What it comes down to, though, is setting the bike up according to the rider and his or her type of riding. There is some info out there for the differences in the various lowering techniques, but only you know through your own experience whether it’ll work for you.

Check out motoinmoab’s www.thumpertalk.com thread for lowering your seat height…

Time to invest in a skid plate if you don’t have one already…especially if you lower your bike!!!!!

Check out the MSR skid plate at the Rugged Rider store.

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