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DRZ

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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Mod Justification

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 RIDING Comments Off on Mod Justification

"Hmmm, get a new mod or mortar for my brick house?"

"Hmmm, get a new mod or mortar for my house?"

Ever notice that your mod list gets more attention than your house project “to do” list? Well I don’t know about you, but I definitely need a jet kit before I need the plumbing fixed on the second sink in the master bath. Heck, I’ve been using one sink for nine years now. What in the world is the rush in having a choice between two sinks, anyway?

Yeah, you don’t realize it’s mod justification until you wake up one morning and your house is falling down around your ankles. But, damn, your bike sure looks good!

It’s a convincing inner dialogue as you hear yourself say, “I’m not selling the house or refi-ing anytime soon, so why not just throw those extra bones to my baby in the garage. Baby needs a new pair of shoes, anyway…make that knobbies.”

And, then you pass that beauty in the garage, which, of course, keeps you from noticing the bald patches of ivy in the backyard. “Oh, that new irrigation system can wait; besides, it’s a lot easier to get the places that the sprinklers miss when I water with the hose. And, anymore water on that tree out front will make those roots grow even more and make that cracked driveway worse.” I think the neighbors get a kick out of seeing me get some off-road practice as I ride over that crack. Who needs a smooth driveway, anyway? Call me when it swallows my Toyota Forerunner.

Now that I remember, though, there was this one time when I took care of a home project by myself right away. It was changing the ballast for a florescent light in the garage. So, you see, paying attention to that house to-do list can be accomplished. Oh yeah, now that I think about it, I sure can read my mod list a lot better with that new garage light. Ah, motivation.

Sometimes you just have to slow down and ask yourself, “Will the mod list ever stop?”

Not as long as your house is still standing.

Need a new pair of shoes for your baby? Try these Continental TKC80’s (front)at the Rugged Rider store. 

and…

Continental TKC80’s (rear)

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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…
http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=379068

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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