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How to Lower a Motorcycle

lowered motorcycle

Lowering a motorcycle is a great option if you are short like me.

Up until recently I’ve lowered all of my dual sport motorcycles.  You do lose some clearance, which is why you can usually only lower a motorcycle a an inch or two max.

I recommend for all short beginners who can’t have both feet comfortably touching the ground to lower your motorcycle. It will help you build confidence and skill. But don’t worry, eventually you will be able to ride motorcycles without lowering them at all!

How to Lower a Motorcycle

How you lower a motorcycle depends on what type of lowering suspension the motorcycle has. A motorcycle with suspension linkage, like the KLR 650, you can just buy lowering links, exchange the links and lower the motorcycle.

Motorcycles with the rear shock directly bolted onto the swing arm, like the Honda Transalp, it is much more difficult to lower because the shock usually requires modification. In this guide I will show you how to lower the motorcycle with lowering links.

Using a Lowering Link

Getting a lowering link is the most common and easiest way to lower a motorcycle.  I am going to use my Kawasaki KLR 650 as the example.

The lowering link replaces the stock link on your motorcycle, and is shorter than the stock link.

Motorcycle Lowering Link

You can get lowering links for the KLR 650 for about $20. There are more expensive ones as well, but for beginners these basic lowering links will do just fine.

So lets go step by step on how to lower a motorcycle.

  1. First step is you must raise your rear tire off of the ground. You can get a motorcycle lift (one of my new favorite products!)  that lifts up to 1100lbs for only $80 with shipping.  If you have a ladder and some straps, you can also raise the back wheel this way.  motorcycle raised with ladderOr if you have a center stand, you can just throw it on the center stand 🙂
  2. Next you are going to want to unbolt the nuts on the right side on the link.Unbolt nutsNow they may be a bit tough. If so, feel free to step on it and force it with your weight. I need to do this quite often!Stepping to remove nutAnd voila! They are removed.nuts removed
  3. Once they are both removed, you can remove the link from the right side (the side is always as if you are sitting on the motorcycle and driving).
  4. Next you want to go to the other side, and remove the two bolts holding the links in place. You should be able to push the bolts from the right side, and pull them from the left in order to remove them.  Now it can be tough, so a little tip. Raise the back wheel even more with wood or some other object. The bolts will come out easily!raised wheel
  5. Once both bolts are removed, you can add the new lowering links.  I put a little bearing grease on the links and on the poles.greased lowering linksgreased poles
  6. Now putting it back in can be a little tricky. The first top one is always easy.  So first put the top bolt threw the first lowering link (it will be specially intended for this side, as there is an indent where the bolt rests) and then through the motorcycle frame.  It should be fairly easy.
  7. The bottom one can be a little more tough, it needs to line up. Adjust your wood/stuff holding the back wheel until the holes line up.Lining up lowering linksIdeally is if you have a friend who can move the wheel for you until you get the bolt into place.
  8. WARNING: Make sure you do not push out the spacer (inner tube thingy) when you are putting the bolt back in!inner tube thing sticking out
  9. Once you have both bolts back in, you can put the right side lowering link on.Lowering link
  10. And lastly, you add the nuts and tighten them.  Remember that you really should torque these nuts! A torque wrench is a special wrench that tells you how tight you are tightening a nut or bolt.  Because a lot of bolts/nuts on your motorcycle should not be tightened as much as possible. They need some play room.  You can always check your manual for the torque settings. For the KLR 650, the torque for these nuts is 43 lb/ft.Torque Wrench
  11. Now you have just one more part, if you want. Now that the back part of your motorcycle is lowered, you can lower the front forks a bit. Just loosen the four bolts holding the front fork and slide it up an inch. It helps to have the front tire up off the ground. Make sure both forks are raised at the exact same height and that they are not twisted in any way.

That is it! You now have a newly lowered motorcycle! Take her for a spin and enjoy being able to touch both feet on the ground!