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Lowering a WR450F

Discussion in 'Dirt Riders' started by Chili, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Chili

    Chili Member

    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Name:
    Nick
    I've been thinking of lowering my WR450F for some time. I'm not having too much trouble with the stock suspension and ride height (I'm only 5'9" and weigh about 180) but there are time in the real tight stuff where a slighter lower bike would definately help. I have heard that lowering a heavy bike like my 450 would greatly help reduce the heavy feeling in slower technical riding. Then again I hear that the bike could ride poorly in all other situations.

    I'd like to hear of the experience you have with bike lowering. Specifically what type of bike, how was it lowered (internal suspension or subframe), who lowered it (shop), how you like it and whether you would recommend this after doing your bike.

    I'm sure many of us shorter riders would like to know
     
  2. EastBayRider

    EastBayRider Registered User

    Location:
    Danville
    Name:
    Bill
  3. Joel

    Joel Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Joel
    You could install a Yamalink yourself and lower it a bit...



    seat can be shaved as well...
     
  4. MikeinFresno

    MikeinFresno Member

    Location:
    Fresno
    Name:
    Mike
    Ive used links on my daughters KX100 and my wifes KX200. Works well. Have to have the forks shortened internally to match. Just had my wifes NEW to us KTM lowered internally front n rear and works great also. Dont go over about 1.5" tho as you will be losing your ground clearance, foot pegs drag in ruts, etc.
     
  5. Vic

    Vic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cupertino
    Name:
    Vic
    I would not lower any motorcycle. Especially if you are 5-8(plenty tall enough) and it would not make much difference in handling. You want to turn quicker, go with 1/2" wider bars.:2cents

    Whats the issue? You cant touch the ground or the bike handles heavy?
     
  6. MikeinFresno

    MikeinFresno Member

    Location:
    Fresno
    Name:
    Mike
    being able to touch the ground is very confidence inspiring and helps prevent tip overs in off road riding, especially with new riders.
     
  7. justinandkarna

    justinandkarna PUBLIC Lands

    We have lowered a couple of Karna's bikes and IMO the right way to do it is internally by a Tuner.

    +1 on not going more than 1 1/2". Karna's is only lowered 1" and she is on brake lever #3 right
    now.

    +1 on the confidence also.
     
  8. never2old

    never2old 73 hard to believe ...

    Location:
    Close to Laguna Seca
    Name:
    Gary
    I'm 5'8" old and slow and I like being able to touch the ground without falling off to do it :laughing

    I have a 450 KTM EXC that was lowered 2" internally front & rear by Pinit Motorsports in Salinas. Steve the owner has lowered hundreds of bikes, mostly for Supermoto bikes and he knows his stuff for sure.

    I haven't ridden one that hasn't been lowered so I don't have a comparison to share with you. But I'm sure lowering it made the center of gravity lower and I can only guess that is a plus in most situations. One drawback I've noticed is when I get into deep ruts my pages drag sooner than the other bikes. So far that has not been a big problem and it hasn't stopped me from getting through them.

    I will say however I think my bike handles very well for the type of riding I like to do. My preferred riding is single track so you won't find me on any motocross tracks anytime soon. I can only assume that a full suspension bike will take the whoops and jumps better than one that is lowered any amount.

    Being able to dab every now and then out ways whatever I am loosing in the whoops by not having full suspension.

    Would I do it again, you bet I would :thumbup
     
  9. yamalink

    yamalink New Member

    The advantages and disadvantages of a lowering link and internal spacer include....

    Internal spacers reduce travel and cost is an issue for some. But it does not effect leverage or geometry very much if at all.

    A lowering link - one with an increased leverage - actually GAINS travel, makes the bike more plush over the square edge and braking bumps, improves traction, and like the internal spacers, lowers the center of gravity for better turning; the only "advantage" a lowering link has in cornering is that due to the increased plushness a bike can be a little smoother through the rough corners.

    Disadvantages of a lowering link are as follow: geometry is altered. You have to reset sag after installation and you raise the forks in the triple clamps otherwise the bike turns like an NHRA dragster; it is very easy to get a bike to turn quickly and be stable, though. There is no 1:1 lowering ratio needed because changes to rake/trail affect geometry at a different rate than changes to the rear. A starting point of 6mm for the forks accompanies the 1.5 to 1.75 inches in back.

    Another issue to consider with a lowering link is easier bottoming because of the extra leverage. At your weight without gear a lowering link would make the bike too plush on the big hits. You can turn in the high speed compression a little bit but I feel you would need a heavier spring even with the stock setup so that must be factored into the cost (if you need a heavier spring) vs the cost of having a shop go internal and put in the spacers.

    And you can shave the seat but the frame rails are very uncomfortable if you shave too much, and some find the decreased seat-to-peg distance uncomfortable. And when it comes time to resell the reality of buying a new seat must be considered.

    There is not perfect solution for lowering any bike, each comes with pros and cons. Decide what fits your needs and wants and budget, and go from there. Hopefully this input helped you make that decision.


     
  10. xSX450

    xSX450 Registered User

    Location:
    San Carlos
    Name:
    Adam
    i never even thought u were supposed to touch the ground, i remember when i was twelve on my cr125 i would just pull up to a rock or stump or something or just "one-cheek" it

    it seemed to make no difference to me while riding, except the occasional high side :rad
     
  11. Chili

    Chili Member

    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Name:
    Nick
    Thanks for your replies. The WR450 is actually my 5th bike and by far the heaviest. I just came off a 2004 KTM 300 and rode a YZ250F before the KTM. I like the Yamaha's stock suspension much better than my KTM's modified system. I could never get a lot of confidence with KTM front end on fast sweeping turns. It always seemed to push.

    I am hoping that by lowering the bike I can get the CG lowered and get a lighter feeling bike.

    I might just end up going back to a 250 or 300 2 stroke.
     
  12. Motomania

    Motomania Registered User

    Location:
    San Jose (near BernalBux)
    Name:
    George
    This maybe late but if you never liked the front end feel of the KTM why not spend $100 or so with a suspension pro to help you set it up for you? It was probably too tall in the front end for you.

    As for your new bike, I sugest you see a suspension expert and see what his advice is, you will find a properly set up suspension makes a bike handle much better and you may find that lowering is not needed.

    If you still want to lower it, then they can advise you the best route to lower it that fits what you want to do with the bike.

    I have lowered many bikes - sometimes as simply as lowering the front end by raising the forks in the triple clamps and lowering the rear by reducing preload.

    I have also replaced the springs and/or spacers inside the forks and on the rear shock with shorter and/or lighter weight springs.

    I have not used lowering links but many people swear by them but you cannot only lower the rear of the bike, the front must also be lowered.

    You can also get or make a stepped seat to lower your seat.

    You can also take your boots to a shoe repair place and have them add another sole to your boots effectively increasing your inseam by 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch.

    You can also lower the bike by selecting a tire that has a shorter sidewall profile.

    These are a few suggestions but I still think the first stop is a competent suspension expert to advise you on set up to find out if the real problem is not height but feel.
     
  13. Chili

    Chili Member

    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Name:
    Nick
    I agree on speaking with the suspension experts, but they don't see eye to eye on this subject either. I have one Shop (Dicks in Roseville saying it will be great lowering the bike, then several others in the San Jose area that say it will hurt the handling). It's hard to get a straight answer. That is why I am hoping to get some real life feed back from people who have done this and find out their experience and if they had to do it again, would they do it. The $$ are secondary. Lots of the suggestions offered are great if I was just trying to touch the ground. However, I am an advanced rider that does not race often anymore, I enjoy Stonyford, Pine Nut (NV), Foresthill, Clear Creek (when it was open and now with a DS soon again) tough singletrack and some high speed two track with the faster Kids. So my set up needs to be plush to handle the small high speed chop and then with a few clicks on the adjusters be able to take on the nasty singletrack. The WR450F gives me a very versatile powerband and I'm trying to maximize the suspension capability of the bike to take me everywhere. My old KTM was close, but the high speed handeling was sketchy at best.

    Please note I can straddle the WR450F bike and touch the ground on my tippy toes. What I am hoping to find out: will lowering the bike get a better CG and therefore make the bike feel lighter in the real rough slow single track and will it affect the handling in a positive or negative way?

    (By the way I had my KTM done buy 2 of the top suspension guys in N.CAL. Spent over $1600 trying to dial in the KTM. It worked better than stock, but the stock Yamaha suspension is still much better. The bike is just heavy feeling in the tight stuff.
    Any real world experience would help greatly.
    Nick
     
  14. Motomania

    Motomania Registered User

    Location:
    San Jose (near BernalBux)
    Name:
    George
    OK, here is my experience from lowering my wife and daughter's bikes (CRF230 and CR125R respectively):

    The CG was lowered.

    The suspension was compromised in both performance (too soft) and travel (reduced travel).

    The handling should not change much as long as you lower both front and rear evenly.
     
  15. Chili

    Chili Member

    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Name:
    Nick
    Thanks Motomania. I spoke to Yamalink today and he also mentioned that the link will make my shock feel much softer and would recommend a firmer spring. Maybe I'll just have the bike revalved and set up again and see if this helps with the heavy feeling on the front. If not I'll just buy the lowering link for the rear and adjust my fork height.
     
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