We have lowered hundreds of motorcycles for lots of reasons. A properly lowered bike gives
you safety and confidence. We tell people, “buy the bike of your dreams, we can make it fit
you, so don’t settle on a bike you don’t want just because your toes touch at the dealership”!
Don’t ask us, we ask you! LOL! Maybe you are shorter than your current bike, or maybe your dream bike? You aren’t alone, we have lowered hundreds of bikes for riders just like you. Some riders are getting a little older and don’t feel they have the leg strength to hold up their bike if it starts to lean a bit too much. Some riders aren’t able to back up with confidence on gravel. Other riders venture off trail fairly often and the ground is uneven when they go to put their feet down. Some riders realize that you need to be 6’5” tall to touch the ground comfortably on a GS1200! Whatever the reason, come in and see us about lowering your bike. We tell people “don’t wait until you get broken into before you buy an alarm!” The price we charge to PROPERLY lower a bike is often cheaper than the bodywork required to fix just one tip over at low speed.
The VERY odd time we use lowering links is if we have measured the S%$# out of them and they pass our engineering seal of approval, but we typically avoid them like the plague. How do lowering links work? Well, a lowering link is an aftermarket set of link plates that swing the tire up without moving the shock. This lowers the bike, usually 1/2” or 1”. What is our problem with this you might ask? Well, the Engineers at Honda, Yamaha, BMW, etc., spend a tremendous amount of time making sure that when your rear shock bottoms after a big bump fully loaded, that the rear tire doesn’t actually hit anything up under your rear inner fender. Poke your head up in there and have a look. The inner fender area has a smooth rounded profile that matches exactly to your tire profile. Why? Because your tire gets crazy close at full bottom! Do you think the link manufacturers that offer ½, 1” or 2” lowering links have checked every bike and tire combination? No way. The shock has a bump rubber designed to decelerate the wheel just before it contacts anything on the bike. Once you get in there and swap out components in this critical area, the tire can hit the battery box, the regulator/rectifier or whatever else used to be safely out of the way and in the worst-case scenario lock up the rear tire at whatever speed you happened to be doing. We lower bikes properly! The other concern is the lazy option of just lowering the back of the bike an inch or so will dramatically affect the handling and the weight distribution of the bike if the front has not been lowered to match.
Why lower both ends and not just the back?
Lowering just the back will take significant weight off the front tire and will change the rake, trail, wheelbase, and safe handling of the bike. Question, can you feel it when you put a trailer on the back of your car or truck? Of course you can! The headlight aim is crazy high, the nose or hood feels high, there is a strange lack of resistance and confidence in the steering wheel and in fast corners it feels like the front tires might lose grip and slide away…. EXACTLY the same sensation with your bike when you only lower the rear. However, on a bike, lowering the rear only will add a bunch of unwanted Rake and Trail to the steering, drastically reducing the steering effect from the handlebars and is dangerous at best!
We go inside the fork and shock and shorten them internally. We do the engineering in the rear linkage to determine exactly how much to shorten your shock, and we match this to the fork length reduction. When done the bike is invisibly, almost imperceptibly, lower without the forks sticking way out of the triple clamps or any unwanted aftermarket parts out back. We always start off our lowering appointments by measuring the riders sag so that we can correct the handling of the bike while we lower it. Often it will handle and perform much better after we lower it custom for you! Each lowering is specialized for each rider. Our most common lowering jobs are typically between 1/2” and 1+3/4”. Although, we have gone as much as 4” lower in special situations when the bike is tall enough to give us the suspension travel to do it. Typically, off-road MX style bikes, or BMW GS1200s, have lots of travel for us to play with.
What else is done?
Obviously, when the bike is sitting lower, the side stand no longer has the mechanical advantage as the bike isn’t leaning over as much. We need to shorten your side stand after your custom lowering job to keep the lean angle safe for your stand. Optional is for us to also shorten the centre stand. This adds cost of course and extends the job another couple of days as our centre stands get welded offsite and then return to us for painting and refitting.
You get a full suspension service, front and rear, included with the lowering. If you look at it this way, your bill for a full lowering is not much more than if you came into us for a front and rear suspension service with removal and reinstallation of the forks and shock!
How much does it cost?
Cost varies with a few things. First off is unfortunately how much bodywork is on the bike. A BMW K1600 takes us hours to get the front and rear shock out. A GSXR 600 shock and forks can be in our hand in 25 minutes. Contact us for an estimate. How low are we going? An average weight rider that only needs a 1/2” lower can often expect to use the OEM springs, this can save several hundred dollars. A heavier or lighter rider that wants a 2” lower will almost always need different springs, price goes up. Contact us for an estimate. If the bike uses conventional forks up front and a shock out back, that is cheaper than a BMW with a tele lever front end. Does the shock have standard preload adjustment or electronic adjustment? The answer to this affects the price. Are the shocks even serviceable? Sometimes we need to completely replace the shock with a much better unit from one of our suppliers due to ultra-low-quality OEM suspenders. This will improve the ride and performance but will raise the price as well. Basically, we have lowered bikes for as low as $800-900 to as high as $2400 (plus tax) depending on the bike, rider weight, amount we are lowering, centre stand, shock purchase, etc. Best to contact us for an estimate.
Is that an estimate or a quote?
We use the word estimate...We often cannot see how rusty or dirty your bike is over the phone, nor can we know that you have welded a light bar to your triple clamp bolts, or your forks are bent from a crash, etc. We can only give you an accurate quote at the halfway point of the job, otherwise an accurate careful estimate, based on our knowledge and years of experience, is what we will offer you on the job.