lower front end=better handling?
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Thread: lower front end=better handling?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    95 Ninja ZX600C

    lower front end=better handling?

    i've heard that if you lower your bike's front end, that you get better handling. is this true? if so, how does one go about lowering the front end?

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  3. #2
    One more time eh? Array spacely's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    New West
    lowering the front end of the bike does a bunch of things. It will make the steering quicker, it will reduce stability. it will reduce cornering clearance it will move weight forward (a little). It will decrease clearance between the front fender and the rad/fairing.
    all that being said I usually try to raise the rear ride height of my bikes which gives the same steering change. Some bikes don't have rear height adjusters (preload does not count) so the front has to go down.
    With your bike on it's centerstand, loosen the upper and lower fork clamps and slide the tubes up a couple of millameters, tighten everything up and go for a ride to see how it feels. Only go a little bit at a time, it only takes a bit to make a big difference so don't go dropping the thing 20 mils.
    Wrap a zip tie around one of your fork tubes and either do some hard braking or role over some speed bumps, the ziptie will stay at the highest point of fork travel and will let you know if you are running into clearance problems between the top of the fork slider and the bottom tripple clamp.
    Whenever you are fucking with your suspension, go a little at a time and only make one change at a time. Its not so bad on your bike but on the new stuff with preload, compression and rebound adjusters on both ends of the bike plus the ability to adjust height at both ends, its pretty easy to get lost.

  4. #3
    Registered User Array
    Join Date
    May 2002
    West Vancouver
    '79 Honda 500SE<- Joke, I have a nice bike
    I would not call it 'better' handleing, just different.
    There are also some less-cool results of lowering the front end. Many people do this to thier VFRs in order to make them more "flickable". The downside is that you will also have to put more into keeping the bike going in a strait line. It might seem trivial, but on a long ride it leads to fatigue. I swapped VFRs with a friend on a trip to whistler. He had dropped his forks a fair amount, maybe even an inch. The bike loved to turn, but it kept wanting to wander all over the road. I was also getting headshake comming out of many corners. My friend said he liked light handleing and that my bike felt like a pig. I will never understand why he bought a VFR.


  5. #4
    370HSSV-O773H Array arcrz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Kamloops B.C.
    A black one
    Doing so will quicken up your steering.But do it in Millimeters,a couple at a time.It may seem hard to believe but a mill or 2 makes a huge difference.I have the front of my bike dropped 4 mills,and spent a couple hours messing around with heights till i settled on 4 mills.At 2 mills there wasnt much of a difference,3 was a bit better,4 was quite a bit quicker feeling than 3 was but wasnt feeling unstable,not even at high speeds.At 5 mills it sucked.The bike felt like it was going to fall over everytime i turned in for a corner and at around 210 k/mh It started up a bit of a tank slapper (my bike has never done that).I set it back to 4 mm and it was much better,stable yet very quick on the initial turn in,the front end doesnt feel like it wants to tuck and it`s rock solid all the way to its top speed.
    All bikes will respond differently than what mine did.You may be able to drop yours a lot more than 4mm.Just do it safely.........and patiently.
    Hug a two stroke....you`ll never go back to trees.

  6. #5
    WMRC Past Prez three time Array NFG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Yamaha RD350LC Race Bike (Sold!)/ Yamaha XS1100 /YSR 50 Street and Race / Two 50cc Pocket Bikes / Honda Z50/ Yamaha BWS 50 (Sold!) /Yamaha MX100/ Yamaha YZ250/ Husqvarna 430 / a few projects in parts....
    All good advice but you should start out with a fresh set of forks. Oil changed and set at the OEM sugested grade and level. Then go crazy!

    My personal prefrence has always been a quick front end. Over the years I've dropped my forks "big time" on all my rides. Goes back to my MX days ( a long time ago) and just carried over. Love the planted feel under braking ( I only use the front) and fast turn in. I'm a point and shoot guy. I like the race bike feel so stability takes a back seat with me.
    Stefan Medlicott
    NFG Racing

    "I guarantee that it will start, and I guarantee that it
    will blow up. I cannot guarantee the time between those two events."

    "....those who go for broke often get there...."

    "Buy in Haste, Repent at Leisure."

  7. #6
    Moderator Array TeeTee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Out to pasture in the 'Wack
    04 Kawi Z1000,
    Sandworm's buddy went too far IMHO. Common headshake is a sure sign that you've gone too far. I too like a light and sharp handling feel but not at the expense of life saving stability. Like most things in life it's the happy compromise that is often best.

    There is also more than one road to Rome, as the saying goes. Tire profile makes a huge difference to the feel of a bike. Buying the "performance" option for older bikes rather than the "touring" option makes a world of difference. For modern sport bikes the choice is easier. You know what you're getting pretty quickly in today's tire lineup.

    If you get radical with the front end drop I heartily recomend that you test for parts clearance by undoing the upper fork caps with the bike supported and stroke the front suspension ALL the way up to ensure that the full bump travel is not going to contact or strain anything. Pay particular attention to the brake line(s) to ensure that the travel is not pinching the lines or connectors in any way. Be VERY conservative here.
    A backyard mechanic without a service manual is just like a hooker without a lamp pole.... they are both in the dark.

  8. #7
    Eh Muh Gawd Becky!! Array Purplekawi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    my front room
    somethin somethin somethin
    i generally do as TeeTee sudgested and find all my clearances i.e. brake lines, fender to fairing and wheel to rad, and find how far i can go then start playing. if i can i'll dial a couple mm's to the rear or set at half of its adjusting range so i can play with it later and then set my front. like NFG i tend to drop the front as much as possible. not to the point of sacrificing stability but to quicken the steering and put more biase on the front weight wise. its my riding style. i like to be steady on the throttle coming in and then start dialing it up as soon as possible. with more biase on the front i can drive out a bit faster without drifting the front or taking to much weight off it. its a fine line however between too much and washing out the front from to much pressure and sliding the front from not enough. its definately something to play with. be sure to check ground clearance on all fronts though. dial things down too much and your kickstand might put your bike at a disadvantageous angle and be prone to falling over. dial the back up to much and nothing on the front may cause it to put too much pressure on the stand and sink into asphalt badly.
    That that doesn't kill us forces us to live with a busted up bike!!

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