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Lower Front Forks

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Dusty, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. Dusty

    Dusty Dusty

    I've started my next build. I'm gonna try a brat style.
    My question is ,when I lower the rear,How do y'all lower your front forks ( short of moving them up in the trees ). Do you cut the springs, or change the springs ?
    I would love to hear how people do it.
     
  2. Ironsled77

    Ironsled77 XS650 GRAND HACK

    Take them apart and cut the springs. A Google search will reveal the hiding secrets.

    Posted via Mobile
     
  3. Dusty

    Dusty Dusty

    Thanks bloodthirstysystem. Man, that talks ya through the whole process.
    Time to get cuttin.
     
  4. ember

    ember XS650 Addict

    131
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    You can move them up into the trees as well. I would do that first before you cut the springs, this way you can see just how much you want to lower it. If you cut too much off the springs, you are screwed.
    If you just need an inch or so, move the forks through the trees and be done with it.
     
  5. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    Or he can make it look right by actually doing it right, by following that tech thread. Why go to all the trouble of chopping a scoot if you're just going to half-ass it?
     
  6. Well doing it right depends on what you're going for... I think you can move the forks up in the trees about an inch before the boots will be hitting the lower triple tree at full compression. Moving them up in the tree will allow you keep maximum suspension travel. If you go with the spacer-on-the-damper-rod trick, and cut the long springs to match with the longer spacer on the top, you lose travel. You only have about 4" of travel (I think) so you if you want to lower it say 2 inches, one method would be to take it all out of the travel with a 2" spacer on the damper rod. An alternative would be to take just over an inch out of the travel, and raise the trees up just under an inch. That way you'd have a 2 inch drop and only sacrifice just over an inch of travel..

    I'm looking for about a 1 inch drop on my current project and I'm thinking of taking 1/2" out of the travel and raising the forks 1/2" in the trees. Maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong... if so, I'm sure someone will correct me.

    One thing to remember is that if you take a lot out of the travel, you'll want to take even more off of the main spring (and have a longer spacer on the top of it) to increase the spring rate so you don't bottom out over every little bump. You also don't want to to take so much off that you have coil bind before you bottom out. If that happens, you'll need new springs with higher spring rates. I think that would only be a problem for large drops though.
     
  7. Dusty

    Dusty Dusty

    These are all great ideas. I also thought about doing nothing to the forks, and cutting the neck and letting the rake drop till I like it and re-weld. What would my problems be if I went that way ?
     
  8. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    Being short of inseam I have always slipped the tubes up through trees until I saw the internal spacer technique listed above. Inmy opinion the best method. I will continue to use it on all my future builds.
     
  9. i think i made my damper spacer 2" or so.. i cut the spring a 1/2" less than it should be for the added preload, like he talks about in the article. when my preload adjuster is set all the way it is very stiff, not worried about bottoming out at all. i'm going to lower it more next winter...

    i've read somewhere else that you should drill holes in the spacer tube you make. there are holes somewhere on the damper rod and you don't want to cover them and reduce the oil flowing inside.
     
  10. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    Dusty, no problem with that at all as long as you keep your trail between 2-4 inches (ideally anyway).

    Raking it out is going to give you the most look, but also requires the most effort. I would definitely encourage this approach over the others. The main problem is keeping the neck aligned with the rest of the frame once it's cut. This is a job that should be done very carefully as it can result in some bad, disastrous and even deadly outcomes, if it is poorly done. Taking your time and doing it right though, will give you the most satisfying results. Remember though... rake out on this scoot... not up. :thumbsup:

    Done per the instructions in Justin's tech article there shouldn't be too much worry about bottoming... as for the "right" way to do it... we are talking a chop here, right? Since when do concerns over 3, as opposed to 4, inches of travel come into play? Sacrificing an inch for a cleaner look is the nature of the beast. Of course, really doing it right would involve things like respringing and/or shortened tubes, but that wasn't really brought up at first.. and never is. There are many, many levels of "doing it right", that never get touched on because they require such things as money, effort, skill-building and time that most dudes don't seem interested in. So if you're going to do it, at least make it look right. :D

    On the fucked-up-front-end note that nobody ever seems to mention when they talk about how great this bike is (and I love the look of this chop, btw.) Based solely on clean, spare looks not many compare in my book. Nate Spainhower's paint is subtle and second to none on this scoot:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Oh yeah.. I guess I should have said cut the main spring less than the amount you shorten the travel. whoops... and I keep thinking these things have spacers on top of the main spring to set the preload when they don't. :doh:


    ^ I have noticed that before... Is Nate's front end just bolted up solid?
     
  12. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    I would think it would have to be. Or it has some serious spring-age going on. There's maybe 1.25" of space between the lowers and the lower tree? Clack, clack, clack. It's beautiful, but it seems like it would be a brutal ride.

    (That wouldn't stop me from riding it though...)
     
  13. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    When it stops being rideable is it still a motorcycle?
     
  14. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    The glaring error in that question should be obvious to everyone... but I'll point it out.

    When exactly does a motorcycle ever stop being rideable!?

    I once rode a late sixties Honda Dream about ten miles down a dirt road with no motor, seat or brakes, two flat tires, seized shocks, and handlebars that kept flopping around in the clamps... pulled by a rope behind my brother's CL350. It was still fun!
     
  15. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    "It was still fun!"
    But was it a motorcycle?
    Just sayin, I like art too. But if it's too arty, oftentimes it isn't a motorcycle.
    My opinion of course.
    If static displays flip your switch go for it.
     
  16. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    Well, it was when we got done with it!

    I've said this a million times; sacrificing too much function in favor of aesthetics is pointless. The trick is to find that sweet spot where you can still enjoy riding it and it looks good. Truthfully, more often than not, builders miss the mark in one direction or the other.

    Like I said, I'm betting the ride on that chop is brutal.
     
  17. Yes it's definitely a balance.. but it's all very subjective and depends on the intent of the build.
     
  18. Dusty

    Dusty Dusty

    Since this bike is done, and rideable, I am leaning toward the rake idea. I may also run a 21" front wheel,and if I have to, I can slide the legs up a little in the trees.
    Thanks Teebs on the trail advice. I shouldn't have to go much if I go to 10" shocks on the back.
    001 - Copy.jpg
     
  19. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    Subjective to you, maybe... :D
     

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