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Old 10-11-2009, 08:41 AM   #1
GypsyAngel
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Default Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

How To: Installing a Lowering Link on an 08’ Kawasaki Ninja 650r

Tools Needed:

Lowering Link
6mm Allen Wrench
8mm Allen Wrench
19mm Straight Wrench
XL Screw Driver
Hammer
Measuring Tape
Small Ruler
Level
Ceiling Hooks
Ratchet Straps
Front Stand
Rear Stand
Spark Plug Socket 13/26 & 21 or appropriate front stand tip.

A friend or husband to help.

Optional:
Bar risers

Part One: Pre lowering info

First, let me state that this was used as a last resort and I rarely recommend lowering a bike. However I am 5’4”, 115 lbs, with a 29 ½” inseam. I had my seat redone by Spencer’s Seat Mods at:

www.greatdaytoride.com

and even bought boots with a taller sole. After all that, I could get my feet down further than before. However, in the end, I was still dropping my bike in off camber situations and , while these bikes take a drop remarkably well, the repairs where definitely adding up.Also note that lowering bike is not a substitute for parking lot practice. Mine will just be on temporarily until I learn how to better handle this bike’s weight at low speeds.

Ouch $$





Even up hills were precarious:



There are actually many different lowering links out there and they’re actually all quite similar. In the end I chose Soupy’s Lowering link.

http://www.soupysperformance.com/cat...00/7057117.htm

The main deciding factor in deciding this was price, $81 shipped. Since this is only a temporary additive to my bike, I did not want to spend a fortune on it. Also the seller got good reviews from buyers on Ebay. I’m sure installing other lowering links on this bike is quite similar.

This is what you’ll get from Soupy:

Front:



Back note this side is indented:





That’s it, no instructions, and no parts fiche. But don’t panic. It’s not rocket science and pretty self explanatory from the picture on their website.



To begin with I took some stock measurements. This lowering link claims to lower your bike 1 ½” , but I never believe manufacturers. Also, knowing the exact amount actually lowered is important to properly lower the front end to match. Too much or too little front end adjustment will affect how your bike handles after being lowered.

First from the rear tire to a designated spot on undertail. I marked the most parallel point with Duct tape. Looks to be pretty much 6” here.



Then I measured the seat height. I kind of wished that I had taken this measurement prior to sending my seat off to Spencer. I guess the long distance gel negates any lowering that he may have done. Looks like 31” and that’s pretty much stock height. Note: I had my hubby help here to hold the bike level to get an accurate measurement.




I also noted my current shock setting. I keep mine pretty much right in the middle, tried all settings and with my weight , the bike didn’t really show a notable difference at any setting. Also, I don’t do track days with this bike, so we settled with this.



Finally, I took current fork height measurement. Note that I had previously lowered the forks to Kawasaki’s suggested height of ½” from the bottom of the fork cap to the top of the upper triple tree opening. I DID find that this improved handling and recommend anyone who buys a 650r to at least try it. But that’s another thread.



To help with measuring later, and to aid when putting it back after removing the link, I recommend marking your forks with a Sharpie marker. Don’t worry, a little alcohol will remove the mark if you choose.



Now onto lowering:
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Part Two: Installation of the Link and Lowering the Rear:







First go ahead and loosen the shock bolt. You’ll need an 8mm Allen key for the outside of the bolt:



And a 19mm straight wrench for the nut on the inside:



Turn the outer Allen key counter-clockwise, but DON’T REMOVE YET! At this point, the wrench will lock against the rear tire, so you don’t need a spare hand for this.



The next step, I’m sure can be done several ways. You might be able to just get a strong friend to support the rear end of your bike. This is just the way I chose. We have a couple of hooks sunk into a stud in the ceiling of our garage. These are sunk well in and very secure. You must find a sturdy stud to sink these into!



We positioned the rear of the bike directly under these hooks and removed the seat. I thought about just using the grab rails/ rear rack, but decided I needed something more secure. So under the seat, there’s this handy frame cross bar. We ran a couple of ratchet straps under this and threaded them back through the eyelets of their hooks. Like this:



We then ran them up through the ratchet end hooked to the ceiling hooks. Just run them through like you normally would any ratchet strap.



With one person helping to support the bike, slowly tighten the straps and ratchet up the rear of the bike. Do a couple or ratchets on each strap, first one, then the other, keeping the bike even as it’s raised. Once it’s suspended, the front end will be stable without any further support. We actually raised the rear of the bike approx. 1” off the floor to take the weight off the shock and make it easier to maneuver.





Once the bike is securely suspended, you can finish removing the shock bolt. Make sure you catch the nut and washer as they come free from the back side. Continue turning the Allen wrench counter-clockwise until it no longer appears to be backing out.



Now, it’s time to get old- school. Grab your trusty XL screw driver and hammer and move around to the other side of the bike. Insert the screwdriver against the back of the bolt and gently tap with a hammer until the bolt falls out on the other side. Note: it’s a good idea to have a friend supporting the tire here as it will drop once the bolt is removed and effectively trap your screwdriver in the hole.



This is what you’ll be left with, stock bolt with nut and washer:



I also took a picture of the stock bolt next to the new one supplied by Soupy. The widths are the same, but note the different length of the new one.



And the position of your rear shock once the bolt has been removed and the rear tire dropped.



Now go ahead and place the inner lowering link plate. This is the plate with the more rounded bottom. Also make sure the indented side is facing you.



The plate is placed on the outside of your shock support mount NOT to the inside and the indentation on the plate will rest directly over the shock mount.



Next place the outer Link plate. This one has a more 90 degree angle with a flat bottom and back. This time the indented side will be facing away from you and you should be looking at the flat side. Like this:



Once again it fits outside and over the shock mount, not to the inside:



Both plates in place:



Then we’ll place the spacer. As you can see it appears quite solidly made of a thicker round aluminum.





Just lift up your shock and insert it between the shock mounts. It’s a tight fit, so make sure it’s not angled or it won’t slide in.



Inserting the new lower bolt first with the Allen hole facing out, just like the stock one. Being sure to run it through the spacer and inner plate.



Place the retaining nut on the opposite side to secure it. Soupy didn’t provide any washers with this kit and I’m a big advocate of using them, so I dug around the garage until I found one that would work here. I’ll use the stock washer on the upper bolt. Note: Only finger tighten this nut at this point, do not tighten it all the way down as it’ll have to still be slightly mobile to line up the upper holes with your shock.



Now onto the new upper bolt. For this you’ll have to raise the rear tire in order to get the upper link plate holes to line up with the holes in the shock. I used the rolling the rear tire onto my boot method, but if your friend isn’t supporting the rear of your bike, they can raise the tire for you. This’ll also give you your fist glimpse of how much lower your bike is going to be.



Place the new upper bolt just barely in the hole so you can ram it through once everything is lined up. Once again, the Allen hole should be facing you. Then raise your shock with one hand while shifting the link plates forward and back with your other hand until everything lines up and the bolt slides all the way through. Once through, place your stock washer and new nut on the other side to secure everything in place.



Grab your 8mm Allen wrench and 19mm straight wrench and tighten everything down. Finger tighten the nuts on the back then, hold the nuts steady with the wrench. Use the open end this time or the wrench will get locked into the lower nut as it’s tightened. Turn the Allen side clockwise till both are good and tight.

With your friend steadying the bike, slowly, once again one at a time, loosen the ratchet straps and gently lower your bike to the ground. Trying to keep it as even as possible. At this point you’ll notice how straight up and down it sits while on its side-stand. If this is going to be a long term mod, I recommend either chopping your side stand or buying a shortened one. If not, you will have to use caution from this point forward and pay special attention to the surfaces where you park. If cambered too uphill on the left side, your bike may be taking a dirt nap by the time you return to it.



Almost done with the rear. Your last step will be to stiffen the rear shock all the way. Why? Because it WILL rub against the frame when hitting big bumps.

Rubs Frame here:



This won’t completely solve this problem, but will lessen it somewhat. Kawasaki made adjusting our shocks quite easy and very nearly idiot proof. The wider the space between the shock adjuster and the spring, the stiffer the suspension. I.E. the tighter your spring, the stiffer your suspension.

So find your spanner wrench in you stock tool kit.



And place it under your shock adjusts, hooking the tip into the slots provided.



And pull upwards.



Each adjustment will click into place one at a time. Keep going until you’re all the way at the top.





Now you’re done lowering the rear. But not so fast, speedy! You bought a sport bike, not a cruiser. And if you want it to continue handling like one, you’ve got to get that suspension level again. And that means lowering the front.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:44 AM   #3
GypsyAngel
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Part Three: Lowering The Front:


Now, ideally, you’ll want to lower the front exactly the same amount that you lowered the rear. So before progressing, let’s take some new measurements to find out exactly how much lower we now are.

Remember the manufacturer advertised a 1 1/2” drop. This looks like it’s now at approx. 5” .





That’s really only a 1” reduction in height. But just to be sure, let’s measure the seat height as well. Once again my husband was holding the bike level in order to get an accurate measurement.



Looks like it’s just a tad over 30” now. So we’ll say it was about a 1” drop and lower the front accordingly.

Now, if using standard handlebars on your bike, you will need bar risers. Otherwise, there won’t be enough room to properly raise your forks before hitting the handlebars. I’ve heard of some people using the raised fork ends to mount clip-on type handlebars, however, I still wanted to use the FZ1 bars I had previously placed on my bike.

Bar risers are simple, unbolt your stock bar clamps, place the bottom riser under your handlebars. There’s a little “U” shaped rest for it. And replace the top clamp or the new top clamp if provided. Check that the position of your handlebars are where you want them and that the throttle, clutch and brake cables all still have enough free play as well as any extra electrical you may have added. Turn handle bars all the way to the stops both right and left. If all is good, finish tightening down the top clamp and you’re good to go.

For this you can either turn the bike around and support the front by hooking to the handlebars, just like you did with the rear, only you don’t have to actually lift the bike this time. Just support the front to keep it from dropping once the forks are freed.

Or use front and rear stands as I chose to do. Note: You should never use a front stand without a rear stand. Now there are two types of front stands. The one on the left raises the bike by the ends of the forks, the one on the right actually fits inside a hole in the center of your lower triple tree to raise the bike. You want to use the one on the right for this application.



And, if you’re like us and don’t have other tips for your front stand, just use a spark plug socket when using it on your 650r. This is a size 13/16 & 21.




Now, place your stands and raise the rear first, then the front.



The upper and lower triple trees on this bike both take a 6mm size Allen key.



Loosen the lower triple tree first. DO NOT completely remove the triple tree bolts, just loosen them until they spin freely and release pressure on the triple tree clamp.. Standing on the left side of the bike and looking down from the top you can clearly see the lower triple tree and appropriate Allen bolts that you will have to loosen. You can also see where the front stand goes in to the hole, just above my hand.



Another shot of the Allen bolts from underneath with a half shot of the front stand and the hole in the triple tree all the way in the bottom left of the picture.



Here’s a shot of the one’s on the right side of the bike. To the left if you’re in front of the bike. You will find it easier to access the bolts from underneath.



Once you’ve loosened the lower triple tree bolts, have a friend stand by, holding the forks as you loosen the upper triple tree. Note: If you do not support the forks, they will suddenly drop once bolts are loosened. It may be possible to fit a jack under the front tire to help, but mine would not fit, so my husband lent a hand.

A shot of the upper triple tree bolts on the left side of your bike.



Once I loosened both sides, the forks could then be lifted through the triple tree.



Take your time and measure, adjust, measure, and measure again. Here you can clearly see the line I made prior to starting with my sharpie. This gives me a point to measure to. I want 1” extra from this line down to the top of the triple tree opening.



Be sure to measure both sides. Just because they were even when you started, doesn’t mean they’re still even now. Mess up here and you could get a front end wobble.



Once the forks are where you want them and even, tighten down the upper triple tree first to lock the forks into their new position. Then tighten the lower triple tree bolts.

Here you can clearly see why that bar riser was needed. There definitely wouldn’t have been enough room to raise the forks this high with the bars at stock height.



Finally, lower your bike back down, front first then the rear. Once back down, go around and make sure all bolts are tight, triple trees and lowering link. Now you can sit on your new lowered bike and get a feel for the new position. Take it for a spin and look out for any tucking of the front end (forks are too low) drifting of the rear or slow turn it (rear is too low. If you followed along and all went well, then enjoy your new lowered ride.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Pros and Cons:
Pros: From my point of view – The bike still handled exactly as before. I noticed no tucking or high speed wobble up to 60-70 mph. There was also no drifting of the rear or slow turn ins. This bike still took whatever line I put it in corner after corner. I still have yet to try it out in the tighter mountain switchbacks though. All in all, it’s amazing how much difference 1 inch can make. Having solid footing on all surfaces and cambers really gives your confidence an instant boost.

Cons: Once again, from my point of view – Prepare to feel every bump and groove in the road with unmatched clarity. This mod took the 650r’s already cruddy suspension and made it remarkably worse. Also, as previously mentioned, the shock now rubs the frame over really severe bumps. There’s no way I’d be carrying a passenger with this bike like this and it will definitely be coming off before I can fully load it for touring again. Luggage will likely be kept to just a top case for now. Side stand is too long – park with care. I did still feel like I the front was higher while I was riding, even though all measurements and handling states otherwise. Weird. The biggest issue however that I can see is Reduced Ground Clearance! This will mean it’ll scrape much sooner in curves and bottom out much quicker. Good thing I’m not a knee dragger, still, I’ll corner with care.

Afterthought: I have read where you can set your rear shock on the SOFTEST setting and turn the spring covering the rear shock 180 degrees. At this new position it “should” just hit the plastic now instead of the frame and also help soften the ride. The front will still beat you up however.

Before and After Pics:




Shock position before:





Shock position after:





Bike Before:





Bike After:





Leg Position

With Taller boots:

Before note the straighter leg, heel is not quite on the ground. Road was off camber here:



After – more angle in the knee, foot now firmly all the way down:



Before -From the downhill side.Camber is more evident:



After:



Before -From behind:



After:



Now with regular boots. These are BMW Allrounds.

Before:



After:



Before:



After:



From Behind Before:



After:



A couple more obligatory post lowering bike shots:





Hope this has been helpful. Enjoy.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Almost forgot, while removing the lowering link, my brilliant hubby came up with a simple method for manuevering the front forks. We tried placing a jack under the front wheel, but it just wouldn't fit. So my husband grabbed a car ramp and slid it under the wheel instead. With this, the front wheel could travel up and down the ramp depending on whether you pushed the ramp further under the bike, or pulled it out away from the bike. And as the wheel traveled, so did the forks. Brilliant!

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Last edited by GypsyAngel; 10-11-2009 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsyangel View Post
Almost forgot, while removing the lowering link, my brilliant hubby came up with a simple method for manuevering the front forks. We tried placing a jack under the front wheel, but it just wouldn't fit. So my husband grabbed a car ramp and slid it under the wheel instead. With this, the front wheel could travel up and down the ramp depending on whether you pushed the ramp further under the bike, or pulled it out away from the bike. And as the wheel traveled, so did the forks. Brilliant!


Fantastic! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Great how-to for sure!! Gotta laugh, are the red/silver 06 frame pics from Soupy's site? If so it's my bike - Soupy and I met through a friend at a track day and at the time he was just starting to develop one for the Ninja 650. I had been desperate for a lowering kit and so my bike was the guinea pig. I'm super happy with mine since I dropped the front end, it's given me alot of confidence after dropping the bike several times due to my height. Again, really great instructional post!!

Stacey
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Very Nice writeup. Great detail!
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarzan77 View Post
Great how-to for sure!! Gotta laugh, are the red/silver 06 frame pics from Soupy's site? If so it's my bike - Soupy and I met through a friend at a track day and at the time he was just starting to develop one for the Ninja 650. I had been desperate for a lowering kit and so my bike was the guinea pig. I'm super happy with mine since I dropped the front end, it's given me alot of confidence after dropping the bike several times due to my height. Again, really great instructional post!!

Stacey
Yep, that's straight from Soupy's site. I also liked mine, but made a deal with the hubby to take em off if he bought me some Daytona Ladystar boots.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lowering Link On A Kawasaki 650r

Nice write up
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