Lowering The Ride Height On A CBR900 Fireblade

March 15, 2010

As previously reported I had my first ride out on my Fireblade but there was one small problem :-0  I was on tiptoes on a flat surface and when pulling up at some traffic lights my foot was flailing around trying to find the ground before me and my new bike fell over in a rather undiginfied heap 😦

This photo illustrates how much of my foot touched the floor with the bike as standard

On my ride home I was wondering how I could lower the ride height, but without physically lowering the whole machine, as I knew that growing longer legs overnight wasn’t really an option 😉  but I still needed to get my bum closer to the floor..

And then I had a brainwave 🙂

In the garage we had a spare seat from another Blade which wasn’t needed anymore, so as soon as I was home I was set up on my dining room table with the sharpest knives from my kitchen and the spare seat.   I was going to reshape the seat and carve some of the height out of it.

I very quickly removed the cover from the seat and soon had the sections of foam I needed to remove marked out

Sections of foam to be removed marked up

I then started carefully carving the foam away in strips

Shaving off the slices

This is the seat with most of the surplus foam shaved off..

Basics almost done

Now it’s time to tidy things up a little.. So with VERY careful knife cuts I trimmed and neatened the foam so that it was as smooth as possible.  This was the end result 🙂

All neatened up

The finished foam

This photo shows the seat as it was on the bike

This photo shows the stock seat height

and this one shows the seat once I had carved some of the foam out..

The new seat height

The next thing to do was to receover the seat so I don’t get a soggy bottom if it rains 😉

I tried fitting the original seat cover but it was designed to go on a flat seat and I couldn’t get it to fit properly round the new curves so a trip to my local haberdashery shop was called for.   70cm of vinyl fabric (£7.00) later and after digging my staple gun out of the shed I was ready to go 🙂

Fitting the vinyl was a bit of a barsteward as it’s quite stiff to begin with but as you start working it, it starts to soften up and give a little.  I also fitted it on the bias so that would also help the fabric stretch into the curves better.  A short time (and quite a bit of swearing) later I was done 🙂 and the newly covered seat was ready to be fitted to my bike 🙂

And this is what it looks like 🙂

My newly reshaped and recovered seat on my bike

The end result… This is how much of my foot I can get on the floor now 🙂

The end result 🙂

Once I was sat on my bike on Sunday it felt soooo much better and I’m sure it will make all the difference to my confidance riding the Blade.  I’m pretty much flat footed on the left side and even though it was a bit of a hassle doing it, it was well worth it to me 🙂

I’m not kidding when I say that pretty much anyone could do this to a bike seat, you just have to be careful and take your time ESPECIALLY when cutting into the foam.  If you don’t want to mess up the seat on your bike you could always buy a second one cheaply from somewhere like ebay and then modify it.  It’s definately going to be cheaper and easier than physically lowering a bike.

If anyone reading this needs any further advice, just drop me a message and I’ll do my best to help 🙂


Hyperpro Ride Height Adjustment Kits – BMW

August 9, 2009

Hyperpro do a range of ride height adjustment kits for BMW motorcycles so you can lower or raise your motorbike to make it a better fit for yourself.

Made from high grade aluminium, the HyperPro Ride Height Adjuster Kits, safely adjust your bikes height and come with full fitting instructions.  As always with working on your bike, if you are not sure you will be able to fit the kit yourself take your bike along to your local bike shop and have them do it for you.

If you are a female rider looking at buying a motorcycle and you are unsure of which model to go for, then these entries may help you, or at least give you an idea of what sorts of bikes other girls are riding.

Girls and Modern Sports Bikes

Bikes Girls Can Ride

Choosing Your First ‘Big’ Bike

I have also produced entries on the following motorcycle manufacturers so you can see what other kits are supplied by HyperPro.

Honda

Kawasaki

Yamaha

Suzuki

Here is a link to the HyperPro website where you can find PDF files which show you by how much you can raise and lower each model of motorcycle by.  This link is for the Lowering Kits they supply, and this is for the PDF list of Height Raising Kits.

Hyperpro Ride Height Adjustment Kits are available for the following models of BMW motorcycles

Please note, I do not sell these kits.  You will need to contact your local bike shop/dealer/garage to purchase one.

BMW F 650 GS ’00> (Lowering Kit)

BMW F 800 GS ’08> (Lowering Kit)

BMW F 800 S `06> (Lowering Kit)

BMW K 1100 LT (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1100 GS ’94-’98 (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1150 GS ’99-’03 (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1150 GS ’94-’98 (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1150 GS Adventure (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1200 GS `04-`05 (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1200 GS `06> (Lowering Kit)

BMW R 1200 GS ADVENTURE `06> (Lowering Kit)


HyperPro Ride Height Adjuster Kits – Suzuki Models

July 18, 2009

The manufacturers of motorcycle always design their machines for the ‘average’ rider, but unfortunately there is no such thing.  Now if you are looking at buying yourself a Suzuki you may find that you absolutely love a particular model but the ride height is either a little high or low for you to feel comfortable and safe.

Thanks to companies such as HyperPro you can still have the bike you want as you can adjust the ride height so that the bike is a perfect fit for you.  The HyperPro Ride Height Adjuster Kits can make the motorbike up to 40mm lower or 30mm higher.

Made from high grade aluminium, the HyperPro Ride Height Adjustment Kits are designed to safely adjust the ride height of the bike.

The kits come supplied with full fitting instructions but, as always, if you are not sure you will be able to do the job it may be best to take your bike into your nearest bike workshop and have them do it for you.

Don’t forget that if you are adjusting the ride height of the bike you may also need to adjust other things such as the length of the side stand as well as the front fork set up.

If you are a female rider looking at buying a motorcycle and you are unsure of which model to go for, then these entries may help you, or at least give you an idea of what sorts of bikes other girls are riding.

Girls and Modern Sports Bikes

Bikes Girls Can Ride

Choosing Your First ‘Big’ Bike

I have also produced entries on the following motorcycle manufacturers so you can see what other kits are supplied by HyperPro.

Honda

Kawasaki

Yamaha

BMW

Here is a link to the HyperPro website where you can find PDF files which show you by how much you can raise and lower each model of motorcycle by.  This link is for the Lowering Kits they supply, and this is for the PDF list of Height Raising Kits.

HyperPro Ride Height Adjustment Kits are available for the following models of Suzuki Motorbikes

Please note, I do not sell these kits.  You will need to contact your local bike shop/dealer/garage to purchase one.

DR-Z 400 S ’00> (Lowering Kit)
DR-Z 400 SM ’00> (Lowering Kit)
GS 500 E `89> (Lowering Kit)
GSF 600 N BANDIT `95-`99 (Lowering & Raising Kit)
GSF 600 S+N BANDIT ’00> (Lowering & Raising Kit)
GSR 600 `06 (Lowering Kit)
GSX 600 F `98> (Lowering & Raising Kit)
GSX-R 600 `96-`00 (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 600 ’01-’05 (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 600 `06> (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 600 ’06-’07 (Lowering Kit)
RF 600 R `93> (Lowering Kit)
RF 600 R `93-`97 (Lowering & Raising Kit)
DL 650 V-STROM `04> (Lowering Kit)
GSF 650 (S) BANDIT `05> (Lowering Kit)
SV 650 ’03> (Lowering Kit)
SV 650 N `99-`02 (Lowering & Raising Kit)
SV 650 S `99-`02 (Lowering & Raising Kit)
GSX 750 F `98> (Lowering & Raising Kit)
GSX-R 750 ’00-’05 (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 750 ’06-’07 (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 750 W (T>) `96-`99 (Lowering Kit)
RF 900 R `94> (Lowering & Raising Kit)
DL 1000 V-STROM ’02> (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 1000 ’01-’04 (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 1000 `05> (Lowering Kit)
SV 1000 N ’03> (Lowering Kit)
SV 1000 S ’03> (Lowering Kit)
GSF 1200 BANDIT `95-`99 (Lowering & Raising Kit)
GSF 1200/S BANDIT ’00> (Lowering Raising Kit)
GSF 1250 BANDIT `07> (Lowering Kit)
GSX-R 1300 HAYABUSA `99> (Lowering & Raising Kit)


Choosing Your First ‘Big’ Motorbike

January 27, 2009

There are so many things to consider, beyond price, when choosing your first ‘big’ motorbike after passing your test, and I thought the easiest way to do this was to write this from my personal point of view as a female rider.  If there are other ladies out there facing the same dilemma then maybe, just maybe, reading about the things I had to consider may help you in your choice of motorcycle.

I will try and briefly list the points I had to consider when choosing my bike.  Things like the physical size of the bike, its engine size, and the fact I had a restricted license so had to consider how a restrictor kit would affect my choice of bike.  What the seat height was, how wide it was and how much of my feet would be on the ground when at a standstill.  Where the centre of gravity of the bike was and how balanced I would feel on it.  And lastly what type of bike to buy and how old a machine I would get.

The Seat Height
The first thing I considered was the seat height of the bike.  I’m 5 foot 3 inches tall with an inside leg measurement, wearing my bike boots, of 32 inches (odd proportions as over half my height is legs!) and I’m about the 8 stone mark so I’m not exactly well built!  The physical size of the bike was as far as I was concerned rather an important issue. 

I had learned on a cruiser style 125cc and after riding that and being so low to the ground I was convinced, when choosing my next bike, that I would be happier being able to get all of both feet on the ground.  So I was looking out for a bike which wasn’t too tall. 

Being able to get all of both feet on the ground isn’t necessary.  Some people aren’t bothered by it, while others are.  I just found it made me feel that little bit more confident, especially when moving the bike around with the engine switched off, for example getting it in or out of the garage.

Don’t forget you can lower a bike if your heart is set on it.  Check out my posts on Ride Height Adjuster Kits to see what your options are in that respect.

The Width of the bike
The width of the seat and bike can be an issue as well.  If the bike is wide then obviously your legs will be further apart when sitting on it.  Sorry ladies but it is true!  You may find that sitting on a wide bike will have you on tiptoes where as a narrow bike of similar height will enable you to flat foot.

The Weight Of The Bike
This was rather important to me as well, being small and slim.  I didn’t want to have a bike I would need help moving around, it would be very annoying (and possibly a tad embarrassing!) if I needed help moving it round all the time!  Once you are used to riding a larger bike the weight will become less of an issue, as it has with me.  

The Centre Of Gravity
How low or high the bikes centre of gravity is may be an issue.  With a lower centre of gravity the bike may feel more stable for you.  Where as one with a high centre of gravity can feel top heavy.  When I first sat on the GSX-R750 I realised how high its centre of gravity was and was afraid if I leant it over the weight might catch me by surprise and I would drop it, and that wouldn’t be a good thing to do! 

Yes, more considerations! This bike-buying lark is a minefield! 😉

The Engine Size
As I have previously mentioned on this blog I passed the UK restricted motorbike test on a 125cc bike.  This basically means that I am restricted for two years from the date of my test as to what output any motorcycle I ride can have.  Any bike I buy must have a power output of less than 33bhp, or be restricted to that by other means. 

So when looking for a bike I checked the list of ones with power less than 33bhp and decided I didn’t want any of them!  So the next step was to check which bikes could have a restrictor kit fitted so they were under the 33bhp.  I soon found that there are loads of bikes which can be restricted! 

So there were plenty I could choose from, but when you consider my previous points the field was narrowed down again.  I had to choose a bike that would take the restriction happily, after all what’s the point of buying a small, light, narrow 1000cc bike and then restricting it? None as far as I could see! So a bike with a 400cc-600cc engine seemed the way to go, the choice of which model depended on all the rest of the issues I have already mentioned. 

New Or Older Bike
As much as I would have loved to ride out of a dealer on a brand new bike I decided that this was really something I didn’t want to do.  My first big bike was going to be the one I carried on learning on, the learning curve just doesn’t stop once you have passed your test!

Chances are you will at some point drop your bike, and which would you swear about more.  The brand new bike you have just bought or the 15-year-old one which already has a few dings?  I would really swear at both but, in all honesty, if it was a new bike the swearing would be more profane and a whole lot louder!

Me? I went for the older bike..

Lastly.. 😀

What Type Of Bike
Cruiser, Tourer, Dual-Sport, Commuter, Sports?

This seriously comes down to personal choice.  I personally love the sports bikes (and the old Z650’s) but my new baby had to be a sports bike.  The best advice I can give is to go to as many bike dealers as possible, see what sorts of bikes ‘float your boat’ and make sure you sit on as many as possible until you find the one which feels just right. 

Following advice from my nearest and dearest I settled on the Honda CBR400RR.  Easy to restrict to 33bhp, small enough that I can reach the ground very easily, light enough that I can move her around and a low center of gravity which means she corners like she is on rails.

Am I happy with her, and my choice, after almost a year?

🙂 You bet I am! 🙂  

You may also want to take a look at these posts which contain more advice and tips.

Bikes Girls Can Ride

Girls And Modern Sports Bikes

Daytona Ladystar (M-Star) Boots – Help For The Vertically Challenged Motorcyclist!