We often talk about lowering the front and rear of motorcycles. The question usually goes “how much can I lower the rear (or front) of my Harley Davidson motorcycle?” There is no firm answer for this question. Rider weight, one or two up, packed for a trip, fender clearance and even how rough the local roads are can factor into your decision.
How does lowering affect the handling? Again, it depends on how much you lower it. If you only lower it 1” you may only lose some ground clearance causing you to drag parts and pieces in turns and could even upset the bikes stability.
Deciding on if and how much to lower your Harley Davidson motorcycle is personal decision. We advise considering all of the issues like fender clearance for the tire wiring and ground clearance along with the handling issues.
So, you decide to lower the bike, what do I look out for?
The best thing to do is to remove the rear wheel and make sure that all of the fender strut bolts are not protruding into the fender well. Adjust, shorten or modify any that do. A tire will rip itself apart on any thing it can hit up in there. Reroute wires or bundles so that they are totally clear of the area on the inside of the fender. Many a wiring harness has been ripped up when the tire hit it.
Also, check the bolt hat holds down your seat! Often this bolt is long enough to hit a tire when you lower the motorcycle.
We always check the full travel of the wheel and make sure it cannot rub or hit anything.
After you install your lowering kit or shorter shocks, make sure you set the spring load properly following the manufacturers instructions. By setting the pre-load to soft you may easily bottom and upset your handling.
How do you lower the front of your Harley Davidson motorcycle?
Most of the same decisions apply here. Riding style, weight, roads etc. all are factors.
Make sure that the wheel has sufficient clearance to the fend and fork legs. Check brake cable and speedometer cable routing.
On fork lowering you can tune the forks reaction to bumps and braking by increasing or decreasing fork spring pre-load and oil viscosity and level.
Progressive Suspension, White Brothers and Race Tech make some outstanding products for lowering your bike. All are top notch and high quality. Race Tech has an innovative cartridge emulator that we are very impressed with. We will follow up with an article on this product soon.
We caution our customers to consider all of the issues before radically lowering their suspension. We also highly suggest lowering the front and rear the same amount for most applications.