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optytrex

lowering options for the fz07?

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optytrex
Hello ladies and gents,
Giving this bike to my wife to learn on :o and I've been making a few adjustments to make the bike lower and better set it to her height and weight. So far:
-I've taken the OEM vinyl wrap off and sanded down the OEM foam to take that tough top layer off. I could go further with this mod -- this gave us about an extra inch and a muuuuuuuuch more comfortable seat
-I've set the rear suspension to the lowest setting (I know it's pretty low stock at 3 but I set it to 1) -- this gave us about a half an inch or so closer to the ground
Will get her the proper riding boots for an extra in or so of reach and protection as well as a rider course to instill confidence but the next mods are quite serious and affect the dynamics of the bike.
From what I understand, the front forks can't be lowered without some serious modding (either grinding down the spacers or swapping out the OEM springs with something customized for her) and next is a lowering link or rear suspension customization/swap.
 
I guess the question here would be if there are any more simple things I can do to make sure she can reach the ground comfortably and learn on this bike in relative safety.
Any suggestions?
 

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yamahazaki
What is her height and/or inseam?
 
Teach her/show her how to just put one foot down at a stop. You can pretty much compensate for most any seat height doing that.
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optytrex
What is her height and/or inseam? 
Teach her/show her how to just put one foot down at a stop. You can pretty much compensate for most any seat height doing that.
Totally agree with you buddy. Just that I know the newbie concern of not being able to flat foot both sides. I suppose we've all been there and later we realize the truth eventually. She'll find out eventually I'm sure. She's 5 feet tall give or take an inch. Not exactly sure how to measure inseam but I'm about to google it lol
 

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markstertt
There is a lowering link that replaces the alloy rear suspension bellcrank, (Chinese) it would appear they lengthen the top leg that attaches to the shocks rear pivot. From my messing around with my own home made links, this will not only lower the rear ride height but also make the suspension much harsher due to the fact that the upper arm of the alloy bellcrank is now longer giving the shock more leverage against the rising swing arm. If you have the ability to make your own link, I can tell you several ways to decrease ride ht., also...if you can make your own version of the steel dog bone link, this can be lengthened to decrease ride ht. while not really effecting the shocks characteristics, not that the stock characteristics are worth preserving. By dropping the rear only you will be changing the handling a bit towards a Cruiser mode (more rake) vs. a sport bike (less rake) mode, which shouldn't be detrimental to a beginner.
 
To lower the front simply loosen the fork clamps and slide the tubes 1/2" to an inch up in the clamps and retighten...and realize that by lowering the front and back that the thin and vulnerable oil sump will now be closer to the ground and it's already pretty close.. Good luck.

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optytrex
There is a lowering link that replaces the alloy rear suspension bellcrank, (Chinese) it would appear they lengthen the top leg that attaches to the shocks rear pivot. From my messing around with my own home made links, this will not only lower the rear ride height but also make the suspension much harsher due to the fact that the upper arm of the alloy bellcrank is now longer giving the shock more leverage against the rising swing arm. If you have the ability to make your own link, I can tell you several ways to decrease ride ht., also...if you can make your own version of the steel dog bone link, this can be lengthened to decrease ride ht. while not really effecting the shocks characteristics, not that the stock characteristics are worth preserving. By dropping the rear only you will be changing the handling a bit towards a Cruiser mode (more rake) vs. a sport bike (less rake) mode, which shouldn't be detrimental to a beginner. 
To lower the front simply loosen the fork clamps and slide the tubes 1/2" to an inch up in the clamps and retighten...and realize that by lowering the front and back that the thin and vulnerable oil sump will now be closer to the ground and it's already pretty close.. Good luck.
I wish I could fabricate my own stuff. I am just planning on buying a welder to start with things like that. I do have a drill press and a grinder and several other tools but no experience actually fabricating things other than simple brackets and the like. Will start a project on my old CBR 600 f2 soon. I thought I could manage to move the forks up in their clamps but figured more than an inch will probably run into handle bar issues not turning from lock to lock. But I'll try lowering it a little (about a half an in or so) and see how it turns out.
I may purchase a lowering link but don't want anything cheap or crap in quality (unfortunately that usually means very expensive :'( ). I would only like to lower it maybe .5 - 1.5 inches more total but haven't searched a good lowering link. Some I've seen are 3 inch lowering kits and I'm really not interested (for reasons you've already mentioned + more). Any suggestions?
 

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markstertt
Raising the tubes in the clamps has no affect on the steering lock, try a 1/2" or so and see what you think, doing this without dropping the rear will steepen the front geometry and quicken steering and turn in so advise the wife of expected results.
 
3" lowering kits...really? That sounds extreme to me and I wasn't aware of such kits. Would you happen to know what dimension on which component they changed to achieve this much drop?  Knowing this would give us an idea of what this would do to suspension compliance in regards to harsher, softer and wheel travel.
 
Seriously though, lowering this bike to much is going to put your sump close to the pavement, you may want to fabricate and bond on a 1/4" to 5/16" alloy skid plate, perhaps bend it so it follows the beveled left side of the sump and across the bottom, adhere with some structural adhesive or something like PRC adhesive sealant. I've thought about this for myself as a little road insurance, just a thought and done right it would be almost invisible. 
 

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r4gnar
I believe HYPERPRO offers kits for lowering front and rear suspension up to 30mm. If every inch matters then maybe that's the way to go.

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robbo10
And remember your sidestand may then be too long reducing or eliminating lean. However, it may not need to be shortened as much as you might think. I dropped  a bike by just over an inch but only shaved about 1/8" off the stand.
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Just do it! 

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gregjet
OK.
First the rear.
http://www.extremecreations.com.au/mt-07-jack-up-plates. Because you possibly searched on FZ 07 it wouldn't have shown up as it is made in Australia ( MT here). Very well made. I bought one to raise the rear. Buy with the bearings installed if you can afford it. Or buy bearings locally and press in if you have the equipment and the bearings are cheaper . It allows you to raise it 25mm, set at stock height or lower 25 or 30 mm. It does not make the rear harsh and the suspension rate curve is a little more ramped towards the end only.
 
The front.
Because the bike has ordinary forks shortening them internally is very easy ( getting the bottom fork bolt out not withstanding as they can be a pain). You need to make a spacer to go between the head of the damper rod and the bottom inside of the fork. Std travel is not big so don't go silly. This method will not cause clearence problems anywhere in any position. I would not take anymore than 20mm travel out as that will leave you with only 100mm of fork travel. If you also slide the forks up through the triples ( no more than 13mm) , you will have a total drop of about 35-38mm. With a drop of 30mm at the rear the whole bike will be 30mm lower. The sidestand will HAVE to be shortened .And there will be some cornering clearence loss ( noticeable).
If you have the ability and access to the necessary you could put a stiffer/longer spring under the damper top instead of a solid spacer that brings the compression travel shorter. That would keep the total 120mm but part would be as drop travel. Could actually make the action a bit better around the static length.
 

Go forth and modify my son...go forth and modify...

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motomeek
I think everything I would say has already been said... so I'll just leave my footer sig here...

Instagram: @meekmade | You don't need to flat foot a bike to ride it.

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SkH
31 inch inseam
If that is true, no lowering needs to be done.  Hell, I have a 28 (or 29") definitely one of those, and the FZ07 was my learning bike.  And I set my preload to 4 off the bat even though I'm a super lightweight (I like a stiffer suspension).  Definitely too much people put way too much stock in the whole flat-foot business. 
 
Also it should be said, if someone doesn't want to ride, don't force them to ride.  If you need to do a whole bunch of things to get someone to ride, maybe they don't want to ride?
 
 
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markstertt
OK. First the rear.
http://www.extremecreations.com.au/mt-07-jack-up-plates. Because you possibly searched on FZ 07 it wouldn't have shown up as it is made in Australia ( MT here). Very well made. I bought one to raise the rear. Buy with the bearings installed if you can afford it. Or buy bearings locally and press in if you have the equipment and the bearings are cheaper . It allows you to raise it 25mm, set at stock height or lower 25 or 30 mm. It does not make the rear harsh and the suspension rate curve is a little more ramped towards the end only.
 
The front.
Because the bike has ordinary forks shortening them internally is very easy ( getting the bottom fork bolt out not withstanding as they can be a pain). You need to make a spacer to go between the head of the damper rod and the bottom inside of the fork. Std travel is not big so don't go silly. This method will not cause clearence problems anywhere in any position. I would not take anymore than 20mm travel out as that will leave you with only 100mm of fork travel. If you also slide the forks up through the triples ( no more than 13mm) , you will have a total drop of about 35-38mm. With a drop of 30mm at the rear the whole bike will be 30mm lower. The sidestand will HAVE to be shortened .And there will be some cornering clearence loss ( noticeable).
If you have the ability and access to the necessary you could put a stiffer/longer spring under the damper top instead of a solid spacer that brings the compression travel shorter. That would keep the total 120mm but part would be as drop travel. Could actually make the action a bit better around the static length.

gregjet...that Aussie dogbone is the nicest I think I've seen and would definitely be the way to go in my book and once installed easy to change ride height for someone with longer legs or more confidence.
 
My homemade proof of concept dogbone link, works just as you described.
 
DSCN1229.jpg

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optytrex
Wow lots of awesome replies in the short time I've been offline :)
@markster, I've got no experience fabricating things. Just planning to purchase my MIG welder so that's all for the future. Would like to see proper protection for this bike but I'm not about to attempt to fabricate it quick yet. This is the lowering link I'd seen but I'm definitely not considering it as it's way too much. I'm only looking for a half inch or so more to the ground. I'm not looking to cruiser the poor thing:
https://www.amazon.com/T-Rex-Racing-2014-2016-Adjustable-Kickstand/dp/B01CITTVYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503092980&sr=8-1&keywords=fz+07+t+rex+lowering+link
Thanks for the great tip regarding the sump and the quicker steering. I'll keep that in mind regardless of who uses the bike.
 
@r4gnar, That HyperPRO kit is a great idea. Right now, only about another half inch or so matters (the boots'll bring her up another inch so it's not much more that I need)
 
@robbo10, I don't want to shorten the side stand unless I need to use lowering links/springs/etc. and I'm hoping it doesn't come to it. Thanks for the tip though, I'll keep an eye on it.
 
@gregjet asirhvnacrvlkjasopirvmksdarlkjgnvwiuaerkjlanfviojkaernsvaijksrnavsljkarfnva grrrrr!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE I NEVER LOOK THINGS UP BASED OF THE MT VERSION!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I have GOT to start searching things up for this bike like that. Lowering the front forks that way seems rather easy though. I haven't seen too many parts diagrams and haven't take any other forks apart other than my old CBR's old school forks but it seems fairly straight forward. And those adjustable links look super solid. Just the link itself is a good idea. Thanks for the info overall.
 
@motomeek, all too true, just looking to make it a bit more comfortable for the Mrs. while she learns. Of all the things I'm doing to the bike, this is the one I'm emphasizing on the most. :)
 
@SkH, I love riding, always have and probably always will. This has all been my idea since the day she said she wanted to learn. I'm just making sure she has the best possible experience on 2 wheels so she ends up loving it as much or more than I do. Definitely don't want to force anything on her.
 
Believe me guys, the whole wanting-to-learn thing is all her. I'm the one just wanting to make sure she can reach the ground. I learned on a bike too tall for myself and just know it was the only thing I wish I could've changed. That's why I'm making sure she has other grips not related to her height.
 

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optytrex
OK. First the rear.
http://www.extremecreations.com.au/mt-07-jack-up-plates. Because you possibly searched on FZ 07 it wouldn't have shown up as it is made in Australia ( MT here). Very well made. I bought one to raise the rear. Buy with the bearings installed if you can afford it. Or buy bearings locally and press in if you have the equipment and the bearings are cheaper . It allows you to raise it 25mm, set at stock height or lower 25 or 30 mm. It does not make the rear harsh and the suspension rate curve is a little more ramped towards the end only.
 
The front.
Because the bike has ordinary forks shortening them internally is very easy ( getting the bottom fork bolt out not withstanding as they can be a pain). You need to make a spacer to go between the head of the damper rod and the bottom inside of the fork. Std travel is not big so don't go silly. This method will not cause clearence problems anywhere in any position. I would not take anymore than 20mm travel out as that will leave you with only 100mm of fork travel. If you also slide the forks up through the triples ( no more than 13mm) , you will have a total drop of about 35-38mm. With a drop of 30mm at the rear the whole bike will be 30mm lower. The sidestand will HAVE to be shortened .And there will be some cornering clearence loss ( noticeable).
If you have the ability and access to the necessary you could put a stiffer/longer spring under the damper top instead of a solid spacer that brings the compression travel shorter. That would keep the total 120mm but part would be as drop travel. Could actually make the action a bit better around the static length.

gregjet...that Aussie dogbone is the nicest I think I've seen and would definitely be the way to go in my book and once installed easy to change ride height for someone with longer legs or more confidence.  
My homemade proof of concept dogbone link, works just as you described.
 
DSCN1229.jpg
Oh man, I've got to start fabricating. This is some of the best stuff I've seen that could really come in handy! Might end up doing or buying something like this if I end up getting lowering links for the FZ! 

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markstertt
gregjet...that Aussie dogbone is the nicest I think I've seen and would definitely be the way to go in my book and once installed easy to change ride height for someone with longer legs or more confidence.  
My homemade proof of concept dogbone link, works just as you described.
 
DSCN1229.jpg
Oh man, I've got to start fabricating. This is some of the best stuff I've seen that could really come in handy! Might end up doing or buying something like this if I end up getting lowering links for the FZ!
optytrex...any link (alloy bellcrank such as T Rex) with modified dimensions will not only alter ride height but depending on which dimension is changed (length of either leg or angle) will also alter rear wheel travel and ride compliance. Changing the angle alone wont change wheel travel, only rear height. I don't recommend lowering/raising the rear with an altered dimension bellcrank unless you know what you're doing and want the effects you're creating. However, the lower steel dogbone link that gregjet recommended will give you the ride height changes with no other side effects, as gregjet noted. If you bought the Aussie link, I'm pretty sure recouping a good chunk of your investment by reselling down the road would be highly likely.
 
Alloy bellcrank with shorter long leg (on the left, stock right) to increase ride height with the side effect of more rear wheel travel and a more compliant ride, just the opposite of any longer leg lowering bellcrank, you need to know what you're looking for.
 
DSCN1218_1.jpg
multiple image hosting

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motomeek
@motomeek , all too true, just looking to make it a bit more comfortable for the Mrs. while she learns. Of all the things I'm doing to the bike, this is the one I'm emphasizing on the most. :)
I totally understand. I'm 5'3". Wife is 5'2". 30" inseam. Unless your Mrs. wants to ride a Honda Rebel, chances are she won't find one she can flat foot with both feet.  
We started on a CBR250R and even with a lowering link couldn't flat foot the bike. I'm just saying it's not the end of the world and if you could give emphasis on your said experience of being on taller bikes, you'll help her to see that it can work without it. 
 
It's all about being creative and understanding that you have to do things a bit differently than most. It's all good either way. 
 
Our FZ is completely stock. Didn't shave down the seat. Didn't get a lowering link, or buy heeled boots. 
 
Also - Wasn't a fan of the lowering link. The ride was just so hard... Also, here's an exercise for one-footed work you can do without even turning the bike on. 
 
Sit on the bike, take it off the stand. 
Balance with one foot on the ground (other on the peg). 
Now switch feet. 
Do this until you basically are playing "hot potato" between feet. 
 
It helps one to get comfortable balancing and keeping your senses up to switching. 
 
And then there's this: 
[video src=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YId9Pr_RlIo]
 
 
 

Instagram: @meekmade | You don't need to flat foot a bike to ride it.

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gregjet
The Aussie lower/raising link is made from machined aluminium not steel( two pieces that lock together. Beautiful machining and design).
 
Motomeek: The lowering dog bone should have only a tiny effect on the effective spring rate at the 25mm lower position. Only changes the vectors not the actual spring rate so only really has an effect in the initial travel between the normal ride height and static. There is somewhat higher rate ramping towards the full compression end, but it also is at the extremes.
Good comment on the balanceing drill. Certainly should help a new rider get the feel of the weight and gain a bit more confidence. It is easy to have someone to help catch if necessary as well, until they are more comfortable.
 
Markster: Playing around with my suspension software certainly showe up that a properly designed dogbone is THE way to go as it allows you to set the height, lever ratio, effective spring curve and antisquat. It is also the most difficult to build ( unless you have a really good mill. Mine is too sloppy). You do have to model it properly though or it can bit you on the bum with unforseen complications. Even engineering giant Honda managed to stuff one of it GP bikes by a bad ( read disasterous) linkage design. At full travel it would ramp up so high it would almost go overcentre and lock...

Go forth and modify my son...go forth and modify...

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optytrex
Thanks for the help guys, I definitely won't be messing with anything that's not maybe just that Aussie lowering link (big maybe there). And good idea. I will have her play teeter totter on the FZ before she learns to actually use it. For now, I think I'll just do the boots (we're gonna get boots regardless for safety) and just see how she does with just that. And if I need to install that lowering link I'll keep everyone posted on the process. Never done it but I'd be willing to purchase the manual on it and see how hard it can be xD

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markstertt
Thanks for the help guys, I definitely won't be messing with anything that's not maybe just that Aussie lowering link (big maybe there). And good idea. I will have her play teeter totter on the FZ before she learns to actually use it. For now, I think I'll just do the boots (we're gonna get boots regardless for safety) and just see how she does with just that. And if I need to install that lowering link I'll keep everyone posted on the process. Never done it but I'd be willing to purchase the manual on it and see how hard it can be xD
Installing the dogbone isn't hard, just made tedious by the fact that Yamaha saw fit to put the head of the dogbone pivot bolt (lower attach point) on the left side of the bike. This requires you to completely remove the swing arm pivot bolt & left side swing arm/ footpeg attach plate to be able to slide the dogbone lower pivot bolt out from the left. And it's not impossible to flip it around to remove from the right except for the fact that Yamaha tack welded the pivot bolts nut to the frame member on the right. So you basically end up removing the swing arm by the time your done. It would have been much easier had they done it all from the right side. This is why a link with multiple positions is nice and why I designed my own that way with one position being the stock position...no need to remove and replace link to alter ride height or return to stock position. 
 
Gregjet, with the length of shock and geometries involved it's pretty hard to get to 90* much less over center on our fz-07's, (not impossible I suppose, don't remember really) I made templates out of corian counter top plastic (nice and clean to machine/drill) to test my different  iterations of upper bellcrank...I'm a visual kind of experimenter and with the spring off the shock it's easy to go full range to measure changes, angles etc. I couldn't tell you the actual leverage ratio since I didn't do the math but I can tell you what each change in either direction will do to the ride ht., compliance, squat/anti-squat.
 
 
It was actually pretty easy to make dogbone link, I machined a stock one down on the lathe for the hub center with bearings/seals and then tack welded 2 straps of 1/8" 4130 chromoly together so that I only had to lay out, drill and shape once making 2 identical legs at the same time, this all done with a drill press, hacksaw, bench grinder and hand files.
To weld assy., the legs were bolted together with the stock bearing spacer between duplicating the finished spacing and then the big ends tig welded to hub (interference fit to start with). The thru bolts are a nice push fit unlike the stock suspension components. A spray can of stainless steel appliance paint finished the job. In hind sight, it would have been easier to have made my own hub from scratch since I had to remove and reinstall bearings, machine down to size etc. Live and learn.
 

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