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CBR650R Lowering front forks and/or raising rear suspension

ahmedalogaili

CBR650R ABS
Aug 12, 2022
Turkey
Riding Since
2012
Hello,

I have been searching for information online about lowering the height of the motorcycle's front end only for the purpose of adding more aggressive look to it and in preparation to later add a damper. All threads and websites talk about lowering both front and rear end which I am not interested in.

I intend to lower the forks by loosening the triple tree bolts and bringing the suspension 1-2cm up, hence lowering the front end by 1-2cm max.

The information I require are not about how to mechanically lower it, but about the disadvantages that come along with doing so. Handling and steering wobble is what concerns me the most.

Also, is there a way to raise the rear end without having to replace the rear suspension? what are the cons of that?
 

miweber929

2014
CBR650F
650 Alumnus
Staff
Feb 13, 2015
Woodbury, MN
Riding Since
1975
Hello,

I have been searching for information online about lowering the height of the motorcycle's front end only for the purpose of adding more aggressive look to it and in preparation to later add a damper. All threads and websites talk about lowering both front and rear end which I am not interested in.

I intend to lower the forks by loosening the triple tree bolts and bringing the suspension 1-2cm up, hence lowering the front end by 1-2cm max.

The information I require are not about how to mechanically lower it, but about the disadvantages that come along with doing so. Handling and steering wobble is what concerns me the most.

Also, is there a way to raise the rear end without having to replace the rear suspension? what are the cons of that?
So 1cm is about as far as you’ll want to go, maybe 15mm max or you’ll probably have large negative handling issues. On older bikes that was a trick to get them to turn in faster but after 10mm you start to have instability. When I had my 650F I raised the forks like 5mm (10mm was too much and the bike didn’t feel stable) meaning Honda was pretty spot on with the setup from the factory so be careful with too many changes.

Disadvantages:
Ground clearance of the pipes to the ground, you also have to watch the front fender doesn’t hit the radiator at full compression and that you have full suspension movement. You might also have ground clearance issues side to side if you do a 20mm lower to it. As far as handling you are altering the rake/trail ratio and that will lead to quicker steering at the expense of stability. What you’ll find is the bike “flops” into turns and any input your arms make translates into wheel movement; you would describe the bike feeling “squirrely” and can be not fun to ride. Lastly the kickstand is already a tick long on this bike if memory serves me and it will be even longer. Without a steering damper the bike will be more apt to tank slap and wobble than it was stock. Damper can help, but not alway cure, wobbles.

As far as raising the rear, this bike doesn’t have a linkage type rear suspension so you have to make the shock longer to increase the rear ride height. Most upper end aftermarket shocks will have a rear ride height adjustment to them, and that’s about all you can do mechanically. You can also get this same effect by swapping out the rear tire for a higher profile, like a 180/60 or a 190/55 but keep in mind that change is non-adjustable for the life of the tire. With that remember s 1mm change in shock height will be like 10mm at the tail section or more which makes a taller seat height.

I would suggest dropping the front 10mm and see how it feels on a familiar, bumpy road. Then if you want more, drop it another 5mm and see how that goes, making sure the fender doesn’t punch a hole in the radiator on a big pothole. Just remember that dropping the front and raising the rear are effectively the same thing so a 10mm taller tire and a 10mm drop in the front are roughly the same as a 20mm drop in the front in regards to handling.
 

miweber929

2014
CBR650F
650 Alumnus
Staff
Feb 13, 2015
Woodbury, MN
Riding Since
1975
To add, I just saw you have a 650R with the inverted forks so you’ll also want to see where the tapered area starts because there may not be enough “large” tube to mount the forks and bars at a 20mm drop. Forks normally taper a bit where the triple clamps mount so you can only drop so far.

You’ll also need to remove the “safety clips” that are under the bars that keep them from sliding if they loosen at all.
 

ahmedalogaili

CBR650R ABS
Aug 12, 2022
Turkey
Riding Since
2012
To add, I just saw you have a 650R with the inverted forks so you’ll also want to see where the tapered area starts because there may not be enough “large” tube to mount the forks and bars at a 20mm drop. Forks normally taper a bit where the triple clamps mount so you can only drop so far.

You’ll also need to remove the “safety clips” that are under the bars that keep them from sliding if they loosen at all.
I was about to mention the safety clips too, I noticed them yesterday when I was deciding the lowering process sequence. Actually, I feel it will be unsafe to bypass those clips and let the handle just squeeze the forks with one 10mm bolt. I believe it will be far safer if I just increase the rear end's height since I'm 180cm with no seat height issues so far.

The only issue is that I do not want to spend money on this mod and keep it as cheap as possible, so buying a new rear suspension will not be an option for me.
Do you believe it's possible to cut and add length to the stock suspension? That might be messy and non-adjustable, but it could work ... I think. The question here will be how many more centimeters to add to not cause too much instability.
 

miweber929

2014
CBR650F
650 Alumnus
Staff
Feb 13, 2015
Woodbury, MN
Riding Since
1975
I was about to mention the safety clips too, I noticed them yesterday when I was deciding the lowering process sequence. Actually, I feel it will be unsafe to bypass those clips and let the handle just squeeze the forks with one 10mm bolt. I believe it will be far safer if I just increase the rear end's height since I'm 180cm with no seat height issues so far.
Race bikes do not use those clips to secure their clip ons and have had no issues with it just being a friction fit. As long as you use a locking agent like Locktite and monitor the bolt, and you don’t tie the bike down via the handlebars, you should be just fine.

The only issue is that I do not want to spend money on this mod and keep it as cheap as possible, so buying a new rear suspension will not be an option for me.

Do you believe it's possible to cut and add length to the stock suspension? That might be messy and non-adjustable, but it could work ... I think.
So that’s what I was getting at by saying there is no linkage to the rear suspension so a longer shock is your only choice to do this. There’s nothing to cut and add length to, and unless you find another shock that’s the exact same specs except longer, has the ability to fit in place and not hit anything during full motion and comes from a bike without linkage in the suspension otherwise the valving will be WAY off, you’re stuck with aftermarket. YSS is a decent brand and should be fairly affordable.

The question here will be how many more centimeters to add to not cause too much instability.

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it, lol!!! One thing I have not liked about modern bikes is the low rear look that was prevalent in the 2000s-2010’s and the 650R in my eyes suffers from that. I prefer the “stink bug” look or an “even front to back look” so I get the desire to raise it a bit. I’m going to caution you, though, that changing a bikes handling to get a look is a dangerous thing, especially when you’re talking 20mm (2cm) because that is a huge change and will drastically change the way the bike rides. As I said earlier on the 650F I had I lowered the front 5mm only because it felt unstable enough at 10mm it wasn’t fun to ride. If it’s quicker steering, 5-10mm will help that.

On previous bikes like my old VFRs I went 10mm with no issues and I raised the rear on my Superhawk using a shim my father had made at work 10mm also with great results on both so I’m familiar with the procedures and results and I think you’re going down a hole that may not give you the desired outcome. If you’re good with the ride of the bike as is I’d find a good fender eliminator and rear seat cowl and learn to live with the looks.
 

Tony650r

2020
CBR650R
Nov 30, 2021
Riding Since
2006
Hello,

I have been searching for information online about lowering the height of the motorcycle's front end only for the purpose of adding more aggressive look to it and in preparation to later add a damper. All threads and websites talk about lowering both front and rear end which I am not interested in.

I intend to lower the forks by loosening the triple tree bolts and bringing the suspension 1-2cm up, hence lowering the front end by 1-2cm max.

The information I require are not about how to mechanically lower it, but about the disadvantages that come along with doing so. Handling and steering wobble is what concerns me the most.

Also, is there a way to raise the rear end without having to replace the rear suspension? what are the
Race bikes do not use those clips to secure their clip ons and have had no issues with it just being a friction fit. As long as you use a locking agent like Locktite and monitor the bolt, and you don’t tie the bike down via the handlebars, you should be just fine.


So that’s what I was getting at by saying there is no linkage to the rear suspension so a longer shock is your only choice to do this. There’s nothing to cut and add length to, and unless you find another shock that’s the exact same specs except longer, has the ability to fit in place and not hit anything during full motion and comes from a bike without linkage in the suspension otherwise the valving will be WAY off, you’re stuck with aftermarket. YSS is a decent brand and should be fairly affordable.



That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it, lol!!! One thing I have not liked about modern bikes is the low rear look that was prevalent in the 2000s-2010’s and the 650R in my eyes suffers from that. I prefer the “stink bug” look or an “even front to back look” so I get the desire to raise it a bit. I’m going to caution you, though, that changing a bikes handling to get a look is a dangerous thing, especially when you’re talking 20mm (2cm) because that is a huge change and will drastically change the way the bike rides. As I said earlier on the 650F I had I lowered the front 5mm only because it felt unstable enough at 10mm it wasn’t fun to ride. If it’s quicker steering, 5-10mm will help that.

On previous bikes like my old VFRs I went 10mm with no issues and I raised the rear on my Superhawk using a shim my father had made at work 10mm also with great results on both so I’m familiar with the procedures and results and I think you’re going down a hole that may not give you the desired outcome. If you’re good with the ride of the bike as is I’d find a good fender eliminator and rear seat cowl and learn to live with the looks.
I agree with Miweber. If your goal is simply a race bike look with a higher rear end vs front, a rear seat cowl and tail tidy does a pretty good job. If you want to take it a step further I’ve seen an aftermarket part floating around the internet that replaces the entire rear end plastics and seat, that sits higher off the frame, stretches a little longer, and points up in the air a bit more. I believe it started out as a someone’s custom project, then it was available for sale. I think it was out of the Philippines or Thailand. It’s probably been knocked off by now or similar designs out there. In your part of the world I’m certain you have access to more parts like this than I do in North America. Just beware of finish quality and fitment of course.
 

ahmedalogaili

CBR650R ABS
Aug 12, 2022
Turkey
Riding Since
2012
It looks that the CBR650R has a design limit that may not be crossed while keeping safe or enjoyable ride. As I mentioned earlier, I am not willing to spend more money on looks, I have already spent too much on it besides the hefty price tag of a bit more than $14k (normal in Turkey). I believe that a race bike look is a dream for everyone, but I'm coming more to understand that it doesn't come cheap especially when having more responsibilities to look for at home instead :D.

My first solution to the ugly rear end was to buy a seat cowl (not the OEM ugly one from Honda :vomit:) which gave me great satisfaction; however, I still see the rear end needing more height which seems more and more tricky to achieve 😢.

What I meant earlier by cutting and adding length was to the main shock directly (I've done that before but not on a sport bike), adding 2mm length to the shock will add about 5cm (visually calculated) to the far rear end sacrificing stability and swingarm/exhaust clearance which started to seem pointless and almost impossible to go back from 😪.

I could go with max 1cm lower on the front end than tampering with the rear end to see how it feels.


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