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Lowering my wife's suspenders - Honda CB400 Super Four

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by steventhechef, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Hi All,

    My wife has just purchased an immaculate 2008 Honda CB400 Super Four with 490 km on the clock. It is such a great bike but unfortunately she is vertically challenged at 5'1" tall and is on the balls of her feet when standing. Not too bad and she can one cheek it but I would like to try to get it a touch lower for her.

    I am looking at lowering the yoke through the forks about 25-30mm and lowering the rear the same. AFAIK the standard eyelet to eyelet shocker is 335mm . Can anyone confirm this ???? without me pulling the shock off and does anyone know of a suitable replacement that is around 305-310mm with eyelets at both ends.

    I have looked on Fleabay and most are the low to average quality (older) style type or the YSS at $500 a set. I would prefer to get somewhere in the middle but may have to look at the up market types to retain the ride comfort.

    I've flick off a couple of emails but wanted to see what the consensus was on the forum.

    Does any one have any experience with this modification - good or bad. How much will affect ride and handling. My wife is 50kg plus gear


    Thanks in advance.
  2. Can't comment from personal experience in lowering the overall ride height of any bike, but like many Aprilia Shiver/Dorsoduro riders I have lowered the yokes through the forks to improve handling (These models have rings marked at the top of the forks for just this purpose - to increase turn-in speed). Some more vertically challenged have also used shorter rear spring/shock combinations and shaved seats to lower their bikes overall.

    In your situation, I would definitely attempt to drop the rear as you plan ($500 would be a minimum cost for suitable quality YSS or Ikon shocks imo), and then experiment with the front to find the right setting that does not alter turn in rate too radically. (Just thought I would mention that my wife rides a MG V7C with Ikons [adjustable damping and spring pre-tension] that are far superior to the Italian oem items. They look and work just as well as the Konis I had on an SR500 back in the early '80s.):beer:
  3. consider trading up to a younger model. thai mail order brides don't even wear underpants, let alone suspenders.

    cheapest, easiest option> get the seat shaved and a gel pad slipped in there. that should probably do the trick whilst retaining the bikes optimum handling.
    if that dose'nt quite make it, get her boots resoled with thicker soles. she will like that regardless. taller on and of the bike.
  4. if you can get onto a reputable auto trimmer, with good experience in motorcycle seats. can get the foam sculpted properly to suit your wife. not just lower, but narrower toward the tank.
    added benefit as a result, is now the rider triangle of bars/pegs/seat is smaller ergonomically to suit her stature overall

    nice mareemas btw
    • Like Like x 1
  5. +1

    Exhaust all options with the seat shape and height before you start tinkering with the engineering. A good trimmer can make a seat that's barely a third of the original thickness just as comfortable (John Moorhouse in Brisbane makes them far MORE comfortable).
  6. Lowering blocks. A piece of aluminium about the size of a matchbox, machined to accept the shock at the upper rear, and the swing-arm at the lower front. Should be able to achieve a 25 ~ 50mm drop in the rear cheaply and easily. Slide the forks up by 30mm .... mission accomplished.

    False advertising - I was expecting a discussion on how to remove naughty knickers with your teeth...
  7. Sorry kneedragon. No deception intended :demon:

    Thanks for the thoughts guys. Also Leonie's bike is this bike and has the dual rear shockers not a mono shock


    I'll try John Moorhouse and have heard good reports about him. There is also another guy in Toowoomba (I am near Ipswich) that I could try also. I just didn't want to necessarily spoil the bike for the next owner as this is only an interim bike.

    She also has a Triumph Thruxton but can't ride it yet because of the licence restrictions! I am still modding it for the moment - lowering, tail tidy, bar ends etc

    This one -> [​IMG]
  8. Pls excuse my drunken stumbling. Back when mosses was a lad, people used to try and turn standards / roadsters into choppers, in such a way that they could be easily changed back. They added extended forks and lowering blocks. Lowering blocks could be run up by any half decent machinist in an hour or two. There'd be one at the bottom of each shockie, and they looked something like this.

  9. The cb 400 is a great bike. I had a red and white one. Great fun, ultra reliable, look great too. I even did some touring with soft panniers on the back.

    My partner had a similiar height problem with the sv650. She had the seat lowered and shaved/narrowed on the sides and her boots raised. Worked wonders!
  10. The proper way is to get shorter springs for the forks. Here's an example of some cbr600rr shocks that have been lowered professionally.


    Also look into some daytona boots (google it) they make some women's ones than have huge inner soles (6cm total rise at the heel) but still look like normal boots. Very expensive but my gf can flat foot her bike now, worth every cent.
  11. If you can get the bike on a centre stand the shocks will pop off in about 3 minutes. Then you can take your measurement.

    As to slipping the front through the tripple clamps, watch for clashing with the top of the shocks on full compression and also watch making the steering too sharp.

    At a guess 10-15mm is all you will get away with without an internal mod.
  12. That's right even 15mm is a massive geometry change. Enough to make the bike handle dangerously.
  13. Thanks guys, I know with her Thruxton I have put on lower Bonneville shocks and lowered the yoke through the forks.

    At 92 kg if I jump on the picks the Regulator/Rectifier has a tendency to bottom out on the fork brace. I need to add a little more oil to them but as she is only 50 kg I don't want to have it too firm for her. Nothing worse than having your elbows jarred into your humerus !!

    I don't want to ruin the ride and will look to the seat first. I can pick up some shocks on Ebay but really don't know if they will be any good especially for the cheap ones!!
  14. I reckon you might want to leave the suspenders in place so you don't mess with the ride and go to work on lowering the seat 'till it feels just right.

    And as for the bike...
  15. I have talked to a few of upholstery retrimmers to do the job. One is on school holidays with the kids and the other can't start for three weeks, the other doesn't even return my calls!! ](*,)

    Recession - Bah! Humbug!
  16. I'm the same height as your lady and found that you can add extra height by wearing boots with thicker soles.
  17. Lowering a bike naturally lowers the center of gravity.
    It makes for great strait line stability.
    At the cost of the bike turning.
    Lowering a bike 1cm is a big change. 2cm is massive.
    So I am all for the shaved seat option. You can get a 1 to 1.5cm reduction in seat height without altering the geometry of the bike.
    But anywho the cheapest and best way if not going down the seat shaving option is or both...
    Dropping the triple clamps down the fork tubes a bit. Maybe gain 1cm here.
    Then have springs made for the dampers and the damper rod shortened to suit.
    You would have to go a slightly higher spring rate in the rear as the travel will be shortened.
    And then learn to ride a bike with a lower center of gravity.
    It's not too bad. But it will want to steer wide under any sort of power input.
    And it will be a bit more physical to get to turn in and change direction quickly.

  18. I think Phil at Highside does seats.
  19. Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated.

    I spoke to a local guy at Fernvale (Hills Auto Trimmers) and he is going to look at taking an inch out of the seat to see how she fares with that for a start.

    Two Wheel Tyres (my local tyres and mechanical guy) recommended him to me so I feel comfortable with using him. At (quoted) $40-50 it may be a cheap option as well.

    Fingers crossed.

    Leonie looked at the thicker soles but preferred to look at the seat first of all.

    Walter Presig at YSS can make some shockers to suit that will take of 15-20mm but at a cost (around $600) for piggy back gas shockers. !!! There isn't a smiley for pooping my pants!!
  20. Why because you think it's dear or cheap? I would have expected fully adjustable piggy-backs to come in at anything up to $800 for a non-premium brand.