Saying Hi from Australia as I start my first cafe racer build

gt alex

Active Member
On so many levels I agree with you, but I have a plan i'm going to stick with unless I just can't get it right. lowering is only part of the formular the bike already has gold cartridge emulators and I am ordering fork springs that allow for the reduced travel and my weight, and a fully adjustable rear shock setup. The sv650 is a great handling bike standard dispite the front and rear both being too soft, so it is my challenge to meet or improve on that already high standard.
Fingers crossed


Over 1,000 Posts
gt alex said:
Yes it is a possiblity I will end up raising it again because handling is an imporrtant part of what it is.
I am trying to make it old school and lowering is a main feature of my plan, so I will spend some time and effort to try and sort the handling with it low.
From what I've read vs650 gen1 bikes like the nose 5mm lowered (sorting standard bike) thats why I'm "starting" 1 3/4 inch down on the from and 1 1/2 on the rear. Custom machines need sorting to be just right and thats half the challenge.

You say that 5mm improves handling and then go on to say you want to lower it 1 3/4". Have you calculated the effect on rake and trail and checked out what that all does to your cornering clearance?

What are you on about with the lowering being part of the story? It's only pipeburn etc that shows low bikes because someone thought they were cool. Cool is fine if you don't intend to ride the bike, but if it's your only bike, you may want to re-visit that part of the plan.


Careful With That Axe Eugene
With the ZX14 some guys raise the forks about .5" I think and then install a steering damper to prevent tank slappers (some dampers have two "phases" one to make the steering heavier and more stable and one that only works during a tank slapper, I don't know how they work but I think this feature on my Scott stabilizer is what stopped the tank slapper I experienced one day on my TL1000R, it didn't stop me from shitting my pants however). I have not tried this on my ZX14, it's just what I have read on a forum but it is supposed to make the bike's steering a lot lighter. ). The point is, raising your forks can make your bike dangerous not just a poor handler. Have you checked with the model-specific forums? On my 81 900F just adjusting the rear shocks to raise the bike to improve clearance, created a speed wobble. I think you should research this more.Good luck with your build :)

gt alex

Active Member
Once all done i will check the trail. remember I am dropping the rear as well as the front, difference being only that 5-6mm. wheel base will shrirk a little with stiffer springs geometry won't change rount as much and full compression is going to be close to standand. but I know it will come down to how it rides and it will take a lot of fiddling to get it right and may be rerouting the exhaust if need be.


Over 1,000 Posts
Lowering the front 5 mm is probably what the racers are doing to help them turn in quicker. Almost 2 inches is a huge amount to lower a motorcycle that handles pretty good from the factory. 6 to 12 mm seems to be the sweet spot for the SV forks. Personally I would never lower a motorcycle that much unless it was something I just planned on looking at.


where does this go?
Ok, joining the chorus here for what it's worth. A couple of observations. Obviously manufacturers compromise their bikes to appeal to a specific clientele which makes modifications likely if your purpose is different. That said, they are very good at producing a very good balance that is unwise to ignore. Certainly making handling modifications without a specific intent makes no sense, unless of course the intent is aesthetic, in which case handling does not matter. Regardless, the hundreds of hours by expert riders used to arrive at the the makers result is a good place to start. Get the ergonomics the way you want (bars, seat, foot rests, and controls), and ride it - A LOT. Figure out what you like and don't like about how it drives, and make dedicated alterations toward improving what you like and minimizing or eliminating what you don't like. In my experience, most guys end up reducing ground clearance with pipes and pegs when inexperienced with making mods. Throw in any sort of lowering of the chassis and the bike is miserable. Trying to fix this with stiffer springs makes things worse, as now you have a bike that not only scrapes but is also too stiff, and that is discounting whatever has happened to the handling. In the main, talking about people who want a cafe bike and actually plan on riding it in an appropriate fashion, I would say more ground clearance is needed if anything, as taking any bike and making it possible to drive harder will get it leaned over more than in its previous life. Lastly, it seems to me most people like their bikes suspensions set up noticeably too stiff. I think this is because it makes many feel like the bike is more solid, and lends confidence when driving it, but I think more often than not most guys would be able to ride faster, and much more comfortably with a more compliant set up.

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