lowering and handling

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by inglysh, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. inglysh

    inglysh Completely Custom

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    I just got back home from a test ride on a new to me HD XL1200R. Very nice bike as far as kit goes, probably has more than what I'd ever want to do to a factory bike done to it. (no extras, just bolt on's)
    Outside of the fact that it was a fine looking ride, it handled pretty poorly on the road (my thoughts) I couldn't place my finger on it, and I'll tell you it's difficult to describe but the handling felt perhaps over exaggerated, twitchy. Like it was going to fall over at any moment... even at speed.
    Guy put a lowering kit on it, not sure how much. Owner previous to him worked at a HD shop and did a ton more to it, not sure what all was touched. Don't know if it's overworked (2 guys with 2 unique views on how a bike should handle), or if it's me. I kinda wanna suck it up and deal with it, but I didn't find it any kind of enjoyable to ride based on that fact alone.
    I don't know if he lowered the front along with the rear. I thought that if you lowered a bike w/o touching the front that you would rake out the fork and slow it down. I am pretty confident on anything with two wheels and was surprised that the bike made me this nervous.

    Thoughts?
    #1
  2. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    I do some serious looking into the forks. I just raised my rear end an inch and it made the steering much faster to turn in, cant imagine that lowering the rear alone would do that.
    #2
  3. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    A bike that makes you nervous to ride. That alone should caution you greatly about this particular bike.

    You also say it's been modified in unknown to you ways by two guys with apparently different views on what handling is.

    unless there is something remarkable about that particular bike, I'd pass on it.
    #3
  4. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    didnt notice the part about it being a test ride. walk away if the bike feels that nervous and you know it's been changed alot. imo
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  5. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    Like the last 2 said I'd move on.

    If the guy swapped out rear dog bones and had the old ones, or lowered the forks so you could put it back to stock then it wouldn't be a deal breaker. But this is not the case.....

    Good luck in the hunt.
    #5
  6. farmerstu

    farmerstu Been here awhile

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    where does one keep his dog bones on a sportster? in the saddlebags. a pocket? and does it matter what brand i.e. purina, science diet etc.?
    #6
  7. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    The P/O must have been 4'11" to lower a Sporty. On another note, have you ridden other 1200's? They really are not the pinnacle of handling, even for a Harley. There are many better handling HD models, so you might want to test ride some others.

    The only lowered via dogbones bike I have ridden was my DRZ400S(by the p/o) and it handled exactly as you described. All the issues went away after I installed oem bones.
    #7
  8. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    So, what are you used to? That makes a big difference. If you were used to cruisers and got on a standard bike you'd think it was twitchy, on a sportbike and you'd think you were out of control.

    Tires and tire wear also can contribute too.

    If they only lowered the front it will quicken steering.
    #8
  9. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Gee, you'd have to tell that to the guys that raced them in the spec series on roadrace courses and also on the flat track. Seems Sportys actually work pretty good when they have some actual suspension travel. Fact is I think the R model is set up to be a bit better handling than the rest.

    It might just be handling like a decent road bike instead of a barcalounger special. :lol3
    #9
  10. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    Ha yes, but we race anything:D
    [​IMG]
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  11. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    When you raise the rear or lower the front, you're reducing the trail and making the handling more sensitive. It'll feel like it wants to fall into the corners. Doing the opposite stablizes the bike. It's amazing how little it takes to make big changes. If they lowered the front by sliding the fork legs up into the triple clamps, raise it back up maybe by about 1/2", and see if that doesn't help matters.
    #11
  12. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Maybe so, but the old 883 flat trackers turned laps close enough to the 750s to garner comments from some old timers to the extent that they were rather surprised. The bikes actually could be ridden hard and handled fairly decent. Heck, Jay Springsteen raced them.

    Then there was the track day experience a few acquaintances had. One raced supersport and the 883 spec class. The other was a street rider who was a fair rider (not to be confused with a racer, just a hot rider on the street). The racer let the street rider run his prepped 600 on a track day. The street rider was cooking pretty good and thought he was doing fine in general, passing a few and keeping up with others. Then he heard a low rumble coming up behind. The racer blew by him on the outside of the corner riding the 883 spec bike and pulled away in the turns. The street rider was kinda shocked.

    Seems even though those HDs are about as exciting to watch racing as paint drying... until you actually watch them in places like the S turns at Mid Ohio. They can do the job quite well when they have a real set of shocks, decent forks, and some ground clearance!
    #12