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Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Region Riley, Mar 18, 2011.
Thanks for chiming in Underkill!
Damn, you have been through some bikes!
I hope you find the KLX to your liking and let us know how the lowering goes!
RFS girl extrodinaire: Annie Seel in the 2011 Dakar!!!
I wouldn't ride one either, but I know women that do and it doesn't seem to bother them (Jitters, playznmud... ) I think you have to know your lady and know whether or not it would be a problem for them. Duke started me out on the DT100, which was kick start only, I could reach the kickstart and start it, just not easily, and I didn't enjoy it.
I think I would recommend that you start a woman out on electric start, if possible, just to avoid any unnecessary tears. And, yes boys, there is crying in motorcycling.
Dang Underkill...I think you've covered some serious bases on bike fit, bike brand, bike style, and where to take pictures of bikes...for ladies or anyone. Great writeup.
It'll be interesting to see how you get on with the KLX. I got one nearly 2 years ago and did a 300 kit, full Race Tech suspension, and all the other required mods. Even after a life time of owning and racing honest-to-gosh race dirt bikes, surprisingly I've found this bike to be one of the most fun bikes I've owned. With a little work, it's amazingly competent and hugely reliable. My '06 has 11' of travel, yet has a really managable seat height. The '09 and later models are even lower. Have fun and thanks for the story.
(as in "kiss it and make it all better" )
Check with Bill Blue on that ASAP. I know it'll make you happy (I've ridden several bikes with the kit) but I also remember Bake posting something about Bill retiring this summer. You might want to be sure that the kit will still be available when you're looking to install it.
Somebody's got to buy off the rack.
Great thread, RR.
So, those of you who had the suspension travel shortened, what parts were replaced and what was the cost? Did any of you and your friends do the work to put in travel limiters on the shocks or forks where possible? More detail on this would make this thread a great reference for shortening travel to lower bikes for shorter riders. At that point it should be a "stickie" post.
I know most flat trackers riding the MX bikes will shorten travel, whether having it done by a specialist or by their own skills. I have done a few fork reworks on standard non-cartridge forks (seal replacement) and did a shock rebuild on an old CR250. Both could have had the travel shortened significantly and easily with spacers inside the shock to shorten the travel, current method on the budget flat track bikes - not everyone can afford Penske or WP shocks. I wondered if anyone in this post did it themselves. If not, what did it cost to have it done.
The spacer set up has to be the least expensive way to go, provided the bike has a rebuildable shock. DRzs mostly do have them.
My wife started riding on a Yamaha Riva scooter, which lead to a KLR250, which is kick start only. She was a real trooper and rode that little KLR everywhere, including a 3-day, 900-mile trip to the WARPED rally in 2009. Last winter we found a nice used Ninja 250, and the convenience of the electric start put the KLR way down on her list. We're going tomorrow to get her a DR650, which has her very excited. She's 5'4" with a 30" inseam, and the DR will pose a bit of a challenge, but her desire to ride will overcome that pretty quickly.
When I first got my KLX250 it was the tallest bike in our garage, taller even than Ben's CRF450R, and I could just get the balls of my feet on the ground. I used to fall over A LOT. We lowered the bike by cutting down the seat, moving the forks in the triples and setting the shock super soft. I stopped falling over so much and got much more confident, and the bike slowly started to come back up to stock height to improve it's handling.
I got very comfortable with only being able to put one foot down solid but that is something that comes with time.
For the record I'm 5'8" with a 32" inseam.
I had to get a tall seat for my KTM.
But I've had the one-foot-down experience, too (heavily-sprung GS-Adv, Stock 950S). It's unnerving on the street, let alone the trail.
As for electric start, there are many situations on trails where kicking isn't easy or possible at all (side hills, rocks, etc), even when one is vertically gifted. My trail bikes (KTM250XCF, WR250F) have had both kickers and magic buttons for this very reason. I also like to conserve my energy for actual riding, and having to kick a bike over and over in sometimes awkward positions can use up a lot of go-juice quickly, which can lead to the dreaded (and embarrassing) crying in motorcycling.
When I got my 525 we decided it wouldnt be that hard to lower it ourselves. We ordered some lowered springs and spacers and installed them. easy as pie. the shock had to be recharged with nitrogen and there wasn't really anyplace local, so we sent it away to "a company" who put a spacer in it and resprung it "for what I was going to do with it". well.. the forks seemed fine, but the rear just sucked. it was way too firm, valved wrong, all in all a complete POS. I hated that bike. The place had no idea what I was doing or why and probbaly didn't give a shit anyway. Girls don't ride hard right? sigh... Just my experience though.
For my 640 and 250f I decided that trying to cheap out didnt work. So I was going to have someone who knows what they're doing and will listen to what I ACTUALLY want lower the bikes for me. Zerodog on this forum was highly recommended. He's not cheap. I dont have a quote since we always sent 2 sets of suspension in. but it's worth every damn penny of it. The 640 was lowered 4", the 250 was lowered 2"... The problem with just lowering a bike is that, most of us girls don't weigh as much as your average "short guy".. i'm about 120#s... stock spring weights dont work, the valving doesnt work, etc... So Zdog resprings and revalves and sets the bikes up for my weight and riding style. I actually felt the most comfortable on the 640.. both bike handled babyhead rocks like they werent even there. it was a work of art, seriously... I want WP suspension on my KLX so I can send that off and get it pimped out. Totally worth it.
On the street I haven't really noticed any downsides from just plain lowering links... but I don't ride very hard at all on the street.. I'll report back with how I like the links on the KLX. Haven't gotten to ride it yet really.
FWIW shaving the seat on my KLX actually made it more comfortable.. it's wider in the back now and pretty darn cush!
I was trying to remember her name, that girl is seriously hardcore!
I'm looking for a light weight single tracker for myself. But in the back of my head would like to get MamaMud into riding too.
Would the KLX 250s fit the bill? She claims to be 5'1 3/4". If I shave the seat and take all the pre-load out of the rear could she touch the ground comfortably? I would lower it the right way after she showed some commitment. And if she don't, I'll keep it for myself
I'm 5'3" and have the lower 09 model. I have very little foam left, suspension softened as much as i think I can safely go, and still have to scoot off the seat to get a foot down. I'm used to it, so it's ok for me, but I think unless you just want a new KLX for yourself I wouldnt bother. If the woman is new to riding, learning to ride on a bike that looks to be too tall for her, in singletrack (which I really hate anyway, trees hurt!) is just begging her to not like it. I'd get her a much smaller, much lighter (little bit o weight loss makes a huge difference) TTR125 or similar dirtbike and let her learn on that. They're cheap as hell, so if she doesnt like it, you can easily unload it and not be out much money. and if she does like it, she can pick out whatever bike she wants! That's my vote anyway.
Reference pic. I'm tippy toes on both sides. This is with regular boots, not motocross boots where I can't flex my ankle as much. Havent ridden the bike with the good boots yet...