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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Fairview Heights, Illinois
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    51
    Hello all,



    I don't know if any of you know me from my previous screwball posts, but I'm back to ask another dum-dum question:



    First off, it should be clear that while I am as safe a rider as humanly possible (if you don't have respect for the bike and the road when you leave, you may not come back at all), I am willing to do just about anything I think is awesome to the bike. I really identify with cafe culture of modding your bike any way you can to really make it YOURS.



    I've been working (some failures, some successes) on doing a cafe conversion on my 81 GL500. So far I've swapped out the air filter for pods ( and then gone back to the stock filter), switched to a daytona bar (which is awesome) and lowered (de-raked?) the front end of the bike.



    Here's my dum-dum question: I've noticed that my sidestand doesn't allow the bike to lean as much to the left as it used to, almost to the point that it has become less-than-reliable. I believe this to be because of the front end lowering (it came down about an inch on-the-spot). Has anyone else done this and experienced the same result? If so, did you find a solution?



    Got a deluxe tank courtesy of MurrayF that I'm getting ready to install shortly, any tips on modding it (79-80 CX500 deluxe tank) to to fit my 81 GL500 would also be much appreciated.



    Thanks mucho,

    RPS
    81 GL500i

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rusty Bikes's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    West Garden Grove, Ca.
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    738
    Every time you change your suspension in some way you effect the geometry of a well designed and balanced "system" A change here necessitates a change elsewhere.

    You have to lower the back when you lower the front.

    Think of a shopping cart wheel, with out the proper angle it will wobble and the faster you push the worse it gets.

    Make small changes and take it slow, short rides around the block before you hit the highway.

    I have my front end lowered about 2 1/4" and the back about 2". I just got the front 3/4" lower last night by butchering, I mean notching my handle bars.

    I have just discovered the better way to lower the front by shortening the fork tubes with internal spacers.

    Lowering the fork ride height.



    If you lower the bike you will need to modify the side stand.



    There are a couple of scary suspension failure stories there that are worth the read.

    Rusty
    Rusty Bikes



    1981 CX500C "Soup Line Sprinter" Post apocalyptic mayhem machine and daily driver

    1979 CX500C Dirty whore doaner bike with messed up title issues (Dismantled)

    1980 Honda Express NC50 no-ped

    1988 Yamaha Riva 125

  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanDog's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    Oakland, California
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    345
    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    I have just discovered the better way to lower the front by shortening the fork tubes with internal spacers.

    Lowering the fork ride height.
    That is a great find. I would have tried to do this when I upgraded to Sonic springs, but no great desire to take it apart again! I did lower my forks on the triple-clamp about half an inch, and that made the steering less 'tippy', so going a little lower might be nice... someday.
    1981 cx500 Custom

    1984 Honda VT500FT Ascot

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rusty Bikes's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    I had this in my head when I rebuilt my forks but was not ready for such drastic change yet.

    This is done by the XS650 crowd as well, they make a spacer equal to the length of drop required and cut the main spring where the coils are the most tightly spaced equal to the amount dropped. If you have added a 1" pre load spacer you leave the 1" extra on the spring and eliminate the preload spacer.

    So simple I don't knowhow I missed it.

    Rusty
    Rusty Bikes



    1981 CX500C "Soup Line Sprinter" Post apocalyptic mayhem machine and daily driver

    1979 CX500C Dirty whore doaner bike with messed up title issues (Dismantled)

    1980 Honda Express NC50 no-ped

    1988 Yamaha Riva 125

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Fairview Heights, Illinois
    Posts
    51
    If you look at the stock profile of the GL, with the front wheel on the left (for instance), the line of the tank/seat appears to be a bit of a decline. Lowering the just the front gives the profile a more horizontal look. I had it out today, first in the neighborhood then at about 50 on the local roads. The ride appeared to be fine, steering was a bit more acute, but I rather liked it.



    How would I go about lowering the rear side, adjusting the monoshock somehow? does it require an extensive array of tools? I pretty much only have the basics, meaning no powertools to speak of.



    Also, how would you recommend modding the side stand? I don't suppose it would be conveniently adjustable...
    81 GL500i

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rusty Bikes's Avatar
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    Well the GL is a different beast, for sure. They do seem to be a bit tall in the fork. I would run lower pressure in the rear if it were to feel like the steering was too sensitive. If it feels good to you that is the best gauge. I am no GL expert, or any expert for that matter. You have to find what works and feels good, if it feels dangerous it is dangerous.

    Rusty
    Rusty Bikes



    1981 CX500C "Soup Line Sprinter" Post apocalyptic mayhem machine and daily driver

    1979 CX500C Dirty whore doaner bike with messed up title issues (Dismantled)

    1980 Honda Express NC50 no-ped

    1988 Yamaha Riva 125

  7. #7
    Senior Member Speedysdad's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    Kansas City, MO
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    431
    Well I have really liked the handling of the GL650 since raising the forks in the triple tree 1". I am a tall guy so I really didn't need the bike any shorter. My fix for the different height is to raise the back end up a little and lower the forks back down in the tree a little to keep the ride height up where it should be.
    Old Jim

    1983 GL650 "Dark Wing"

    Kansas City, MO

    Mechanic to my son the Hare Scrambler, Endurocross

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rusty Bikes's Avatar
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    As I sit here pondering the ins and outs of lowering the forks using this method of adding internal spacers it occurs to me that the lower down the fork tube is on the dampener the greater the dampening ability of the fork, that is why there are smaller holes in the dampener as you reach the bottom of it vs the larger holes at the top, a tuned suspension. So lower forks equals stiffer ride.



    So if we add a preload spacer to a stock fork leg to stiffen the ride and minimize dive on turns, it stands to reason the preload spacer may not be needed in a lowered fork leg.

    So after I set up my clipons and decide if they are best above or below the top triple clamp, I will lower my forks internally acording to the distance I need to lower my fork, but will leave the preload spacers out of the equation maybe leave the springs 1/2" longer than stock to emulate a 1/2" preload instead of the 1" I have now.



    Back to dream land.



    Rusty
    Rusty Bikes



    1981 CX500C "Soup Line Sprinter" Post apocalyptic mayhem machine and daily driver

    1979 CX500C Dirty whore doaner bike with messed up title issues (Dismantled)

    1980 Honda Express NC50 no-ped

    1988 Yamaha Riva 125

  9. #9
    Member Sampo's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    Sweden
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    91
    Hi everybody,



    I have a problem with my cX 500 from 1980. I have rebuild it to a cafe racer style and i did not like the front end hight on the bike. I lowered the front fork by 2 inches and changed the ATF oil to 20w Motul oil.

    The manual says 140cc in each fork so i filled them up with 140cc. But after trying the suspension it is way to soft so i went with 250cc in each fork. No change. Still way to soft.

    I have read that somebody uses spacers to get the suspesion more stiffer. whant kind of spacers and were do you put them?

    I have the same fork setup as the GL500.

    please help!

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Saginaw, Michigan USA 3rd stone from the sun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sampo View Post
    Hi everybody,



    I have a problem with my CX 500 from 1980. I have rebuild it to a cafe racer style and I did not like the front end height on the bike. I lowered the front fork by 2 inches and changed the ATF oil to 20w Motul oil.

    The manual says 140cc in each fork so I filled them with 140cc. But after trying the suspension it is still too soft so I went with 250cc in each fork. No change. Still way too soft.

    I have read that somebody uses spacers to get the suspension to be stiffer. What kind of spacers and were do you put them?

    I have the same fork setup as the GL500.

    please help!


    When thinking about your suspension you must separate the stiffness of the spring from the damping. If your forks are too soft buy a set of stiffer springs first. Then work on the damping characteristics. Buy a straight rate spring not a progressive one (with variable wound coils) my ten cents. By lowering the front end two inches you have transferred more weight to the front springs perhaps overloading them beyond their capacity? Again stiffer springs are called for IMO.

    Cheers, 50gary

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