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Old 06-20-2002, 10:29 AM
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How to Lower an XS Eleven

How to Lower an XS Eleven

by James Ho

Lately, I've received several requests regarding lowering the XS, both Standard and Special models. If interested, please save this post. Also, the standard disclaimers apply, YMMV, FWIW, yadayadayada.

Question: How do I lower the XS suspension without cutting down the seat or running 20 lbs in the tires?

Answer:
  1. Obtain a shorter pair of rear shocks, but do not go shorter than 11 inches, measured eye-to-eye. I believe the stock shock is 12.5 inches long. Ensure the spring rates are compatible with the shorter length, or else you'll need new fillings. If you're on a budget, or don't want to fully commit to the lowering, check around the salvage yards for a used pair, remembering they are used (and probably used up, too). I went with 11 inch shocks, weigh 150 lbs, and ride solo. If you go too low, the angle of driveshaft to the "u-joint" is negatively affected and can cause the joint to wear out prematurely.


  2. With the XS on its centerstand, mount the rear shocks. Check the lower shock eye-to-swingarm clearance on the right side(sitting on the XS).


  3. With the XS off the centerstand, CAREFULLY put it on the sidestand, noting the XS's new lesser degree of lean angle due to the lowering. **Have an assistant nearby to assist in balancing the XS until you are comfortable with the new lean angle**


  4. Lower the front end by loosening the upper & lower triple clamps and sliding the fork tubes upwards. On Specials, the adjustment is limited by the schraeder valve on the air fork cap. If you're not concerned with air forks, replace the air fork cap with a non-air fork cap, which is flat on top. [If you replace your stock fork springs with Progressive springs you won't need air in the forks and can get rid of the air caps without worry. JP]}


  5. Optionally, remove the centerstand for ground clearance. Also, check the pipes/mufflers for ground clearance, and the inside of the rear fender for tire-to-fender assembly contact. Have the sidestand professionally shortened.


  6. Test ride and check for slower, heavier steering feel while turning at low speed. This is due to increased angle at the steering head and can be somewhat compensated for by adjusting the fork height up/down.


  7. Retorque all fasteners.


  8. Enjoy.
 

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