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Discussion Starter #1
So...I was at a Xmas party on the weekend. There were 4-5 die hard HD guys there. A couple of them are pretty decent knowing that I ride a XC. But there are a couple that are of the opinion that if it isn't made by HD it is crap.

The ring leader of this little group...the guy that bleeds black white and orange asked me about my bike. I mentioned that I had purchased a 1.5" lowering kit from Witchdoctors and had planned to install it this winter. In a very matter of fact tone told me to lower the front as well. He told me to maintain the Rake and Trail of the bike so I should put shorter springs in the front shocks to lower the front of the bike accordingly.

I have done a little bit of looking but I can't find where anybody even sells shorter springs for a XC. Do the Magnum forks have shorter springs to accommodate the larger front tire and lowered rear end? Is this something I should even worry about? I have not heard any one discussing this issue so I thought I would ask. Will the rake and trail change significantly that I will even notice? I have read where others have not noticed any difference in their bikes handling after lowering their bikes. If I can put shorter springs in I will do it now...I am replacing both front fork seals this winter as well so the front shocks will be out of the bike and apart anyway.

Can anyone provide any insight into this?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for pointing me to these guys. Just got off the phone with the guys at Vicbaggers and they were more than helpful.
 
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What did the guys at VicBaggers have to say about it?
 

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The Magnum's lowered in the rear from the factory, and I don't believe the forks are lowered. Magnum guys? Is that correct?

I know that doesn't really help, just tossing it out there.
 

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So...I was at a Xmas party on the weekend. There were 4-5 die hard HD guys there. A couple of them are pretty decent knowing that I ride a XC. But there are a couple that are of the opinion that if it isn't made by HD it is crap.

The ring leader of this little group...the guy that bleeds black white and orange asked me about my bike. I mentioned that I had purchased a 1.5" lowering kit from Witchdoctors and had planned to install it this winter. In a very matter of fact tone told me to lower the front as well. He told me to maintain the Rake and Trail of the bike so I should put shorter springs in the front shocks to lower the front of the bike accordingly.

I have done a little bit of looking but I can't find where anybody even sells shorter springs for a XC. Do the Magnum forks have shorter springs to accommodate the larger front tire and lowered rear end? Is this something I should even worry about? I have not heard any one discussing this issue so I thought I would ask. Will the rake and trail change significantly that I will even notice? I have read where others have not noticed any difference in their bikes handling after lowering their bikes. If I can put shorter springs in I will do it now...I am replacing both front fork seals this winter as well so the front shocks will be out of the bike and apart anyway.

Can anyone provide any insight into this?
Your bike will handle slightly different. It will have a slight increase in trail with the back lowered and the front stock. I'd try it first that way before investing in lowering the fork properly. If that is what you intend to do? You'll probably like it just the way it is.

Personally, I wouldn't want to loose any of the travel in the front fork so I wouldn't lower the front unless I found that the slightly slower steering was objectionable. I seriously doubt you will be able to tell with the back lowered that the bike's handling is any slower because you'll be dragging your pipes if you ride aggressive enough to notice the change. The pipes lifting the rear tire off the pavement will be the limiting factor not the change in trail.

I bought my Vic mostly because it handled so much better than any of the several Harley's I've owned and had good power also. I could always fix the lack of HP in a HD. That's no big trick because of the aftermarket. Getting one to really handle? That's the impossible part. They are what they are.
 

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Forks mods

Instead of buying new springs you could also do this. You said you are going to have the forks out of the bike this winter. Take the upper tubes down to a machine shop and have them turn down the fat part of the tube, say 10mm to 20mm and then just set the tubes back in higher in the triple tree. The cost of machining may possibly be less than new springs. Just an idea. Also I was just throwing the 10-20mm figure out there. I would think it would keep the ride the same as far as fork responsiveness and would also get the front end a little closer to the ground if that is what you are going for.
 

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Instead of buying new springs you could also do this. You said you are going to have the forks out of the bike this winter. Take the upper tubes down to a machine shop and have them turn down the fat part of the tube, say 10mm to 20mm and then just set the tubes back in higher in the triple tree. The cost of machining may possibly be less than new springs. Just an idea. Also I was just throwing the 10-20mm figure out there. I would think it would keep the ride the same as far as fork responsiveness and would also get the front end a little closer to the ground if that is what you are going for.
If you lower the front that way, and by doing so maintain the stock front suspension travel, as you lower it you take the ground clearance of the bike away when the front suspension is bottomed out. Eventually the problem becomes that on a really big bump like a poorly maintained railroad crossing or a road under construction the engine case can contact obstacles in the road if the suspension suddenly bottoms out. Something like a bad railroad crossing at night at speed could become a game changer. However much you lower the front end will bring the bottom of the bike that much closer to the pavement when the suspension bottoms out.
10-20 mm probably isn't a big deal I don't think, but this is something to be aware of. I would pull the springs and collapse the fork and see what the bike looked like. Older bikes didn't have as much travel as these newer bikes do so it was never an issue in the past and was common practice for getting them lower.
 

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Cutting the forks would be the wrong way to go. Springs would be the way to go.
Progressive Suspension would be one to contact
 

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I really don't know what it takes to lower a cartridge inverted front fork properly. I've lowered and raised damper rod forks like you find on the HD's. They're easy. For a inverted cartridge fork probably RaceTech would be the folks to talk to. I am pretty sure that there will be either a change of some of the internal parts or some machining involved if you expect it to actually work properly when it is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Vicbaggers told me the best (and kind of only way) to do this would be to put air ride on the front forks. That way you can set the height to maintain the rake and trail of the bike. They also told me that going to air ride strictly to maintain rake and trail did not make much sense cost wise. If I wanted to go air-ride front and back to get the comfort/cool factor of air ride then it would make sense to set my ride height to maintain factory rake/trail. They told me that I probably wouldn't notice a difference with a 1-1/2" lower rear end.

Update...Took the fork seals and lowering link to a local guy that has a couple of drag bikes and does some minor custom work. I have completely run out of time so he agreed to replace both fork seals flush, clean and inspect my forks...put it all back together and lower the arse-end as well.

I picked the bike up two days later. Everything complete. Just sitting on the bike in his shop I really like the new ride height. I can stand flat footed with the passenger floor boards down which is the main reason for doing this. I only rode the bike 1/2 mile from his shop to mine...it was -10 deg C and snowing. The riding conditions sucked...but I enjoyed every minute of it. Can't wait for warm weather to get my better half on the bike and burn up some miles and see if I notice a handling difference.

Thanks for all the input.
 
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