Ways to Get Lower
It’s a common complaint when sitting on your Victory or Indian motorcycle your feet barely touch the ground. While being “vertically challenged” doesn’t impair veteran riders (they just slide their butts off the seat and stand on one leg at a stop), not being able to get both feet solidly on the ground can be intimidating for some.
We can’t make you taller but we can offer some common ways to make it sit lower Each has exactly one advantage, a lower seat height, but there could also be some things to look out for.
One thing before starting your search is to figure out how low you want to go. A great way to figure it out is to put a 2x4 under each foot. That will make the ground higher by approximately 1 3/4 inches. Are you comfortable at this height? If so you know you need to lower your bike about 1 3/4 inches. you can do the same thing with any thickness board to get the "feel" for where you need to be.
Adjust Suspension Preload
The easiest way to do this is by adjusting the rear shock preload. Preload is the amount of tension applied to the rear shock’s coil spring as the bike sits without a rider on it. By changing how much the spring is compressed in a static state, you can adjust the height of the rear of the bike.
Preload comes set from the factory for an average weight rider. Heavier or lighter riders compress the spring more or less than average when they sit on the bike. When you adjust preload to the factory recommended range for your weight (setting the Sag), this ensures good handling characteristics.
Adjusting the rear shock preload is typically done by loosening a threaded "lock"collar on the shock (#1) just below the spring and turning the other "adjustment" collar (#2) counterclockwise. Some bikes with an aftermarket shock come with a preload adjuster dial or knob that can be turned by hand. By reducing preload, you can lower the rear ride height. Start by lowering your ride height to the lowest possible setting that still falls within the factory recommended sag range. If you are still not happy with the height reduction, you can continue lowering the bike further but be aware that this will negatively impact the handling of the bike.
Springs have a working range, determined by the weight of the rider, passengers, luggage, etc. If you stay within the recommended sag range for your bike, your bike will continue to handle the way it was designed to. Check the sag settings on your bike to determine how low you can go. If you can’t get the bike low enough by reducing preload within the spring’s limits, you may need a different spring. If you choose to go lower than the recommended range, you’ll bottom out sooner and increase the harshness of the ride.
Install Lowering Links
Lowering links are able to lower a motorcycle anywhere from a half inch to 2 1/2 inches depending on the motorcycle and lowering links available. Witchdoctors offers an adjustable lower link for the Cross bikes and Vision models. The Victory steel frame models such as Victory Vegas, Jackpot, Hammer, Boardwalk & Kingpin as well as the Indian Chief and Chieftain models all come as a non adjustable link. Lowering links can be a fairly cost-effective way to lower your rear end and they are easy to install. Suspension travel is also not affected by installing lowering links
You might find that the rear shock bottoms out sooner and feels softer in the last portion of the stroke. By lowering the shock position, you also make it more vulnerable to impacts on the road. A skid plate by Witchdoctors will help protect the bottom of your engine. Another danger to keep in mind is that you’ve moved the rear wheel closer to the rear fender without reducing suspension travel. This can cause the rear tire to touch the fender on big hits, which can lead to a crash. Moving wires away and from under the fender is usually required on Steel frame Victory models. Also check to make sure your belt does not rub. This is common on 03-07 Victory where the belt rubs the bolt on the front belt cover. Another thing to keep in mind is the lean angle. As you lower the bike it may tend to stand up straighter and risks tipping over. In this case a shorter kickstand may do the trick.
Shorten the Suspension- Install a Shorter Shock
You may be willing to sacrifice some of that suspension travel in an effort to gain a lower seat height. Another option is an aftermarket shock. Some aftermarket shocks come in a “low” version that can lower the rear of your motorcycle by 1 to 2 inches (25.4mm – 50.8mm). Swapping your rear shock is a fairly easy project and aftermarket shocks tend to be higher quality than stock units. These shocks tend to give a much better ride and also take the "jolt" out of your spine when hitting bumps. Many also have an external adjuster to help you fine tune the settings. Witchdoctors offers the progressive 465 shock and Penske shocks to do just this.
Aftermarket shocks can cost anywhere from $400 to $900. Also keep in mind that if you do significantly reduce the suspension travel, you reduce the bikes ground clearance.
Get a Shorter Seat
A shorter seat can help you avoid all the consequences of lowering your suspension. You can avoid reduced ground clearance, less suspension travel or a harsher ride. You can lose up to 2 inches with a low seat and it’s a quick and easy install. Some “low” replacement seats can be bought right off the shelf. Custom seat makers are also able to make a lower seat from your stock pan. Just send them your stock seat, tell them what you’re after, and wait for them to send it back.
Complete aftermarket and custom seats can be expensive, ranging from $300 or more depending on what you have done. The other thing to be careful of with low seats is the thinner foam, which may be uncomfortable on long rides. A deeply “scalloped” seat can also trap you in one position, causing discomfort and restricting your body movement during long rides as well.
Get Thicker Sole Shoes
A great way to make riding a motorcycle easier for short people is by wearing height increasing motorcycle boots. These are boots that have extra thick soles to give you a little bit more height, enabling you to reach the ground easily.
One important fact to keep in mind while looking for this kind of boot is the fact that the boot will make it harder to shift gears on your motorcycle. The thick sole will not only add extra length to your foot when reaching for the ground, but it will also increase the height of your foot when you put it on the foot peg. This moves your whole foot up, making it harder to do an up shift with your left foot. You’ll have to squeeze your toes under the shifter when you want to shift up so you may need to adjust the shift lever.
When buying a motorcycle with a thick sole look for one that still has some space for the foot peg. This will minimize the height difference when shifting gears.
Whenever you lower your suspension you lose ground clearance and this may cause the bike to touch down and bottom out sooner. It’s smart to be conservative with how low you go. Getting both feet on the ground may help you build confidence as a rider but it’s not necessary to be completely flat footed.
Don’t forget to measure the height of the front and rear of the bike before and after you make changes to the suspension, to ensure you maintain a neutral chassis attitude. Also keep in mind, that if you lower your bike significantly, you may need to get a shorter kickstand.