I am the proud owner of a 2005 CRF 450x. The bike is mainly used on off road excursions and tight trails, not many big jumps but a lot of woops and drops. I love this bike, just one problem, I am vertically challenged (5’8″, on a good day). Not only am I similar in height to Napoleon but I weigh about the same, 165 lbs. I am an intermediate to advanced rider in my 30′s and have been riding for 20 years. Keeping in mind skill, height/weight, price, and function what is the best way from me to get two feet on the ground and I don’t mean tippy toes!!! I have looked at several options; Suspension revamp with cut springs in the front and rear, a shaved seat, and the rocker link option. Recommendations from the pros at Dirt Rider would sure save me a lot of restless nights wondering how I can touch the ground without wearing high heels!!
Monument, ColoradoI guess it might look odd that the tallest rider on the staff is replying, but I ride with lots of un-tall folks. As far as maintaining the integrity of your bike’s handling goes, the shortened suspension option is the best in most ways. Now that so many riders are shortening suspension for supermoto, every suspension company has a fair amount of experience with lowering a bike. The problem is that the initial part of the suspension is the softest, and with shorter travel you will either lose a bit of small-bump compliance or a lot of bottoming control. Of the suspension companies we’ve worked with, I’d say that ESP Tel: (818) 249-6744 has the most experience at shortened off-road suspension. George (the owner) would see eye-to-eye with you literally and figuratively. I’m picky about seats, so I hate the idea of cutting the seat, but it works for some folks, and it is cheap. The problem is that Honda dished the bottom of the X seat pan to clear the battery, so there is less foam than a CRF-R to start with. Also, when you cut the seat, it is very difficult to accomplish the job and not have to sit farther back in turns. The rear of the tank and the front of the seat pan slope toward the back, so if you cut an inch of foam out, you sit almost an inch farther back in the turns. A lowering link typically makes the initial suspension action super soft, wipes out bottoming resistance and creates a major imbalance between the fork and shock. If you are an accomplished rider, then you won’t like that route. Maybe if you modify the fork to match, but that would require trial and error on the part of the suspension company. I’ve always wondered what would happen if you added to the bottom of your boots, but don’t know anyone who tried that.