How to Lower a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic – A Step-by-Step Guide


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How To Lower A Harley Davidson Ultra Classic

If you’re looking for a way to customize your Harley Davidson Ultra Classic and make it look even more impressive, lowering it is a great option. This step-by-step guide will show you exactly how to do it, so that you can be sure your ride is looking its best. Whether you’re a seasoned bike customizer or a beginner, you’ll find this guide helpful and informative. So, let’s get started!

History of Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

The Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic is a legendary touring bike that has long been an iconic symbol of open-road freedom and the American motorcycle culture. This touring bike falls under the “Electra Glide “ family, which represents Harley-Davidson’s line of touring bikes known for their comfort, long-distance capabilities, and luxurious features. The Ultra Classic is specifically designed for bikers looking for a premium touring experience, combining powerful performance, advanced technology, and classic Harley-Davidson styling.

The Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic made its debut back in 1989 as an evolution of the popular Electra Glide model. This bike was introduced to meet the growing demand for a motorcycle that offered enhanced touring capabilities and luxurious comfort for long-distance journeys. The Ultra Classic incorporates features like a full fairing, hard saddlebags, and a large windscreen, which make it a formidable touring machine.

Over the years, the Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic underwent various significant updates and improvements to meet the evolving needs of touring riders. In 1994, the motorcycle received significant updates, including the introduction of the Twin Cam 88 engine, which enhanced power and performance. In 2002, there was the addition of an electronic fuel injection system, which further improved the motorcycle’s efficiency and throttle response.

In 2009, the Ultra Classic received a major overhaul thanks to the introduction of the Project Rushmore series. This update brought along several enhancements, including the Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 engine, better handling, improved ergonomics, and the integration of advanced infotainment features. The introduction of the Boom! Box infotainment systems gave smooth navigation, music, and communication options, which elevated the touring experience to new heights.

Harley-Davidson continues to refine and innovate the Ultra Classic. In recent years, the company has focused on incorporating more advanced technologies and refining the riding experience. The Milwaukee-Eight engine, introduced in 2017, offers improved power, enhanced fuel efficiency, and reduced vibration. Moreover, the Ultra Classic also features the Reflex Defensive Rider System (RDRS), a suite of advanced rider aids including linked braking, ABS, and traction control.

The Ultra Classic is renowned for having a timeless design and distinctive features. It features a large, comfortable seat, spacious storage capacity in the form of hard saddlebags, and a top-case trunk. Further, there is also a batwing fairing with a full windscreen as well as rider and passenger floorboards for added comfort during long rides. Further, the riders can also choose from different paint schemes, finishes, and accessories, allowing them to create a truly personalized touring machine. These features made the Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic an incredible option for riders looking for a combination of style, comfort, and functionality.

How To Lower A Harley Davidson Ultra Classic

Benefits of lowering a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

When it comes to personalizing bikes, a popular modification that bikers often consider is lowering the bike. While Ultra Classic motorcycles are renowned for their comfortable and luxurious touring capabilities, some bikers prefer a lower ride height for various reasons. There are various benefits of lowering a Harley-Davidson bike, with some of the predominant ones being –

#1. Improved stability and handling

Lowering your Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic will significantly improve handling and stability. By reducing the center of gravity, your bike will become more planted on the road, enhancing overall control. This is quite beneficial when navigating corners or maneuvering at slower speeds. The lower stance will provide a greater sense of confidence, allowing riders to tackle challenging road conditions with ease.

#2. Enhanced comfort and accessibility

Lowering your bike can improve rider comfort and accessibility. With a lower seat height, bikers with shorter inseams or those who struggle with mounting and dismounting taller bikes can enjoy a more comfortable and secure seating position. This can alleviate the strain on the legs and lower back, making long rides more enjoyable. Additionally, a lower seat height can also increase stability when stationary, making it much easier to handle the bike in parking lots or congested traffic situations.

#3. Customized aesthetics

Lowering your bike will offer the perfect opportunity to customize its appearance. The lowered stance will create a sleek and aggressive look, giving your bike a unique aesthetic appeal. This modification can be complemented further with other visual enhancements, such as custom paintwork, chrome accents, or aftermarket accessories to create a more personalized ride that reflects your style and preferences.

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#4. Increased confidence for beginners and novice riders

For newer riders and beginners, a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic will provide a greater sense of control and confidence. The reduced seat height will make it easier to plant both feet firmly on the ground, providing a sense of stability when coming to a stop or maneuvering in tight spaces. This can be especially beneficial for bikers who are still building their confidence and skills on the road as it’ll help reduce the fear of tipping over or losing balance.

#5. Preservation of investment

Harley enthusiasts often invest in customizing their bikes to reflect their style and individuality. Lowering the bike can help preserve these customization investments by reducing the risk of scraping or damaging aftermarket parts or accessories, such as exhaust systems, saddlebags, or fender extensions. With a lowered bike, the rider can confidently enjoy riding the bike without worrying about clearing issues or potential damage caused by bottoming out.

How To Lower A Harley Davidson Ultra Classic

Preparation for lowering a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

Lowering a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic can greatly enhance the bike’s appearance, improve stability, and provide a much more comfortable riding experience for people with shorter inseams. However, before you start the process to lower a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, you first need to carry out proper preparation. You must gather the appropriate tools and prepare for this modification.

Here are the tools and equipment you will need to prepare your Ultra Classic for lowering it –

#1. Socket and wrench set

A comprehensive set of sockets and wrenches will be needed for removing and reinstalling various components during the lowering process. Make sure that you have both metric and standard sizes as Harley-Davidson bikes often use a combination of both.

#2. Torque wrench

A torque wrench will be important for ensuring the proper tightening of bolts to manufacturer-recommended specifications. This tool will help prevent overtightening or undertightening, which can compromise the safety and performance of your bike.

#3. Jack or lift

A motorcycle jack or lift will be needed to raise the Ultra Classic off the ground, offering access to the suspension components. This tool will allow you to remove and install the necessary parts with ease and safety.

#4. Allen wrench set

Many components on Harley-Davidson bikes, including the Ultra Classic, are secured using Allen head bolts. A set of Allen wrenches in different sizes will be needed to loosen and tighten these bolts during the lowering process.

#5. Measuring tape

A measuring tape or ruler will help you accurately measure the current ride height of your bike before and after the lowering process. This will allow you to track the amount of lowering achieved.

Once you have gathered the necessary parts and equipment, you will need to carry out certain preparation steps –

#1. Research and consultation

Before you start the lowering process, you must conduct thorough research on different methods of lowering your Ultra Classic and determine the ideal amount of lowering. It is advised that you should consult with experienced Harley-Davidson mechanics or other bikers who have previously performed this modification.

#2. Clear workspace

You must prepare a well-lit and spacious area to work on your bike. Make sure that you have enough room to maneuver and store the removed components safely. Keep the tools organized and within easy reach to avoid confusion during the process.

#3. Safety gear

Prioritize safety by wearing appropriate protective gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and closed-toe shoes. This will help safeguard you from potential injuries while working on your bike. 

How to lower a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

Once you have carried out the preparation and gathered the necessary tools and equipment, you will be in an ideal position to lower your Ultra Classic. Here, you will get to know the steps that will allow you to easily lower your Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. By following these steps carefully, you will be able to achieve the desired ride height while maintaining the integrity of your bike.

Step 1: Remove the stock seat

  • Locate the seat mounting bolts under the rear of the seat
  • Make use of a socket or wrench for removing the bolts and carefully lift off the stock seat

Step 2: Adjustment of rear suspension

  • Now, you should locate the rear shock absorbers on your Ultra Classic
  • Use a wrench to loosen the lock ring on the shock absorbers
  • Then, you should adjust the shock absorbers to the ideal lower settings by turning the threaded adjuster clockwise
  • Make sure that you adjust both sides evenly
  • Once the desired lower height has been achieved, you must tighten the lock ring to secure the adjustment
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Step 3: Installation of the lowering kit

  • Follow the instructions mentioned with the lowering kit to ensure proper installation
  • Generally, lowering kits consist of new shorter rear shock absorbers and/or lowering blocks
  • Then, you should remove the stock rear shock absorbers as per the manufacturer’s instructions and replace them with the new ones from the lowering kit
  • If lowering blocks are included in the kit, you should install them between the rear shock absorbers and the frame to further lower the ride height
  • Make sure all components are securely tightened and aligned

Step 4: Adjustment of front suspension

  • Locate the front forks of your Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic
  • Then, loosen the pinch bolts on the top triple tree clamps using a socket or Allen wrench
  • Slide the fork tubes upward slightly within the clamps for lowering the front end of the bike
  • Make sure all the forks are lowered evenly on both sides to maintain proper handling
  • Once the desired front-end height has been achieved, you should tighten the pinch holes to secure the adjustment

Step 5: Reinstall the seat and test

  • Place the lowered seat onto the frame and align the mounting holes
  • Insert and tighten the seat mounting bolts with the help of a socket or wrench
  • Now, sit on the bike and check for a comfortable riding position and proper stability
  • Test the suspension travel by compressing and releasing the front and rear suspension to ensure adequate clearance and smooth operation
  • Take a short test ride to evaluate the comfort and handling of your lowered Ultra Classic

How to operate and maintain a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

Lowering your Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic will present you with a wide range of benefits. Once you have lowered your bike, it’ll be important to understand how to operate and maintain it properly to make sure you get optimal performance and longevity. Here is how you can operate and maintain your lowered Ultra Classic to achieve more comfort and improved performance.

Adjust riding positions and suspension

With a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, you will be able to experience a slightly different riding position compared to the stock setup. Take ample time to get accustomed to the lower seat height and altered suspension. Make sure that you can comfortably reach the controls, handlebars, and footpegs while maintaining proper control of the bike. If needed, you should adjust the mirrors to provide an unobstructed view of the road.

Further, lowering your Ultra Classic will also affect the suspension dynamics. It is important to fine-tune the suspension settings to maintain a balanced ride and optimal handling. You must consult the owner’s manual or look for professional advice to adjust the suspension settings as per the lowered setup. Make sure both the rear and front suspensions are properly aligned and adjusted to prevent bottoming out or excessive stiffness.

Be careful of road hazards

You must be careful of road hazards such as potholes, speed humps, and uneven surfaces. With a lowered ride height, the ground clearance might be reduced. You must take extra care when navigating over obstacles to avoid scraping the undercarriage or damaging the bike. You must maintain a controlled speed and approach such obstacles at a comfortable angle.

Take regular maintenance of the bike

Lowering the Ultra Classic does not change the basic maintenance requirements of the bike. You must follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual. The necessary maintenance tasks that you must carry out include –

  • Change the engine oil and filter regularly to keep the engine running smoothly
  • Check tire pressure and treat wear regularly
  • Maintain proper tire inflation to get optimal handling and safety
  • Regularly inspect the suspension components, including the forks, shocks, and lowering
  • Be on the lookout for signs of wear, leakage, or damage
  • Lubricate the moving parts as recommended
  • Inspect the brake system regularly, including rotors, brake pads, and fluid levels
  • Ensure proper braking performance and address the issues promptly
  • Check the battery condition, wiring connections, and lighting regularly

When you’re riding a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, you must be mindful of your riding style and your bike’s capabilities. Remember that the altered suspension setup might affect your bike’s cornering ability and ground clearance. Avoid aggressive cornering or taking sharp turns at high speeds to prevent scraping or loss of control. Maintain a safe and comfortable riding posture and anticipate the road conditions ahead.

How To Lower A Harley Davidson Ultra Classic

Troubleshoot common issues with a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

While lowering a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic can certainly offer a lot of benefits, doing so the wrong way might introduce common issues that you must be aware of. As long as you know the common issues with a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, you’ll find it easier to troubleshoot them. Here are some of the common issues with a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and how to troubleshoot them to ensure a smooth and enjoyable riding experience.

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#1. Reduced ground clearance

One of the primary concerns with a lowered Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic is reduced ground clearance, which could result in scraping the bike’s undercarriage. Common areas that are prone to scraping include the frame, exhaust pipes, and floorboards. Here is how you can troubleshoot this issue –

  • Approach speed bumps, uneven surfaces, and steep driveways with caution, maintaining a controlled speed and angle
  • Adjust your riding technique to minimize leaning angles, especially during aggressive cornering
  • You must consider installing aftermarket components, like high-mount exhaust systems, which can provide increased ground clearance

#2. Suspension travel and bottoming out

Lowering your Ultra Classic will affect the suspension travel, making the motorcycle more susceptible to bottoming out, especially when encountering bumps or rough road surfaces. For troubleshooting this issue, you must do the following –

  • Adjust the suspension settings for finding the right balance between ride comfort and preventing bottoming out
  • Consider upgrading the suspension components like shocks or front springs to the ones that are specifically designed for lowered bikes

Remember to consult the owner’s manual to get ideal suspension settings. Moreover, the suspension components are recommended as they’ll provide better damping characteristics and improved bottoming resistance.

#3. Altered handling characteristics

Lowering your Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic will alter your bike’s handling characteristics due to changes in the center of gravity. You might also experience differences in steering response, stability, and overall maneuverability. For troubleshooting the altered handling issue, you must do the following –

  • First, familiarize yourself with the modified handling characteristics to gradually adapt your riding technique to the lowered setup
  • Ensure that the suspension settings are adjusted correctly, maintaining a balanced setup for optimal handling performance
  • Consult with experienced riders or professionals who have expertise in handling modifications to gain valuable insights and recommendations

#4. Tire wear and alignment issues

Lowering your Ultra Classic can also lead to uneven tire wear and alignment issues. The reduced ground clearance might cause tires to wear unevenly, especially on the edges. To troubleshoot the tire wear and alignment issues, you will need to –

  • Regularly inspect the tires for potential signs of uneven wear, including cupping or scalloping
  • Check the alignment by observing the wear pattern and ensuring that the wheels are properly aligned
  • Maintain proper tire pressure and ensure that the tires are balanced to promote even wear and extend their lifespan
  • Have a professional perform a precise alignment for rectifying alignment issues

Also read: How to Change a Drive Belt on a Harley Softail?


What are some tips for lowering a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic?

Lowering a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic involves adjusting the shocks, changing the fork tubes, and altering the ride height. To adjust the shocks, you’ll need to loosen the upper bolts and turn the preload adjuster to lower the rear end. To lower the front end, you’ll need to replace the stock fork tubes with shorter ones and then adjust the ride height by increasing the preload adjuster. Additionally, you may need to make certain modifications to the frame, such as adding a lowering kit, to ensure a safe and successful lowering experience.

What are the benefits of lowering a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic?

Lowering a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic can provide a number of benefits, including improved handling, increased performance, and a more comfortable ride. Lowering the bike can also make it easier to mount and dismount, which can be especially beneficial for shorter riders. Additionally, some riders choose to lower their bike to give it a more aggressive look.

What should I keep in mind when lowering a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic?

When lowering a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, it is important to keep in mind that you may need to make certain modifications to the frame to ensure a safe and successful lowering

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