How to Lower a Harley-Davidson: Step-by-Step Guide

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How To Lower A Harley Davidson

Are you ready to customize your Harley-Davidson? If you are, then you have come to the right place! This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to lower a Harley-Davidson and give it that sleek, stylish look you have been dreaming of. Whether you are a novice or a professional, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to get the job done. So, if you are ready to take on this project, let’s get started! 

Overview of lowering a Harley-Davidson bike

For some users, a Harley-Davidson bike is just a motorcycle. For others, it is a blank canvas where they can paint the story of their life. Oftentimes, the ink on the contract is barely dry before riders start going for aftermarket goodies and customizing the bike. Most of these modifications make the bike faster, more powerful, and easier to ride.

Lowering a Harley-Davidson motorcycle doesn’t just give the bike the long, low custom look, it’ll also allow shorter bikers to reach the pavement when they put their feet flat on. Some people may also want to lower the bike for a better look. Regardless of your reason for lowering your Harley, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you aren’t sure about the dynamics of this sort of modification, you must consult a suspension specialist for avoiding any problems.

How To Lower A Harley-Davidson - Woman Riding A Harley

If you want to ride a Harley-Davidson bike but feel that you’re not tall enough to make it work, don’t worry, there’s a solution to your predicament. You can easily lower your Harley. This guide will help you do just that.

Safety considerations to make when lowering a Harley-Davidson bike

Lowering a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be a great way of improving the look and comfort levels of your ride. However, it is important that you remember that this modification can also affect the handling and stability of your motorcycle. To stay safe and avoid any issues, it’ll be important to follow certain safety considerations when lowering your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Here are some of them –

#1. Research and understand your motorcycle’s limitations

Before you start the process of lowering the bike, it’ll be important to research and understand your motorcycle’s limitations. Not every Harley-Davidson bike is suitable for lowering. In fact, some modifications might even compromise your bike’s safety. You should ensure that you consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual or speak to a professional for ensuring that your bike can be lowered safely.

#2. Follow proper suspension adjustments

Lowering a Harley requires adjusting the suspension. It’ll be important that you follow the proper adjustment procedure and use the right tools for making sure that the suspension is adjusted correctly. The improper adjustment could compromise the handling and stability of your Harley.

#3. Adjust the riding position

Lowering your Harley will change your riding position. This is why you’ll need to adjust the riding position and get used to its handling before taking your motorcycle out on the road. Start off with short riders and then gradually increase your distance as you become comfortable with the new riding position.

#4. Be aware of the ground clearance

When you lower your bike, it will reduce the ground clearance. This can cause different parts to scrape against the pavement when making turns. Be aware of the ground clearance and then adjust the riding accordingly. You should avoid making any sharp turns or riding over speed bumps and rough terrain.

#5. Safety equipment

Safety equipment such as gloves, a face mask, eye protection, and more are important when working on your Harley. Gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges and grease. Eye protection will help prevent any debris from getting in your eyes. A face mask will protect you from dust and fumes.

#6. Service manual

A service manual is an incredibly valuable resource when lowering your Harley-Davidson bike. It’ll contain important information on your motorcycle’s specifications and procedures for removing and installing parts. You should ensure that you have an owner’s manual specific to your Harley-Davidson bike’s model and year.

Necessary tools and equipment for lowering a Harley-Davidson

When lowering a Harley-Davidson bike, it will be important that you arrange the right tools and equipment. This will make it possible to carry out the modification safely and successfully. Here are the necessary tools and equipment that you will require when you are lowering your Harley-Davidson bike – 

#1. Jack or lift

The first tool that you will require is a jack or lift for raising the bike off the ground. A jack or lift will make it much easier to work on your Harley, while also providing access to the suspension for the lowering process. You will be able to choose between hydraulic jacks or lifts depending on your preference.

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How To Lower A Harley-Davidson - Lowering A Harley

#2. Socket set

A socket set will be important for removing and installing parts. You should ensure that you have a set of sockets in the appropriate sizes for your motorcycle’s nuts and bolts. It will be a good idea to have a ratchet or extension bar for hard-to-reach areas.

#3. Torque wrench

A torque wrench will be important for tightening nuts and bolts to the appropriate specifications. This will make sure that the parts are secure and prevent any accidents or damage to your motorcycle. You should ensure that you have a torque wrench capable of measuring the required torque for your motorcycle’s specifications.

#4. Allen wrench set

An Allen wrench set is important for working on your Harley’s suspension. You will require Allen wrenches to remove and install the suspension bolts.

#5. Rear lowering kit

A rear lowering kit will be the main component needed for lowering your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This kit includes a set of shock absorber links that lower the bike’s rear suspension. You should ensure that you purchase a rear lowering kit that is compatible with your Harley’s model and year.

How to lower a Harley-Davidson bike

Removing existing parts

Whether you ride a Harley-Davidson tourist bike or a cruiser, it is possible to lower a Harley-Davidson bike. However, before you can lower your bike by installing new parts, you will first need to remove the existing parts. Here is a step-by-step process of removing existing parts when lowering a Harley-Davidson bike – 

#1. Remove the rear wheel

For lowering the rear suspension, you will first have to remove the rear wheel. Use the jack or lift for raising the bike off the ground, and then remove the axle nut and spacer from the rear wheel. Gently lower the wheel to the ground and then set it aside.

#2. Remove the rear shocks

Next up, you will have to remove the rear shocks. Make use of the socket set and Allen wrench set for removing the bolts that are holding the shocks in place. Once you have removed the bolts, carefully remove the shocks from your Harley.

#3. Remove the lower shock bolts

Using an Allen wrench set, you should remove the bolts that are holding the lower shock in place. These bolts are typically located on the lower part of the shock.

Installing the lowering kit

Once you have removed the different components, the next step would be to install the lowering kit. Here are the steps you need to follow for installing the lowering kit in your Harley-Davidson motorcycle  –

The lowering kit will come with new shock absorber links that lower the motorcycle’s suspension. Install the new shock absorber links according to the instructions mentioned in the lowering kit. You should ensure that you tighten the bolts to the appropriate torque specification when using the torque wrench.

#2. Install the lowering blocks

Some lowering kits might also come with lowering blocks that have to be installed. These blocks are placed between the frame and the lower sock mounts for further lowering the suspension. Use the socket set for removing the bolts that hold the lower shock mounts in place. Place the lowering blocks between the frame and the lower shock mounts before reattaching the bolts.

#3. Reinstall the rear shocks

Once the lowering blocks have been installed, you should reattach the rear shocks to the bike. Make use of bolts and torque wrenches for tightening the shocks in place. 

#4. Reinstall the rear wheel

After that, you have to reinstall the rear wheel. Place the wheel back in position and then install the axle nut and spacer. Utilize the torque wrench for tightening the axle nut to the appropriate torque specification.

#4. Test the suspension

Once you have installed the lowering kit, it’ll be important to test the suspension to ensure it is functioning properly. Use the jack or lift for raising the bike off the ground. Further, compress the suspension to check for unusual noises or movement. Test ride the motorcycle to make sure that the suspension is comfortable and stable.

You should remember that lowering the bike will have an impact on the bike’s performance and ride quality. Further, you shouldn’t be going cheap on things and end up hiring someone who isn’t professional who lowers the bike in an alleyway. Make use of the most reputable sources for finding modifications, and keep in mind that less will be more when lowering the bike. The best thing that you can do for both your own and your Harley’s safety is to talk to a professional or motorcycle manufacturer before you make modifications. Making a small mistake will not only be dangerous for your bike, but it can also turn into a trip to the hospital.

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Troubleshooting tips on common issues

When you are lowering your Harley-Davidson motorcycle, whether for customizing the bike or making it more comfortable, issues could arise. This can end up becoming a major problem later on if you aren’t careful. Here are the common issues that might occur and troubleshooting tips to address them –

#1. Uneven suspension

If the motorcycle’s suspension is uneven after lowering, it will likely be due to improper installation of the lowering kit. Check the installation instructions and ensure that all bolts and hardware are tightened to the appropriate torque specification. If the issue still persists, it might be necessary to re-install the lowering kit.

#2. Scraping or bottoming out

If your Harley is scraping or bottoming out after lowering, it could be because of insufficient ground clearance. Check the lowering blocks and shock absorber links for ensuring that they are installed correctly and not too low. If the issue still persists, you might be needed to install a rear tire or adjust the motorcycle’s suspension settings.

#3. Handling issues

If your motorcycle’s handling feels off after lowering, it might be because of the change in your motorcycle’s center of gravity. This could end up causing your motorcycle to feel unstable or difficult to steer. Check your motorcycle’s suspension settings and then consider adjusting them to compensate for the lower stance. It might be helpful to adjust the handlebars or foot pegs for improving rider positioning.

#4. Brake drag

Say that your motorcycle’s brakes are dragging after lowering, this might be because of the change in the angle of the brake lines. You should check the brake lines and ensure that they are routed properly and secured. It might be necessary for adjusting the brake calipers to ensure proper alignment.

#5. Wheel alignment

If the rear wheel is not aligned properly after lowering, it could cause handling issues and premature tire wear. You should check your Harley-Davidson bike’s rear wheel alignment and then adjust it as necessary. It is a great idea for checking the motorcycle’s chain tension and then adjust it if needed.

Maintenance advice after lowering a Harley-Davidson bike

After you have lowered your Harley-Davidson bike, it’ll be important to carry out the maintenance tasks for ensuring that your motorcycle remains in good condition. Here are some maintenance tips that you will need to keep in mind when lowering a Harley-Davidson bike – 

#1. Check suspension settings

After lowering your Harley-Davidson bike, it’ll be important that you check the suspension settings to make sure that they are adjusted properly. The lower stance could affect your bike’s handling and stability. This is why it is important to ensure that the suspension is set up correctly. You should consider consulting a professional to make sure that the suspension is adjusted properly for your specific bike and riding style.

How To Lower A Harley Davidson - Lowered Harley-Davidson

#2. Inspect hardware regularly

Lowering kits will require additional hardware to be installed, so it’ll be important that you inspect these compounds regularly for wear and tear. Check the bolts and hardware for signs of rust or corrosion and ensure that they are tightened to the appropriate torque specification. You should consider replacing any worn-out or damaged components promptly to avoid any further damage or safety issues.

#3. Monitor the tires

Lowering your Harley can affect the wear and tear on your tires. Check the tire pressure regularly for ensuring that it is at the recommended level, and inspect the tread for potential signs of wear. If the tires are showing uneven wear or damage, it might be necessary to replace them. You must consult a professional to make sure that you are using the right tire size and type for your bike.

#4. Adjust brake and clutch levers

If you decide to lower your Harley, remember that it could affect the positioning of the brake and clutch levers. Adjusting the levers is required for ensuring that they are in a comfortable and functional position. You should consider using aftermarket levers designed for lowered bikes to ensure proper fit and function.

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#5. Keep up with regular maintenance

Lowering your motorcycle is a modification that needs additional maintenance tasks. It is important that you keep up with regular maintenance tasks like oil changes and fluid checks to make sure that your motorcycle remains in good condition. If you have any doubts, you should consider consulting with a professional to make sure that you are following the recommended maintenance schedule for your specific bike and modifications.

Advantages of lowering a Harley-Davidson bike

Lowering a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can provide a wide variety of advantages for bikers who want to customize their ride or make it more comfortable for short riders. Here are some of the primary advantages of lowering a Harley-Davidson bike –

#1. Improved comfort

By lowering a Harley-Davidson bike, it can improve comfort for bikers who might struggle with a high seat height or find it difficult to reach the ground. Lowering the bike could provide a more stable and lower center of gravity, which makes it easier for riders to control and maneuver the bike. This will also reduce fatigue and discomfort during long rides.

#2. Better handling

Lowering a motorcycle can improve stability and handling. By lowering the motorcycle’s center of gravity, it can feel more stable and planted on the road. This will improve cornering while also making the bike feel more responsible and agile.

#3. Customization

By lowering your Harley, it’ll provide a way for bikers to customize their ride and make it their own. When the bike is lowered, the riders will be able to create a unique look and feel that reflects their personal style and preferences.

#4. Safety

Lowering the bike can improve safety for bikers who might struggle with a high seat height or find it difficult to control the bike. By lowering your bike’s center of gravity, it will provide a more stable and controlled ride. This will help improve visibility for riders, which makes it easier to see and be seen on the road.

#5. Increased confidence

Further, lowering the bike will also increase the rider’s confidence. By providing a more stable and controlled ride, the riders might feel more confident and comfortable on the bike. This might mean that they will be more likely to ride regularly and enjoy their time on the road.

Disadvantages of lowering a Harley-Davidson bike

Even after following the right steps when lowering the bike, you are still running into certain issues with handling. You may have lowered the center of the bike’s gravity, you might run into a few disadvantages  –

#1. Obstructions like Speed bumps and curbs

Firstly, you might face more obstructions like curbs and speed bumps. You might also limit yourself on where you’re able to go with the bike.

#2. The distance you can travel

Next up, you might end up limiting yourself on the distance you can travel on your bike. This isn’t because of damage to the bike, but because the comfort might go down after lowering the bike. This factor typically occurs as the springs aren’t that stiffer to prevent the bike from hitting the bottom. As they’re much stiffer, they will get a lot less play during the ride.

#3. Cornering ability

Lastly, the next disadvantage you might notice is the cornering ability. As you have lowered the bike, you have also lowered the amount of ground clearance on the cornering. If you’ve previously dragged a peg at the factor height, try to imagine how much you’ll be dragging when you lower it.

FAQs

What techniques should I use to lower a Harley-Davidson?

Lowering a Harley-Davidson typically involves making adjustments to the bike’s suspension. This can include changing the preload on the shocks, lowering the forks, and replacing the rear shock with a shorter model. You can also lower the seat height by changing the seat or the footpegs.

What are the benefits of lowering a Harley-Davidson?

Lowering a Harley-Davidson can provide a more comfortable and secure ride, as it reduces the bike’s center of gravity and makes it easier to reach the ground. Lowering the bike can also improve its handling and make it easier to maneuver.

Are there safety precautions to consider when lowering a Harley-Davidson?

Yes, there are several safety precautions to consider when lowering a Harley-Davidson. It’s important to ensure that you don’t lower the bike too much, as this can negatively affect its performance and handling. Additionally, if you make any adjustments to the bike’s suspension, be sure to have a qualified technician check it to ensure it is safe to ride.

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White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.