Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
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Laura
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Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby Laura » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:13 am



Howdy everyone! I have owned my 78 GL1000 for a few years now and love it but I have finally given in to the idea that my female 5'4" body is just a little too short for the bike. When stopping I have to lean bike to one side to get foot on ground. I have only been using bike for work commuting till now but I am planning on taking it from Los Angeles to Arkansas this year for the Bikers, Blues and BBQ event. Is there a recommended way of lowering (such as some sort of lowering brackets) or is it just a matter of purchasing shorter shocks?
Would love any recommendations! Thanks!



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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:16 am

Shocks is one way to do it, but by far the easiest way is to have the seat cut down. Message user MSGT-R here, she has an 1100 and is about your size, and has done just that to get the bike to fit her.

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MSGT-R
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby MSGT-R » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:34 am

Yup, much easier and cheaper to get a second seat - if you don't want to cut up yours - strip the cover off and go do some sculpting. I took a couple of inches off the couch and tapered the sides, then I took an extra piece of foam to move the back of the "bucket" area forward a little.

I'm 5'1" with a 26" inseam. I can just barely get the toes of both feet down now.
Don't spook the road sheep.

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby thrasherg » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:24 am

Have you thought about high heeled motorcycle boots? :D

As mentioned, the easiest and cheapest way is a cut down seat, after that you have to lower the suspension (fairly easy on the front, but expensive for the back) and wings don't have a lot of clearance to begin with so you may find bits of the bike hitting the road more often than you like!! Especially in corners..

Gary

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby MSGT-R » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:28 am

thrasherg wrote:Have you thought about high heeled motorcycle boots? :D


Lord! :roll:
Don't spook the road sheep.

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portugeezer
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:35 am

I'm 5'8" and built like typical Portuguese guy with a 30" inseam and a somewhat long torso. So I lowered my bike. I did it with schocks. You can buy shortened ones on Ebay for under $100. Or use them from an old CB 750 they fit right on. doing it any other way is cheesy!

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby thrasherg » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:53 am

portugeezer wrote:I'm 5'8" and built like typical Portuguese guy with a 30" inseam and a somewhat long torso. So I lowered my bike. I did it with schocks. You can buy shortened ones on Ebay for under $100. Or use them from an old CB 750 they fit right on. doing it any other way is cheesy!


Do you not have a problem with the exhausts and other parts touching the road at very moderate lean angles? A friend of mine lowered his 1200 and was constantly touching down mid corner and ended up raising the bike back to stock height as he got so worried about being knocked/sliding off due to things touching the road..

Gary

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby MSGT-R » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:35 pm

Yup, things will touch, and it won't be the peg feelers anymore.
I lowered my V65 Magna 2" and lowered the seat. That bike was tall. Now at full lean I scrape the exhaust collector, not the peg feelers; potentially dangerous because pegs will give where other parts will not. Always try the seat first.
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:25 pm

Nope not at all. I ride the bike all over with and without passengers. No problems whatsoever!

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:29 pm

I heard all these things before I lowered mine 2" and it is all false in the case of the GL1000. I doubt they were made for 6' tall plus riders in Japan back in the 70's. I think ours were taller for the American market and they lower just fine. Mine even looks better than the ones with more ground clearance. I have never touched the road with my pipes or pegs!

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portugeezer
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:32 pm

I have had over 300lbs of passenger weight on mine several times too!

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:36 pm

If you do decide to do the seat thing I have two extra ones. Let me know

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Fred Camper
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby Fred Camper » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:04 pm

The Seat should be your first effort. Lowering will make the center stand a relic, unless you cut and re-weld. But that is not such a big deal.
I used 1981 CB750F rear shocks to raise my GL1000 by 15 mm. I run a 16 inch rear wheel (stock is a 17 inch rear) and that 16 incher dropped the rear a good 12 mm. That made the center stand difficult to use. By using the CB750F shocks the center stand is easy once again. There is an article over at NGW Club.com and maybe one here too about shortening rear shocks. Not such a big deal either, but if you can get two inches out of the seat that would be my first choice, you gain functionality as MSGT-R mentioned. A 16 inch Lester rear wheels for a GL1000 is somewhat common, but you would not gain enough from that alone.

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:21 pm

Fred is correct about the center stand. It takes two people to get my bike up on it now

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby thrasherg » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:30 am

I assume this means the side stand (Kick stand) also needs to be modified or the bike will sit too upright and might fall over to the right?

Gary

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby MSGT-R » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:33 am

Just get the shorter kick stand from the 83, it has smaller wheels.
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portugeezer
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby portugeezer » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:47 pm

My kickstand still works but I have less lean. I have to be careful not to stop and park on unlevel ground where there is a bump where my kickstand hits the ground but I'm used to that. I lowered my bike about 2" I think Laura needs about 4". She probably has to do both seat and shocks to get her bike that low. I think ours are setup for a 6' tall person. Again I cannot imagine the bikes were sold in Japan in the 70's setup for a person that tall. Yesterday I was really leaning into my turns to see if I could make it scrape and I could not. So the 2" drop comes with minimal problems. The seat could maybe be shaved a bit and she will fit her bike perfectly

tk1971
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby tk1971 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:01 pm

I had mine lowered using CB750 shocks (11" eye to eye vs. stock 13 3/16"), and I lowered the forks about 1". I even cut the side kickstand and re-welded it for the proper angle. I also removed the center stand, as it scraped going up ramps.

My GL looked like this:



Then, as I continued to work on the bike more regularly (replacing forks, calipers, removing rear wheel, etc.), I got used to man-handling all that weight. Sure, I dropped it a few times (good thing I put engine guards on), but that's how it goes.

As of last month, I put the stock shocks/kickstand/centerstand back on, and put the forks back to stock height. Heck, I even figured how to put the bike on and take it off the centerstand, and I'm 5' 6-1/2" with a 29" inseam and weigh about 145 lbs on a good day.

Good luck in getting everything sorted out.

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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby landisr » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:52 am

Two things:

1) Different boots is actually a good option, just not the high heels. Try boots with thicker soles, or have a shoe repair shop put thicker soles on yours. Quick and easy inch of reach with no bike handling issues.

2) Re: putting the bike on the centerstand with shorter shocks... place a 2x4 behind the rear tire and roll the bike up on to it. Centerstand 'access' is then a piece of cake. If you're traveling and are concerned about doing this roadside or at a motel, gas station or whatever, all you need to pack is a piece about 6 inches long.

Good luck. Ron in MI
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Fred Camper
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby Fred Camper » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:38 pm

Good points Ron, and simple solutions. I used a 2 by 4 before I lenghten my shocks and it was easy. Always try the easy inexpensive solutions first.

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MSGT-R
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Re: Best way to lower my 78 GL1000?

Postby MSGT-R » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:30 am

tk1971 wrote:I had mine lowered using CB750 shocks (11" eye to eye vs. stock 13 3/16"), and I lowered the forks about 1". I even cut the side kickstand and re-welded it for the proper angle. I also removed the center stand, as it scraped going up ramps.

My GL looked like this:



Then, as I continued to work on the bike more regularly (replacing forks, calipers, removing rear wheel, etc.), I got used to man-handling all that weight. Sure, I dropped it a few times (good thing I put engine guards on), but that's how it goes.

As of last month, I put the stock shocks/kickstand/centerstand back on, and put the forks back to stock height. Heck, I even figured how to put the bike on and take it off the centerstand, and I'm 5' 6-1/2" with a 29" inseam and weigh about 145 lbs on a good day.

Good luck in getting everything sorted out.


1st off, that bike is beautiful!

Pay attention people: Don't go anywhere without engine guards! I've seen photos of what a "dump" will do to the cylinder heads, and it ain't pretty!


Don't spook the road sheep.


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