Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Honu425
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:01 am
Location: Leesburg, FL
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade
1998 GL1500SE CSC Trike

Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by Honu425 »



I've read about everything posted about lowering the 1500 and the most of what I find is "get thicker boots". Not interested.
Yes I'm not tall and a GL1500 is fairly tall (30 1/2" seat height on my 94).
I AM going to remedy this somehow and safely. Question is How?
First, I'm going to buy a new OEM seat from a 97 or later. I think it's already be confirmed in this forum and Saunders that it's about an inch or so shorter. It's cut narrower at the front and, coupled with the associated, redesigned side covers, make it easier for me to flat foot at a stop. I've already confirmed this with an acquaintance who owns a 2000.
Second, I think I can slide the forks up about 3/4" on the triple tree in the front. Clearance at full compression will need to be checked to confirm this.
Third, I called Progressive regarding 416s. No problem, but here comes my question. They don't "make" a shorter shock for the GL. I can set it "sort of" with air pressure but this is for load control. in perusing their catalog, I notice the the standard length for the 416 for the GL is 12.25". I also notice that the standard length for the Valkyre (a GL1500C btw) is 11.75. That's a half an inch. I can work with this. Both bikes are about the same size abeit without the additional furniture. How close in spec would these two shocks be?
One of the arguments I'll no doubt here is that lowering will affect corning clearance. OK, I'll buy that. But by how much? Basic geometry tells me "not much". And I'm not racing, I'm touring, or rather just passing through looking at the world. Am I going to try an blow off some kid on a Huyabusa (sp)? Probably not, I'll wave as he goes by.

So that's my question, what say you?



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WingAdmin
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1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
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Re: Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by WingAdmin »

I can't speak to the clearance of the front wheel from moving the forks up in the triple tree - I know it's close already, but I don't know exactly how much clearance is left between the fender and the fairing at full bump in front. Make sure you check with the wheel turned as well as straight ahead.

As for the rear wheel, half an inch is going to get you into the territory where the rear wheel will be scraping the inner fender on bumps. The same problem occurs when the Austone Taxi Tire is installed. You have a couple different options here:

- Heat the inner fender and reshape it to avoid the wheel contacting it on compression - this is what is normally done by Austone owners.

- Replace the rear tire with a slightly smaller diameter tire. There are several car tires that fit that are of a slightly smaller diameter. This will give you the added benefit of lowering the bike even more (slightly) - and added traction and tread life, of course.

I should of course note that you will want to try to lower the front and back an equal amount, to try to keep the front steering geometry as close to original as possible.

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quasi2008
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Re: Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by quasi2008 »

lowering the bike, will it not also reduce the footboard clearance when leaning into the turns?
man can't live on air alone!

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Honu425
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:01 am
Location: Leesburg, FL
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade
1998 GL1500SE CSC Trike

Re: Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by Honu425 »

quasi2008 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:58 am
lowering the bike, will it not also reduce the footboard clearance when leaning into the turns?
It probably would,.....if I had footboards on this bike. :D
I've got the stock foot pegs.

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Honu425
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:01 am
Location: Leesburg, FL
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade
1998 GL1500SE CSC Trike

Re: Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by Honu425 »

WingAdmin wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:33 am
I can't speak to the clearance of the front wheel from moving the forks up in the triple tree - I know it's close already, but I don't know exactly how much clearance is left between the fender and the fairing at full bump in front. Make sure you check with the wheel turned as well as straight ahead.

As for the rear wheel, half an inch is going to get you into the territory where the rear wheel will be scraping the inner fender on bumps. The same problem occurs when the Austone Taxi Tire is installed. You have a couple different options here:

- Heat the inner fender and reshape it to avoid the wheel contacting it on compression - this is what is normally done by Austone owners.

- Replace the rear tire with a slightly smaller diameter tire. There are several car tires that fit that are of a slightly smaller diameter. This will give you the added benefit of lowering the bike even more (slightly) - and added traction and tread life, of course.

I should of course note that you will want to try to lower the front and back an equal amount, to try to keep the front steering geometry as close to original as possible.
Good points all WingAdmin, and I appreciate them.
This is still in the area of cheapest first; which will of course be the seat and side covers. If this fixes it for me, I'm done. If not, next>>>>

I hadn't thought of the rear inner fender potential, I'll be sure to look at that.
And if it comes to pass there's always the need for a modified center stand. So...…..this could get expensive really quick. :shock: :? :lol:

Thanks again for the response.

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WingAdmin
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1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
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1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2012 Suzuki Burgman 400 (wife's!)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by WingAdmin »

Keep in mind you might need to deal with the side stand as well - easiest way is to heat it up and bend it out a little bit, then repaint where you burned the paint off so it doesn't rust. Otherwise the bike will sit too upright and can be blown/fall over.

It won't take much lowering before the stock center stand becomes unusable, unless you are capable of putting 200-300 pounds of force on it to get the bike up. And then again to get it to roll off of it...

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Honu425
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:01 am
Location: Leesburg, FL
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade
1998 GL1500SE CSC Trike

Re: Lowering a GL1500.....yeah, I know,...again

Post by Honu425 »

WingAdmin wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:44 am
Keep in mind you might need to deal with the side stand as well - easiest way is to heat it up and bend it out a little bit, then repaint where you burned the paint off so it doesn't rust. Otherwise the bike will sit too upright and can be blown/fall over.

It won't take much lowering before the stock center stand becomes unusable, unless you are capable of putting 200-300 pounds of force on it to get the bike up. And then again to get it to roll off of it...
I've considered this as well. I've got a local machine/welding shop close by that can/will cut down the side stand for me. The center stand can be either cut down or replaced with the "ride off" style stand. I'm leaning more to cutting it down as I like the idea of a ride off stand rather than the higher factory idea.

Additionally, since my last post, I have dug into Progressive's technical specs on their website. The 416s for the GL1500 and GL1500C are the same spec. That is to say, tension and compression rate. The only difference is 0.6". This seems promising.

Now to find time to get into the shop and start measuring. I know this topic has been around for quite a while in differing threads so as I progress in this project, I'll update this. New seat is already on the way.



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