Mary is a little vertically challenged, which can make most motorcycles a bit tricky to ride. At 5’1″ she is only just on tip toes when sat on her stock CBF500, so lowering was essential. Lowering a bike can be achieved by reducing the seat and/or lowering the suspension. Mary’s CBF500 needed both!
Lowering the rear suspension of a bike can be achieved either swapping on longer ‘dog legs’ – the struts that go from bottom of shock to swing arm; or by shortening the overall length of the shock. The CBF500 rear shock mounts directly to the swingarm, thus the latter approach was needed. MFW sell a number of lowering kits including a replacement lower shock linkage for many Honda’s. This replaces the stock linkage of a standard Honda Showa shock, shortening its entire length. The linkage came in for £65, however similarly parts by other brands sell for £100-120. Alternative approaches involve replacing the spring on the shock for a shorter one.
Yesterday afternoon I was down at Oval Motorcycle Centre (OMC), again, giving my forks a good service. The seals had recently gone and were leaking a lot of oil onto the stanchions and more worryingly down towards the wheel, brake discs and calipers. Not so good.
Stripping the forks down is not a simple job for a newbie, however with the expert guidance of Matt at OMC, I was able to perform the majority of the work and learnt an awful lot along the way. I splashed out on genuine Yamaha oil and dust seals, after being warning away from poor quality pattern parts. New circlips also went on, as the old ones were rather rusty. Oil wise, I opted for standard spec 10w, purely to gauge what the bike is like as standard, before changing things. However many Fazer owners prefer 15w oil to firm up the front end and reduce diving.
The Fazer feels a lot better to ride now, definitely gives me more confidence in it’s handling. Perhaps some tweaking of preload settings could improve things further, something I’ve not tweaked about with yet. But that’ll be another day, maybe OMC’s Suspension Setup clinic…
What a productive day, down at OMC (Oval Motorcycle Centre). Booked myself a bench and with the expert help of OMC’s Matt, I replaced the Fazer’s chain, sprocket and rear shock. Sure, I could have just dropped the bike off at a regular garage to do the work in a couple of hours, but down at OMC I not only got the work done well, but learnt how do it myself for the future.