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Lowering Your K11

There are at least two good, proven ways to lower a K1100-series motorcycle, the first by lowering the seat, and the second by lowering the suspension.

1. BMW Low Seat Kit, by Jon Miller <jonmill@rcf.usc.edu>

I don't have a parts number, but should be able to get it from the dealer if you need it . I was lucky in that Irv Seaver BMW (Orange, CA) had a kit taking up space on the shelf, and I got a good discount on the price (which included installation.) The seat is not hard to install, but in my case the dealer did it, and even re-keyed the lock so I did not have to change keys. The work in doing the swap comes from having to change all the mounting hardware.

The important thing for anyone contemplating this change is to find a dealer who can supply the kit, and not buy the system piece by piece. At one place, for example, the parts guy wanted to price every nut, bracket, and washer separately, and the cost was well over $600, not including installation.

I think there is one kit for the K75 and another that should fit both K100RTs and K1100LTs. When the seat is in place, the leading front edge of it meets the tank about four inches lower than the stock seat. The space is covered by a rubber cowling (attaches to the tank with velcro) that looks a little odd at first but is fine when you get used to it. On the other hand, the much lower position of the seat makes it impossible to re-install the side covers, and that is cosmetically unattractive. Small price to pay, though, for the giant gain in maneuverability.

2. Suspension Mods, by Joseph Luther <jluther@unlinfo.unl.edu>
reprinted with permission

I lowered my 97 K1100LT-SE about 28,000 miles ago with no problems. I used a Works "short shock", lowered the triple clamp to match and had a Russell Day-Long saddle made with a narrow nose and lower design. Total gain is about 1.5 inches - which given my 30 inch inseam was a real help!

I've ridden this bike two-up FULLY loaded in the mountains (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, etc.) and on rough roads with NO adverse effects from the lowered condition. We've never bottomed out even when fully packed for touring. We've played chase through the twisties without any problem.

I'm able to get the bike up on the center stand with just a little more heave. Technique is important - learn to stand on the foot petal. But, I now use the side stand almost all the time - unless the bike in for some maintenance work. As a consequence, I've developed a severe case of "side-stand anxiety" as the bike stands almost vertical when on the sidestand when parked on flat ground. With the high winds out here on the Great Plains in the spring, this can be exciting. The bike will want to roll over if you get it broadside to the wind with the cover on. The solution is to find the proper slope on which to park it, orient it to the wind with the sidestand downwind and hope that nothing changes during the night.

BUT, I'd still lower the bike if I had to do it all over again. With the lowered bike I have a much larger "target" area in which I can place my feet when stopping. Before I lowered the bike I had - for each foot - a target of about 6 inches diameter. If my feet weren't in that area when I stopped, the bike would start the lean and, as you know, the K1100LT is top heavy to start with and will tolerate only a few degrees of lean before its unstoppable.


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