F650GS/Dakar Lowering FAQ
compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Edited and updated by Winter 25 Novemeber 2005
Please read the Disclaimer before
attempting any work in this FAQ.
updated 25 November 2005
For additional information, please refer to the following FAQs:
There are several options to lowering the height of the GS. The easiest
is probably to replace the seat. After that you have a range of other
options. While BMW recommends the seat height / bike combination based on
the riders height, this is not the most important aspect. The inseam of
your leg is more important.
|Measure your inseam!|
Your inseam is more important than your height when considering things
like being able to put your feet on the ground. The method is simple:
- Get ahold of a measuring tape
- Measure your inseam (from the crotch down to your heal is good).
You might like to wear your riding boots for this as well.
- Subtract about 80mm (3") from that (to account for the seat width)
- Now have a look in the Aftermarket Seat height table to see what
options you have.
Alternatively, measure that extra bit of distance to the ball of your
foot. This will tell you if you will be on "tippy-toes" when you stop at
some lights. Of course this assumes you are not leaning the bike over or
on the side of the seat when stopped. But it gives a good idea as to where
There has been some confusion over what seats will result in what final
heights of the bike. This table should really be moved to the aftermarket
seats FAQ... and will be eventually - one thing at a time huh?
|BMW Lower Seat
||52 53 7 652 635 (orange)
52 53 2 345 736 (black)
|BMW Single Seat
||71 60 7 653 838
Solo Seat and DHP
Solo Seat 2
|BMW Higher Seat
||52 53 2 345 735 (black)
||Wunderlich's Extra Low Dakar seat
||Wunderlich's Low Dakar seat
|Wunderlich Extra High?
||Wunderlich's High Dakar seat
Table: Seats available for the GS, GSL and Dakar
Please note the following in the above table:
- The stock seats are marked in the green cells
- The difference is based on the stock GS seat
- The GSL is the factory lowered model achieved by chassis
- Wunderlich have two part numbers, one of which is used for the
exchange of seats, the other is used for purchase of a new seat. Please
refer to the Wunderlich site for further information
- Since the GS and Dakar seats are in theory interchangable,
Wunderlich probably has four seat heights available for these models. The
"potential" options are in red, and may not actually exist.
|Calculating Your Ideal Seat Height|
This is an example to calculate your ideal seat height. Note: If
you can test this and provide some feedback, that would be great. Right
now this is just theory...
I'm 5'9, 195 lbs inseam of 32-33" (from pants I buy). When I sit on
a Dakar (standard), will I have both feet flat on the ground?
Lets say your inseam in 32.5", and add another 1" to the bottom of your
heal, and about .75" for the bottom of your boots, that makes 34.25".
Multiply that by 25.4mm (one inch), and you get 870mm. Now subtract about
80mm because of the seat width, and you get a final value of about
If you look that up in the table, you should see the standard Dakar is
870mm seat height, so you will definately be on tippy toes. However, if
you got a Dakar with the BMW Lower Seat option, or a Wunderlich Extra Low
Dakar Seat, you will be alot closer to being able to place both feet on
Example: How to calculate what seat hight you require
Section 1: Lowering Methods
BMW Alternatives - F650GS and Dakar
by Thomas Plucinsky (Dec-01)
Two possibilities are available for the GS and Dakar models. First,
there are two seats to choose from with a height difference of 40mm. The
GS comes with the lower of the two and the Dakar with the higher of the
two. As either seat fits on either bike, the other seat can be ordered
through your local retailer to accommodate your inseam requirements. The
part numbers are: Low Seat PN 52 53 2 345 736 and
High Seat PN 52 53 2 345 735.
The second possibility, which lowers the GS by a further 30mm, is
the lower chassis option ordered from the factory. For this option, the
chassis of the bike was completely re-engineered and does not have
trade-offs in ride comfort. As a factory option, it is a $0.00 charge.
However, because of the extensive number of parts affected and the
associated cost (of which DHP quoted only some), we do not recommend
retrofitting a standard GS. Also, due to cost, these parts will not be
offered as a kit.
The lower chassis option has only been available from October 2001
production (which means they started arriving in retailers in late
November) and not all retailers have ordered a bike with the option.
However, the option is available on all GS colors and we have the ability
to shift production to produce more depending on demand.
Furthermore, the lower chassis option and the low or high seat may
be combined to specifically tailor the bike to the individual (his and her
We hope this answers all the outstanding questions on this
I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very
best for the Holiday Season and the New Year.
It seems that there are some rumours that BMW is now / or will be
offering a lowering kit for the 2001-02-03 F650GS (which can be ordered
lowered from BMW at no extra cost) similar to that for the original F650
series. Has anyone heard anything substantial/real and verifiable?
As usual, my dealer seems to have no REAL idea.... anyone actually know
something (about this)? Zigy.
Your dealers are wrong.
- There is a factory installed lowering kit option available for GS.
- GS has low seat and Dakar has higher seat (BMW claims 40 mm but it
was 35 when I measured) as standard and they are interchangeable but this
has nothing to do with the lowering kit.
- On CS, not GS there is a lowering option available that consist of
a lower seat and different tire, actually the profile is the same but
since it isn’t aswide it is also lower (150/60 compared to the standard
160/60). Pelle, Sweden, '02 GSDA
- One Alternative is the the LOWER GS Dualseat which is 40mm
lower than the stock GS Seat.
- BMW Parts Numbers for GS/Dakar Dual-Seat
- (F650GS & Dakar) 52 53 2 345 735 Dual-seat, high, black
- (F650GS & Dakar) 52 53 2 345 736 Dual-seat, low, black
- Apparently BMW also now offer an extra low seat
for the Dakar, but many believe it is actually a Wunderlich seat anyway.
Ref: New info on lower seat:
I just wanted to pass this info along
since there has been much confusion around this subject.
There are three seat options for the GS:
First of all, my dealer insisted that there was a lower seat option for the GS
even after I told him that all my research from this board and from BMW site
said otherwise. He was even going to order one for me. I passed on it and
instead bought a used one from our classified section. This was new in the box.
There were no signs of modification. I just put it on the bike and it is
considerably lower than the standard seat. I'm just guessing but I assume it's
similar to Wunderlich lower seat in height but much cheaper in price. The person
I bought it from paid $165 new from the dealer. Ed Northern VA.
- High Dakar Seat
- Standard seat (comes with the bike)
- Low seat (little over 1" lower)
- There is also a single seat as an option and that its height is
said to be somewhere in between the others. Refer:
DHP Solo Seat
DHP Solo Seat 2..
- Another alternative for the Dakar is that you can buy a lower
seat from Wunderlich, www.wunderlich.de,
called the Ergo Series. Here is a direct link, and shows Photos of both high,
middle and lower seats.
- Here are the three Seats, high, middle, low, from Wunderlich:
- For Opinions on Stock/Aftermarket Seats and the BMW Single Seat, refer the
Aftermarket Seats FAQ (Both Bikes).
- Here is a Picture of BOTH Seats, Side by Side. Thanks to Haakon & Fernando.
So what are the differences between the Stock Seats?
- Dakar and GS seats are interchangeable. Dakar is 1" higher.
Many in your position have received a trade by the dealer upon purchase.
Last year Wunderlich came out with a seat that is 1.25" lower than
the GS. Looked like OEM to me and I wondered if Wunderlich makes the OEM
seats for BMW. Then this year BMW came out with their own extra low seat
that can be purchased. Does not come standard on any bike. Also 1.25"
lower than the GS. Much cheaper than the Wunderlich....same price as the
other two seats....about $160.....if memory serves. That said...I'm
<5'5" with a 29" inseam. Ride the GS with the standard seat.
Weight allows me to set the suspension somewhat soft. That coupled with
some thick-soled boots works just fine. Shelley798
If you check the Wunderlich site (www.wunderlich.de) - you can
see that they make 3 seats. They all cost the same which is €400 or €200
if you trade your old seat. € and $ i about the same. Use the babelfish
translator for more info (unless you speak German) -
EXTRA LOW - 70mm Lower than standard Dakar
LOW - 40mm Lower than standard Dakar
HIGH - 30mm Higher than Dakar.
- My trouble will be (next year or so when I can afford to buy one)
that having sat on a Dakar last Thursday, my little legs mean that I
cannot touch the ground on both sides with my balls (of my feet, of course
), whereas with the standard GS both feet are flat on the ground - so, it
would appear that the standard seat on the GS suspension set-up is closer
to ideal for me. Then again, a 4-500 mile bum ache probably wouldn't be a
problem as the standard tank would mean stopping way before then anyway.
- The Dakar seat on the Dakar is tall...BUT the Dakar *seat* on the
F650GS is only a tiny bit taller than the standard F650GS. Remember the
Dakar has much taller suspension to start with, so that's why you couldn't
*flat-foot*. Trevor George
- Been there done that. In August I bought an 02 Dakar. I asked for
the low seat! There are two (2) BMW seats available. I was originally
going to buy the F650, Non Dakar, until I sat on the Dakar with the low
seat. That was it, I was convinced. The high seat was just a little two
much. I believe the seat pan is the same for either seat. The regular GS
comes with the low seat, unless you ask for the high seat. The high seat
usually comes on the Dakar. I took it a step further and purchased the
extra low seat from the BMW dealer in Santa Cruz. It is manufactured by
Wunderlich. Don't buy it there though. I learned the hard way once I
bought the seat I found it much cheaper at Sierra BMW in Las Vegas. As for
the Solo seat I have not tried it out. If you do I would be interested in
knowing how it compares height wise. Richard
- Check out the extra low seat on the
www.bmwscruz.com site. Go to shop
online and click GS ($529). Set your suspension on the softest setting.
That's all folks!! Art884
- Wunderlich make an even lower seat than the low BMW seat. If you
http://www.bmwscruz.com/SHOP/BMW/index.html Then click on
"F650GS" then wait a while for the page to load, the third item
down will be the "Extra Low Seat F650GS and Dakar". That's the
lowest possible seat currently available. Trevor 999, Bristol, UK.
- Hi Annie! I'm also a bit on the short side and I got the
Wunderlich extra low seat (almost an inch lower than stock low seat).
Although the foam is thinner than stock, it actually helped improve
comfort cuz the seat is contoured more to my body shape. Its a bit costly
however. Over here in the Philippines, many riders are not very tall
that's why seat shaving is quite common ( I realized it only after
purchasing the expensive Wunderlich seat from overseas). Had I known
earlier, I would have just asked an upholsterer to shave my seat. I think
its a good decision that you asked someone to custom shave your seat
instead of buying the expensive Wunderlich one. Jagged
- A Corbin seat will lift you up, in effect, letting you down. I
have 3 which ALL raise my feet. The kit and installation on my classic
cost under 500 bucks and can't imagine that the GS price is over triple
that. I would call around and get prices from other dealers. Art 884
- Why not get the extra low Wunderlich seat - copy and paste this
into your internet address thingy -
http://www.bmwscruz.com/SHOP/BMW/index.html '02 F650GS, London, UK.
Andrew C (UK)
- Don't waste your money on a Corbin. Even if you ask them to cut it
down as much as possible and even if they say they can get it lower than
the stock seat, they can't. I found out the hard way. The Wunderlich low
seat looks like a nice solution. I've seen it on another bike (it looks
quite a bit lower than stock) but haven't sat on one. Another option is to
find a local shop that can carve your seat down. This is what I did and
the fit is great. I used to be on my toes and now I'm firmly on the balls
of my feet. And it only cost me $50. One more thing - when you come to a
stop, slide your butt to the side slightly off the seat when you put your
foot down and your bike will feel much more stable than if tip-toeing on
both sides. I feel comfortable on bikes taller than the GS using this
trick. '01 F650 GS, '89 Hawk GT Rebecca
- Thanks to Grits suggestion, I got the Wunderlich extra low seat at
a good price (around $400) last March just before all the online dealers
raised the price. The Wunderlich should be bring u down 1" and
because of it, I can flat foot on one side now. By the way, I also got the
Touratech bar riser and combined w/ the lower seat, it makes riding much
more comfortable. jagged.
Shorter Suspension Links (Koubalinks)
- In my capacity as the monthly motorcycle magazines' proof-reader,
I came across this item in the March issue of Cycle World on page 26, in
their New Ideas section. Kouba Link, 8660 Brookside Ln., Boise, ID 83703
(208)939-3753, ( www.koubalink.com )
makes gold-anodized, machined-aluminum dog-bone suspension links for the
BMW F650 (it doesn't say which one) that will effectively reduce seat
height. Sounds like a reasonable, possibly inexpensive (no price was
given) and easy to install, option to lowering the F650. However, don't
forget that the center and side stands may need to be modified, depending
upon the extent of the lowering. Richard #230
- Looks like it costs $110 if you reuse bearings and $140 for new.
Naturally you still need to alter or replace Centrestand/Sidestand.
- Lowering Links for 01 Dakar. Installed the new 2 lowering links on
my 01 Dakar from Kouba link ( www.koubalink.com ).
Easy to install took less than 30 minutes and the fit and finish is very
good. At 5' 6 with an inseam of 31 I needed a little help to touch the
ground with some authority, I had the lower seat and that helped. First
impressions are good for solo riding, I have to do more riding with the
wife to get a feel for two up riding. Riding solo, cornering is good and
side wind and windshield buffeting was reduced greatly. I've only had them
on for a couple days, taking different ways home from work to get a feel
for twisty's and long shots. Top speed is the same but with more stability
and again less head buffeting. I also raised the front forks 0.850 or as
far as I could with out hitting the handle bars. No center stand to worry
about, but the side stand is positioned just right now, Always was to
short for stock suspension. Norm Kouba treated me right letting me know
when the parts were being shipped. I'm 5'6" on a good day and put the
Kouba 2" lowering links on my 01 GS Dakar about two months ago. More
stable in cross winds, handles just as good as stock if not better, touch
the ground with more authority. Yes I still hit the dirt roads and fire
trails, plenty of ground clearance (with the preload and shocks turned up
I like a stiff ride) to get you through creeks and over logs, yet carves a
good corner and will cruise at 75 - 80 for hours with the big dogs. Yea
the seat sucks but i took the staples out of the seat, pulled the foam
off, (the cover is firmly attached to the foam) and used some alligator
skin to shred some foam off to custom form it to my butt. Takes a couple
hours to shave down a little, try it out, shave some more. Re-staple with
a GOOD stapler. It is a good bike for the most part, except for the poor
light spread of the head lights and cheap plastic shroud around it. But
hey I ride fast and like a bright light to see good at night, so it's my
thing. Ride with the big dogs and get the Dakar. Tom #1089
- Photos Of Lowering Process F650GSPD. Just in case you folks
were not familiar with Koubalinks lowering goodies here's there site.
Good high quality products to lower your F650 either one or two inches.
www.koubalink.com. With my wife
being 5'7 she was on her toes on the F650GSPD but with the Koubalink we
put here feet flat on the ground. We also let the fork tubes up in the
clamps one inch. Easy deal. The first photo is of the parts that are
replaced. The second photo is of the Koubalinks in place. Replace the
rear links and then slide the forks up in the triple clamp? Sounds too
easy? That is all and my wife has her feet flat on the ground.
Mike Galmukoff, Mad Russian on Advrider.com
I don't know about the side stand on the straight GS but on the
GSPD it is now at a decent angle, because in original height the side stand had
the bike WAY over. Renee' has a 32" inseam.
Have your wife sit on the bike with her whatever riding boots on and
have her sit down on the bike. Have a tape measure ready and push down on
the back of the bike until her feet are where she wants them. Measure that
amount of drop as you push down on the bike. this will tell you if you
need 1" or 2" Koubalinks. Don't forget to drop the fork tubes
down in the triple clamps first. REALLY READ the directives at Koubalink's
site about fork tube adjustment. Mike "The Mad Russian"
Galmukoff on Advrider
- I guess the side stand would have to be modified, I saw no
reference to it at their website. I really liked the step by step
instructions that they had, I believe even I could manage this job. Thanks
for the info. DJR, Advrider.com
- I tried the 2" Koubalinks for a time, but with the Touratech
panniers were heavily loaded the rear wheel would bottom on the under side
of the fender over larger bumps. Also, this was with the Touratech
suspension kit, so the rear shock was a WP unit, and the rear wheel was 18
inches instead of the stock 17. Thus, my experience probably wouldn't be
the same as that of a stock GS with 1" links, but I really don't
know. Lowering the rear will also likely make the bike steer more slowly,
but I don't know if this would be enough to make a significant difference.
The links are very well made, and Norm Kouba will readily take them back
and refund the money if the customer doesn't like them (even if they've
been used). So you have very little to lose by giving them a try except
the postage and your time spend installing them (which is a very quick and
easy job). Hope this is of some help. Mike #926
- I have the 1" links on my 2002 F650 GSA. They are excellent.
You can tell the workmanship is top-notch, and it does what it says it
will do. Norman Kouba is great. I spoke to him when I ordered, and he
recommends only the 1" for the GS. You can use the 2" on the
Dakar, because it has the extra suspension. This is probably why on the
previous post he is having trouble with bottoming the suspension. I highly
recommend them. Forgot to mention, to keep the bike from steering more
slowly, we pushed the forks up thru the triple clamps to keep the geometry
of the bike the same. So mine does not steer any more slowly than without
the links. I have the Kouba links which lowers the bike 1 inch. Norman
Kouba suggests NOT lowering it more than an inch so the suspension won't
bottom out, on the regular GS. On the Dakar, you can lower it 2 inches. I
also have the Wunderlich seat which I think is great. That gives you
another inch. Push the forks up thru the triple clamps an inch and you are
set. The only thing is, the Wunderlich seat has gone up in price since I
ordered mine. Cheap it is not. $529 to $549 last time I checked. But, to
me the seat is one of the most important modifications. I've really
enjoyed mine. If your seat isn't comfortable, you won't enjoy riding the
bike. I think the only difference is the BMW kit comes with a shortened
sidestand and centerstand. I have left mine stock with no problem.
- I put the Kouba 1" lowering links on my wife's 2001 F650GS.
She is 5'4" with a 29 1/2" inseam. When the bike was purchased,
we had the dealer lower the triple clamps about 1". That helped, but
was not enough for her. Since adding the Kouba links earlier this summer,
she is much more comfortable on the bike. I have not noticed any problems
with handling. The bike is harder to put on the center stand. I'm going to
check into mounting the shorter centre and possibly side stand from the
factory F650GSL (lowered) model to see if it helps. RoboBoxer
F650GS shorties--Koubalinks. I posted a thing several months back about
the new links for the FI model Dakar. I put on the 2" links and
lowered (raised) the front fork as high as the handle bars would allow,
about 7/8 of an inch, so far they work good have only hit bottom once on a
rocky outcropping back a little used trail. I have also done some
improvements to the 01 Dakar seat, (check FAQ) I'm only 5'-6' on a good
day with a 30" inseam and the 2" links puts me almost flat
footed. I do keep my shock on high and the preload 12 clicks down from
very hard. Tom1089
- Spend $150 and get yourself a set of Kouba links, they'll drop the
bike 1 to 2 inches. If that's not enough add a lower seat (Wunderlich
comes to mind) and you're good to go. An easy modification (I hear it
takes les than 2 hours to install the Kouba links) and easily undone as
well. I'm not sure what kind of BMW aftermarket kit (is it BMW or is it
aftermarket??) you are talking about that costs $1500. If you are talking
about a BMW factory option, it involves a modified frame (as far as I
know, somebody who knows better I'm sure will jump in here) and I would
most definitely stay away from it. You're likely better off and much more
cost effective to sell your bike and buy one that is factory lowered
- The Kouba link worked for us. Very easy to swap out and a quality
product. The side stand is still usable but the bike sits pretty upright,
if you pay attention it is fine. Also it makes the center stand a little
harder to deploy. Handling seems unaffected. Here is a closer view. The
Kouba link outfit is located in Boise if I remember right so they should
be right in your back yard. On the GS this setup works great. David
- Update on Kouba links. I ordered the links and they came in a few
days. It took about an hour to put them on, the second time would be 15
minutes. I have the 1 inch drop. The bike is about one inch lower. The
side stand works well. The centerstand is now a little harder to put up as
it is now about one inch longer than it needs to be but it works. I am
going to try it for a while then have it cut shorter if it needs it. The
front can still be dropped if I need it. Jimb
Front Fork Modifications
- You can also attain some lowering by just dropping the triple
clamps down the fork tubes, but again, the center and Sidestand come into
play. The steering geometry also changes slightly unless you also lower
the rear, but its barely noticeable. Just a bit quicker. Chris#782
- The fork legs can be moved up about an inch before conflicting
with handlebar. I have done this on two Dakars. Both can be seen here.
- Theoretically this will give you a bike that turns more easily but
maybe also feels nervous. When at the same time adjusting pre-load in the
back to a minimum the bike is further lowered and I haven't been able to
feel anything negative in the bike's handling (in fact I can't feel any
difference other than in height). Another risk is that something may get
in the way and be destroyed when bottoming the front. I haven't really
made the effort to study this in real detail but when doing a quick check
it didn't seem to be a problem. Aftermarket handlebar raisers may be a way
to go even further with this but be careful when exceeding 25 mm as a very
small change may affect the bike negatively. A higher handlebar may also
not be comfortable for you. The bike to the right in the picture above has
also had its seat changed to a standard GS seat to lower it an additional
35mm. Pelle, Sweden.
- The next time you change your fork oil, you can place the front of
the bike on blocks, remove the fork springs and push the wheel up to its
maximum stroke to check for wheel clearance. It will never rise that high
with the oil and springs in the forks, so you can be assured that you will
not run into clearance problems (not a good thing) with the yokes dropped
on the fork tubes. I have raised the fork tubes about 10mm on a couple of
my bikes in the past and have appreciated the quicker and more precise
handling that resulted. Richard #230
Low Profile Tyres?
- Not sure if low profile (70 or 80) tires are available in the
size/style you require (that'll buy you a fraction of an inch). Can
usually go one size narrower on the tires as well. And finally, tire
diameter varies between manufacturers...you may be able to scrounge a bit
more there. (Just remember if you wear one out on the road, you may have
difficulty locating an oddball replacement tire size/brand) If worse comes
to worst, go see your local Redwing safety shoe store...they'll build you
a custom set of boots with thicker soles. Marty #436-Chicago-97
Section 2: Questions and Answers
Q. Do you have any tips for short riders on
Q: Hi, anyone have any suggestion to raise the ride
height without changing the rear shock of the F650 GS?
A/O: How about dropping the forks in the triple-clamps?
That would raise the relative ride height, as would installing a 90%
aspect ratio rear tire. Richard #230
Additional Data: I wanted to have
more clearance between the ground and the engine guard.
A/O: You can buy just a rear spring and increase the
preload in the front by adding to the existing spacer. Harl #380
Q. I am 5'1". I was able to handle the GS fine with only
the tips of my toes on both feet able to touch the ground when the bike is
straight up on level ground. The only thing that worries me is having to
come to a very abrupt stop. I see there are lots of reasons to get the GS
but are there any real worries in getting the GSL? serac
A1. Since the engine and just about everything else is the
same between the GS and GSL, you're kind of asking if it will fit you and
if you'll like riding it. Plenty of us like the F650 both Classic and GS.
You should take a nice test ride to see if you like it. If your dealer
won't let you test, you should consider another dealer, since test rides
are part of BMWs operating procedure. The only limitation you're likely to
find with the GSL is in clearance, and unless you are doing some rougher
off road, you aren't going to notice. If you do plan on doing a lot of off
road, maybe 40 to 50 percent of your riding, then this probably isn't the
bike for you. stuflinn
A2. I have a GSL and I like it. Given my height (5' 9"), I
could have done a non-lowered bike, but I get along on the GSL just great.
I've done dirt road riding with no trouble. The biggest draw back for me
is the occasional dragging of the center stand during spirited pavement
cornering. JC #1418
Q. BMW sales said for my own good, (includes health &
well being, skin & bones, face & hair) get a LOWERED GS. I'm 5-foot, 5
inches, should I listen to BMW? R50/2
A1. It's extremely important to be comfortable with the
bike you're riding. If you feel like you're going to drop it every time
you need to put two feet down, it'll hurt your confidence and you may be
more likely to drop it. However, you may find that you get used to it.
However, before you give up on the Dakar, how much does it settle down
when you sit on it, full weight on the bike? I'm 5'10" and I'll be
flat-footed with bent knees on a Dakar when my weight is on it - the
suspension will settle quite a bit. For you, perhaps it will be on the
balls of your feet when you have two feet down. Getting on and off might
be an issue though. dinskeep #1730
A2. Your height itself is not important (except if you are
really tall and may experience problems with protection from the wind).
What is more important is the length of your inseam.
Q. I was wondering if it is possible to return a factory
lowered GS to the standard GS seat and suspension height? If so, would it
be difficult/expensive to do?
Recently purchased a factory lowered 2005 F650GS. It is too low and I
would like to raise it to standard height. A local dealer quoted
around $1200 which would not make sense to spend. Since I am new to
this bike, any advice on how I can raise it to standard height would
really be appreciated?
A1. Don't mess with any of that stuff... It's german
made.... Once put toghether is to stay that way... don't fool with it!!!
Any modifications you make will probably have an adverse riding geometry
or something of that sort. Just get the taller version. FIUF650
A2. It's a simple swap of the forks & shock (just less
travel on the GSL parts). I have a "spare" like-new set of standard travel
GS forks and a standard GS shock. We were saving these to switch my wife's
'03 back and forth as necessary, but she has decided to stay on pavement
and stick with the low set-up. The standard parts raise the bike apx. 1"
and provide more ground clearance. A tall (Dakar) seat will lift you
another 1" if you want more leg room. levity
A3. That's a tough one. I think the fork legs are
different. Something in the shock and/or linkage, too. Side and
centerstands are different. The seat is thinner. On a lowered Classic, the
forks and shock are the same (the shock had a spring spacer inserted) for
lowered and standard. The linkage and stands were different, but
relatively easy to find used. Maybe you can find someone who wants to
lower a standard height model and trade parts... Harl #380
Q. Are there any alternative side or center stands? With
the lower links, I have difficulty getting the bike onto the
A. Check with your local dealer. The following part
numbers (for the GS) were provided by TomCat #1777:
- sidestand BMW PN 46 53 7 651 190 for before 8/01 and
- sidestand BMW PN 46 53 7 669 901 for after 9/01
- centerstand BMW PN 46 52 7 651 195
Also check BOB's
BMW for more information.
The following are some extracts from ADVRider on the subject of the
Here was the lowered one [image on the left]. Notice how the seat is
really scooped out. The frame is almost dragging in the lawn! Gordy
Just to add to Gordy's good points, getting rid of the centerstand
increases ground clearance by several inches, as this picture [on
the right] clearly illustrates.. Arch on ADVRider
|Dragging Center Stand?|
You can either remove the center stand, or as suggested by Arch
you can grind off the ends of the center stand as shown in the circles in
Section 3: Opinions on Lowered Bikes
Opinions on Lowered Bikes
- I just got the factory lowered GS. I am 5'0 tall with a 28 inseam. On the
lowered bike, I can get the balls of my feet on the ground. On the standard GS,
I can only get the very tips of my toes on the ground and had a hard time
pushing the bike to an upright position from the sidestand. The peg height is
not a problem when you are as short as I am. After 210 miles on my bike so far,
I like it a lot and find it very comfortable for shorties. Bonnie in
- My wife has a standard GS 01, she's 5-4, on it she gets the balls
of her feet down, she sat on a lowered GS and was able to flat foot it .
Its considerably lower. jrsue.
It is possible to make your bike too low. If you decrease the distance
between the seat and foot pegs too much, it creates quite a cramped riding
position. Your doubled over legs will not appreciate that position for
very long. Remember, you spend most of your time riding, not standing at
stop lights. Also, there is no reason that you have to be able to
flat-foot both feet when stopped. One is enough to balance on. I'm 5'8 and
ride the Dakar with stock seat and pegs, and although I cannot flat-foot
both feet, I LOVE the riding position. Before investing a lot of money
making your bike as low as you get it, make sure you can stand to ride it
that way. SScratch.
- It's not a *kit* as such. The whole frame is lower and
different from a *standard* GS, so it's not something you can convert to a
normal GS after purchase, or convert a normal GS to. The Dakar seat is the
*High* seat and the normal GS seat is the *Low* seat so you can make small
height changes that way to any of the F650GS range. Trevor #999
- I have a lowered chassis F650GS and find that it's even
lower than my previous lowered F650 Classic. I had a problem with the centre
stand grounding and returned the bike to my dealers for investigation. They
found that the angle of the stand varies from bike to bike and the difference
between bikes could be as much as 2 inches. It appears that the 'lug' that
prevents the stand from retracting too far has a wide range of tolerance (or
someone's done a crap job), so they modified it and all's well now. I have an
inside leg of 28 inch and find the bike ideal. I was given a standard F650GS
whilst my bike was having it's 600 mile service and didn't feel as confident
with it. Reggie, Lancashire England
- I have a lowered F650GS, which is even lower than my previous
1997 F650. I'm 5ft 5in with a 28in inside leg. My Mrs is 5ft 2in. We can
both place both feet on the deck and are very happy with the bike.
- Yeah! The factory lowered F650GS has been wonderful for me. I'm
5'3' and really like having my feet flat on the ground. If you're near
Detroit, you'd be welcome to check it out. Deborah, #1074
- At 5'10, you should be able to sit on the F650GS with
both feet firmly on the ground. Were you by any chance sitting on the (taller)
Dakar version? There is a several inch height difference between the two bikes.
Turning the spring preload up and down will also make a difference. My F650GS is
set at 2/3 full preload on the rear spring, has the 2 taller Dakar seat on it
and I stand firmly flat footed -- and I'm only 5'8. For city riding, I'd
suggest the regular F650GS rather than the Dakar -- it's lower to the ground yet
still has ample ground clearance for hopping curbs. For primarily street riding,
the regular F650GS's wider front tire provides much better feedback than the
Dakar's thinner front tire. ABS is also a nice feature -- when the roads get
slimy from rain and oil, you'll really appreciate it. The F650GS series is
really nice in tight environments because of it's upright seating position and
very narrow width. It can squeeze easily between cars. Good luck Paul
- At 5'7 with a 30 inseam I can flat foot my standard (not lowered)
GS with my riding boots on. it's my first bike and I haven't any trouble
riding it yet. lots of people recommended a beater bike as a first bike,
but hey, it's my money :) johnm
- Way too much is made over whether you can flat-foot a bike with
both feet when stopped. You don't need to. It is not necessary. You can
balance a bike with one foot, maybe just lean it over a bit if necessary.
I'm 5'8 and don't find my Dakar to be too tall. SScratch.
- Dakar's a great all-around bike. Inseam is more important than
overall height. I can tell you that Andrea Mayer rides bikes as tall and
taller than the Dakar as I do. You just need to slip a bit off of the
saddle to the left or right depending on what foot you want to put down.
I'm 5'6" and have a 30" inseam. I started riding the Dakar and
while a bit tall found it easily manageable. The weight of the bike IMO
has nothing to do with it. You can balance a bike standing straight up
with just one finger (try it). Now my Dakar is even taller and the Rallye
bike taller still. Don't let a seat height of a bike discourage you from
the bike. It's your mounting and stopping techniques that you need to
focus on. FYI - I always mount with the side-saddle hop, easier on the
body and no problems with any height bike (plus it looks cool). I learned
this from shorter riders such as Andrea Mayer and Gaston Rahier. If they
do it all of the time then why not us? The lower seat option of the Dakar
brings the height down somewhat close to that of the standard GS. You
can also look at the solo seat option which is height wise between the GS
and the Dakar. Mojave Desert (Calif.), is fun area to ride but you'll want
to put Continental TKC80s on the bike before taking it off-road. Don't
believe the marketing hype, the bike needs real tires. If you see the new
poster in BMW dealers of the Dakar doing a wheelie in Death Valley that's
Jimmy Lewis who you can take training classes with (see my web site). A
DR650 or any other bike Honda CR450 for example can be set up to do desert
stuff better than a Dakar because of the overall pork (weight) factor.
Personally I don't like the Suzuki equipment but the Honda or a KTM is an
excellent off-road tool. Davidhpark, #711
- There is a very simple way of getting the GS, or the lowered GS
for that matter, on the center stand. Just carry a small piece of wood,
high density Styrofoam may do too, 3"x5"x1 to 1.5" thick.
Rasp a slant on one side as lead-in. Roll the bike's rear tire on that
shim to elevate it slightly and you'll see how easy it jumps on it's
center stand. Werner
- I ride a factory-lowered '01 F650GS. It has nothing to do with
the seat or the tires, which are in fact identical to those on our
non-lowered '01 F650GS. I have ridden over 8000 miles (13 000km) on it, so
I have to conclude it exists. If you look at the two bikes side by side
the chassis on mine clearly sits closer to the ground. Off road I tend to
hit the bash plate more often than my partner does. The suspension
geometry is different. It rides differently. It leans less on the side
stand. The centre stand is significantly shorter. And so on. I know for a
fact that a factory-lowered F650GS exists. If BMW can make one, then
surely they are capable of repeating the exercise. By the way, I love it.
mspeed #1023 Toronto, Canada.
- I'm sure the lowered GS has a different rear suspension linkage.
There are two part No's for one of the struts, one standard and then
another applying to "Tieferlegung" and refers to type X499A.
Paul W (UK) Dakar.
- We just added a lowered GS to our fleet. The seat and tires are
the same as a standard GS. There appears to be a difference in the frame,
front forks, center and side stands, and probably some other things that I
have not discovered. Mr. P is right, your dealers are mis-informing you.
- GS lowering. It's about 2 inches but I've noticed a ground
clearance problem with mine. I only weigh 12 stone and without panniers
fitted I find that the centre stand grounds way to easily. This never
happened on my lowered 94' F650. Whilst at the dealers we examined two
other bikes and found that the stands were not fully retracting because of
incorrectly located lugs! Has anyone else had a problem? Stuart
- Don't change your suspension settings just to have the bike sit
lower at a stop (i.e. Bryan's recommendation). This is stupid. You aren't
using your suspension at this time/properly. Your suspension needs to be
set properly to handle the riding that you plan to do/road conditions.
- I'd say that the first thing you do is to at least check the
setting on the rear suspension preload to see if it is set in the high
range. At your weight you are certainly not going to require that much
preload for city street riding, and you will likely lose an inch of ride
height if the preload is set lower. Todd #389.
- I've been lurking around this board as a non-registered visitor,
but I decided to register today because I got my new wheels! Picked up my
F650GSLA on Wednesday night. This is the first time I've been at the
computer as opposed to out there riding it! What a great little bike!
Compared to my last one, well, there is no comparison. A virtual toast to
my new acquisition! I've seen a few posts about people enquiring about
whether or not this is a good bike in terms of size for shorter female
riders. I'm 5' 1", and I can just about flat foot on both sides of
the bike, and it doesn't take much lean (or stretch) to get one foot
solidly planted to the heel. If you're a short female rider considering
this bike, the low model will probably do it for you. Happy riding
- I'm 5'11" and can't flat foot my GS Dakar! Still a lot of
fun to ride though! I got to stop dropping it off-road and breaking things
though. Lost a turn signal and a Jesse Bag today riding but oh what fun it
was! K12RSSteve on Advrider.
Annie Au wrote "I don't know how far I can wind out the
damping screw before it is too far". You can wind it out till it hits
the stop ... the knob won't come off.
"I thought about raising the forks through the triple clamps a bit" As you've
already got the "Factory lowered" bike I would only do that as a last resort, as
you'll be reducing ground clearance even further. The "lowered" versions already
have a reputation for early grounding if ridden with enthusiasm.
"I don't know how badly that will effect the steering." A little, but it won't
be dangerous, just a different feel, slightly quicker steering. I have just been
onto a motorcycle seat specialist here and he thinks that an inch or inch and a
half on a seat re-sculpture is possible so we are getting there. The even lower
seat option is the best to pursue as it won't affect the *rideability* of your
GS. Trevor, Bristol, UK
- Thanks for the replies. They have been a great help. We are going for the
lowering of the seat. We tried the old phone books under the feet trick and they
were 40mm thick and that was perfect, so getting 30mm should be good. Dropping
the triple clamps is still a maybe as I don't ride with enthusiasm, not yet
anyway. Still getting use to the biker better bike. I have gone from a Kawasaki
EL250 mini cruiser to this. I didn't realise how badly it handled till the F650,
and I can join my husband on BMW rides now. LOL. Thanks again, I will be a
regular here, this is a great site. Seats in getting done now, pick it up
tomorrow. That's not bad service, over night job. The seat guys here, Ergoseats
by John Moorehouse, a little plug, thinks that he can only safely go down 20mm,
rather than the 30 that Wunderlich are advertising. There just doesn't seem to
be anymore depth to the base. Well the lower seat is done and on the bike. Top
job too. Patterned cover, yellow piping to match the bike colour and top notch
padding. With slightly thicker soles on my boots I am now much more comfortable
with my touch on the ground. The seat lowering was a great price too. $280AU,
which is about $182US. If anyone needs the contact, just post here and I will
get it for you. It is in Australia though. Been on a couple of rides and to and
from work. This bike handles much better than what I was riding, a Kawasaki
EL250. What a step up. Thanks again for all the help, it was very reassuring to
hear I am not the only rider with height and reach problems on bikes.
- If you decide you still need the seat lower after the seat modification, raising
the fork in the triple clamps is worth a try, but unfortunately doing that
doesn't lower the seat as much as the fork is raised because of the seat being
more over the rear suspension than the front. If you still have a problem after
doing both of those things, you may have to lower the rear of the bike, and
there are two ways to do that. One is to try longer lower shock links, and the
other is to have a suspension shop shorten the shock itself. Here in the States
there is a fellow in Idaho (Norman Kouba) who makes 1" and 2" longer links for
our F650 GS's. The main drawback with the links is that you may experience the
rear wheel bottoming on the underside of the fender over big bumps, especially
if two up or with heavy luggage, although this may not be very likely with the
1" links. A drawback with shortening the shock is that suspension travel is
reduced. Obviously, both of these methods will reduce ground clearance, still
another drawback. You may find that, after riding the bike for awhile, you will
adjust to the taller seat height, especially if you've only ridden cruisers in
the past. I have very short legs, about 27 1/2 inch inseams, and used to think
seats the height of our GS's were very tall. Then I started riding dirt bikes
with 36 1/2 to 37 1/2 inch seat heights and my perspective on what's tall
totally changed. So if at all possible, I would suggest you try living with the
seat height for awhile before going beyond modifying the seat and raising the
fork in the triple clamps, especially since it gets expensive after that. Hope
this is of some help. Enjoy your new bike! Mike #926, Calif
- I've lowered my wife's '01 GSA by using 17''
super motard wheels, and the low Wunderlich seat. The suspension is at stock
heights and she's nearly flat footed at 5'4". She also rides with boots that
have a taller inner sole made specifically for shorter motorcyclists. They're
made by Daytona, and I think the model is Lady Daytona. They look like any
regular riding boot on the outside, but have a raised footbed on the inside. Our
GSA has a steeper front fork angle from the front 17'' wheel and I think it
handles much better than the stock set up. Iceman in Nevada City, Ca
'01 F650 GSA Super Motard
- I had my seat modified by a local seat guy too. In case they aren't already
doing this, have them make the sides a bit narrower too. That should help a
little more if they can't take it off the top. I also second the recommendation
that you ride more before you start messing with the forks. I'm assuming that
the main reason you want it lower is because you want both feet on the ground
when you come to a stop. Try sliding your butt sideways off the seat when you
stop - just enough that you can get one foot flat (and leave the other on the
peg). The bike will feel much more stable then trying to tiptoe on both feet.
Once you get used to it, the height won't be such a big deal unless your on
sloping/uneven ground. Rebecca
- I wanted to offer a bit of reassurance that you can get used to not having both
feet flat on the ground and still ride [and stop] with confidence. I've been
riding for a little more than two years and started on this bike, so I don't
know what it's like to ride and stop with two feet flat on the ground [except
for the awful, awful bikes I rode during the MSF classes in April 2001], but it
doesn't bother me at all now, though it did bother me a lot when I first started
riding. A friend of mine [another short woman riding a bigger bike -- a Ducati]
said it well when she told me that she just makes sure she never rides into
situation or parks in a situation where she can't get her bike out by herself.
We both often get off our bikes and move them around, rather than duck-paddling
them [maneuvering the bike while still sitting on it]. And if I do get in a
situation, I am no longer embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. Set the
suspension at the lowest setting possible and that makes a significant
difference. I ride my bike like that all the time, unless I have it loaded up
with a lot of gear, and then it lowers itself. Anyway, good luck and enjoy the
bike. There are more than a few of us vertically-challenged folks out there on
the F650s. NancyK764 01 Titan Blue Illinois
- Having spent a summer uncomfortable with the stock height, I talked to local
dealer who said that with labor, the cost of a new after mkt. lowering kit would
be $1500 (he said I could handle the problem less expensively by buying a Corbin
seat!). After reading some of the posts on this board ('...has the bike really
been lowered'), I'm have second thoughts about this investment. Lyn
- I bought my GS already lowered from the factory so my wife could ride it. Being
4"11, we also put one inch in her boots. Now she has no trouble touching the
ground. I've found the bike was too low for me. I got a taller seat, my problem
was ground clearance and scraping the pegs with my riding habits so I lifted
mine up to standard. With lifting my bike up, I found out how BMW lowered them.
To raise mine, I had to buy front fork internals, a spacer, a rod, a botting out
spring and a complete rear shock. The rear shock cost me $650 Australian
dollars. My recommendation to lower is to buy the lower rear shock, do not
change the internals of the front forks but slipping through the clamps 40mm
that will balance with the shorter rear shock. The rear shocks bolt straight in
and straight out, no modifications needed. The only difference between the two
different shocks is there's half the windings of the spring with the lower
shock. So you may get away with just buying the spring but not the entire shock.
The only other problem I've got now and I have been working on it till this day
is to slip the fort 40mm will require spacers that rises the handle bars.
Without the risers, you can only move it 22mm. I am making my own risers.
- I'm 5'5" w/ 28inseam and so far, the stock low seat helps me get one foot down
w/ the other foot not touching the ground. Its actually ok for most situations
but I always have to be careful especially when looking for good parking. Any
experiences w/ lowering your bike? I'm in the process of ordering the Wunderlich
extra low seat and I hope it will help me reach more ground. GS.
- Psychologically you may "feel" more confident with two feet firmly planted on
mother earth, but it is not imperative that you are flat footed----- it is all
in the brain. The issue here is confidence in your ability. You do not need to
be flat footed to be a proficient rider; although your brain tells you
otherwise. I've been riding for 30 years and 300k miles and have NEVER been able
to put 2 feet flat on the ground. I am vertically challenged and there is
nothing I can do about my inseam dimension so I have learned to accept it and
live with it. Granted, I've done lo-seats, cut foam, had custom seats made, etc,
but it is all a COMPROMISE---- cutting the foam reduces the comfort, lowered
(links )suspension reduces ground clearance, short shocks reduce rear suspension
travel, drop the forks in the triple clamps changes the trail, etc, etc. What
vertically challenged riders need to do is to get your fanny off the seat at
stops---slide you fanny over on either side of the seat depending on the grade
of the road. After you practice this enough, it becomes automatic and you need
not even think about it any more. Becomes a reflex like blinking your eye. 02
F650GSLA; factory low frame. It puts me as close to the ground I've ever been,
but I really need to be AWARE on left hand corners. When at speed; I'm grinding
the side stand. If I hit hard enough on rougher roads, there is the danger a
pivoting me off, so I have to ease off the throttle in the twisties. I thought
about taking it off to give me more clearance---and slowing down would be
another option !! Steve#1059 GS in MA
- I am 5'4" tall. At first I felt a lot more secure with the preload set to low
and my riding boots with an extra thick sole. Once I got used to riding and
stopping on tip toe(s) I now ride, without problem on the highest setting, both
on and off road. Having said that I will use rolling mount / dismount and centre
stand mounts if the height / weight / position are not conducive to getting on
"properly". I can also slow ride / manoeuvre better than most because I HAVE to
practice these things, as feet down is often more risky than some low speed
- Same inseam (5'-5" w/ 29" inseam) as you and I wouldn't hesitate to ride
anything I can get my hands on. There are more comfortable (read "confidence
inspiring") bikes but when it comes down to it a toe on solid ground is all it
takes to keep the bike up. I am more concerned with higher center of gravity! My
Honda CX is very top heavy and has given me a number of minor spills over the
years. The F650 is not too tough though not as manageable as the Transalp, which
was so easy to handle that it was hard to believe. Too much is made of the
height of the bike. Of course I wouldn't want to have to manoeuvre an MZ Mastif
everyday if I could avoid it unless I could have a slave available to put a box
down at each stop (or help me pick up the beast every time I drop it).
- Hi!! I think I qualify as short at 5'0". My inseam is just under 27". I ride the
F650 with no problem at all. I have the 2002 F650 GSA. I put on the Kouba links
which lowered it 1" and also pushed the forks up thru the triple clamps 1" to
keep the geometry of the bike the same. I was really fine with just the lowering
links, but I did get the Wunderlich low seat and I recommend it highly, for
comfort as well as a little more foot on the ground. Check out ASCYCLES.COM.
They have the Wunderlich for $399 and the last time I checked, the other
websites I found it on have upped the price to $529. It's well worth the money
IMHO. I think alot has to do with confidence too. You didn't mention how long
you have been riding, but at first, I think you do need to feel you have most of
your foot on the ground while learning. With a couple of years under my belt, I
felt more comfortable on tiptoe and the "slide the butt to one side" method.
However, I go pretty good thru the twisties, and I haven't noticed the lowering
links interfering with that. If you feel you need to be lower, go for the links.
You can always take them out later if you decide you're okay with less foot on
the ground. GRITS
- 5.5 ft and 28" inseam...'02GSA with no lowering and no problem. Indeed, part of
my selecting the 650 was the seat height for street riding (the competitors
650's were just too high for me); I don't put my feet down too much off road, so
I don't mind sliding my big rear to the side, or hopping on.
Greg #1245 SEVa
- Now for the first time at 5"8 I feel tall. I ride the Dakar and have to agree
with bmwterrien2 that two flat feet is completely unnecessary. The comfort
derived from the increased distance between seat and pegs is well worth having
to touch tiptoe on both feet or one flat foot with bike leaned over or one flat
foot with butt hangin' off. Besides, you ride with both feet on the pegs, not
the ground. Why set your bike up for optimum comfort when stopped?
SScratch '01 Dakar Nashville
- I'm with SScratch on this one, especially the last comment. I'm 5'7" 30" inseam
and have the regular GS. I was flat footing it but put the higher Dakar seat on
to improve riding comfort, takes just a bit of kink out of the knees. Much more
important to me than getting my feet flat on the ground. This puts me up high
enough so that I just get the balls/toes of my feet on the ground, which doesn't
bother me any. Flat footing is overrated, but it definitely depends on the
individual rider. '03 black F650GSA Runaway #1259 (CO)
- Doesn't matter how short you are. You can ride anything given the inclination
and desire. The key is the controls not flat footing it. Comfortable sitting and
reaching the lever and pedals you're fine. The rest is semantics.
- However if you are a short-ass and want to keep some ground
clearance then you could look at some accessories like:
- Portable wooden blocks on a rope (silly)
- Platform Bike boots (Works well!)
- Bark Busters (if you are going to drop da bike then don't snap
- Engine bars (more bike protection)
- Aluminium bash plate (regains ground clearance if lowered)
- Flush indicators (the sticking out ones fall off way too easily)
- BMW training video (small lady picking up big bike)
- Seth & Crusty Demons video (shows how-to and how-not-to fall off) or
- Roll of good duct tape (if you drop it, something will break and
you can fix it). James riley
- I'm a shortie [and on the
sbl, but i never
post anymore... not much there of interest to me, usually] I ride a 2001
F650GSA, am not quite 5' 2" and *never* have both feet flat on the ground. It
bothered me a lot at first, but I'm pretty used to it and like you, just have to
be extra aware when trying to find parking, or looking where I stop so that I'm
not on an incline to my left or right [uphill and downhill no longer give me
trouble]. I love the bike, the way it handles, how it feels, so I am willing to
work a little harder when it comes to managing it at slow speeds and stops. The
extra low seat is on my wish ist, but is still darn spendy. I've thought about
the Kouba links, but gotten no farther than that. Let me know how the Wunderlich
seat is, if you get it... NancyK '01 Titan Blue Illinois. NancyK764
- I'm a pretty short guy, around 5'9", 30" inseam, and with the Corbin I can still
put both feet down (toes only). At first blush, it did seem like I was riding
*over* the bike, which was a little discombobulating, but I went out to a local
parking lot and did figure 8's and max brakes for a while and really got used to
the feel of the Corbin. So the bottom line is that yes, it is slightly higher -
but no, it wasn't a problem. The bike isn't leaning significantly when I put one
foot down flat at a light. Seacuke #1214
- I'm 5'1" with an unususally short inseam. The factory low frame
and low seat combo does it for me. I'm not quite flat-footed, but stable
enough (especially with the low COG) to feel confident on it. The one I
test-rode had the low frame and a custom Rich's seat, and I was indeed
flat-footed with that one. Roadstergal