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:

  1. Get ahold of a measuring tape
  2. Measure your inseam (from the crotch down to your heal is good). You might like to wear your riding boots for this as well.
  3. Subtract about 80mm (3") from that (to account for the seat width)
  4. 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 to start!

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?

Seat Part Num Difference Final Height Notes
GS GSL (-30mm) Dakar
BMW Lower Seat 52 53 7 652 635 (orange)
52 53 2 345 736 (black)
+0 mm 780 mm 750 mm 830 mm  
BMW Single Seat 71 60 7 653 838 +20 mm 800 mm 770 mm 850 mm Refer: DHP Solo Seat and DHP Solo Seat 2
BMW Higher Seat 52 53 2 345 735 (black) +40 mm 820 mm 790 mm 870 mm  
Wunderlich Low (see notes) -30 mm 750 mm 720 mm 800 mm Wunderlich's Extra Low Dakar seat
Wunderlich Regular (see notes) +0 mm 780 mm 750 mm 830 mm Wunderlich's Low Dakar seat
Wunderlich High (see notes) +40 mm 820 mm 790 mm 870 mm  
Wunderlich Extra High? (see notes) +70 mm 850 mm 820 mm 900 mm Wunderlich's High Dakar seat

Table: Seats available for the GS, GSL and Dakar

Please note the following in the above table:

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 790mm.

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 the ground.

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 seats perhaps?).

We hope this answers all the outstanding questions on this issue.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the Holiday Season and the New Year.

Thomas Plucinsky
BMW Motorcycles


Recently: (19-Aug-02)

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

Lowered Seats

Seat Options

So what are the differences between the Stock Seats?

Seat Opinions:

Shorter Suspension Links (Koubalinks)

Front Fork Modifications

Low Profile Tyres?

Section 2: Questions and Answers

Q. Do you have any tips for short riders on mounting?

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 centerstand.

A. Check with your local dealer. The following part numbers (for the GS) were provided by TomCat #1777:

Also check BOB's BMW for more information.

ADVRider Extracts

The following are some extracts from ADVRider on the subject of the GSL...

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 on ADVRider

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 this image

Section 3: Opinions on Lowered Bikes

Opinions on Lowered Bikes