Ride Engineering CRF450L Lowering Arms

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
Views:
Create New Tag

Compare to other Suspension

Tested: Ride Engineering Honda CRF450L Lowering Link

Rating: Vital Review
The Good:

Improves traction, handling, and ability to touch the ground.

The Bad:

A little pricy.

Overall Review:

Changing a dirt bike’s linkage can do a host of different things to a bike. For motocross, the goal is typically to change the way the bike handles and to modify the shock characteristics. Yet a longer link specifically for lowering the seat height is also an option. That is exactly what we tried on a Honda CRF450L using Ride Engineering Lowering Link. 

Even if you are average height, touching the ground or dabbing through tough off-road terrain can be a challenge on a normal, full-size dirt bike so lowering the overall stance of your bike isn’t just for short people. The Honda CRF450L has a claimed stock seat height of 37.2 inches plus the L isn’t a light bike (claimed 291 lbs!) so it is a good candidate for a lowering link. 

Installation 

Swapping shock linkage, depending on the bike, can be a breeze or a pain in the butt. For the L, it is not hard, but a little tedious because you have to remove the kickstand which is held on by the left foot peg, so that comes off too. Again, not difficult but budget a little extra time. Should take you no more than 30 minutes. Once installed we also raised the fork in the triple clamps so that the bike is level, since the rear of the bike was now slightly over an inch lower. 

On The Trail

Touching The Ground

Tall people take this for granted, but when it comes to any kind of off-road or dual-sport riding, knowing that your feet can reach the ground is a huge confidence booster. I’ve had many instances where I swung my boot to the ground to help balance only to be just an inch or so short of making contact, and falling over. If your not being filmed or photographed, there is no need for your riding to be pretty and putting a boot down is fair game. The Ride Engineering link is definitely noticeable when you need to dab or paddle through difficult sections of the trail.

Plus, just getting on a stock height CRF450L with trail bags on the back takes a big swing of the leg. Having the whole bike just a bit lower makes that easier and lets you more confidently stop and put a foot down on off-camber or steep terrain. 

Handling

With moto bikes, a different rear link can really effect the cornering of the bike. But with an off-road/dual-sport bike like the CRF450L, we weren’t railing any ruts or blowing up berms. The handling benefits of the Ride Engineering link on the L is noticed with flicking the bike back and forth on tight trails. Having a lowered bike moves all the weight (again, almost 300 pounds!) down and lowers the center of gravity. This makes it more responsive to rider input and overall makes the bike feel more manageable in tricky riding situations. 

Traction

This one was a bit of a surprise. Even Adrian, the owner of Ride Eng. who was riding with us, said he noticed a lot of customers and testers saying that the lowering link gives the bike better traction overall. I experienced this first hand since we had a CRF450L without the link (for the camera guy) and a CRF450L with the link installed and could ride them back to back on the same sections of trail. 

One particular uphill was moderately steep but SUPER dry, loose, and soft. I first rode up it on the lowered bike and had really no issue, just had to paddle a little bit. But then Adrian said, “Now try it on the stock bike.” And to be honest I was skeptical because an inch lower bike didn’t equate to more traction in my mind. But I did, and it was noticeably harder on the stock height bike. I had to try it twice because I got stuck the first time digging a trench. The second attempt I made it but with much more sliding and spinning than with the lowering link. 

Downhills

Lastly, another benefit of a lowered rear end is when you are pointed downhill. On the stock bike, going down steep sections of the trail felt like the seat was smacking me in the pants and the bike had a lot of its weight on the fork, which makes it harder to control. With the Ride Engineering lowering link, I was able to shift my body further back, not feel like the seat is trying to buck me off, and have more even weight distribution. An inch doesn’t sound like much on paper but it made a big difference on the trail. 

Overall

As a bolt on product that doesn’t require any modification or permanent changes to your suspension, the Ride Engineering Lowering Arms are kind of a no brainer if for off-road riding. You don’t lose any shock travel and at most, the rear wheel might kiss the fender on really hard hits. I don’t really see a drawback and if I had a CRF450L in my possession, this would be on it.

Specifications

Product Ride Engineering CRF450L Lowering Arms
Type Linkage
Features These longer pull rods help lower the seat height of Honda's new CRF450L 24mm (approx 1"). Recommended sag is around 100-102mm with the fork height lowered 10mm (12mm from flush). Will allow riders around 5'6" to still reach the ground.
Construction Aluminum
Miscellaneous
Price $199.95
More Info

Ride-Engineering.com

More Products