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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,

My girlfriend got her first bike recently, 81' CM400C - other than a few smaller issues the bike is pretty solid and its great for her being shorter.

I'm planning on getting rid of the current handlebars and replacing them with clip-on bars, so they're lowered and angled towards her slightly - easier for her to steer compared to the current straight-bar that's equipped.

I'll need to remove the fork covers which also double as a headlight mount, in order to mount the clip-on bars where we want them, and in order to remove the covers you'll have to remove the top of the tree right? Or can i just loosen the tree-grip on the forks and slide the forks down and remove the covers, then slide the forks back up?

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The fork caps that work with the air-ride suspension, can they be removed just by unscrewing them or is there another specific way to remove them? I know i'll have to release the air in the tubes beforehand and probably unhook the rubber hose at the top connecting the forks' pressure.

Also - from what I can tell, the clearance on the rear end from the top of the wheel to the rear fender is about 4.5in, my girlfriend weight about 125 and shes 5ft6in, would it be stupid to try and get some shocks that lower it by an inch-inch.5? Stock shock height is 12 11/16" from what i've seen in the manual.

Any help is much appreciated, thanks again folks
 

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Often when lowering the back of the bike with shorter shocks I've seen the front end lowered an equal amount by slipping the fork tubes upward in the triple clamps. This restores stock suspension geometry while lowering ride height. The only drawback is reduced ground clearance, but at 125# she should be just fine.

If you decided to slip the fork tubes up, you could place your clip-ons above the top triple eliminating the need to remove the fork covers and figure out a different way to mount the headlight and turn signals.

Removing the air setup is fairly easy, the cross-over tube is easily removed, no need to unscrew the caps. Air pressure as far as I've ever read is 3-11 psi, but i never bothered adding any when I had my CM400C.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good idea, I'll mess around with lowering the forks and see if the clip-on bars will sit up higher, comfortably for her - thanks for the advice!
 

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I've taught a few ladies to ride from scratch in my lifetime (absolutely no previous experience, and not even with a clutch at all) and a couple of them were shorter, one only 5'2". Shorter shocks and dropping the front end by raising the tubes is a good plan (I even did it on my 450 build as I wanted a lower stance). Unless she has ridden before, she might find the lower height of clip-ons to be difficult for her to learn to ride with and get used to all at the same time... and putting them on top of the upper triple, as Alan suggested, is one way to avoid the extreme aspect of the bars being too low for a beginner
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good thinking! She has ridden my 07 Sportster 1200 majority of last season so she is fairly familiar with operating a bike, she's been riding this Cm400C with no problems other than she's usually posted on the balls of her feet when at a stop so I figured i'd help her out a bit and try to drop the bike about an inch or 1.5in
 

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Well, good for her riding a big bike like the Sportster while only being able to touch with her tiptoes. My second wife (5'2") started on a CB400F and in less than 6 months moved to a CB650 4 cylinder, and less than 3 months later we both rode our bikes from Tampa to Atlanta to visit a friend and ride in the mountains... so your girl is on the right track, and lowering it a little will give her more confidence (and avoid the ugly tip-over when she stops on uneven pavement - make sure she thinks about that when she picks a place to stop)
 

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Forks can be raised @3/4" and retain full suspension travel. More than that will have the sliders bottoming out into the lower triple, cause momentary suspension lockup.
I'd research conventional bars for the right rise, pullback and spread to fit her frame. There's hundreds of 7/8" bars on the market.
Here's a video on choosing bars
 
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