Front View of Lowers


Simple Homemade Lowers
The following is a little "show and tell" on how I made my Lowers.

Note* This how-to is for a Kawasaki Vulcan VN 900 Classic LT but should work for others as well. I have included notes for Vulcan 1500 and 1600 as well.

I have been wanting lowers for my bike for a long time because I was told it would stop the wind buffeting my head as I rode at highway speeds. I (being cheep) just could not stand the thought of spending $179 plus shipping for factory lowers. One day I did a search on www.kawasakimotorcycle.org for lowers and found a few homemade versions that looked pretty easy to put together so I thought I'd take a shot at it and get a few pictures while I was at it.

Making the pattern

To kick this project off I took a piece of cardboard and made a pattern. I wanted to continue the line of the windshield so I used it as the pattern.

Cutting the pattern

I cut the pattern out with my utility scissor. Notice I traced the shape of the turn signal light on the pattern. The overall deminsion was just kind of a shot in the dark. I drew and cut several until I found a shape I really liked.

Checking the pattern fit

Check the fit and get a good look to make sure it looks the way you want and that it doesn't hit anything.

The clear acrylic I bought came from Lowes. It's about 1/4" thick and 18" X 24" on size. I'm cheap (remember) so I found a piece that the plastic that protects it had come off and it had a few scratches on it. I asked the sales clerk if I could get a price break since it was a "second". I was able to get the $13.98 sheet for $5. I knew I wouldn't use the entire sheet and I was sure I could work around the scratches. You can get by with a 12" X 12" cut in half or almost any scrap you can get your hands on.

Tape up the acrylic

I had the sales clerk at Lowes cut the sheet in half. I placed them face to face and taped them together. I also taped the surface to keep from scratching it as I worked with it. You may not need to do this but I had to since the plactic was gone from mine. Notice -- I'm working in the house... Betsy rocks!!

Tracing the pattern

Trace the pattern keeping the long side to the edge of the acrylic. Remember that you are cutting both sides in one cut.

Cut the acrylic

Using a fine thin jig saw blade I cut the acrylic going slowly to make sure I had a nice clean cut.

Finished cut

Here is the finished cut. Keep the tape on the edges because it will make it easier to work with.

Sanding the edge

Now it's time to clean up the cut edge. Use several grits progressivly getting finer as you go.

Finished edge

The edge is starting to look much better than it did after the cut. It's very hard to get the edge perfect so cut your loses and move on.

Sanding the round edge

Sanding the concave edge is a bit tricky. I like the spongy sanding blocks, they can be bent to conform to your will.

Spacing the holes

I drilled the holes 1 1/4" from the edge and 5" apart.

Drilling the holes

Use a bit big enough for a #10 screw to fit in and make sure you use something to back the acrylic with and go slow so you don't bust out the back side or crack it.

P-clamp

I used four 2 1/2" stainless rubber lined P-clamps (for 1500 and 1600 use 3"). There may be a lot of places you can find these but I got them from the only place I could find, Marsh Fasteners. Here is a link to the clamp I used #40 Cushion Clamp 2 1/2" 304 Stainless -- part number RUBCLAMP40

P-clamp

It's a pretty simple install. Wrap the clamp around the fork cover, insert the screw throught the acrylic ans the p-clamp and snug it down. I used #10 machine screws with a small flat washer on the Plexi side and one on the clamp side. I'm going to a hardware store and get some stainless allen bolts next week and replace the plated machine screws I use in the pictures.

back view

Back view.

Finished view

Well! This is what the finished product looks like on the bike. I like the way they sort of disappear. They work really well and I was only out about $35 for the entire project. On www.kawasakimotorcycle.org one gentleman used some 1 1/2" aluminum strips that he polished to go on the front of the lowers and put his bolts through it and then the Acrylic. It gave a nice line that brought the windshield line down into the lowers but I wanted mine to be more transparent and clean on the bike.

Dang!!! Is my porch really that messy?? I'm such a redneck!

I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to make a nice inexpensive set of lowers for your bike. If you come up with a variation of your own I'd love to hear about it. You can email me at tony@minneapolis-moline.com ---- Enjoy!
Tony T


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