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 cheap) 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.
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.
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.
Check the fit and get a good look to make sure it looks the way you want and that it doesn't hit anything. You can make them bigger if you want to but the size I show here works really well with less wind drag.
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.
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!!
Trace the pattern keeping the long side to the edge of the acrylic. Remember that you are cutting both sides in one cut.
Using a fine thin jig saw blade I cut the acrylic going slowly to make sure I had a nice clean cut.
Here is the finished cut. Keep the tape on the edges because it will make it easier to work with.
Now it's time to clean up the cut edge. Use several grits progressivly getting finer as you go.
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.
*Note: Some guys tell me they use a propane torch and slightly heat the cut edge. The heat melts the plastic and makes it transparent. I didn't do that but I think I will on the next set.
Sanding the concave edge is a bit tricky. I like the spongy sanding blocks, they can be bent to conform to your will.
I drilled the holes 1 1/4" from the edge and 5" apart.
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.
I used four 2 1/2" stainless rubber lined P-clamps (for 1500 and 1600 use 3"). To find the diameter of your forks, divide the circumference by 3.14 (Pi). As an example, if the distance around your fork tube is 8" you would divide that by 3.14 (8 / 3.14=2.547 inches). In my example a 2.5" clamp would work. Most clamps will clamp a range of sizes. If your fork is a little bigger than 2.5" a 2.5" clamp should work fine. The easy way to find the circumference is to wrap a piece of painters tape around the fork slightly offset. Then use a marker to draw a line across the tape so it marks the beginning and the end. Then measure between the lines to get the circumference. Some people use string and cut it where it overlaps, then measure the string... whatever works for you (keep it simple, make it fun). There may be a lot of places you can find these but I bought them from Marsh Fasteners. Here is a link to the clamp I used #40 Cushion Clamp 2 1/2" 304 SS - BAG OF 5 On an airplane they call this style clamp "adel" clamps. If you google "adel clamps" you'll find several place that sell them.
It's a pretty simple install. Wrap the clamp around the fork cover, insert the screw throught the acrylic and 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org ---- Enjoy!
Web Site Created By: Tony Turner