Author: Michael Stebbins

Which is the best lowering link for XR650L?

My son and I both bought used XR650L bikes for a mountain trip. The stock seat height on a Honda XR650L is 37 in (940 mm) and at 5′ 10″ I’m more comfortable with a 35″ height on rocky single tracks with luggage. I compared several lowering links and then tested the two highest rated lowering links, the KoubaLink and Soupy’s Performance Lowering Link for the XR650L.

Both XR650L bikes needed suspension adjustments

In the end I chose Soupy’s Performance Lowering Link because it is adjustable and capable of lowering the bike lower than all the others.

Soupy’s Lowering Link

I do like the build quality of the KuobaLink and the grease zerk fittings, but it only lowered the bike just under an inch at the seat. Soupy’s Lowering Link took the XR650L down a full two inches. But there is another factor. After adding 40 pounds of gear into the bags, spare fuel and water, the XR650L sinks too low and the ability to adjust it back to my desired riding height is possible with Soupy’s but not with any other link.

Installation is easy for both, taking about 40 minutes start to finish. Faster once your done it (taking out the KoubaLink). I opened the chain master link to make it easy to pull the front bolt out. Also, I used a cut-off aluminum crutch to prop the bike up to take all weight off the rear tire.

Soupy’s extends to a full four inches whereas the others are set at about 3 3/4″ (Stock link is 3 1/4″). I moved my forks up about an inch in the triple clamps since I dropped the seat about 1 3/4 inches. Travel remains the same, and preload and damping needed no adjustment. Obviously ground clearance changes, but I’m not worried that two inches will stop me from clearing a log or rock on the trail.

Tried the KoubaLink first. It is only slightly different than stock.
Soupy’s Performance Link Installed on the XR650L

If you are going to lower your XR650L more than one inch, I recommend getting an adjustable kickstand as well. In fact, it’s a must since the bike will not stand with the stock kickstand.

Final seat height at 35 inches without gear.

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Letter from Alfred Stebbins to his mother Harriet Houghton Stebbins 1862

Dubuque, November 29th 1862

My Dear Mother;1

I bless you for you. Your very kind letter came to hand in time, which nourished and fed me more abundantly. I love letters from home.  They lengthen my vision and turn my eyes eastward and with telescopic power. I seem to see you all. I can almost sit down by the fireside and talk with you. I would like to feast with you on those apples and cider. I have apples here, but none of the extracted juice which agrees so remarkably well with my palate.

My school flows as smooth as oil. Good habits have become second nature to my scholars and they  as naturally fall into my well-regulated courses as water comes down hill. What would you think to have a room of 50 scholars and not a communication for 3 days and not any disorder or reprehensible conduct? And I am remarkably strict. Everything is conducted on the most exact system possible. I have now 13 teachers and each has two classes. Scholars are promoted from one class to another twice every year.

Everything is so high here.  It can cost one nearly all they can make to live. They have advanced on board and I have now to pay 18 dollars for [board room lights ? ] per month.  [You] cannot buy the commonest pair of pants less than eight or nine dollars.

The country is pretty well drained of men now and contrabands are being sent here from Cairo to take their places. Several carloads have passed through this place already for the back country.  I think they will draft pretty soon to fill up the old regiments. There are so many secessionists here it will fall hard upon this place.

I sit beside a Capt. who has been a prisoner a long time at Atlanta Ga. and was later at Corinth with Gen. Prentiss2.  He will return to service pretty soon. I think there will be active  [work? north?] pretty soon. We must fight or we shall have ignominy enough to hide our heads in defeat and chagrin.

Edmond is in Helena Arkansas.  He has made a good deal of money buying and selling cotton.  My school continues  ten months.

Oh I was so glad to hear from Calista.  I think they will do well in California.  But they have had a hard time and no doubt will be denied a great many privileges.  Has Elijah Stebbins gone to war? Do you take the Springfield Republican? I should like to see one occasionally.

Remember me to all the good folks and by and by when I get [rich?] I will come and see you. [Lord willing.?]

Yours from the heart,



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Letter 1864 Alfred Stebbins to Lydia Houghton Stebbins Bristol

San Francisco,  May 5th 1864

My Dear Sister1,

I have just rec’d your letter telling of that happy event in a women’s life which rounds her days & makes her what God designed as a crowning glory – a Wife & Mother of a happy family.  You have my sincere desire for a happy & a merry life.  It all lies with yourself. A man’s house is such as he makes it, but afterwards he must live in it.  Cultivate kindly feelings & let cheerfulness irradiate your home. Hatfield, I recollect as a beautiful county village.  I often visited, passed & repassed it while in college. I have crossed at its ferry boated on the river nearby, & enjoyed its sunset illumination from “Mount Warner.”  And the Connecticut Valley thereabouts is a rare and beautiful spot in landscape scenery.

 You will often, no doubt, have occasion to visit Amherst College.  Look on its academic halls, its cloistered walks, & treasured Cabinets for me & remember that every spot is as familiar sacred as the nooks and corners around my own home. To their commencement I send often local papers particularly the Republican. I often attended church at Hatfield.  The Rev. Mr. Green was my old [tutor?] in Greek.

I think there must have been some [neglect] ____port of somebody in reference to my suit of clothes.  The suit was completed to fill [made?] out the 17 Feb, 47 days before the date of your letter. Someone wrote me a word [during] that time.   However I am very glad to hear from them for I was just on the point of purchasing here.

I am in very good health & much heavier than when I was east.  The summers are not debilitating like those at the east, but are nearly as cool as the ______ & require woolen clothes day & night.  We have cool ____ing winds from the ocean & rarely ever suffer from the heat.

Charles & [Kitty?] [referring to sister Calista] are about fifty miles from me, ten miles north of Petaluma.  I thinks they have bought a ranche & intend to live there. There is a fine orchard on it & a beautiful view of ___ Petaluma Valley. San Francisco Market is within a day’s reach.

Within ten days, I expect to be in the Office as the Collector of Internal Revenue as Deputy Collector.  My present position as Inspector pleases me very much. Nothing could satisfy me better. The change is made only for better pay.  I have hardly got a [going] & was under a great deal of expense when I first came here & it is a good deal like overtaking a man who has a little start _ ____ in a days journey.  It requires some extra efforts when [Greenbooks?] are selling for only [58 cts?]. I will return the little donation that you made me when I started California — [worlds?] very soon .

Let me hear about your new home and friends.  Give me an insight into your every day life & all that interests you.  My greetings & compliments to Mr. Bristol & I should be pleased to hear from him also.

Most truly & heartily,


Original Archives of Letter (Click to see all enlarged)

Letter from Alfred Stebbins to Lydia Stebbins 

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Letter 1872 from John Stebbins to Lydia Stebbins & her Husband

Vernon, VT July 12, 1872

Dear Daughter & Son 1,

I request you to inform me when your last daughter was born & her name (Calista I believe).  Also If you know the name of Alfred’s daughter, born both of last June May2.  I want to purchase more photograph albums at Springfield, or if you are coming to Vernon, soon, please let me know it.  Your Uncle Maj. Alba Houghton born Aug 22d, 1797, married to Thankful Stebbins, at my father’s, Feb 5, 1822, (my cousin said to be the handsomest couple then, that ever was married in Vernon) and died May 24th 1872, aged 74 years, 2 months and 2 days, the first death in the family of eleven.  He lived with his wife, 50 years, 3 months and 19 days.

His daughter, Lydia Elvira Houghton, born Jan 6th 1835, married William. E. Warren, Aug, 1859, and died in Worcester, Mass, May 27th 1872, aged 38 years, 4 months, and 21 days, the first death in a family of nine children.

I continue to have my fainting syncope fits.  I had two June 27th, 1872. Dr. Webster’s definition of Syncope “A fainting or swooning; a diminution or interruption of the motion of the heart and of respiration, accompanied with a suspension of the action of the brain and a temporary loss of sensation, volition, and other faculties.”  This is true. The Poet [?] Goodwillie[?] says I brought these fits on myself by sitting and writing so constant by without walking about. I know not when the fits commence, or when they leave me, am perfectly easy and in no pain, and shall probably go that way instantly & not suffer pain like your mother.

I have had since Oct 23d 1869 16 fits, as I am informed & how many when in bed & alone I know not.  I never knew of having but one personally. Then I did not lose my senses, but fell prostrate and could not walk.  I expect to leave soon3, suddenly & without pain and am ready and willing when God calls me, to go to that bourne from whence no traveler returns4, and join your beautiful, lovely, sainted & angelic mother in Heaven.

Your affectionate father,

John Stebbins


Mrs. Lydia H. Bristol, Mr. Lambert J. Bristol  } New Haven Ct

P.S. Present my love to your children

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Married May 17, 1872 in Wood River, Nebraska, Mr Nathaniel P. Dickinson, of West Northfield,m Mass & Miss Hattie Gleason of Malone, N.Y.  Dickinson was in the army at last 3 years went 200 miles west of Kansas, about the middle of Nebraska nigh the Pacific railroad, took up & bought about 320 acres land & built a house.  Hattie left John[?], April 8, for Malone & followed her man probably 2,000 miles. She loved him, or thought it her only chance.

They will be rich, no doubt.

Chauncey Thayer & Miss Atmira Preston married at Sharon Vt.May 20 1872 & moved on to his _______ Lee[?] farm [?].

My head troubles me, & back is so lame I can but just walk very slowly.  

Present by best respects to Charles S Bristol & WIfe & let them read this if you please.  



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