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Old 10-26-2007, 09:39 PM   #1
MotoMind OP
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My KLR's suspension is too harsh!

I need some help setting up my KLR for street use. It does speed bumps and other obstacles just fine, but really chokes on small irregularities. I can feel every bit of patched asphalt, manhole cover, or other 1-2" bump. It drives me insane when going down some stretches of highway where the 8ft segments of concrete slab have a 1-2" rise at the seams. The bike bumps under me so much I start wondering about the cost of synthetic discs for my back. (I've ridden city busses plusher than the KLR.) It only starts to float over the irregularities at 90mph or so.

Basically, the suspension is blind to short-duration forces under 150lb or so. As it happens, I am 150lb myself. So if I drop onto the seat from a few inches in the air, the landing isn't softened much. Conversely, if the bike hits an obstacle that would generate the same forces, it acts harsh.

The rear suspension seems to be 75% of the problem here. While the front is able to react [poorly], the rear just drags ass until it really needs to compress. If I ride the tank on the highway, the harshness is easily 1/2th of what I get near the tailrack.

1. I have gone back to the stock fork springs and preload and got loads of unladen sag, but only 15mm extra when I hopped on. My fork oil is 5w.
2. Rear suspension is at 1/1.

How do I fix it?

Front Suspension:

1. Try less preload to make the spring more reactive at the beginning of its travel, and possibly raise the oil level to avoid bottoming.
2. Cartridge emulators.

Rear Suspension:

Is there any shock that would provide smooth, plush performance on-road without bottoming when I do some mild off-road?

MotoMind screwed with this post 10-26-2007 at 09:47 PM
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Old 10-27-2007, 04:12 AM   #2
michaeln
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The answer is Race Tech cartridge emulators with the proper weight oil and proper rate springs in the front, and a good quality shock with proper spring rate in the rear.

Talk to Rick at motocd.com, he'll fix you up. I bought one of his Cogent Dynamics "Moab" shocks, the emulators, front springs and oil from him. The shock is installed and adjusted and that has totally civilized the rear end. I have not yet installed the stuff in the front (currently have Progressive Suspension springs and 12wt oil and it's terrible) but expect to do so next weekend.
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Old 10-27-2007, 04:51 AM   #3
on2wheels52
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I'm at 150 lbs also, I'll agree the rear shock doesn't act at all likt the ones on my GS or DRz. It wouldn't be as noticiable if I didn't have the others for comparison. I'm not ready to a $600 shock on it though, it's ok as it is.
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Old 10-27-2007, 07:37 AM   #4
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Look for a full review on the Moab shock & progressively wound fork springs in the next 3 weeks at KLRWorld.com-
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:39 AM   #5
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If the valving of the rear shock was better, it wouldn't be a half bad unit. I mean, as far as the idea behind the design of being able to quickly change the preload for different loads on the bike. I like that aspect of it. I weigh 165lb. Ride it set at 1/1 too. On my recent trip I had it loaded down with saddlebags, tailbag, all my camping stuff. A quick turn of the preload adjust to 3 and I was set for the road. When we got to camp and wanted to check out the area, I relieved the bike of all the gear and I quickly set it back to 1 and was set for doing some offroad exploring. The rebound is still too slow tho, set at 1.

I'd like to see a quality aftermarket shock with the quick change preload capability of the stock unit, but with better/more adjustable compression and rebound valving/adjustments.

Trailryder42 screwed with this post 10-27-2007 at 03:54 PM
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:05 AM   #6
MotoMind OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeln
Talk to Rick at motocd.com, he'll fix you up. I bought one of his Cogent Dynamics "Moab" shocks, the emulators, front springs and oil from him. The shock is installed and adjusted and that has totally civilized the rear end. I have not yet installed the stuff in the front (currently have Progressive Suspension springs and 12wt oil and it's terrible) but expect to do so next weekend.
I spent some time looking at that shock, but there is so little information. Most of the links on the site refer back to the same page! I suppose I will have to call him and get more info. From my research last night, it looks like it's either that shock (which doesn't have any naysayers yet) or a Precision Concepts rebuild of the stocker (with gold valve).
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:46 AM   #7
NC Rick
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Please call me if you do want more information.! Basically our new shock uses all billet materials and a sophisticated damping piston with a single bleed control at the rebound position. The shock has an internal reservoir that consists of an aluminum floating piston with an "O"-ring seal and a filled Teflon piston band (or ring if you will). This arrangement provides a complete separation of the internal nitrogen charge from the synthetic damping fluid, preventing cavitation and eliminating the damping robbing emulsification of the gas charge within the shock. The piston we use, in place of the bladder used in some other designs ensures reliability and ease of service. The damper piston utilizes a tuned shim stack over linear or high flow ports with the damping stack that was developed over hundreds of hours on real world KLRs. This is the same principal used by companies like Ohlins and Penske not the less expensive and poorer performing ball and spring jets some other shocks use. The piston runs in a plated steel body tube using a filled Teflon piston band and activator ring. The seal head assembly is th threaded in aluminum cap with a shaft scraper, Teflon coated shaft bearing and a Viton quadra-ring and Teflon anti-extrusion backer. The shaft is a high quality steel with hard chrome surface. We think the shocks quality is second to NONE. We build each shock for our individual customer and make spring selections and damping calibration changes based on their needs. Yea a external reservoir and independent compression damping adjustment would be nice but we really feel the package we offer hits the needs and cost to benefit ratio that our customers want. I know that on my own bikes with a lot of adjustability, I seldom change a thing once it is dialed in. Getting these shocks dialed for the intended use has been our objective. We CAN provide a remote reservoir with high and low speed compression damping if a customer wants it (at additional cost). We planned to offer that as a standard option until testing showed how good the present set up is.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input! I'll give you a call on Monday.

Do you feel that your shock design makes it much more compliant on irregular road surfaces? The KLR is my only reference-point, so I want to make sure I'm not asking for something impossible. For example, I figure I'd need to get a smooth 1-2" of travel 4 times per second to keep it from pounding over the seams of concrete slab on my local highway. The stock shock's cycling is best measured on an geological timescale, so it's not quite up to the task.
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Old 10-27-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
NC Rick
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MotoMind, I am afraid we may think too alike :-)

One of the big problems with the sock shock is the internal static friction, I suspect that is a big part of what you are picking up on. That smoothness you want will come from the very low internal friction of a better damper unit. The way we valve most of the shocks we ship is to provide a smooth and compliant initial response but with an aggressive enough high speed damping to allow serious trail bashing as well. I would like to discuss you specific needs and we will set up a shock based on that. As we tell all our customers, if you were to find the calibration we choose to be not quite what you wish you had, send the shock back to us (in a reasonable amount of time) and we will recalibrate it based on your experience at no additional cost (except actual shipping).

The adjustable damping is quite wide rang and our customers have reported being able to adjust to personal feel as well as changing usage patterns.

We are committed to having every one of our customers being delighted with our products and service.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:54 PM   #10
MotoMind OP
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I've got a call in to Rick. Any opinions in the meantime? Looking at the cost and hassle of doing front and rear suspension on the KLR to make it a healthy and comfy ride for my back's sake (on-road and on washboard off-road), I wonder if other bikes are better out of the box?

Not to say I will get rid of the KLR. I think the fucker's got me now that I paid for a new head and 685cc kit. A little more of this and I'll just go get myself a BMW badge for the bike.
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:53 AM   #11
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Motomind, I see you live in San Leandro. I live in San Francisco, and you're welcome to give my bike a test ride (I have the Cogent rear shock and after this coming weekend will have the Cogent front springs and RaceTech emulators in it... already have an Eagle Mike fork brace).

Only problem is that I am a 280lb lardass, and the suspension is set up for that.
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:15 AM   #12
MotoMind OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeln
Motomind, I see you live in San Leandro. I live in San Francisco, and you're welcome to give my bike a test ride (I have the Cogent rear shock and after this coming weekend will have the Cogent front springs and RaceTech emulators in it... already have an Eagle Mike fork brace).

Only problem is that I am a 280lb lardass, and the suspension is set up for that.
I really appreciate the offer, but I don't think my 150lb beanpole self would make for a good test of the suspension. But does it dampen small road irregularities well for you, when riding at speed? In my view, the stock shock hardly dampens them at all, due to the stiction and slow cycling. In particular, riding I-580 between the Bay Bridge and the 238 interchange is torture due to the uplift at the edge of each concrete slab which turns my spine into a pogo stick bouncing up and down for miles on end. (Though to be fair, some cars have trouble damping out that stuff, usually due to shitty rear suspension.)
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