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Old 04-23-2006, 07:08 PM   #1
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Emig Damper & Triple Clamps - 640 ADV....

This has taken me too long to finish. Work has been a bitch lately, so I haven't had a solid block of time to finish this up. Today I finally finished it

The build was to add revalved and resprung forks, and a revalved shock (thanks Palo Verde Suspension), and to finish the Emig 20mm offset triple clamps/bar risers/steering damper installation. This 640 ADV just had the motor redone by Barry Higgins over at H&H. It works!

Today, I took a half day off and finished up the bike so I could ride it again.



The cylinder was replated, new piston and rings, new crank, new oil pumps, new intake & exhaust valves, etc. Runs great.



The OE 640 ADV has a 16mm offset triple clamp, and piss poor forks. The forks are good quality units, just that they are not properly sprung or valved for the mass of the 640. If you're a beer swilling dude, that adds to the problem. I have noticed the 48mm forked bikes are worse than the 43mm forks, which are lousy compared to the WP Extreme conventional forks on the '99/'00 bikes. The forks were done by Palo Verde Suspension in PHX and got .50kg/mm springs and the valve stack redone.

The rear shock will do, but the valving is poor. I opted to just revalve the shock - thanks again to Palo Verde. I didn't need a stiffer spring. I ride pretty light, and the sag works with the OE spring.

The point is, if you have an '01-06 ADV, and ride hard or are heavy or travel with a lot of gear, a little fork work goes a long, long way on the handling of these bikes.

I took it a step further. Inasmuch as the 640 ADV isn't an ideal technical terrain machine, I decided what I'm after is more stability at speed. Ever ridden your 640 down a loose gravel road at speed, and the bike felt like it had another steering head right under the seat? Not unrideable, but not planted and what I was looking for. Gary Emig has spend quite a bit of time playing with LC4's, and after spending a day with him chatting about it, I decided to update the bike with some different geometry. 20mm offset vs 16mm offset. Works well on the 950's too.

If you didn't know, you can remove and reinstall the rear shock without removing the subframe. I can do it in just a few minutes

Stripping the mask, tank, front fender, seat, shock and forks was easy and straight forward, leaving a nekkid bike.



If you haven't at least dropped your triple clamp and inspected your steering head bearings, you should. Both of the '03 640's I bought were pretty dry and definitely lacking in grease. I've had this one apart before, and the steering head bearings were in nice shape. The first line of business is to remove about 1/2 of the square tube that the ignition lock uses. I used a hacksaw with the blade turned 90 degrees. I then filed the few imperfections on the steering head smooth, and installed the damper post.



This is my preferred bearing lube. It's plentiful, waterproof, and calcium based. While I had the shock out, I also inspected and regreased the linkage bearings.



The revalved shock and freshly greased linkage go back in.

Removing the tamper proof screws that hold the ignition to the OE clamp is a cinch - I use a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to make some flats on the screws, and off they come. KTM uses a threadlocker on these, so you need to make some good flats for the screwdriver blade to grab.

Then, time to pack those bearings and install that Emig clamp. I prefer to use my fingers to pack the bearings. It takes a little time, but a well packed bearing lasts a long time. Just dabbing a little on doesn't do the trick, you have to work it in.

This is what a dry bearing looks like.



The triple clamp installs easy. Emig's clamp reuses the OE top seal, but supplies a modified seal cover. The clamps are much beefier than the OE clamps, and have more surface area to old the sliders.

I had to remove the OE steering stop bolts and replace them with longer bolts to set the steering stops correctly.



Then on with the OE bars, taking care to route the cables and electrical bundles properly.



Once the bars were in place, I torqued the riser bolts. Torquing the bars prior to this step makes sure the risers were properly aligned. Then, I installed the steering damper. It's like a Scott's, in that it dampens as the bars turn away from center, and release on the return to center. After about 20+/- degrees away from center, the Emig damper releases. I like that feature.



On with the tank, front fender and mask.



Double check everything, add some more cable ties, check the control cables for binding......looks trick, eh?



The net of this is a bike that tracks much, much better on loose, fast dirt. The sort of stuff I ride most.

The big 640 ADV earned a place in my garage several years ago, and this modification will keep it there for a few more. I love my BRP, but the mule-like carrying capacity and comfy ergos make it a great adventure bike for mixed travel.

Mexico bound.....

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Old 04-23-2006, 07:16 PM   #2
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Next step - maybe this week, is the Akrapovic full exhaust install. I've had this thing in the garage for a year and a half now.

I might need to play with the main jet, but this BST has already been rejetted by me, and it runs pretty good. I just hate the fit and finish of the IDS2 'Trapp. It's gotta go.
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:19 AM   #3
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How did this slip off the front page w/out comment?!?
It's kinda like a waking up and finding a nubile virgin lying next to ya...

Anyways, congrats on the new hardware gassy! If you have the time, please post what the difference is between 16 and 20mm offset; and you can skip right past the 4mm part.

PS - Why are you picking the Akrapovics over the Staintune? I hear they both lack sparkies, but the Staintune is maintenance free... (and has a dB eater available).
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:35 AM   #4
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Hey Gaspipe,

Since you hae both a BRP and the KTM Adv, what are your thoughts on the two bikes?

Thanks Dan
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:10 AM   #5
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Meat: Akrapovic only because I got one NIB with one of the 640's I bought along the way.

I was thinking I was on everyone's ignore list

Now, regarding the offset: I'm not a dirtbike suspension expert, but there's several things going on in the 640 chassis that I didn't like, so this will be kind of long winded.

The first thing to remember, this is a big, heavy bike and I don't ride it like I'll ride the XR650R (or the KTM 440 EXC).....

At speed, the bike handled rather poorly - not really bad - but poorly. The front end is really loose, the suspension tended to pack up badly on stutter bumps, and generally the front end just wasn't what it should be. First, is the front fork was waaaay too soft in spring rate and damping characteristics. If you do nothing else to your 640 ADV, I'd recommend getting the forks done right. This really does make a difference. For this bike, I had John at Palo Verde Suspension in PHX set up the fork and shock.

Second, the rear spring preload was wrong. I set the rear sag, and found the stock spring actually works well for me, WHEN the shock was revalved. I didn't think this would work, but John convince me to stick with it. I'm 235lbs, but tend to travel extremely light. Heavy panniers will need a heavier spring.

Now, with the suspension resprung and revalved, the bike actually handles quite well, but still has a twitchy feeling up front. While chatting with Gary Emig about the BMW beast I am finishing up, we got to chatting about it. He recommended changing the offset from 16mm to 20mm and seeing what I thought of it. Apparently, he's been changing them out on his LC4's for years.

So after riding the bike around with the 'new suspension' I was fairly impressed with how much improvement there can be. So....I finally changed my triple clamps out for the 20mm's, and rode the bike some. Although the combination of setting the bike's sag properly (which directly affects the steering head angle) and the resprung and valved suspension made the bike feel GOOD.

What do the 20mm offset clamps feel like? Although it would alter the trail, it made a couple noticeable differences. The bike steers FASTER, but at the same time, it is significantly more stable on the marbley loose roads I usually ride. How can it do that? I have no idea - haven't thought it all through yet. But both both things are improved.

After riding it and being quite impressed, I put on the steering damper. It's generally the last thing I do to a bike, as it, IMHO, tends to mask other problems that can be sorted out before spending the $$$. With the damper, the bike really comes up another level - being able to negotiate pretty rugged stuff without tiring me out anywhere near as much.

Anyway, the single best improvement is the forks. Then the shock. After that, the rest is pretty much bling unless you're going pretty darned fast. The combination of them all really makes the bike feel a lot more stable, and at the same time the steering is crisper.

Lastly, I have also noticed that when I run a really big tire out back (like a Michelin Desert), it markedly affects the way the bike feels to me. I have been running 130's out back now and prefer them for the shorter rides. For those long desert adventures, I much prefer that bulletproof carcass of the 140 Desert.




Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle
How did this slip off the front page w/out comment?!?
It's kinda like a waking up and finding a nubile virgin lying next to ya...

Anyways, congrats on the new hardware gassy! If you have the time, please post what the difference is between 16 and 20mm offset; and you can skip right past the 4mm part.

PS - Why are you picking the Akrapovics over the Staintune? I hear they both lack sparkies, but the Staintune is maintenance free... (and has a dB eater available).
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow Pig
Hey Gaspipe,

Since you hae both a BRP and the KTM Adv, what are your thoughts on the two bikes?

Thanks Dan
Basically, the 640 ADV is a big, plush, euro luxury liner, and the XR650R is a faster, more hard edged machine capable of going great speeds for extended periods. But for LONG, multiday rides requiring bringing some gear, the 640 ADV is the winner, and for more rugged, fast stuff and traveling very light, I prefer the XR650R.

I guess that's why I have one of each. Both are great bikes.
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:38 AM   #7
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I was just looking at Gary Emig's site and noticed this write up:
CONFUSED ABOUT KTM OFFSET? KTM produces a line of excellent motorcycles, however, there are a few steering geometry problems. Here at Emig Racing, we produce the full spectrum of offset triple clamps, 14mm through 22mm. Changing the offset of the triple clamps can have a tremendous effect on the bike. However, to rely on this solely is naive. I lend my opinion to our customers everyday regarding what is the "right" offset to use. Well, the answer is always different and affected by many factors. My goal is for each customer to understand these various factors and how they relate to them, before decided on which offset to purchase.

Things to consider when changing offset:

BIKE:
This is not too significant, but, a lot of riders notice a dramatic change in steering when changing from a 2 stroke to a 4 stroke for the first time. The 4 stroke has to be ridden entirely different, which takes some time.


SAG:
We have noticed that the new KTM's come with around 115-120mm of sag. With that much sag, it gives the bike a very slow steer feeling. It is a reason why a lot of riders say the bike doesn't turn. It creates a sluggish feeling to the bike. When you get the sag set properly, (no more than 100mm is plenty), you get the attitude of the chassis correct and it helps it to turn. With too much sag, it makes the front end "choppered out" or too much outward angle in the fork. It can be adjusted and with various suspension settings the bike can have a totally different feel to it.


BAR POSITION:
KTM's come stock in position #3 (#1 being closest to the rider). Bar position is not just designed to accommodate how tall you are, which is what most riders use it for. It directly affects the feel of the steering response. For instance, position #4 creates a little more sluggish feel because you're trying to steer a radius that is too far from the pivot point. Many, many riders use this position because of the comfort factor, instead of realizing it's affect on handling. So keep in mind the further you are from the pivot point, the larger the radius.


TRAIL: Some opinions are that trail creates stability. If that were a true statement and trail is what helps stability, why wouldn't we all use 10mm offset clamps? If trail is the most important factor, than why do the Japanese bikes all run 22 - 24.7mm of offset? Keeping in mind that they all, including KTM, have around the same degree of steering angle in the frame (approx. 26 degrees.)

Let's take a KTM450 with 18mm clamps on it, switch it to 22mm, why is there a noticeable increase of chassis stability and handling characteristics? Example: For years and years, Kawasaki has had 22mm offset clamps and nobody complained about the handling. It was always a great turner and had great straight line stability. Then in 2003, they made a slight change in their steering angle degree and went to 24.7mm offset. Immediately the bike still turns fantastic and has great stability. No one complains about the chassis of the KX. I'm trying to show a comparison in the relation of offset clamps to having the chassis set right.

FRONT TIRE:
With the wrong tire on the front, it creates many bad habits that get blamed on the offset. KTM's like a more aggressive front tire, to help reduce the knifing effect, that is commonly attributed to less offset. The wrong tire makes the bike wash out easier, not giving it good stability. Washing out also gets blamed on offset.


I realize some people disagree with these opinions, but being both riders and in the clamp business, these are points we have found to be of real significance. Factors vary with many chassis setups, suspension, and riding style. Every rider demands a different response from the bike. There is an appropriate offset for every style. Each rider need to know his style, type of riding and what he is looking for his bike to do. Here at ER, you can be assured we can help you to get the offset that suits you and your individual style.


And in closing, Emig Racing rides KTM's, too. We have tested on our own 250MXC, 300 EXC, 380 EXC, 400EXC, 450EXC, 520EXC and 525EXC. In every condition" Motocross, Woods, Desert and Trail. Sand, Tight Woods and Extremely Rocky.

I thoroughly enjoy my KTM and want you to, also. Give us a call, we're here to help.

Gary Emig
Anyway, he's an interesting fella.
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:42 AM   #8
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Thanks gaspipe! Very good information. Much of that I had concluded myself after plenty of reading (including that bit from Emig awhile ago), but it's great to hear this stuff based upon practical experience, particularly this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspipe
...
Anyway, the single best improvement is the forks. Then the shock. After that, the rest is pretty much bling unless you're going pretty darned fast. The combination of them all really makes the bike feel a lot more stable, and at the same time the steering is crisper.
...
Information like this can really help folks decide just what might help them and what probably won't. So does this mean you will be riding faster in Baja?

I am pretty sure I don't ride fast and hard enough off-road to tax my suspension/geometry like you, so I have not accumulated enough experience to prompt me to do these mods. Perhaps some day I will, but for now I am happy about being able to go where I usually can't and challenging my skills - such as they are - along the way. If I need new challenges, then I now know which upgrades may help the bike perform better.

PS - I think this information is useful enough to index for a number of reasons.
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Old 04-24-2006, 02:51 PM   #9
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well Mr. Pipe that is a very nice read for me. i recently did my suspension, sounds like i went pretty much with you except i opted to up the rear spring to an 8.0. still get the sag i want but i have the option to dial in some preload for the occasion two up or extra gear. so far the susp has been like a whole new bike, unbelieveable how that can really make such a difference with a heavier more aggressive rider. report on how the extra bar height feels will ya? i have a cr high bend bar with homemade 15mm risers, i think i am in the 40mm total range, where do those risers put you? looks nice. i am pretty happy with the angles but i'm sure that a big difference too.
BTW palo verde susp is local to me

p.s. i get my rear shock out in about 3 mins, since you have the ability to post pics you should demonstrate the under and behind technique we use.
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:10 PM   #10
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p.s. i get my rear shock out in about 3 mins, since you have the ability to post pics you should demonstrate the under and behind technique we use.
hiya S.!

I guess I ought to, eh? I have to put the shock back in the RXC soon. I guess I'll photograph it this time.

The 8.0 spring is probably a good choice for you, especially with those hard panniers. I have 50's up front, and that in conjunction with the valving allow me to get some pretty good air on that behemoth.
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:24 PM   #11
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some said the .50's would be too much, but i love'em
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:00 PM   #12
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some said the .50's would be too much, but i love'em
Me too.

The forks, as delivered by KTM, are a cruel joke. IMHO.
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:28 PM   #13
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The forks on the 05, 06 models are better, at least mine are, but they still need help. My 01 640 ADV was badly under sprung. It appears to me the newer ones have the same forks that the 950's use. They mention in my 05 manual that they have stiffer springs. Thanks KTM for that one.
I added the emig setup to mine and stayed with the 18 and all is well. There is quite a bit of handling difference from pre 04 models and the newer ones. The springs seem to be near what I need, but I still bottom out a lot. I have raised the fork oil level to 100 mm and so far the results are good.
The Emig folks are great to work with and my evolution dampner works better than the Scotts I have on my 250. I have ridden my 640 through some deep sand and it tracks great for a bike that heavy.
The Emig finish quality is a great bonus too.
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mars
The forks on the 05, 06 models are better, at least mine are, but they still need help. My 01 640 ADV was badly under sprung. It appears to me the newer ones have the same forks that the 950's use. They mention in my 05 manual that they have stiffer springs. Thanks KTM for that one.
I added the emig setup to mine and stayed with the 18 and all is well. There is quite a bit of handling difference from pre 04 models and the newer ones. The springs seem to be near what I need, but I still bottom out a lot. I have raised the fork oil level to 100 mm and so far the results are good.
The Emig folks are great to work with and my evolution dampner works better than the Scotts I have on my 250. I have ridden my 640 through some deep sand and it tracks great for a bike that heavy.
The Emig finish quality is a great bonus too.
If memory serves me correctly, the '02 & '01 bikes had the 43mm forks, and the '03+ had the 48mm forks... Am I mistaken? Wouldn't be the first time.

Anyway, my '01 was a marshmellow, and the '03 not much better, but a little bit. It's great now with .50's up front and the OE 7.0 out back. The shim stacks and oil level really woke up the fork, the single best improvement that can be made to the bike, IMHO.

Every 950 I have ridden, with the exception of a couple worked over ones, had the same squishy front end. Plush and nice on the road, but poorly damped and all undersprung.

I am running a higher oil level in my forks also - not 100mm more, but the added oil volume certainly helps.

Emig's stuff is definitely top shelf stuff. I like his damper more than any other I've used yet.

Sounds like that 640 is growing on ya
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:11 PM   #15
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gaspipe didja have risers on your bike before the emig?? it looks like it, if so what is it, got a better pic and is it for sale??
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