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Old 07-29-2009, 03:46 PM   #1
Jamie Z OP
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V-Strom Suspension Upgrade Review

I own a 2005 DL650 V-Strom. It has just under 60,000 miles. I ride just about every type of road and terrain imaginable, from fast interstate riding, to urban commuting, weekend touring, months-long touring, back roads, gravel roads, muddy paths. I sometimes tour fully loaded, and occasionally carry a passenger.

A few months back I decided it was time to upgrade my suspension, which hadn't been touched since the bike was new.

After much research, I decided on Recor Intiminators for the front, along with new(er) springs, new fork oil, and new bushings and seals for the forks.

I'll leave out the installation details. Suffice to say it was a fairly straight-forward job, and the detailed instructions posted by eakins proved a great help.

I got a set of newer stock V-Strom springs from Sugar Pig, and the rest of the fork parts from Ron Ayers. I also installed a set of fork gaitors to protect the fork seals. I also replaced the steering bearings since I had access to the triple clamp.

Everything went back together fairly simply and I took the bike out for a spin. My verdict? Ho-hum. I'm underwhelmed. The forks do feel a bit different. I have noticed a bit less fork dive under braking, and I think sharp bumps are handled a bit better, but the truth is that I'd have never noticed if I didn't know the work was done. The difference is minor. I expected something more significant, given all the positive reviews I've read, as well as all the new components I installed.

The Recor Intiminators made my bike ride better, but only barely so.

My next upgrade was to the rear shock. Aftermarket shocks proved too expensive, but Sasquatch offers to rebuild the factory V-Strom shock for a reasonable amount. Tedder sent me a loaner shock, and I sent my worn out shock to Idaho. Sasquatch did a complete overhaul including a new spring and revalving.

First thing I should point out, just putting Tedder's shock on my bike was a big improvement. It was much tighter, it handled bumps better. It was immediately noticeable, just by sitting on the bike. Under power, the difference was very noticeable.

I had Tedder's OEM shock on my bike for about 1200 miles over the course of a couple weeks. Yesterday, my Sasquatch shock showed up. It looks great and I installed it immediately. Again, a fairly simple job, especially since I've just changed rear shocks a couple weeks ago.

Going from Tedder's fairly new V-Strom shock to the Sasquatch shock was another leap forward. Again, even though I'd grown used to the newer shock on the back of the bike, it was immediately noticeable when I sat on the bike after installing the Sasquatch. In fact, just backing it out of the garage, I noticed that the rear tire rolled down the bump to the driveway much more smoothly.

On the road, it's a big difference. The bike actually rides much better. Smooths out bumps. It's much less bouncy, even over big dips. In corners I can feel the rear doesn't squat like it used to. I've got about 200 miles on the Sasquatch rear and I couldn't be happier.

Scores:

Recor Intiminators get a shoulder shrug from me. They're a slight improvement over stock, but not enough for me to think it's worth the cost and effort of installing them. Perhaps different springs, a different spacer, or other tweaking would make me like them better, but as installed, they just don't do much for me.

The Sasquatch rear shock gets two thumbs up. It's rare that any farkle makes such a difference on the bike, but this new shock does it. It's a much more confidence-inspiring bike now.

So... there you have it. That's what I think.

Jamie
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:02 PM   #2
a1fa
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You need to stop riding with those heavy sumbitch side boxes... They are messing up your suspension.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for that.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
Philip Kuntz
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Thanks for the write-up. I may just re-build my front end and leave the intiminators out, since I have leaky seals and have no idea what the oil levels are like. If the leaks don't go away, I may look for a set of cartridge forks. Those upper tubes are expensive.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:27 PM   #5
Navaho
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I put the Intiminators in my F650 twin last weekend and the difference was barely noticeable on smooth pavement but HUGELY improved offroad and rough asphalt. The Intiminators soak up the really bad hits that would cause a stock suspension to bottom out or become uncontrollable. On the road, the main benefit is less brake dive, until you start hitting potholes, then they really shine.

If you are not getting enough dampening on the front, you could try mixing in some heavier oil with the thin 5wt to increase viscosity.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:55 PM   #6
Jamie Z OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navaho
I put the Intiminators in my F650 twin last weekend and the difference was barely noticeable on smooth pavement but HUGELY improved offroad and rough asphalt.
That could be the case. It's hard to say. I've had the bike on some pretty rough stuff since the Intiminator installation, but at this point, I'm used to the forks, so it's hard to pinpoint any differences.

I should point out, I'm not discouraging anyone from purchasing the Intiminators. As demonstrated by several other threads in this forum (and others), lots of riders see a night and day difference when they install them. It wasn't so for me, that's all I'm saying.

Jamie
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:13 PM   #7
tkitna
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I recently installed aftermarket springs in the front of the Wee (not the intiminators) and to be honest, I can hardly tell the difference either. Besides the brake dive, I wouldnt even know. I realize I didnt go as indepth as most of you, but in my opinion, it was a waste of money. I should have just left it alone and bought a tire with the money.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:47 AM   #8
ddlewis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Z
That could be the case. It's hard to say. I've had the bike on some pretty rough stuff since the Intiminator installation, but at this point, I'm used to the forks, so it's hard to pinpoint any differences.

I should point out, I'm not discouraging anyone from purchasing the Intiminators. As demonstrated by several other threads in this forum (and others), lots of riders see a night and day difference when they install them. It wasn't so for me, that's all I'm saying.

Jamie
good info Jamie. Lately I'm interested in improving my '04 wee suspension too.

Re: Intiminators.. I just installed about 2 weeks ago. The biggest improvement I noticed immediately is lessening front dive on braking / deccel.. I was (pre ricor) running with .95kg/mm springs heavy oil and it still had some issues with dive, and harsh on rough surfaces. After the intiminators with same springs and light fork oil noticeably better anti-dive and slightly improved compression damping. A few days ago I took some oil out of each leg and adjusted preload to get static sag close and it's softened more on the damping. In hard cornering it still feels solid and less apt to get unsettled by letting off the throttle a little, which it was terrible about before. The more time that passes the harder it gets to pinpoint differences but no mistaking on the dive.

The Ricor improvements for me are more subtle than what others noticed, but still a worthwhile doodad in my book.

I have a Richland Rich fork brace on the way and shorter shock link dogbones (steel ones, raising). Maybe the sasquatch shock rebuild over the winter. Hoping a bunch of small improvements add up.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:59 AM   #9
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Good info and well written. I frequently enjoy your posts. Thanks!

Ryan
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:48 AM   #10
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thanks

nice post jamiez, i will stop lusting for wee fork farkles until i actually see some problems...
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:09 AM   #11
Delta88
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So, I have to ask, what was the cost to get the shock rebuilt?
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:15 AM   #12
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As with a lot of performance mods, you quicky adjust to the changes and forget about the differences between "before and after". Different handlebars, tires, seats, shocks etc. all feel weird at first but normal after one or two rides. The way to judge a suspension mod is to go riding with someone who has a stock bike, then swap bikes.

Must be that the VStrom had good valving from the factory. Wish BMW would give you a little more for the premium price. Compared to the Race Tech emulators in my DR650, I'd say that the difference in Ricor vs. RT is quite noticeable.
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta88
So, I have to ask, what was the cost to get the shock rebuilt?
$450 + $20 return shipping.
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1fa
You need to stop riding with those heavy sumbitch side boxes...
The problem with the side cases on a Strom is not weight, it is width. Damn things make the bike as wide as a friggin' trike fer chrissakes. (They are waaaay out there since they are outboard of the upswept pipes, or on a Wee, pipe singular).

I sheared the reflector badges off mine squeezing through a narrow opening between two of those concrete "Jersey" barriers. I also turned a corner too near a concrete block retaining wall and scuffed the heck out of the side of one of the cases.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:10 PM   #15
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Thinking of same thing

Jamie, I recently changed out front original fork springs to Race Tech .9 /w 10w. I noted a better than marginal inprovement. Thinking about the re-work on the stock rear shock, will do it in October. Sounds like it worked out good. Thanks for the input.
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