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Old 11-29-2010, 05:20 AM   #16
mc caregiver
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Garland, Texas
Oddometer: 3,847
heavier PS shock spring from a member
fresh shock oil & nitrogen charge
for the forks, added 1 1/4"? pre load & fresh ATF oil
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:11 AM   #17
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: NOVA
Oddometer: 81
Originally Posted by plugeye View Post
heavier PS shock spring from a member
fresh shock oil & nitrogen charge
for the forks, added 1 1/4"? pre load & fresh ATF oil
I have a question regarding hard braking front end dive and a slight pull to the left on a stock Dr I just purchased. It's an 09 un-molested stock bike. I owned one previously and I know it is weakly sprung in the front I also had performed fork and shock up grades on it, ebach straight gauge springs and emulaters. I can't remember if this is nomal for the stock set up or what. Could the fork tubes be slightly tweeked in the triple or what. Thanks in advance
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:24 PM   #18
Redbear Rides
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Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Mariposa, CA
Oddometer: 159
Fork replacement guidelines


You have provided much entertainment and quality build information for us all. Thanks.

One thing that keeps me wondering is the talk of replacing DR forks with RMZ or DRZ or KTM forks. Can you give us a concise list of the changes that are necessary to do these swaps. For instance, for DRZ to DR will the triple tree just swap across without mods to the frame bearings? What about for RMZ and KTM. I guess I am looking for an idea about the extent of mods that are needed for each. Are there some years that are better? I would attempt a swap if things just bolt together but I don't really have the means to do machining or welding.

I believe you also have a DR350S. I have the same question for a DRZ to DR350S.

Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
I tried the Gold valves and upgraded springs. I thought they were great at the time.

I looked at a couple of guys bikes that had DRZ 400 forks with heavier springs and revalving. To tell the truth, the DRZ option still appeals to me. I have another DR (my sons bike that I have inherited along with the loan due to his newly arrived daughter) with the upgraded standard forks. I'm going to start using it to ride to work soon, so I might end up doing some modifications.

For my trail riding DR I decided to go with the RMZ suspension swap.

I chose the RMZ because I wanted motoX suspension travel and the adjustability. I have to say, it was worth swapping just to be able to adjust the compression and rebound front and rear.

Using all the RMZ parts unmodified was the tough decision. I wanted to make it so I could buy stuff straight off the shelf. So that meant modifying the frame to take the rear end. The first cut is the hardest. After that failure drives you forward.

For my standard DR I'm thinking of concentrating on getting it sorted using all genuine Suzuki parts, and keeping it looking as standard as I can. So I'm thinking DRZ swap. It will also keep it closer to standard height.

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"The Ride is the Reason"
1998 Suzuki DR350SE Bearcub
1995 BMW R1100GS Redbear
2001 Suzuki DRZ400S Yellowbear
1981 Suzuki GS850G
1980 Honda XR500 Big Red
2001 F650GS Dakar w/ Ural - Fast Kitty (Wife's Bike! )

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Old 12-15-2010, 12:44 PM   #19
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: SE Denver-ish
Oddometer: 6,780
Suspension threads

Thanks to Basketcase:

My stock forks (full extension) are 35 1/4" from the fork cap to the axle centerline. Factory lowered should be 33 3/4".
Metric: stock; 89.5cm: lowered; 85.7cm

Stock fork spring spacer: 37mm diameter (1.465") - 40mm tall (1.58")

The stock DR shock is 455mm long with 128mm travel. (info from another inmate)
Stock rear spring rate is 6.5kg/mm

Stock shock preload:
10.0" (253.5mm) Softest
9.7" (247.5mm) Standard
9.4" (238.5mm) Stiffest

Stock links are 4.5" center to center (115mm)

Shock Spring Seat: stock and lowered

These pics are from the manual:
If you can see the notch at the arrow, your spring seat has been flipped to the lowered position and your shock travel is limited (by intent, when lowering). Also note that the bolt in the clevis changes holes.
Nothing is changed inside the shock.

Stock <-----------------------------------------------------------------> Lowered (yes, it looks raised)

Added 4-4-14:
For fork oil I measure 19.1 oz and pour it in each leg (565ml), per the manual. It's easier than the (compress fork with spring out and measure down 6.5"). When I had the forks apart I drilled and tapped each fork cap, 1/8 NPT. Always use a cutting oil when tapping alum, WD-40 works fine.

Ignore the fork being slipped up in the triple, it's just an experiment.

Then I use one of these with a zip tie loose enough to slide up-n-down. Now I can adjust my oil level without disassembly, which came in handy when I put a 320mm rotor on the front. The brake works so much better that the fork dive with .45 Eibachs, was too much for my liking. Stock oil level is 16-1/8" (forks fully extended, with springs and caps installed), I added 20ml and ended up at 14-7/8". That's 1 1/4" or 5/8" per 10ml. You don't even have to move your handi-bars, way better than removing the springs and collapsing the forks everytime you want to experiment with oil levels.

Motion Pro P/N: 08-0121:

Ignore the oil bubble:

Added 3-11-15:
Things I tried to avoid spending money, that I didn't have, on improving the DR's forks.

Initially, I rode the DR pretty conservatively so the soft springs didn't bother me much, except for excessive brake dive. I started riding in the dirt and the first thing Dirt Bike Magazine taught me was the importance of the front brake, the harder you can brake the faster you can go between corners. So I've always worked on threshold braking, which is 99% front brake. Doing that on the DR was intimidating to me on the pavement, even with the wimpy stock brake. When I upgraded to a 320mm rotor, things got

Easiest (still using stock springs): Increase spring preload. I'm 185 in street clothes, 210 in full ATGATT (which I recommend ). I started with 1/2" additional spacer because I was using 1/4" plexiglass (scrap available), but it was too stiff, so I backed off to 1/4", which was too soft. But both improved brake dive by a bunch. I never tried 3/8" but it would have been my number with stock springs. I found enough change under the couch cushions to finance springs and emulators, so that's where I went. Still thinking I would be riding pretty conservatively, I went with the softest spring rate I could find, which was .45 Eibach's. I don't remember if I got them from PC or Cogent.

Most guys use fender washers, they're more 'adjustable'. 37mm OD

Stock heavy steel spacer on the left, Eibach spacer in the center, Cogent DDC spacer on the right. So the OD isn't critical, but the Eibach is pretty small IMO. ALWAYS put a steel washer between the spring and a plastic spacer.

In the early 70's, one of the fads was air forks, remove springs completely, add schrader valves to the fork caps, air up and ride. I rode an entire summer with no fork springs. There's a very small volume of air in each fork and getting the air pressure balanced between the two was difficult, the solution was a cross over tube. Now instead of two chambers, there was one larger one, so both forks had the same pressure. Back then we used copper as the cross over with flared ends. It was a PITA to get the bend perfect so there wouldn't be any 'loading' on the copper. If you pulled it into position with the flare nuts, the copper would get brittle and crack (and leak ). This happened to me once on the trail and I rode many miles back to the trailer with the forks completely collapsed.

I tried this on the DR too, except I kept the springs and just added a few pounds of air to control brake dive. The cross over is something I found in the plumbing section at Home Depot IIRC. Since the air volume is small, I added a gauge so I wouldn't have to check air pressure (and I wanted to know if the 'system' was leaking). My first choice was a fluid dampened 0-15 pound gauge, I thought it would be good for my 5-6 pound air pressure. It wasn't ... every time the forks compressed a lot, like on a rocky downhill, the needle bounced off of the MAX peg like a machine gun. The 0-30 pounder got the job done. Note: if your bike spends much time on its side, oil will transfer from one fork to the other, some sort of pinhole baffle between the two sides would slow this down and still allow air pressure to equalize.

I got the gauge at Northern Tools, <$20 IIRC

CAUTION: Use a regulated air source, do NOT hit the forks with 100 pounds of tank pressure.

The goop that looks like thread sealant is oil soaked Teflon tape.

Close up of the parts used, with the 0-30 gauge. The parts are loose in the photo, that female fitting points down into the fork cap.

I've always used 1/8" NPT thread fittings. NPT is a tapered fitting and will self seal in the fork cap. If you don't like the air forks, plug the caps, I always use Teflon tape so I don't gall the threads.

1/8" NPT

Pics taken after removal, just positioned.

The cross over doesn't go straight across, it's arced rearward toward the gas tank.

Answers to some earlier questions:
Yep, an 8.x spring in the rear will make the brake dive worse with stock fork springs.

Fork preload thoughts:
Some time ago the subject was fork preload, the reply (from someone I respect) was: use the spring rate necessary for your riding conditions, the preload recommended for your damper of choice (emulator, Intiminator or DDC) and don't sweat the sag. Sometimes it isn't going to be a strict 30% (or whatever) of total travel.

Cogent was pretty clear that the DDCs want 8-10mm preload, I want to raise my spring rate from .45 to .50 because I'm riding much faster with the suspension upgrades. The newest recommended rate is .525 but I never do air time. With this information, sag becomes unimportant for my riding.

Another very experienced DR rider has said that .55 is his upper spring rate for dual sport riding the DR. Although there is a .60 .70 .80 rate available, the DR isn't a MX bike IMO.

Loose on the gravel on turn in:
Are you running a full knobby on the front? It makes the DR a much better dirt bike. I ran a dual sport tire for 40, 000 miles and had to ride like a girl to keep the front tire under me.

Stock fork oil is 10w and is still your best choice. 15w will make the forks harsh (or so I've read). I don't remember what a 7 or 5 weight might do.

I think the first move is adding 3/8" preload, then work with oil level. Disclaimer: I never messed with oil level, it wasn't in my consciousness when making my changes.

Absolutely worth the trouble to drill and tap the fork caps.
2004 DR650: 62,605 miles
2013 WR250R

Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
"BTW, I don't do style. It's a dirt bike, not some girlie dress-up thing." -

ER70S-2 screwed with this post 03-11-2015 at 10:59 PM
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:30 AM   #20
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Location, location
Oddometer: 7
Some info on mounting RMZ forks to a DR650 can be found here:

abmwrydr screwed with this post 12-30-2010 at 04:08 PM Reason: RMZ forks on a DR
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:14 PM   #21
Krusty ... OP
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Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Richardson, TX
Oddometer: 7,600
ElkElama Suspension ( now offers a rear shock for the DR650.

TheFrenchCanadian shared his review of it, and how it stacks up against the Cogent-
"...choosing a DR indicates an affinity for peace, harmony and enlightenment. Serenity lies in accepting it as it is, changing what you want, and the wisdom of knowing it ain't orange." -psmcd
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:00 PM   #22
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 461
USD fork conversion

The front end of a YZ426 will also fit up nicely to the DR frame. There are three major challenges with converting to usd forks; the triple, front axle and brake caliper. And three less demanding items; speedo, headlight and ignition switch.

Surprisingly the DR triple stem is larger in diameter than the YZ (30mm vs 28mm), a problem easily solved by leaving the stock DR races in the frame and using the YZ bearings on the new triple. The YZ triple is a little longer than the DR so you will also have to come up with a spacer of about 12mm to get everything to fit snugly.

The DR uses a smallish 17mm front axle while the YZ and many other dirt oriented bikes use a 20mm axle. The easiest solution is to simply mount up a matching front wheel to the forks you have chosen.

Last item on the list is the brake caliper. Fortunately the DR uses a common design that will bolt right up to the YZ and I believe other models as well. The stock YZ rotor is 250mm vs the 290mm of the DR. An aftermarket EBC oversize rotor with mounting bracket measuring 280mm is readily available.

Most of the usd forks have more travel (11"-12" vs 10.2") than the DR so the front end may be a little long after mounting everything up. Easily solved by sliding the forks slightly above the top triple and/or when rebuilding the shocks slimming down the bushings to lose a little height.

Picture below of '01 YZ426 front end on my '03 DR. Since I was planning to convert from stock speedo to vapor no issues there. And rather than try to mount the stock headlight that I never liked anyway now is the time to draw up a plan for something new.

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Old 03-21-2011, 11:45 PM   #23
Big Bearded Boy
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Joplor, NC
Oddometer: 1,337
I bought a set of adjustable links (dog bones) from Soupy's Performance.

They typically sell lowering links, but I had them make a set of links to raise the bike. You have to contact them directly to have them made. Ran me about $30 more than the lowering links for the "custom" work.

I'll post results when I get them installed (minimum and maximum seat height).
Current Steed: '08 FJR1300
9 states left to ride: WI, MN, ND, SD, UT, OK, KS, AK, and HI.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:16 PM   #24
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: SE Denver-ish
Oddometer: 6,780
Footpeg Lowering Brackets CAD

Thanks to NordieBoy:

2004 DR650: 62,605 miles
2013 WR250R

Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
"BTW, I don't do style. It's a dirt bike, not some girlie dress-up thing." -

ER70S-2 screwed with this post 10-22-2011 at 10:29 AM Reason: Linked Photo
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:33 AM   #25
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: So. Oregon
Oddometer: 3,982
Is there any better bolt-on, drop-in suspension than Ricor intimators and rear shock for an aggressive novice rider?
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I may not be Rainman, but I'm not stupid eighter. Like Bartek on a taco.

I'll die with this hammer in my hand.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:03 AM   #26
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Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
Oddometer: 1,774
since buying my DR in May i've put on 5000 slab miles and i've always hated the wallowy unstable turn in of the DR forks. i got used to it in the twisties but i still hated that millisecond of disconnected about-to-washout feeling.

did a fork swap and the wallow is gone, you turn in and feel it the entire way, no more unsettled moments. you can upgrade the internals all you want and add on braces & whatknot but you're still throwing money at a weak streetbike fork.

i used KYBs because that's what i had, not the most technologically advanced forks, but they work way better than the stock boingers.
530EXCR and a bunch of 2 strokes that you dont want to read about. :)

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Old 08-24-2011, 12:33 PM   #27
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Location: Kiwiland
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But after dropping Intiminators in, they're no longer stock boingers.
DR650 Wiki
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:33 AM   #28
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Joined: May 2002
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Oddometer: 19,120
basketcase sent me a PM with the frame paint match.
he said it was an exact match for the silver frame.

Duplicolor NGFM360 - 2-1 Scratch Fix - Ford Dark Shadow Gray

8oz spray:
Butler Maps - motorcycle maps for riders by riders -
NM map COBDR AZBDR IDBDR South East map
Butler Maps website:
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:41 AM   #29
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: PNW heading south
Oddometer: 13
Intiminators with stock springs and Cogent rear good enough for the TAT, SA, and beyond?
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:17 AM   #30
Krusty ... OP
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Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Richardson, TX
Oddometer: 7,600
Originally Posted by livin2day View Post
Intiminators with stock springs and Cogent rear good enough for the TAT, SA, and beyond?
Stock fork springs are pretty soft. You mention elsewhere you're considering a Safari tank, and I expect the usual loads that RTW motorcycles end up carrying (extra water, fuel, camping gear, racks, luggage, etc.). Unless you're a featherweight, stiffer front springs might be a necessity.
"...choosing a DR indicates an affinity for peace, harmony and enlightenment. Serenity lies in accepting it as it is, changing what you want, and the wisdom of knowing it ain't orange." -psmcd
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