Rear Suspension setting? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-26-2010, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Rear Suspension setting?

Does anyone have a favorite rear suspension setting (stock) when loaded up pretty good with camping gear for a few days? I know trial and error and personal preference etc... but I haven't messed much with the pre-load on the rear shock, and I am gonna load it up pretty good for a short 3 day trip this weekend and just wanna hear what you all have to say about it...
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 06:06 AM
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Well, some real helpful information would be a guess at the amount of weight you plan on carrying. Also, which generation bike [Gen I or Gen II], any suspension modifications, or is it factory stock? What type of terrain do you anticipate riding in? All of this would play a factor for me in shock adjustment.

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post #3 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Probably about 300 lbs total including me. Suspension is stock and I have a 2009. I'll be travelling mostly backroads of Gifford Pinchot National forest in Washington, with some FS roads thrown in as well. In short, not much if any, super slab.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 10:06 AM
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jlmoore-

That's about the same amount of weight that I ride with.

In short, I found the stock shock inadequate.

My setting was 5 on the preload. I set the rebound by riding on washboard. The rebound was adjusted until the shock started to pack up, then backed off a bit. A shock packs up when the rebound will not allow the shock to return to length after a bump. The sensation is that, as you go over washboard, the bike sits down in the rear.

That was about the best I could do with the stock unit.

I'm convinced that Clysdales such us us should have the Moab shock built for our needs.the Progessive 465 is now out and reputed to be better than the company's previous offering, the 420, but I have no experience with it.

Tom

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post #5 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
jlmoore-

That's about the same amount of weight that I ride with.

In short, I found the stock shock inadequate.

My setting was 5 on the preload. I set the rebound by riding on washboard. The rebound was adjusted until the shock started to pack up, then backed off a bit. A shock packs up when the rebound will not allow the shock to return to length after a bump. The sensation is that, as you go over washboard, the bike sits down in the rear.

That was about the best I could do with the stock unit.

I'm convinced that Clysdales such us us should have the Moab shock built for our needs.the Progessive 465 is now out and reputed to be better than the company's previous offering, the 420, but I have no experience with it.

Tom
Tom, would you give a step by step to adjusting both settings on the shock? I know a few folks that are nervous about messing with the settings, as there were some adjuster failures in the early Gen II models, if I understand correctly.

I'd like to throw this into the mix also:

http://www.topgunmotorcycles.com/KLR...lrsprings.html

I have been around these springs on Gen I bikes, and have noticed a huge improvement. I do not know how well they do on Gen II set ups. For the Gen I bike, it is a great improvement for a low amount of money.

Top Gun motorcycles sets up rally bikes and RTW, SA and other long distance multi-surface motorcycles. Their goal seems to be more along the lines of reliability over high performance and high maintenance.

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[/I]
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 12:50 PM
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Yes, some words on that might be a good thing.

On all KLRs the preload adjustment is done by turning an eccentric cam via a 12mm bolt at the top of the shock. The cam has 5 settings, 1 being the least amount of preload, and 5 the most. There are markings on the top of the shock body and the eccentric cover’s edge will line up with the marking that denotes the setting.

Now, on the Gen1 KLRs we were advised to turn the adjustment only in a clockwise direction, proceeding from 1 through 5 and back to 1. The ramping on the eccentric was, apparently, such that undue force was required to go backwards. When the adjustment was taken from 5 to 1 there was a loud ‘bang!’ as the preload was released from the highest setting to the lowest setting. It scares a lot of people, but does no harm.

On the Gen2 bikes the shock was changed for an (allegedly) more robust unit. The eccentric was changed as well, though it is unclear why Kawasaki couldn’t have left well enough alone. The early Gen2 units had a tendency to break during adjustment. It was fixed under warranty, but was a real bummer. Later in production the thing was changed and the reports of breakage seemed to have faded away. At one point I tried to poll people as to the color of the adjustment nut to try and determine if the color of the nut indicated the production change. There were black nuts and white nuts. Never did figure it out conclusively.

Also on the Gen2s, we’re now told that we can rotate the nut in either the clockwise or counter clockwise direction, indicating that the ramping configuration of the eccentric has been changed to allow that.

On my stock Gen2 shock, I sprayed some chain lube into the top of the adjustment mechanism to lube the eccentric to help prevent possible breakage. It didn’t seem to hurt and may have helped, so seems a good idea.

Here’s a video that makes it pretty clear – it’s on a 2006, but the process is the same on the Gen2s:


The rebound adjustment on the Gen2s is different from the Gen1. The Gen1 shocks had a dial dealie-bob up under a plastic cover. On the Gen2 it is a dial dealie-bob down low on the shock, on the clevis.

Now, ‘rebound’ adjustment is actually incorrect. The adjustment affects rebound and compression, so it is actually a ‘dampening’ adjustment.

On the Gen1 bikes, this adjustment was a 5-click thing. On the Gen2 it is stepless. The dampening adjustment is simple on the Gen2, because it is easy to get to and it is not covered up.

Essentially, you adjust the dampening until you are happy. There’s not a lot of science to it, since it affects both directions of shock travel. For me, finding a heavily wash-boarded road and decreasing the dampening until the shock packed up, then adding more dampening in was the best I could do. Frankly, I cannot remember if the dampening is increased by going clockwise or counter-clockwise. It should be fairly evident, though, by adjusting it way to one extreme, then bouncing the bike, then going to the other extreme and bouncing the bike. For the terribly clever, it's also in the manual, which I don't have at my elbow as I write this.

Here’s a picture of the KLR shock, and wouldn’t ya know it, it’s the only one I have and the dampener adjustment is on the other side. Look for it on the right hand side of the bike, on the lower clevis.



I once said that everything I know about motorcycle suspension could fit in this space > |_|.

That is still true…

Tom

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'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 07-27-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great info VA and Tom. For all the stuff I read about motorcycles, I am still one of those folks who don't know the difference between pre-load, rebound or dampening (sp?). The video was very helpful. So just to clarify for me, what does the dampening adjustment do again? Is it vary how fast the shock returns to its normal pre-load adjusted setting? Also, what do you mean the shock "packed up"?

Last edited by jlmoore; 07-27-2010 at 06:39 PM. Reason: extra question
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlmoore View Post
Does anyone have a favorite rear suspension setting (stock) when loaded up pretty good with camping gear for a few days? I know trial and error and personal preference etc... but I haven't messed much with the pre-load on the rear shock, and I am gonna load it up pretty good for a short 3 day trip this weekend and just wanna hear what you all have to say about it...
I made "insert" pcs for coil shock,,made out of coil shock insert pcs for cars that you can get at auto parts store. No more sqash and sinking at rear when you get on it. Put in 2 per side,,evenly spaced. Cost: 4$
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 08:29 PM
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jlmoore-

Yes, dampening controls how fast the shock returns to it's original length. In truth, the fluid inside the shock, and the orifices it goes through, dampens the action if the spring. Without that the spring would just boing up and down until its own internal friction stopped it.
The dampening adjust ment controls how fast it is allowed to return to length.
Now, imagine if you set the dampening to be very slow, or perhaps 'stiff' is a way to describe it. If you were to ride the bike over a washboard surface the shock would compress when you hit a bump. With the dampening set to stiff or slow, the shock could not extend after you had passed the bump, so it is compressed when you hit the next bump. The shock would compress a bit more. Rinse, lather, repeat until the spring rate won't let the shock compress further. In other words, it has stopped working. That's a 'packed up' shock. The sensation would be, as you ride over the first few bumps, that the rear of the bike has sat down. Sort of like a dog that has a poo stuck to its butt, and it's dragging its ass across the carpet to wipe it off.

Tom

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'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-27-2010, 08:54 PM
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There is a bit more I should add, and then I think we shall have exhausted my knowledge of rear suspension.
I mentioned earlier that I found the stock shock inadequate.
The reason for that was setting the static sag at the rear. For proper suspension performance, the rear sag should be set at about 30% of the suspension travel. If the bike has, say, 9 inches of travel in the rear, then the suspension have settled (compressed) 3 inches when you and all your stuff is sitting on the bike.
With the stock shock at a pre-load of 5, mine was compressed more than that.
The Moab shock cured that.

Tom

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'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte
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