Rear suspension tuning - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

 
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-03-2015, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Sandy, OR
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Rear suspension tuning

Hello everyone, I just bought my first motorcycle, a 2007 KLR650, and know nothing (almost) about them, my friend had me hop up and down on the pegs to test the suspension and the rear felt like it was bottoming out. I was wondering if this is normal or if I need to or even can stiffen it up some. Any advise would rock!
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-03-2015, 05:34 PM
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Someone else will have to tell about real suspension tuning with aftermarket parts, springs ordered for your weight and all that.

The first gen KLR springs are soft and setting the preload is NOT a fix for this but it makes the bike handle fine for me. I crank the preload to "5" or maximum. Look for the preload adjustment in front of the battery; there's a nut in the side of the shock body and some numbers on the body beside it. Turning clockwise increases the preload and you can see it push the spring farther from the shock mount.

I weigh 160 or 165. Preload may not be enough if you're much heavier and you may need the correct fix which means springs with the correct "rate" for your weight.

I wouldn't adjust rebound damping (the wheel on the bottom of the shock) until you can run tests. In general, ride over a washboard road. If the bike seems to settle lower, then the shock is not rebounding enough between bumps and you need to decrease the rebound damping. If the rear of the bike climbs while riding washboards then the shock is rebounding too fast and you need to increase the rebound damping.

Rebound damping and preload are the only adjustments on the stock shock.

Have fun!
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-03-2015, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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I am about 270. Just found Eibach springs, they give the weight ranges and they are only $90.
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-04-2015, 12:06 PM
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If one keeps always in mind that the suspension's job is to keep the tires in contact with the ground/road it can help to visualize operation, IMO.

If one had solid suspension, the problem will be that each bump with accelerate mass of the bike upward, often causing the tire to leave the surface. When the bump is cleared, gravity will need to return the bike to a position allowing the tire to contact the road again.

The tires cannot drive, or otherwise influence the bike when they are in the air so the ideal is for the tire to remain always in contact with the ground. In addition, the less downward pressure on the tire, the less traction so even partially reducing affects handling.

The job of the springs is to allow wheel movement while allowing the main mass of the the bike to remain in position so, more suspension travel is usually better up to a limit of weight and geometry. Softer springs will generally require more suspension movement as can be readily understood. The KLR has much less suspension travel than most true off road bikes so will usually require stiffer springs.

I recommend that you start by reading about sag and playing with your front suspension by making and changing spring spacers. As Grinnin stated, there are compromises to the rear which may be fine for your purposes.

Here's the first sag article I grabbed so haven't read it, however the concepts are simple so unlikely to differ much from others: Suspension and Springs

There are people here who know far more about suspension than I but often they have too many commitments to more important things like family and making a living so may not hear from them on general questions. I recommend that you play with yours and do some reading, then pose more specific questions for the more expert to answer.

We have some suspension professionals in some of the groups and I've noticed that they tend not to respond to the very simple questions. My wife often uses the term "simple" in reference to me so I take that as my cue. ;-)
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