Rear shock replace vs rebuild - Page 3 - 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 #21 of 40 Old 11-15-2017, 09:58 AM
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To some extent it actually IS about not knowing any better.....like Paul Thede from Racetech has famously coined, " the best you've ridden is the best you know". All that said, I always say the best solution depends on your usage, expectations and budget....and those things are going to differ from person to person so there is no wrong answer though I try to make people aware of the pros and cons. For me; to have rebuilding the stock shock make sense you'd have to be a decent mechanic with a good selection of tools, lots of time and a tight budget....and moderate expectations regarding offroad performance.

I frequent several KLR related forums and groups and just today I saw a used Progressive shock for $250.00 OBO. ....another way to go for those on a tight budget.

Beltdrive; I'm not sure where you're from, but if you are ever up my way, give me a shout and I'll let you take my two KLR's for a ride: I have them dialed in now, the 2001 has a Cogent Moab rear and a DDC kit in the front along with an EM fork brace; the 2000 is set up identically except instead of the Moab I have a Cogent Pro-Series Ultimate shock on it.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #22 of 40 Old 11-15-2017, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
To some extent it actually IS about not knowing any better.....like Paul Thede from Racetech has famously coined, " the best you've ridden is the best you know". All that said, I always say the best solution depends on your usage, expectations and budget....
Dave
True, but I have to admit, I have never had stellar expectations for the performance of my beat up old 2002 KLR. I didn't pay much for it and it's not worth much. I just want it to work, which it does. For me it fills the gap between my R1200GS and my WR450F nicely, both of which have far superior suspension.

Had this thread been posted before I decided to rebuild the shock I would have given the decision more weight. Really, I never even considered buying a new shock if I could fix the old one.

My intent on posting my experience with the rebuild is simply an attempt to give the originator of this thread some perspective, based on my first hand knowledge. I think we have done that. I hope we hear back from Natedlee.

I'm in Northern Ca. It would be great to ride a nicely set up KLR!
BC is beautiful (Still, The Best Place on Earth).
Don't be surprised if I show up someday!
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post #23 of 40 Old 11-15-2017, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by beltdrive View Post
True, but I have to admit, I have never had stellar expectations for the performance of my beat up old 2002 KLR. I didn't pay much for it and it's not worth much. I just want it to work, which it does. For me it fills the gap between my R1200GS and my WR450F nicely, both of which have far superior suspension.

Had this thread been posted before I decided to rebuild the shock I would have given the decision more weight. Really, I never even considered buying a new shock if I could fix the old one.

My intent on posting my experience with the rebuild is simply an attempt to give the originator of this thread some perspective, based on my first hand knowledge. I think we have done that. I hope we hear back from Natedlee.

I'm in Northern Ca. It would be great to ride a nicely set up KLR!
BC is beautiful (Still, The Best Place on Earth).
Don't be surprised if I show up someday!
Your welcome to show up anytime. :-) ....and thanks for not taking my comments the wrong way (can easily happen on a forum). As you have a WR, you know what good suspension is like and while my KLR's can't hold a candle to my KTM300XCW, they work much better than you'd expect them to....frankly, I was shocked when I first did my 2001; it felt like the bike lost 100 lbs due to the reduction in wallowing, bottoming, weaving and other naughty behaviour. I can now carry a decent pace on single track where I couldn't before.

Part of the reason that I upgraded my KLR's is that I sold all the other bikes I had and wanted the KLR's to be adequate at everything. I rode my 2001 KLR stock for years when I had my KTM's and CRF for offroad duty but now I needed the KLR's to pick up some of the slack left from no longer having dedicated offroad bikes.



Cheers,
Dave
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post #24 of 40 Old 11-19-2017, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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(tried @-ing everyone but KLRForums thinks I was linking outside the forums :/ )

Oh wow - thanks for all the replies! I had a busy work week so just getting back to this. SUPER helpful posts and lots to think about.

So I've put a few thousand miles on this bike commuting around the DC beltway and have survived with the height. It's not a big deal really, I do have a 32" inseam, so I'm not hurting. It's just one of those things over time I've decided that if it was slightly lower I'd feel more comfortable - particularly catching myself on trails.

As for riding style - I'm in the 175-190lb area without gear (seriously - currently losing weight). With gear it depends on what I'm doing, but I have 2 Ortleib panniers and a trunk that I'll pack for longer rides.

I'm leaning in the direction of purchasing a one like the Cogent Adventure - or finding a used one. I may actually still rebuild what I have - b/c I can't turn down a chance to tinker.
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post #25 of 40 Old 11-19-2017, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by beltdrive View Post
I have never had stellar expectations for the performance of my beat up old 2002 KLR. I didn't pay much for it and it's not worth much. I just want it to work, which it does. For me it fills the gap between my R1200GS and my WR450F nicely, both of which have far superior suspension.


This statement has been picking at my brain; not because I disagree with any of it but because I think it illustrates just why there are fairly diverse opinions regarding the desirability of more extensive suspension upgrades. I think there are basically two schools of thought; the first uses the value of the bike as the primary metric and the other the functionality of the bike as the main criteria. I'm not suggesting either position is incorrect; only that they are very different ways of looking at the issue.

For me, I think that once you dig below the surface on the KLR, and get past the age of the design, extra porkage and budget components, you begin to expose the underlying offroad based DNA.....it's definitely there, but it is covered up. As I've said many, many times everyone's use and budget are different and I'm not espousing one "best" course of action for all. That said, for ME, I had a need for a certain level of competence from my KLR's in order to be able to do with them what I wanted to do.....while the cost wasn't cheap, the alternative was to replace the bikes with bikes that already had the suspension and capabilities I required.....compared to the cost of that (as well as other compromises inherent in those alternative bikes), the cost of full KLR suspension upgrades was relatively cheap. When I had other offroad bikes in the stable, I was also content with the KLR as-is because I limited it's use to much less challenging terrain at the time. I am probably an atypical KLR owner in that my decision to ride KLR's was based on considerations other than cost; simplicity, reliabilty, longevity and the availability of parts, for eg.

As you've said your BMW and your Yamaha both have "far superior" suspension (true, I have seat time on both), but it doesn't HAVE to be that way; while the KLR can't match the WR's suspenders even with upgrades, it can easily eclipse the Beemer's and can get closer than you'd think to the Yamaha. Is that needed? yes for some and no, for others.

All this to say; the KLR doesn't HAVE to have good suspension, only that the solution exists if you decide you need or want it....and it works very well.

Thanks to Beltdrive for providing the thought provoking comment and apologies, in advance, for the rambling and semi-esoteric post.

cheers,
Dave
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post #26 of 40 Old 11-19-2017, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Natedlee View Post
(tried @-ing everyone but KLRForums thinks I was linking outside the forums :/ )

Oh wow - thanks for all the replies! I had a busy work week so just getting back to this. SUPER helpful posts and lots to think about.

So I've put a few thousand miles on this bike commuting around the DC beltway and have survived with the height. It's not a big deal really, I do have a 32" inseam, so I'm not hurting. It's just one of those things over time I've decided that if it was slightly lower I'd feel more comfortable - particularly catching myself on trails.

As for riding style - I'm in the 175-190lb area without gear (seriously - currently losing weight). With gear it depends on what I'm doing, but I have 2 Ortleib panniers and a trunk that I'll pack for longer rides.

I'm leaning in the direction of purchasing a one like the Cogent Adventure - or finding a used one. I may actually still rebuild what I have - b/c I can't turn down a chance to tinker.
While I'm a bit taller, I also have a 32" inseam and weigh about 190lbs. ....I don't have panniers or top boxes though. As far as the "catching yourself on trails"....that's more a matter of practice than anything. If you want to consider a used aftermarket shock; https://www.facebook.com/groups/klrm...56984869072468 the 420 isn't the best shock available but it is better than stock. ....probably won't last long.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #27 of 40 Old 11-20-2017, 08:54 AM
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Your call (replace or rebuild).

I spent a couple of days at the Cogent shop three summers ago, while my two KLRista companions had "suspension makeovers," both Generations represented. Further, my riding companion (85,000 miles on his '08) has a Cogent shock, refreshed (I think) three times by the manufacturer.

Thus . . . based upon my observation . . . I'd be inclined to go Cogent if shopping for a shock. The meticulous care of the Cogent operation, the personal tailoring of the shock for the rider and his style and environment, the after-sale service . . . all appear outstanding, in my view. I'd dig deep into my pocket for the satisfaction of installing a Cogent.

Cogent runs each shock through a shock absorber dynamometer routine; the data is filed; when the shock is returned for service, the record is available to restore like-new performance.

Equivalent competitive shocks may be available; I don't discount them; only--I'd rely on my own direct personal observation of Cogent's quality.
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post #28 of 40 Old 11-20-2017, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
While I'm a bit taller, I also have a 32" inseam and weigh about 190lbs. ....I don't have panniers or top boxes though. As far as the "catching yourself on trails"....that's more a matter of practice than anything. If you want to consider a used aftermarket shock; .... the 420 isn't the best shock available but it is better than stock. ....probably won't last long.

Cheers,
Dave
True about trails, which I have minimal experience on other than rough roads with potholes and some minor terrain. I actually ordered the Adventure Moab last night to just get moving on this. Seems the best shock for the budget, and I'm sure I won't be disappointed. I haven't put much $ into this bike, so I can afford to splurge a little on something so important.
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post #29 of 40 Old 11-20-2017, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Your call (replace or rebuild).

I spent a couple of days at the Cogent shop three summers ago, while my two KLRista companions had "suspension makeovers," both Generations represented. Further, my riding companion (85,000 miles on his '08) has a Cogent shock, refreshed (I think) three times by the manufacturer.

Thus . . . based upon my observation . . . I'd be inclined to go Cogent if shopping for a shock. The meticulous care of the Cogent operation, the personal tailoring of the shock for the rider and his style and environment, the after-sale service . . . all appear outstanding, in my view. I'd dig deep into my pocket for the satisfaction of installing a Cogent.

Cogent runs each shock through a shock absorber dynamometer routine; the data is filed; when the shock is returned for service, the record is available to restore like-new performance.

Equivalent competitive shocks may be available; I don't discount them; only--I'd rely on my own direct personal observation of Cogent's quality.
Thanks for the reply. I ended up buying the Moab last night, so I'm sure I'll be happy with it.
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post #30 of 40 Old 11-20-2017, 02:28 PM
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Congratulations, Natedlee! Kudos for your decision.

Now, think about it. Have you EVER regretted buying the very best product available?

I've regretted (too often) buying something less, but . . . never the best.

Please tell us how you like your new shock after you've installed it and ridden around some.
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