Any diference between 2014 and 2015 factory suspensions? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 16 Old 07-22-2016, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Any diference between 2014 and 2015 factory suspensions?

I'm almost ready to close the sale on dealer hold over 2015.

One of the first things that I planned on doing was replacing the rear shock spring and front fork springs with Progressive units.

However, I read that the 2014 "New" Edition, whatever that means, came with stiffer suspension and a few other changes that weren't available on the non "New" Edition.

Did these changes make it over to the regular production run for later years?

I'm asking because I tried bouncing the forks on the show room floor and they felt pretty stiff. Also, there wasn't too much suspension sag when I climbed on and sat down. Based on what I'd read, I expected them to be soft and bouncy.

If I don't have to swap out the springs straight away, I'll spend more towards other mods. But no biggie if I still need to replace the springs.

Thanks!

Last edited by subvetssn; 07-22-2016 at 08:01 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-22-2016, 08:43 PM
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Yes, the 2014.5 and later have the updated suspension. I have a 15 and the suspension is awesome. I traded in a cb1000r for it. That should give you an idea of how I push it on the pavement. I'm in Florida, so off road I can't say how the suspension is on rocks. But in my honest opinion I can't see why anyone would upgrade the newer suspension. I had an 09 Harley nightstster that really needed suspension...lol. I think you'll find the stock is just fine.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-22-2016, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Back2Kawi View Post
Yes, the 2014.5 and later have the updated suspension. I have a 15 and the suspension is awesome. I traded in a cb1000r for it. That should give you an idea of how I push it on the pavement. I'm in Florida, so off road I can't say how the suspension is on rocks. But in my honest opinion I can't see why anyone would upgrade the newer suspension. I had an 09 Harley nightstster that really needed suspension...lol. I think you'll find the stock is just fine.
Thanks.

I'm new to dual sporting and my starter bike (a Yamaha XT250) was stolen. I thought that I'd turn lemons into lemonade and upgrade bikes.

This, however, means that my off road experience is limited to the XT with it's soft suspension and limited travel. My 200# plus gear frame meant that the rear was bottomed out from the start. I never felt comfortable going faster than 25-30 in gravel because the front liked to wonder and jostle around. Off the beaten path, hitting anything larger than, say, a softball would cause the front to nearly jackknife and try to bounce me off the seat. It's safe to say that I spent a lot of time in the rough stuff with my feet dragging the ground because I never had the confidence to become more aggressive.

Long story made short, any bike should be better than the XT.

Since the 2015 I'm looking at has the upgraded springs, I'm still wondering if there's any perceived benefit in swapping them out anyway or is doing so beyond a point of diminishing returns?

I already have a skid plate and crash bars budgeted for as well as a set of Bark busters and heated grips. If I stay with stock srpings, what essential upgrades should I put the $200 towards that I've already allocated? (Already have gear - summer and winter).

Last edited by subvetssn; 07-22-2016 at 08:59 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-22-2016, 09:08 PM
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I immediately went with motech crash bars. Then a couple months later I added a jns skidplate. As far as suspension, I've never bottomed out, ever. I bottomed out my sportster constantly, so I know the feeling. But I think the stock suspension is fine. Sure you could buy better, I suppose. But ride it and enjoy it. If you find the upgraded suspension isn't for you, then tackle that bridge then. But I must say, after some of the bikes I've owned, this is like driving a Cadillac. But then again we don't have huge rocks down here.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-22-2016, 09:17 PM
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Oh and I added a slip on (fmf power core) and the klr tail bag. Food for thought.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-23-2016, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subvetssn View Post
snip
I already have a skid plate and crash bars budgeted for as well as a set of Bark busters and heated grips. If I stay with stock srpings, what essential upgrades should I put the $200 towards that I've already allocated? (Already have gear - summer and winter).
Congrats on your new purchase and welcome.

Consider pointing a few dollars of your budget toward these essentials:
  • Low profile oil drain bolt ($9 Eagle Mike +ship)
  • High-grade lower subframe bolts, M8-28 125 pitch ($3 Any Hardware Store)

A nice non-essential mod is DirtRacks Rear Guards ($99 + Ship). Protection and good for soft saddles. The right guard prevents removal of the right fairing, but the unbolted right fairing drops down enough to get to the seat bolt. The left guard does not prevent removal of the fairing. No passenger interference.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-23-2016, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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DirtRacks Rear Guards[/url] ($99 + Ship). Protection and good for soft saddles. The right guard prevents removal of the right fairing, but the unbolted right fairing drops down enough to get to the seat bolt. The left guard does not prevent removal of the fairing. No passenger interference.
I haven't picked it up yet. Still waiting on my insurance company to offer a settlement. But, hopefully soon.

Thanks for link for the rail.

I think that a doohickey kit and protection for the rear should take priority over suspension mods given the newer bikes have stiffer springs from the factory.

Last edited by subvetssn; 07-23-2016 at 09:07 PM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-25-2016, 11:32 AM
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Since the 2015 I'm looking at has the upgraded springs, I'm still wondering if there's any perceived benefit in swapping them out anyway or is doing so beyond a point of diminishing returns?
The 2014.5 NE and later models have stiffer springs and dampening on both ends....I don't have the figures in front of me but the differences are signficant which is a good thing as prior to 2014.5, the suspension was set for a 160 lb guy with no gear.

Now, while the "new" suspension has much more appropriate springs and dampening for most riders, you need to understand that it's still the same 1980's budget KLR suspension that they have always used with a cheap emulsion shock and old school damper rod forks. Because of this, I can say with confidence that yes, there is still a big difference between the "new" stock KLR suspension and the aftermarket stuff from Cogent, Racetech and others.

That said, you may (and probably will) be fine with the stock suspension. The "need" for better suspension depends on usage, expectations and budget....but make no mistake, there is a big difference. In my case, I ride offroad extensively and without my Cogent suspension, I would have replaced my KLR's with KTM690's by now.

Now, all that said, setting the sag to appropriate levels is necessary for any motorcycle suspension to work properly. Read: Suspension and Springs

Cheers,
Dave
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-25-2016, 11:43 AM
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I think that a doohickey kit and protection for the rear should take priority over suspension mods given the newer bikes have stiffer springs from the factory.
In my opinion, the second gen doohickey isn't a ticking time bomb. Again, you will get mixed reviews. But the doohickey itself is way beefier than the gen one. Some will say spring issues still remain. As for me, my first adjustment will be per the manual at 7500 miles and then 7500 thereafter. There have been some on here that have done the doohickey on a second gen themselves (Not by mechanics) and have found that indeed the stock setup still had tension on it. Part of me wonders how many failures on the gen one may have been operator error. What I mean by that is the doohickey itself was a rather thin unit with a very small torque spec. Over adjustment with over torquing it may have compromised the doohickey itself, resulting in failure. Im not saying your wasting your time with the doohickey. Many on here do it, especially for peace of mind. And if I had a pre-owned gen 1, it would be the first thing I did. But a new gen2, maybe way down the line if I feel abnormal vibration or odd sounds from the left engine case. Again, some on here will say that's already too late. I'll take my chances.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-25-2016, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Back2Kawi View Post
In my opinion, the second gen doohickey isn't a ticking time bomb. Again, you will get mixed reviews. But the doohickey itself is way beefier than the gen one. Some will say spring issues still remain. As for me, my first adjustment will be per the manual at 7500 miles and then 7500 thereafter. There have been some on here that have done the doohickey on a second gen themselves (Not by mechanics) and have found that indeed the stock setup still had tension on it. Part of me wonders how many failures on the gen one may have been operator error. What I mean by that is the doohickey itself was a rather thin unit with a very small torque spec. Over adjustment with over torquing it may have compromised the doohickey itself, resulting in failure. Im not saying your wasting your time with the doohickey. Many on here do it, especially for peace of mind. And if I had a pre-owned gen 1, it would be the first thing I did. But a new gen2, maybe way down the line if I feel abnormal vibration or odd sounds from the left engine case. Again, some on here will say that's already too late. I'll take my chances.

I agree; a Gen1 doohickey lever is indeed a ticking time bomb, but the Gen2 isn't IMO. That said; the eaglemike unit is better and the torsion spring is a better design. Most people in the know suggest that the Gen2 spring is often out of tension by about 5,000 - 7,500 miles but it isn't likely to dissolve into a bunch of fragments like a Gen1 is almost guaranteed to do eventually....

Dave
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