Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Lake George, NY
Stock suspension OK for light riders
Rather than hijack the "Suspension Tips" thread which I've been reading, I've started this fresh one to discuss stock suspension and lighter riders.
I have no doubt that if a rider is well over 200 pounds and particularly if aggressively riding the dirt, that the stock suspension may prove to be inadequate.
However I'm about 150 pounds, 5 ft 9 and sliding into a senior citizendom. That said, as an ex-racer, I do occasionally hammer my Shinko 805 shod, 2010 KLR on Northeast trails.
My bike still has stock suspension, although I rebuilt my front forks last winter; drained out the original (filthy) oil and installed new seals along with fresh 10wt, a little more oil than the stock recommendation so as to reduce the air space and increase progressivity, so they wouldn't bottom mechanically when I do hit a big one.
A few friends and I did the length of the MABDR last Spring and sure enough I did get a little competitive with an 800GS. Hit some waterbars at about 40 and did lightly bottom the forks mechanically a couple of times.
IMHO, that means the setup was nearly perfect. You do want to make sure you get the full length of the stroke once in awhile. If you never ever bottom it out, then your spring rate is maybe a little too stiff.
A word about progressivity. There is enthusiasm for DDC and Ricor systems which create di-ggressivity. And yet folks buy aftermarket Pro-gressive Springs. I guess I don't get it. Let's all get together folks. Which way are we trying to go? progressive or digressive?
My rear shocks are still stock. Spring preload is jacked up one or two notches depending upon how much weight is in my soft saddlebags. The dampening is also up two clicks. Same story back there, namely I want to bottom once or twice a season to make sure I'm using it all.
The shortcoming in the rear is manifested when accelerating hard out of stutter bumps. That heavy rear wheel gets banging up and down interrupting traction. That's where I could use a better (or maybe just rebuilt) shock.
At both ends I have about 1/3 sag when seated. That's about right.
I do wish I could compare my KLR to one with Cogent suspension set up for someone of my weight and riding style. You never know what you don't know. Ignorance is bliss, and all that stuff...