Update: I replaced the steering stem bushings, races, seals, and hardware. Also replaced the swingarm and rocker arm bearings, bushings, seals, and hardware. Torqued everything per the manual, including the castle nut on the stem under the upper triple clamp. Also lowered the fork tubes 20 mm as a test. Still have the oscillations with load or without, though worse with load, of course. All the bearings and bushings I pulled out looked fine, but I am eliminating causes. (peace of mind for $460 in parts all told, including fork parts).
Then I disassembled the forks...now checking the tube run-out and replacing all bushings, seals, dust covers, and circlips. Again, they all looked fine but I am eliminating causes.
I will then assemble the forks and fill with 5W in lieu of 10W in an attempt to get the egregiously over-damped forks to actually compress while riding. (I know the spring is still too stiff...this is just a test) Those of you who have the softer, earlier, forks that bottom....be glad. At least they compress:-) Also be glad you have a nut-shaped damper rod top that lets you hold the damper rod while unscrewing the bottom allen bolt. My 2016 has a round damper rod top, and the Kawi special tool for the purpose is square with sharp edges. You put the square against the inside of the round damper top, and, while it works to get the allen off if you push on the tool like he**, it also grates small pieces of metal out of the top of the damper rod. So I get to rinse the inside of the fork to get all the metal shavings out of it after I install the damper rods. This is a seriously ridiculous design, which will destroy the top of the damper rod over time and multiple removals/installations, or the new seal immediately from an errant sliver. What was Kawi thinking?? They had a great design with the earlier nut top!....oh yeah, it is likely cheaper to make the damping rod top round and not have to form the nut shape.....they probably saved at least 0.05 cents ;-) (Oh yeah, and I have to either use a welder or grinder to remove the bottom steering race because there is no room over the lower race to fit ANY tool above it to pop it out...including the Kawi special tool! As an engineer, these kind of design failures drive me crazy. But I tell myself the bike was $6K. Lots of room there to spend some $$ before I hit the price of other bikes. And they aren't perfect, either. 'Nuff on that.
Once back together with the wheel bearings, forks, stem, and the rear suspension eliminated as possible causes of the oscillation, I will check once more for a cracked frame and, if none, I will set the preload to get reasonable rider sag and ride the bike with *no* additional load other than me as the rider (so I have no geometry changes due to using the stock spring with a 100# camping load).
If it doesn't oscillate in this configuration, then I would be confident paying the cash for full cogent.
If it still oscillates in this configuration with just me then it came that way new from Kawi, since I just changed everything that could cause it. My choice then to use the bike would be to 1. change the springs front (softer) and rear (stiffer for camping load) (or go full Cogent damping and springs), toss the hard metal cases in lieu of lighter soft cases and lessen and distribute the camping load closer to the CoG, and hope that this all results in the oscillation at unloaded at least getting no worse when loaded. Choice 2 would be to get rid of the bike.
I know the super stiff spring and stiff damping in the forks is precluding any compression over softer bumps, with or without a camping load on the back, and this is sending high forces through the entire bike. I am of the same mind as dirt road that this is a primary cause of the oscillation, and that then putting a 110# camping load on the racks with most of the weight behind the rear axle (by pannier rack design) just exacerbates the problem tenfold.
Bottom line, I am looking for softer forks, lighter loads, and no change in location of CoG when fully loaded (i.e. load distributed so as to retain same front/rear weight ratio as when unloaded) to solve the problem. If it doesn't, then this bike will be a garden gnome and I will eat the carrots that my wife grows out of it! haha! :-D
Yes, full Cogent right out of the gate might just fix it all with proper spring rates and damping rates for camping loads...but I have to go stepwise like this because I don't want to spend up to $2K on Cogent suspension, only to find out that doesn't fix the problem, and that the real problem is the frame and engineered chassis system is just too weak. I am trying to get "proof of concept" with my tests before I drop any huge coin.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have purchased a 2013.
I will keep you folks posted.
Last edited by Yeravener; 08-02-2019 at 10:52 PM.