Top Gun Springs - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-17-2011, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Top Gun Springs

After putting a couple thousand miles on my KLR, it became obvious that I was really, really too much for the stock KLR suspension. Nowhere was this so noticeable as it was in the back. I had a lot of 70s luxury car bounce and some head shake at higher speeds. I set the preload to max, and that helped the head shake, but the bounce was still evident. I had to do something. I had the choice of $400-$600 in a shock/spring assembly or $100 on a new spring for the old shock. I ordered the Top Gun 8.0kg spring. I got an email warning me to expect a yellow spring, that it was indeed the 8.0kg spring. Their manufacturer picked up the wrong crayon.

I got the spring within 3 or 4 days. However, I decided to wait until my stock tires expired before doing the work.

Finally the big day arrived. The steps to this are

1)remove the wheel
2)take the top and bottom bolts out of the shock along with the dog bone link bolts.
3) remove the shock
4) swap the springs.
5)reverse order 3 - 1.

The most difficult part of the ordeal is the actual spring swap. This as dangerous. There is a lot of potential energy just waiting to go kinetic. I used a set of am-pro spring compressors from Advance Auto Parts. These are not well suited to this job. The spacing and radius OD this spring is all wrong. I made sure that the ends of the spring was pointed away from me at all times. I laid a towel across the assembly as I could in order to contain any unplanned release of energy as much as possible. Finally, I got the retainer loose and released the spring and started the new one on. If I had this to do over, I would use the multiple 4 inch hose clamps instead of this compressor set.

I got it all back together and finally got to test it Saturday Morning.

WHAT a difference!!! The bike is firmer, the headlights are aimed properly, I do not sink 4 inches upon sitting on the bike. Well worth the money!!!!

Now for the bad, the fork springs have been exposed as the pathetic things they are!!!!

Guess what's in the future!!!!
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-17-2011, 09:24 PM
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Now for the bad, the fork springs have been exposed as the pathetic things they are!!!!

Guess what's in the future!!!!
The Larry Roesler Progressive fork springs work very well... On my Gen 1 bike, I just cut one of the stock spacers in half, and then swapped out the factory 5 weight fork oil with ATF Type F fluid, which is 7.5 weight.. Much firmer ride up front, but the progressive springs soak up the little stuff and reduce the sag..

Cheap fix, with the springs at around $100.

I'm sure a valve change would help, but this is an excellent starting point to see what else you might need.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-18-2011, 05:56 AM
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Thanks for the info, efigalaxie. I've been leaning toward blowing it off, but you guys that have actually done it keep reviving my interest in the Top Gun spring replacement.

I put on raising links shortly after I got my KLR and they helped, but I think the long-term (or at least longer-term) solution short of a complete aftermarket shock is the spring upgrade, at least in my case. My Next Planned Great Ride is a camping ride and I'll be carrying a lot more stuff. My shock's okay so far, but I think time and use will take its toll on it.

I've already bribed the wife to let me Winter the KLR over in a corner of the basement so I can do a teardown/clean/lube/check on it at my leisure. My cousin's kid has an automotive shop in town and he has a spring compressor and would do the spring for me, but I can't decide whether to do that or just send them the whole spring and let them do it along with whatever else they do.

Will be interested to hear what you do with your forks. Keep us posted and thanks for the little jolt that reminds me I should go ahead and do this.



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post #4 of 9 Old 07-18-2011, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Planalp,

Keep this in mind. With the stuff on my seat (sweet cheeks, Wal mart cover, beads) my feet would initially be tiptoes on both sides, then flat foot when I sat down. Now, I have to one foot the bike. Yet, it is not harsh in the ride. Look at their matrix on their website and make sure you order the right one for you.

- David
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-18-2011, 01:06 PM
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Planalp,

Keep this in mind. With the stuff on my seat (sweet cheeks, Wal mart cover, beads) my feet would initially be tiptoes on both sides, then flat foot when I sat down. Now, I have to one foot the bike. Yet, it is not harsh in the ride. Look at their matrix on their website and make sure you order the right one for you.

- David
Will do. I've heard they're very helpful and knowledgeable if you call them in person and go over all your variables with them. I've got a 34" inseam and even with the raising links and the WW seat cover, I can flat-foot, so I should be okay. Might not need the links if I upgrade the spring.



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post #6 of 9 Old 07-20-2011, 06:51 AM
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WHAT a difference!!! The bike is firmer, the headlights are aimed properly, I do not sink 4 inches upon sitting on the bike. Well worth the money!!!!

Now for the bad, the fork springs have been exposed as the pathetic things they are!!!!

Guess what's in the future!!!!
Here is a link to something that might improve your front end a little.

http://www.klrforum.com/showpost.php...72&postcount=3

I think the factory uses fish oil in the forks. A better quality suspension fluid, and a little more of it, along with a little more pre-load on the springs may make things a little more stable for you.

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post #7 of 9 Old 07-20-2011, 08:34 PM
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Here is a link to something that might improve your front end a little.

http://www.klrforum.com/showpost.php...72&postcount=3

I think the factory uses fish oil in the forks. A better quality suspension fluid, and a little more of it, along with a little more pre-load on the springs may make things a little more stable for you.
Thanks for the link. I smell a weekend project....


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post #8 of 9 Old 07-20-2011, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatrader View Post
Here is a link to something that might improve your front end a little.

http://www.klrforum.com/showpost.php...72&postcount=3

I think the factory uses fish oil in the forks. A better quality suspension fluid, and a little more of it, along with a little more pre-load on the springs may make things a little more stable for you.
I read it all. I think I get that I want to change the oil, replace the spacers with somewhat longer ones to increase preload a bit, and if all that is la king, replace the fork springs with a heavier set just as I did in the rear.

Have I got it right?
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 07:24 PM
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Good post
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