Stiffer front springs - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-12-2020, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Stiffer front springs

I read a lot of guys changing front springs. The 2015 and newer have beefier springs would you just get those from Kawasaki or get aftermarket?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-13-2020, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve.k View Post
I read a lot of guys changing front springs. The 2015 and newer have beefier springs would you just get those from Kawasaki or get aftermarket?
Steve, my '08 had a very soft front end, settled too much with my weight, reducing ground clearance. I made 1 1/2" spacers for on top of the springs, increasing pre-load, and raising the ride height. I don't find that too stiff, works well, cheap fix.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-13-2020, 04:48 PM
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Do a web search for "race sag" and read the Race Tech article and set your sag.

If you can't get the desired sag with the stock springs, then contact Race Tech or Cogent and have them sell you the springs they recommend. Takes all the guess work out of it. As a matter of fact, just contact either of them first and start with the springs they recommend and set your sag.

Just be aware, fixing the front end will only magnify the crappy outdated rear suspension!

Easy Peasy!
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-16-2020, 06:48 AM
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I just recently changed out my front springs on my '09 to the Progressive spring kit. Found it on Ebay, cost about $120 shipped, and was a noticeable difference.
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If common sense were common, wouldn't everybody have it?
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-16-2020, 11:32 AM
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Depends what you want; Progressives and/or heavier oil are the usual bandaid. Actual spring rate should be determined by weight/load and checked with sag. If you ever plan on upgrading from the old damper rod damping set up, then stay away from the progressives 'cause they aren't recommended with the Cogent DDC kit or Race Tech Cartridge Emulators.

If you just want to stiffen up an early Gen2 (don't remember what year you have), you can certainly just swap in the 2014.5+ stock springs which, IIRC, are about 60% stiffer.....there are better options though.

FWIW, here's my KLR suspension post:

Stock KLR suspension is 1980's tech with a damper rod fork and emulsion shock with weak damping and springrates which MAY be marginally acceptable if you weigh 160lb or less and stay on graded gravel roads at worst. 2014.5 NE and up have better spring and damping rates but are the same crappy old design.
The bandaid (cheapy) fixes are;
- many use progressive springs for the forks and heavier oil. This will help with bottoming, wallowing and brake dive but the suspension will be overly harsh and not compliant. Better than stock though. Rather than using heavier oil, I’d recommend trying an increased oil level first which reduces the “air spring” and can stiffen it up a bit without all the harshness of heavier oil…..especially on high speed damping.
- Eaglemike's raising links; these change the geometry and reduce leverage on the shock which raises the effective spring and damping rates. Hopefully you aren't short! Easy and cheap but it's a "one size fits all" deal and it doesn’t deal with the inherent quality issues with the stock shock body and emulsion design.
or
- a stiffer shock spring. While you likely need a stiffer spring to properly set sag, adding a stiffer spring exacerbates the damping issues and creates an unbalanced (oversprung and underdamped) suspension, particularly as the oil becomes contaminated.

Proper suspension fixes;
- forks: cartridge emulators from Racetech, DDC's from Cogent or Ricor Intiminators all with the proper wt springs. The DDC's are my choice because they work at least as good as the RT emulators AND have the simple install of the Ricor Valves.
- shock; a proper aftermarket decarbon shock. Available from Progressive, Cogent, Ricor, Elka, etc. Again, I think the Cogent shocks offer the best value and use top quality, made in the USA components.
While usage, budget and expectations are different for everyone, spending money on the stock shock is false economy IMO and the more you do, the less sense it makes.....better to spend the money on a decent shock. Many people have done the shock rebuild and spring only to replace it later anyway. I've yet to hear a single regret from anyone upgrading to a good shock.
2 cents,
Dave
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-18-2020, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Dave did you completely replace you front shocks?
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-20-2020, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve.k View Post
Dave did you completely replace you front shocks?
No; I installed a set of Cogent DDC's and Cogent springs (and preload adjusters but those aren't necessary, just nice). My analysis of the merits of replacing the front forks with KXF or another modern cartridge fork concluded with the realization that it was on the other side of the line towards "trying to make the KLR into something it's not". I believe that the DDC kit gets you 90% of the functional improvement for less that 20% of the cost and 5% of the effort.

A related post;

Several things, the biggest is a new front wheel/hub and brake system. As I told you in that other thread, there is no free ride and the USD fork conversion has it's own set of issues to deal with.... Not saying there isn't an allure to it just that there are good reasons more folks don't do it. When I did the math prior to making the decision to stick with the stock forks and go with Cogent's DDC's, my total came to $2,000 - $2,500 for the USD fork conversion vs. about $350.00 and less than an hour for the Cogent stuff.

After the additional expense, fork rebuilding, respringing, revalving, dealing with the rear suspension travel issue, gauge cluster, speedo, turning radius issues......you still have a smaller hub with a smaller axle, smaller bearings and when compared to the SV caliper 320mm rotor mod, a much smaller brake caliper, pad and rotor......all of which are fine for MX use and less fine for dual sport use.

There is no doubt as to the superiority of the modern MX fork.....but unless you have it resprung and revalved properly, it isn't going to work as good as a set of DDC's and springs in the stock forks.......and even if you do those things, the rest of the KLR isn't up to making full use of them anyhow.

I'm just making you aware of all the issues; if you still want to do it after all that, knock yourself out.


cheers,
Dave
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-20-2020, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave. I’ll do some calculations and decide. Your right the dollar does not help us at all.
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