Can I do this? Will it kill me? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Can I do this? Will it kill me?

May be a stupid idea or it may be great. I will soon find out by you, the experts.I have a 2000 Klr 650. I am 200lbs. I am looking at a rear spring replacement. I wan to go with a 500lb rated rear spring but add the 2" lowering links. That's why I am asking if I can do that without it killing me. My understanding with lowering links is, they take away from the rear spring. Ex. If I add 2" L.Links my stock rear spring will now be around 275lbs, compared to the 300lbs stock.

Does anyone know the amount lowering links remove from the rear spring. I.e. 20%,30% etc.etc.?

Ideally with my gear, I am looking for a rear spring around 450.

Maybe a 500 R.S. will give the the same rate as the 450 with the lowering links.

Any Ideas?? Maybe a hyperlink that already covers this info. I couldn't find anything. On Google, I get drowned by all the forums and still nothing related to what I am trying to do.

Thanks
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 11:33 AM
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Go to Racetech's site https://racetech.com/ProductSearch/1...ki/KLR650/2009 they have an option to input weight and other usage characteristics and then to calculate the difference using lowering links. A quick check shows stock at 5.1 kg for stock and a 7.88kg recommended for your weight.....with 2" lowering links that changes to 10.10kg which is heavier than the heaviest spring RT makes (9.6kg), though it is close.

.....also keep in mind that the lowering links also reduce damping - a heavier spring may help maintain springrate but the stock damping is already too light and using a much heavier spring and then totally screwing up the already weak damping would create a seriously unbalanced suspension system which woule be "oversprung and underdamped" and would "pogo". This is a problem even with the stock links so it would be an order of magnitude worse with what you are suggesting.

I'm not sure what your height and inseam are but are you sure you need to lower the bike.....and if you are convinced you do, is 1" enough......have you considered taller boots, a shorter seat and just more practice? Not trying to be mean but I'm 5' 10" with a 30" inseam, my son is 5'9" with a 29" inseam and we ride stock height Gen1's. My Ex-wife is 5'4" and also rode a stock Gen1 though she was the PNWMA Women's offroad champion for four years in a row......you CAN adapt

Anyhow, to properly lower you bike that amount and having decent suspension at the same time would mean a shock replacement; Cogent Dynamics ( www.motocd.com) makes 1" lower shocks and/or they can build one to suit. While this may appear to be an expensive option, by the time you bought a spring and the lowering links, you are part way there and functionally there is no comparison.

With a bit more info, I may have additional suggestions.

Good luck,
Dave
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 11:34 AM
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Just FYI, here's my standard 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 #4 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 11:38 AM
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To recap; YES you can do it. It MIGHT kill you!

....if you were stuck on this path, I'd get the heaviest spring available and rebuild the shock with heavier oil to deal with the damping problem. .....the downside is that by the time you rebuild the shock, buy and install a spring and the lowering links, you've spent a fair chunk of the cost of a new shock and you still are stuck with the crappy emulsion shock with serious quality and longevity issues, a non hardened body and a crappy preload adjuster.

Dave
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 11:47 AM
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BTW, that looks like a nice bike; I also have a low mileage 2000 - how about some pics?

Dave
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 11:58 AM
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This is a bit confusing to analyze because there are two hard variables and two soft variables. The resulting answer is going to be stupid.

The hard variables are the spring rate and the suspension geometry. The soft variables are what you would choose for static sag and what you feel comfortable with for a seat height.

Imagine a 100lb bag of cement, a brick, and an 8ft 2x4. In your mind, rig up the three things so that the 2x4 is resting under the bag of cement and on top of the brick such that there is 2 feet of distance between the center of the bag and the center of the brick, leaving 6 feet of 2x4 available as a lever to lift the bag of cement. This will represent the suspension geometry's lever on the spring (the brick and 2x4) and the spring itself (the bag of cement).

If you install lowering links what you are doing is moving the brick so that the 2 feet of distance becomes 1 1/2 feet and the 6 feet becomes 6 1/2 feet. That makes it easier to lift the bag of cement; it requires less force. However, the bag gets lifted less for a given amount of movement at the end of the lever. This represents the reduced amount of travel due to increased sag.

The effect is that if, when you previously sat down on your bike, it sagged 2 inches it is now going to sag something a bit more than 2 inches. Let's say it sags 3 inches. That lowers the seat height by an inch. Cool; the lowering links lowered the bike! Of course, that same effect is going to come into play when you hit a bump and exert more force on the spring. The bike will tend to bottom out easier. That's the disadvantage of lowering links.

Now, let's go back and put another half-bag of cement on to of the existing one. This represents installing a stiffer spring. The lever is still at 1 1/2 feet and 6 1/2 feet, but you've made the cement load (the spring) heavier, so it is going to take more force exerted on the lever to lift it.

Do you see where this is going? You spent $20 on a pair of links and a $100 on a spring and you may wind up just about right back where you started. Exactly where you'll wind up would require an analysis of all the levers in the suspension and knowledge of the spring rate of the OEM and the replacement shock.

The stupid answer is "Try it and find out".

The smart answer is to install either lowering links or a softer spring and live with the results, or spend the money on a better and more customizable shock such as the Cogent Moab to get what you really want, which is a lowered bike with a given spring rate.

Now, here is a semi-smart answer. You have a Gen 1. The Gen 2 suspension pivot reduces the travel somewhat and also lowers the bike. I have used this phenomenon to good effect to raise my Gen 2 by installing a Gen 1 pivot. You could go the opposite way and try installing a Gen 2 pivot. This here is what I'm talking about:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/EB617-2008-...temCondition=4

and that, at ~$40, is the usual going rate for the pivot, bolts, and links.

It might be worth a try.

Tom [email protected]

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post #7 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
Now, here is a semi-smart answer. You have a Gen 1. The Gen 2 suspension pivot reduces the travel somewhat and also lowers the bike. I have used this phenomenon to good effect to raise my Gen 2 by installing a Gen 1 pivot. You could go the opposite way and try installing a Gen 2 pivot. This here is what I'm talking about:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/EB617-2008-...temCondition=4

and that, at ~$40, is the usual going rate for the pivot, bolts, and links.

It might be worth a try.
Interesting idea. The swap would do two things;

- 1) the longer Gen2 dogbones are effectively Gen1 lowering links - reducing both springrate and damping as well as moving the suspension arc upwards (lowering the rear end). This part of the swap has the same unfortunate reduction in damping that I mentioned previously.

- 2) changing the geometry of the knuckle changes the travel since we know the swingarms are the same (dimensionally), the shock is the same and the dogbones don't affect overall travel, just height. It makes sense that changing the knuckle changes the travel from 9.1 to the 7.3" of the stock Gen2 and assuming my grasp of the physics involved is sound, it must also change the "leverage ratio", in this case the oposite way (stiffening the springrate and damping). This is likely WHY the Gen2 uses the same springrate but longer dogbones - it would be logical that the extra length "softens" what the knuckle change "stiffens".

I'm not aware of anyone that has explored this effect since the knuckle and dogbones are usually swapped the other way, as you've done. I suppose if you didn't notice an undue amount of stiffening then going the other way may not unduly soften...


My only other comment is to point out that sag shouldn't be used to adjust the seat height, nor is it a personal preference thing as much as it is a proper geometry item. I'd suggest that sag should be between 25 - 33% of available travel regardless of desired seat height.


Dave

Last edited by DPelletier; 04-23-2020 at 12:40 PM.
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 12:39 PM
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just for the OP"s benefit;

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post #9 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for such a detailed and weird explaination.lol. I am pondering the Gen2 link shock "thingy"! I still need a better rear spring. Do you think it will be fine if I ordered a 400lb rated spring?
I don't think I am going to go with my original plans.lol. like you both said, I might hit a pot hole and pogo myself off the bike.
Thanks again
PJ
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-23-2020, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
just for the OP"s benefit;

Thanks Dave. I am new to riding a dual sport. My bike is a 2000 with 3800 original miles. Got it with 874 miles. I was able to pick the bike up for $700.00 it sat for 10 yrs. I fixed the mans Honda Gold wing. He was trying to sell both. He had Parkinson disease. He also had a Harley. After working on the Gold wing, I was able to sell it for them for $7k+. He wanted 5k for both bikes. Neither ran from sitting so long. The fuel pump in the Honda just needed cleaned. Gummed up. So I was shown great favor and they made more money. I love the win win! I also love this bike. I've done the Doohickey. Rejected the carb. LED head light. The cheaply from eBay. Its held up great for about 9months. I removed the stock 20yr old tires and put on TKC80. It is buzzy on the road now. I am 200lbs and 5'10" 30 inseam. I ride it around everywhere. I have installed a Bakers exhaust. But had to remove it for an inspection 4/2020. It will go back on soon. Really woke the bike up. Front end will come up at the twist of gas in 1st without trying.
Here is a link to my You Tube. I have a couple vids on the bike.
https://youtu.be/mSMnsxzuf84

I will think about the rear suspension more. I will not you'll the trigger just yet. Moab is sounding better and better. But that will be awhile.

Thanks again. Very informative.
PJ
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