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Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from my first real DS / Adventure ride on the 2008 KLR. We did 600 miles over 4 days with 90% dirt. We hit everything from high speed fire roads, to rocky nasty hill climbs, to dunes, to sandy whooped out double track. It was a great ride but the stock suspension is way to soft. I was loaded with camping gear in soft bags. I never weighed the gear but I'm going to guess between 50 - 80lbs of luggage. The KLR performed great. Power delivery is great in 2nd and 3rd gear and after 150mi of dirt I liked that the bike wasn't 90hp and wouldn't whiskey throttle me off the trail. 2nd gear is a tractor!. The main problem I had was the suspension. I was bottoming out everywhere. I'm a mildly aggressive rider and tend to be cautious when doing multi day backcountry stuff but the suspension just bottoms on the smallest whoops, seems to wallow in it's travel, and makes the ground clearance less than desirable. I've been reading online about Cogent, Tour Tech, and some others but I don't want to spend more than say $500. If I have to go over $1000 I'll just get a different bike. What do you guys think?
 

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I just got back from my first real DS / Adventure ride on the 2008 KLR. We did 600 miles over 4 days with 90% dirt. We hit everything from high speed fire roads, to rocky nasty hill climbs, to dunes, to sandy whooped out double track. It was a great ride but the stock suspension is way to soft. I was loaded with camping gear in soft bags. I never weighed the gear but I'm going to guess between 50 - 80lbs of luggage. The KLR performed great. Power delivery is great in 2nd and 3rd gear and after 150mi of dirt I liked that the bike wasn't 90hp and wouldn't whiskey throttle me off the trail. 2nd gear is a tractor!. The main problem I had was the suspension. I was bottoming out everywhere. I'm a mildly aggressive rider and tend to be cautious when doing multi day backcountry stuff but the suspension just bottoms on the smallest whoops, seems to wallow in it's travel, and makes the ground clearance less than desirable. I've been reading online about Cogent, Tour Tech, and some others but I don't want to spend more than say $500. If I have to go over $1000 I'll just get a different bike. What do you guys think?

I assume you’ve been to Cogent’s website and have priced them. If that does not fit your budget, then you may be in the different bike space.

Still, give them a call. They are a good value with the Adventure shock.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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If you do your own work the Cogent Adventure shock and Front Fork DDC's & springs are with-in your budget. Or you could skip the DDC's to keep the price tag lower this year and install the front DDC's next year.

I have a KLR customer who raves about his Cogent shock with the needle bearing on the spring adjuster & the Front DDC's & springs and he pays me to do most of required wrenching.
 

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I just got back from my first real DS / Adventure ride on the 2008 KLR. We did 600 miles over 4 days with 90% dirt. We hit everything from high speed fire roads, to rocky nasty hill climbs, to dunes, to sandy whooped out double track. It was a great ride but the stock suspension is way to soft. I was loaded with camping gear in soft bags. I never weighed the gear but I'm going to guess between 50 - 80lbs of luggage. The KLR performed great. Power delivery is great in 2nd and 3rd gear and after 150mi of dirt I liked that the bike wasn't 90hp and wouldn't whiskey throttle me off the trail. 2nd gear is a tractor!. The main problem I had was the suspension. I was bottoming out everywhere. I'm a mildly aggressive rider and tend to be cautious when doing multi day backcountry stuff but the suspension just bottoms on the smallest whoops, seems to wallow in it's travel, and makes the ground clearance less than desirable. I've been reading online about Cogent, Tour Tech, and some others but I don't want to spend more than say $500. If I have to go over $1000 I'll just get a different bike. What do you guys think?
DPelletier, a long standing member of this forum, rides extensively off-road and thinks very highly of Cogent. If you are as serious an off-road rider as he is then you will not be disappointed with Cogent stuff.

Jason
 

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While the suspension is not ideal, you need to evaluate what you packed and eliminate anything you didn’t use.


I have a cogent shock on the Tenere and it’s amazing, I wish I had one on the KLR but the Elka worked out OK as well. I’ll be having them work on The DRZ shock as well.
 

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What I think?

Yes, suspension is the greatest functional weakness of the KLR by far. It isn't just too soft a springrate, it's not enough damping and a poor emulsion design.

You can buy an aftermarket De Carbon style shock for around $500.00.....my vote for best value is the Cognet Adventure but there are other choices; Elka, Touratech, Progressive 465, etc.

On the value thing, many people get hung up on spending the money to upgrade the KLR suspension but while I understand budget constraints, I don't understand not upgrading because of the percieved value of the bike; if you like it and it works and upgrading the suspension gets you where you want the bike to be then it's worth it IMO.....you are unlikely to be able to sell your KLR and buy another dual sport or ADV in similar condition with better suspension without spending more money.

Dave
 

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My KLR shock post:


The stock shock is a budget emulsion design without hardened internals. It also has inadequate compression damping and springrate for the majority of KLR riders. The 2014.5 and up bikes have stiffer springs and damping but still maintain the 1980 emulsion design.

The problem with the stock shock is that the combination of the soft body and emulsion design means that under hard or long term use the oil turns to a nitrogen entrained mess contaminated with aluminum wear particles (grey foamy sludge) and the damping goes to crap.

Many people put heavier springs on the stock shock and while that helps set the sag properly (which is necessary, read: http://racetech.com/articles/SuspensionAndSprings.htm ) the stiffer spring overwhelms the already weak compression damping making the shock "pogo" and the damping situation even worse…particularly as the shock degrades.

Raising links are an option if your tall enough; the shorter links decrease leverage on the shock which effectively increases both springrate and damping. You still have the quality issues with the stock shock and the effect isn't adjustable (without changing links) but it's something to try for those on a budget.

The best solution is a quality aftermarket DeCarbon shock. There are many shocks available; Progressive, Touratech, Ricor, Cogent, Elka, etc. ....they range from $379.00 to $1000.00 plus. For reference a stock Kawi shock is around $800 from the dealer. The best value IMO is Cogent's Adventure; it's a high quality shock, hardened body, DeCarbon design, deflective disk damping and an Ohlins spring. www.motocd.com

I have the full Cogent set up (DDC's and springs up front and an Adventure and Moab on the rear ) of my two Gen1's and the difference in performance and capability is massive. Easily the most drastic functional change of the 50+ mods I've done to my bikes.
 

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My KLR Suspension Post;

OK, here's my 2 cents.
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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I'm not sure of your size or loaded weight but another thought would be to pick up a used Gen1 knuckle and dogbones to increase stiffness and travel and then install a Cogent Adventure - if you call Rick or Todd and tell them your loaded weight and what you're doing with the bike, they can assist to ensure you get the best setup - there are two springrates they offer with the Adventure.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This is a huge help! Thanks for taking the time to post all of that info. I do like the KLR and after this last trip I feel like we're blood brothers. I'll study your advise tonight and make a plan. Thanks again.
 

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I do have a list on another site but I can't link it here. Here's a bit of it;

- Ricochet skidplate
- removal of the sidestand safety switch,
- installed a set of Renthal bars (809-RC-Hi's)
- Acerbis Hanguards
- Eagle Manufacturing mirror relocation bracket
- a set of IMS pegs (later replaced by Knight Designs Drop Pegs, later replaced by JNS drop peg brackets and IMS SS pegs)
- Eagle drill through subframe bolt upgrade
- removal of the Scott Oiler and tool tube!

The bike worked well enough like that, but without a "real" dirtbike in the garage, I wanted to increase the KLR's effectiveness offroad as well as giving it some much needed maintenance. So, this winter I ripped the bike apart and made the following modifications;

- I cut down the rear inner fender and relocated the licence plate
- replaced the seat (2001 brown) with a mint black one
- I did all the wheel bearings and seals
- new swingarm bearings and seals
- new pivot linkage bearings and seals
- new Cogent Dynamics Moab Shock
- custom shock protector
- Cogent Drop in Damper Cartridges, springs and oil along with some new black Kawi fork boots
- Cogent fork preload adjusters
- new 320mm rotor (EBC from EM), Eaglemike adaptor bracket and SV650 caliper
- front and rear SS brake lines (Russel from Eaglemike)
- new brake pads
- new Dunlop D606 rear, Pirelli MT-21 front and HD tubes
- EM KLX kit; 142 main, 2 turns on the screw and I forewent the drilling of the slide
- Tee mod
- clutch safety bypass
- new chain and sprockets; 14/54, DID X ring gold plated chain and Supersprox alum/steel sprocket, Sunstar front.
- I removed the rear chain guard and related "stuff"
- drilled airbox, new TwinAir filter
- Gen 2 SS header and new FMF Q4 silencer (later replaced with a Lexx with Trail Saver insert)
- Eagle Torsion spring and Doo
- Eagle rear master cylinder bracket
- Eagle front master screws and carb screws
- Eagle low profile magnetic drain plug
- Yamaha Raptor 660 Fuel petcock
- new stock windscreen and new right side numberplate (orig. was melted a bit)
- Antigravity LiFePo battery (1.7 lbs)
- oil change, valve adjustment, new spark plug, cleaned pickup screen, adjusted head bearings
- WOW taillight
- JNS LED Headlight
- Polisport Universal Freeflow front fender
- IMS 6.6 gall tank
- Tankvest
- Molle attachments
- Thermobob 2
- Eaglemike 685 kit
- DoubleTake Mirrors
- ATO fuse block replacement
- HotfootMoto Chain Guard

The suspension feels AWESOME. It's been said dozens of times, but it truly doesn't feel like the same mushy, vague, overweight bike that it was. I've ridden stock Gen 1 and Gen 2's as well as Gen 1's with various other mods/changes like springs, heavier fork oil and even Progressive 465's and while those bikes were much better than stock, they are nowhere nearly as nice to ride as the full blown Cogent setup.

Brakes are finally what they should be; front brake feels 10 X better. Rear brakes, with the pedal in the right place thanks to the KD footpegs and the lack of sponge thanks to the ss line, feels very good too.



This was all from about 4-5 years ago though I did update some items. My 2000 is set up almost identically with very few differences;

- LeoVince X3 silencer
- Fastway handguards
- Cogent Pro-Series Ultimate shock

and it's still running the stock chain and sprockets because it only has 1,800 miles on it.


Cheers,
Dave
 

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I love my Cogent Adventure shock and DDC/Spring upgrade. Puts a smile on my face every time I ride. My 2006 suspension was stock, so this made a big change in how it rides on pavement and gravel.
 

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I wah,
wah,
wah,
wahnnnnna Cogent SetUp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll use my NP5 COVID-19 mask to rob a bank and then I can get all KINSA cool suspension items!!!!
 

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I recently upgraded to the Cogent Moab Shock andd DDC's. It took two years to make the decision just based on my (in)experience level and uncertainty about keeping the KLR vs. other bikes. I was also contemplating just upgrading the rear spring.

Finally just said screw it; placed the order, installed it, and am happy with the result. I'll work on fine tuning the set up when it gets a bit warmer. The difference is night and day.

Call Cogent, they will ask the right questions to get you what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the replies. I’ve spent the last several days debating what I’m going to do either sell and get something different or keep KLR’ing it. I only paid $3k for it and it has 11k miles. To go full Cogent or TourTe h is $2k. That seems crazy to me until I think about it other way like for $5k total I’ll have a very capable bike and I plan on riding a lot this year. I’ve discovered that my love for adventure, camping, and dirt biking can all be perfectly mixed on a motorcycle. After this last Oregon ride I’m hooked on dual sport riding. I’ve already got three more rides planned and ME and the KLR are going to battle together.
 

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Thanks for all the replies. I’ve spent the last several days debating what I’m going to do either sell and get something different or keep KLR’ing it. I only paid $3k for it and it has 11k miles. To go full Cogent or TourTe h is $2k. That seems crazy to me until I think about it other way like for $5k total I’ll have a very capable bike and I plan on riding a lot this year. I’ve discovered that my love for adventure, camping, and dirt biking can all be perfectly mixed on a motorcycle. After this last Oregon ride I’m hooked on dual sport riding. I’ve already got three more rides planned and ME and the KLR are going to battle together.
there is defintely two ways to think about it; 1) the KLR is a (make up a low number) bike so it doesn't make sense to spend $1,000+ for an upgraded suspension makeover. OR 2) the KLR's stock suspension is limiting my enjoyment of the bike as it can't do what I want it to do so I'm gonna sell it and spend (insert much larger number here) and get a (whatever brand X or Orange bike you like). Buying a new/different bike tends to cost many times more than the cost of the upgrades so from that perspective the suspension mods are the least expensive option.

I know I'd be riding a KTM690R if I had to ride a stock bike and though suspension mods don't magically make a KLR into a KTM, they (combined with a few other smart mods) make the functional difference a small fraction of what it would be stock to stock.




Dave
 

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Thinking of taking the plunge & doing the Cogent upgrade. As it is going to be rather expensive & I don't even know if the place here in Australia even has the DDC tool, I would just like to know how important the DDC tool is. I might be imaging it but I thought I saw a comment somewhere that they can be dropped in.
 
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