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Old 07-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #13482
Risk Taker
av_mech's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Boise, ID
Oddometer: 1,143
The best mod I have done to my bike. Getting the suspension reworked by Sasquatch.

As of right now, I don't know of anybody else that has made the upgrades that I have done. Not to say that somebody hasn't done it, cause I'm pretty sure the chances are good that somebody has, I just don't know who. I haven't read anything yet.

And when I say "I", I really mean Jay over at Sasquatch Suspensions in Boise, ID. I helped a bit, but it was his expertise that transformed this bike.

I put about 15,000 glorious miles on "Hobbes" before I had the suspension done. I thought the suspension was fantastic out of the box, but I knew it could be better. I bottomed it out a fair amount and I could tell that even with preload, the rear was soft.

I contacted Jay and he was excited to work on a new platform and add it to his repertoires.

I met up with him in early April 2012 to talk about how the bike handled and so he could get a first hand look at it.

I showed up with zero miles remaining on the fuel counter. We took the sag measurements with ZERO fuel, no safety gear, and just me. I'm 5'10 and 180 lbs at the time. I'm less now. Been working out.

The sags were blown out with no weight on the bike! And even before that, Jay could tell that the front fork springs were weak from where they were riding on the exposed piston.

The measurements we took are as follows.

The front measured at 3.25" with a target of 2.85". The rear measured 3.6" with a target of 2.96". The rear was measured with zero preload cranked on. When we cranked on full preload, we were able to hit the target at 2.9". Please keep in mind that these measurements were taken with no fuel, safety gear, or luggage/camping gear. Once I added all that stuff, the numbers would be far worse.

Just an FYI, we calculated the target sag as 30-35% of the full suspension travel. Measurements were taken from the axle to a known point on the bodywork.

So, there was work to be done on my bike. And, I know yours as well.

We got together again on 4-15-12 after I returned from a 1000 mile trip to Seattle and back.

We dropped the forks and shock in no time. Jay was quick to have the disassembly done. This guy really knows what he's doing.

We took a ton of measurements and calculated spring rates. Then, we talked about how I wanted the bike to perform.

I told him that with full fuel, full safety gear, full backpack with 100oz of water, and 30lbs of camping gear in my tail bag, I wanted ZERO preload set. Yes, for a day ride with out the camping gear on, it will be a bit stiff. But, the only time I want to crank on the preload is when I have a passenger, or I actually put my aluminum Happy Trails panniers on.

Done. We had to have custom springs made since he couldn't find a pre-made part number to get what I wanted. Getting a custom spring is very little price difference from a pre-made one. We just couldn't find what we were looking for in a pre-made size and rate.

Then, we went into some detailed questions about how I wanted the valving done. He asked if it felt like the brakes when on when I hit washboard. Yes. He asked if the front drifted around a corner in washboard. Yes. Do you jump the bike? Yes, I have been known to get air from time to time.

I was really surprised when he asked me all these detailed questions about how the bike handled, it turns out that it really doesn't handle all that well. The ride is great, but it has some areas that need some real improvement.

After a few days, the springs returned for manufacturer and I was back at his shop for reassembly. The bike went back together just as easy as it came apart.

I sat on the bike for the first time with the mods and I could immateriality tell that it sat higher when I got on it. I thanked Jay for all his hard work, but I had to run! I don't take weekends off from riding that often and it was time to go!

But first, we had to grab the "after" sag numbers. This time I had about half a tank of fuel and I still left all the safety gear off to keep the numbers as honest as possible.

The front measured at 2.75" with the same target of 2.85". A drastic improvement over the 3.25". And now I had 15-20 lbs of fuel in the tank that I didn't have before.

The rear measured at 2.85" with a target of 2.96" with zero pre-load. Once again, a drastic improvement over the 3.6" before the mods.

Then, I got to ride it. WOW! Let me just say, "WOW!" Here's where the bike improved; EVERYWHERE! When hitting washboard, the bike no longer slows down. I noticed immediately that the front tracks way better through corners. Both on dirt and pavement. The front end dives much less when braking. The back just feels "planted" when accelerating on pavement. Cornering feels much better with less "bounce" when encountering bumps in a corner.

I still felt some pretty hard bottoms in the front end when hitting water bars on FR275 North of Boise. The bottom outs on the back are gone. Period. Haven't bottomed the back since I had the work done.

So, I called Jay to tell him the great news about the majority about the mods and the bad news about two parts. I wanted the second stage of the front shim stack to have some more resistance to the hard hits. Have I mentioned that I ride this bike hard yet? And, one of my fork seals was leaking. It happens to the best of us. Jay got me in that day to fix the seal and make the change to the valve stacks in the front. His work carries a 1 year, unlimited mileage warranty for any valving changes that you want made. 60 days for the seals. No problems fixing it.

The change we made was just the ticket. I still bottom the front end every now and then, but nothing like before we made the change. And not even in the same ballpark as to how much I bottomed it before we made the spring and shim changes the first time. Every bike will bottom out every now and then. Hell, I bottom out my dirt bike.

The process is simple. Drop your shock and forks and put them in the mail. He shoots for a five day turn around. Get your stuff back modified, reinstall, and prepare to be amazed with how well this bike performs once the suspension is given a little love.

I've ridden over 4000 miles on these mods now and I am totally stoked. It is amazing what he has done to improve the ride of the Tiger. I would highly recommend at least giving him a call to talk about what he can do for you. He's seen the insides and knows the changes to make. To my knowledge, nobody else has done this R&D yet. This is the best mod I have made on my bike. Period. Call Jay at Sasquatch Suspensions. Go to his website HERE.

Pricing info. Off the bike, parts shipped in. Shock: $450, Forks $350. Plus return shipping.

Here's Jay saying hello.

2011 Triumph 800 XC
2007 Honda CRF 250X
1994 Kawasaki KLX 650R

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