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Old 03-28-2006, 11:11 AM   #1
fourbuds OP
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KLR 650 Suspension upgrade

I am a 150# rider that is looking for some suspension improvement for a bike that sees some washboard and rocky dirt roads in the west and occasionally something more technical. How can I get the most bang for the buck?
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Old 03-28-2006, 11:30 AM   #2
Stephen
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RaceTech Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators.

Very high bang/buck.

Renthal (or similar) bars do more than you might think.
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:08 PM   #3
GB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen
RaceTech Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators.

Very high bang/buck.

Renthal (or similar) bars do more than you might think.

How easy is it to install those RaceTech cartridge emulators?
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:12 PM   #4
holycaveman
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change to 20wt fork oil and a fork brace, you will think its a different bike
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holycaveman
change to 20wt fork oil and a fork brace, you will think its a different bike
He's only 150#, 15 wt or ATF might be a better choice.

5 psi in the forks is free, not recommended as the fork seals aren't made for pressure and could blow, but haven't heard of any issues. use at your own risk.

You can try all three oil weights for like $20.

new alum bars are anywhere from $20 to $100.

Progressive front springs are $70.

fork brace is about 130

racetech's are 150-200 (I haven't looked lately). It is like changing fork oil plus drilling a hole in each fork to disable the existing valve.

Do it all and you have an awesome front end, but way more than needed for washboards and limited technical.
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Old 03-29-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
maroast
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I weight ~175-180 (5’9”) and would bottom out my fork ALL the time! Two days ago I put in 15wt oil and made two 6 inch #40 PVC spacers to replace the stock 5.5in spacers. WOW!!!!! What a HUGE difference! It's a whole new bike in my eyes. This mod is a MUST!

I rode it hard on some dirt on the way home yesterday and I couldn’t get the front to bottom out. I rode fast washboards, caught air, hit a curb going pretty fast and went down steep inclines. Best 11 bucks I've spent on this bike....other than a tank of gas.

As for the rear, I'm looking into eaglemikes raising links (RL-2)...if those don't do it, well see from there.

Do a search on klr650.net. You'll find all this info over there.

-Tom
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:27 PM   #7
kdxkawboy
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You might think about going about this in stages and learning a little something about suspension tuning ...

Start with the springs. Get the PS fork springs. They will make a difference. Ideally, you would want to set the spacers so the front forks sag around a quarter inch with just the bike's weight on the tires. Then play with different fork oil weights. Try 5W, 7W, 10W, 12W (a 50/50 mix of 5W & 7W) and 15W. As you increase the weight you will feel the dampening in the forks slowing down. At your weight I think you'll find the 7W be a nice compromise. You need to get several 100 miles under your belt over varied terrain to get a good feel for the type of dampening each step in W provides.

At your weight, this may stiffen things enough to fill your needs. If not, add the Race Tech valves and repeat the test with different oil weights/pre load settings on the valve's springs and the oil height. The last thing to do, when the OEM shock finally blows, and it will if you ride hard, it costs over $700 and you can get a Works Performance unit for less than that.

Once you have the dampening figured out add the fork brace. In the technical stuff you will appreciate it. It makes a significant difference in how true the front end tracks.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:54 PM   #8
holycaveman
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well everyone has some good advise. As already said, expierment with differant things. I personally would not suggest progressive fork spring, unless you are shorter. I have expierence with thease, they are ok for the street, but not realy for off road, thats probably why they are the same spring for a vn1100 cruizer.

But some have them and swear its the best thing since suggerd cornflakes Opinions varry.

If you are remotely even attempting offroading, the forkbrace makes a huge difference in the way your front end handles.

And just as a note the stock fork oil is 10wt. The rear end is ok for most it definatly outdoes the stock front end. So as you assumed the front needs the work first. Then after you start jumping doubles a new shock might be in order
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Old 03-31-2006, 06:28 AM   #9
timdog
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I just replaced the springs with progressive in my '05. Not really impressed with the improvements. (I am 190lbs and like to jump the bike over small jumps, maybe I am asking for too much) I was thinking about changing to 15wt. My question is this: Do you just use regular motor oil? And can you measure the amount as you add it? Or do you have to remove the springs and use a dipstick to measure it?
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Old 03-31-2006, 07:59 AM   #10
GB
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I was reading an article on Fred's site (www.arrowheadmotorsports.com) about the cartridge emulators and how you really have to fine tune the installation of these emulators to get the best setup. I'm afraid to plunk down the money and not be able to optimize the installation..

Does anyone have a link to a detailed installation, preferably with pics?
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:57 AM   #11
a16tony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timdog
I just replaced the springs with progressive in my '05. Not really impressed with the improvements. (I am 190lbs and like to jump the bike over small jumps, maybe I am asking for too much) I was thinking about changing to 15wt. My question is this: Do you just use regular motor oil? And can you measure the amount as you add it? Or do you have to remove the springs and use a dipstick to measure it?
I've been running the Progressive LR springs with 15w Bel-Ray fork oil. 5'8, 190lb, have never bottomed the front end. Definitely abused it though.
If you drain the forks and replace the amount that you remove, you should be fine. Off the top of my head, I believe the book says: 430ml/cc per side, dry.
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:11 AM   #12
freeflow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timdog
I just replaced the springs with progressive in my '05. Not really impressed with the improvements. (I am 190lbs and like to jump the bike over small jumps, maybe I am asking for too much) I was thinking about changing to 15wt. My question is this: Do you just use regular motor oil? And can you measure the amount as you add it? Or do you have to remove the springs and use a dipstick to measure it?
FYI...good prcedures here http://www.klr650.marknet.us/forkoil.html

""
Changing oil: 355mL
Disassembly and completely dry: 420 +/- 4mL
Oil rating: Kayaba G-10
Viscosity: SAE 10W20
Fork oil Level: 190 +/- 2mm below the top end of the inner tube
NOTE: The weight specification comes from the service manual, and is apparently only sold as an "official" Kawasaki item. I use PJ1 Fork Oil, and have chosen 15 H.V.I. as the right weight for my style of riding.
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:39 AM   #13
NJCapoNut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a16tony
I've been running the Progressive LR springs with 15w Bel-Ray fork oil. 5'8, 190lb, have never bottomed the front end. Definitely abused it though.
If you drain the forks and replace the amount that you remove, you should be fine. Off the top of my head, I believe the book says: 430ml/cc per side, dry.
Just did mine....I think it really improved the bike on and off-road.

I used 15w Bel-Ray and set the level 170mm from the top.
(Im 6' 2" - 204 lbs.)
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:33 AM   #14
timdog
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Has anyone tried longer spacers than what comes with the Progressive LR kit?
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:54 AM   #15
Krabill
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I've got 2 3/4" spacers made out of 3/4" pvc in mine.

Started with 10wt - too soft, now I have 20wt - a little harsh. I've got some 15wt sitting on the work bench, but I'm gonna ride with the 20wt a couple more weeks before I try the 15wt.
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