Africa Twin CRF1000L suspension

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by uk_mouse, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV Long timer

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    My reasons for the swap have nothing to do with anodizing issues. I'm looking for better ride, more travel and I love working on projects like this...I enjoy the problem solving and the challenge involved. The gain from these SSS units will be HUGE for me and the riding I do. I do agree that for someone riding the occasional back road, it's overkill and not worth the cost or effort involved.


    By limiting uptravel with oil level, you'll be detracting from the awesome ride twin chamber forks provide. One of the benefits is that you can run a much lower oil level in the tubes because the cartridge is sealed and has it's own oil so cavitation isn't an issue. People add sub tanks to their forks specifically to avoid the effect of the rising rate air spring due to a small air gap. I'd be looking at options to space the bottom stop so it does it's thing sooner (if possible) but that's just me. Maybe one of the suspension gurus will weigh in.

    My forks are currently springless and I've fully compressed them, no issues with the fender/bracket clearance. I remember you posted a pic of your high fender set-up. IIRC, the brake line runs under triple and your bracket is spacer down, correct? My bracket is 6mm thick and right against the bottom of the triple...that's likely the difference. I need to notch my SW Motech skid plate though as the tire contacts it but that's happening with the stock forks too.

    Yes, if I don't remove the plastic rings on the sliders, the rivets on the rotors will and in a spectacular fashion!

    1/4" clearance at full stuff; just enough room for the fender to bolt up.
    [​IMG]


    My spring rate would be high for a normal size person but I'm 290lbs (over 130kg) in gear. I ride similar terrain to you (based on your pics and videos). Lots of loose rock, embedded rock, square edges, ruts, logs, water bars, washouts etc. My tuner told me 0.75kg/mm would be the lightest spring he'd accept. I went on the RaceTech spring rate calculator and picked a KTM 990 as it's very close in size and weight (no Africa Twin listed last I checked). I plugged my riding style, weight etc in and it spit out 0.756kg/mm. My current 0.69kg/mm springs are too light.

    I've run a single rotor and caliper with a master set up for dual, I didn't like the stiff lever. I'll give it a try but fully expect I'll be looking for a smaller MC sooner than later.
    The shim material is galvanized so it shouldn't be an issue. I'll give it a shot of paint at the peened edges as some of the coating will have flaked off there.

    I didn't make a new axle, just lengthened the stock one. I beveled the edges of a 17mm impact socket and the axle at the 25mm end. Lined up the flats on the internal hex using a 17mm nut and welded the socket on the end. Stuck it in the bandsaw and cut it a hair over 250mm overall. Then we threw it in the lathe and machined the weld and socket down to 25mm to match the axle diameter and squared up the face... looks stock.

    [​IMG]

    Lengthened by 8mm (0.5mm protruding from the right lug).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  2. Motociclo

    Motociclo Been here awhile

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    Once I have my forks re installed and have run a few km, I will be sharing my findings.

    Certainly understand why your looking for the better option. Experimenting or running a new project is great, love doing it myself.
    You race your bike, most don't. Even though some may think they need this level of suspension, I would seriously doubt most of us could out ride well sorted stock suspension. Same could be said for spending big bucks on a aftermarket shock.
    Stock one works well with little tweaking.
    Just offering my 2 cents. I hope it works out.
  3. ablock

    ablock n00b

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    So I just picked up my bike after having Superplush redo the suspension. It took nearly a month for them to get the Andreani cartridge and Ohlins shock.

    Before I describe my thoughts on the results, you should know that I have way less experience than most of you. I use the AT primarily for commuting and some road touring. I will be doing an intro Rawhyde class + BCA in December, but other than that I have only been off road a few times on friends' CRF250s.

    The experience at SP went fairly smoothly. They sent me a setup sheet before I got there detailing the base settings on the fork and shock. When I arrived the tech was helping a woman on an F800GS who had also had an Ohlins installed along with replacement cartridges. Once she left we go to work setting up the rebound for 33% loaded sag. They have a spreadsheet that they use for the calculation but it still took a while to dial in. An initial mismeasurement threw off the subsequent calcs until we figured it out.

    I had asked the tech to look for any wear on the inside of the tubes. He didn't see anything, though I only have 1,800 miles on the bike and don't drive the suspension hard. The owner said they would not be tightening the lower clamp bolts to anywhere near 25 nm though.

    Technical observations: The cartridges seemed straightforward. The shock was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, the external preload adjuster is on the opposite side from the stock one. This makes no sense as the hose port on the shock body is on the port side (as on the OEM). The right side of the bike is crowded with the rear brake reservoir, etc., so I would really prefer to have the adjuster on the other side. Ohlins supplies an AT-specific bracket that bolts to the pillion peg mount. Unfortunately the bracket has a bend so it cannot be flipped for use on the left side. I'm going to email Ohlins and see if they have a mirror image bracket available. If not I may work with my fabricator to make my own. The other thing interesting about the shock is that the preload adjuster threading is extremely fine. We were seeing like 1mm / revolution change in preload height.

    Now on to the results. Since I guess I have more money than sense, my expectations weren't that high. I was looking for less dive when braking, and less kick in the rear over uneven roads.

    • Dive: Greatly reduced. Previously even moderate braking resulted in significant front-end droop. Now the bike seems to "squat", remaining much more level.
    • Rear end: Definitely less bouncy, and feels tighter overall. Hitting speed bumps at speed is a no-nonsense experience.
    • Stiction: Greatly reduced. I was surprised by this. Now when I climb aboard using the peg as a step, I can feel the bike move around with each small shift in my body weight.
    • Wind: This was totally unexpected. I have a very windy commute (across the Golden Gate bridge) and it can be a butt-puckering experience depending on wind direction. With the strong crosswind on the bridge itself, the front end would feel quite loose. That's gone. And on the slope north of the bridge I used to be all over the place (the gusts are awful), but now feel noticeably more planted. I'm not even clear what it could be about the new suspension that let to this improvement.
    • Pillion: I have not yet put my wife on the back and taken the measurements to get the right preload for the weight of us both. Previously I had tried riding some curves with her on the back (and no change to stock preload) and it was hair-raising. I'm sure just adjusting the preload alone would have improved things, but there's little doubt the new shock will be up to the task.

    My overall conclusion is that this was an expensive upgrade but one that will make me significantly more confident on the AT.

    Note: I weigh about 155 lbs / 70 kilos unloaded.
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  4. Motociclo

    Motociclo Been here awhile

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    Sounds good. Lot of money spent indeed.
    You could of got equally as good result with revalve and respring stock suspension.
    Smokem if you got'm i guess.
  5. Big Willy

    Big Willy Gen. Italia

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    One of the best things you can do Ab is to do a lot of practice on the smaller dirtbikes, especially weight distribution on the pegs and braking hard.

    Well done on the suspension upgrades. Wish I had money to throw at Ohlins:pimp
  6. craighkzn

    craighkzn Been here awhile

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    Good plan on the Axel...did you mod the YZ Axel, or the AT one? I will need to refit the forks and relook at the dimensions...when I had mine in, the threaded side of the axel was also short...with the bushes all snugged up, I needed another few mm on the threads to be comfortable...however, should I need to trim a bush as you did, I can see how the length would be ok....thanks again.
  7. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    Or perhaps a big improvement just having an expert dial in the stock suspension. After all, it is fully adjustable and with a rider weight of 155 lbs it's not being taxed.
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  8. vgreno2000

    vgreno2000 vgreno2000

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    Hi you all!!!
    What should be the best combo (cartridge-shock)?
    Andreani or Nitron cartridge?
    Nitron, Wilbers or Ohlins shocks?

    Enviado desde mi Nexus 5 mediante Tapatalk
  9. craighkzn

    craighkzn Been here awhile

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    I wouldn't put good money into cartridges for these crappy tubes......just saying...
  10. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    I
    Agree with you but the problem is people do not know.When you buy a new bike this problem hits you from left field.People like you and me that are hard core riders and used to spinning wrenches know that shit happens.Most people that buy these bikes have NOT spent there life throwing roost.They put there money down on a honda because of its legendary reliability.I believe honda makes a good product (from a guy that bleeds blue that's a big compliment),but even honda f,,KS up sometimes.It is common for people here(USA) to think spending money will get them the unicorn.As a heavy offroad guy I do not think larger damper tubes will help me on this bike with the slow speed offroad stuff I do on this tank of a bike.I'm better off with my Heed bars at that point because this bitch lands hard.Part of the problem is honda pr acts like this thing is ready for Dakar (not even close as no bike is with out big money prep as you know).Am I pissed about the forks?,damn rite I am.but I will try the hardcoat and shave my tubes above the upper band and hope it works.I would consider the SS mod but I really like the Twin front discs.
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  11. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    I
    Agree with you but the problem is people do not know.When you buy a new bike this problem hits you from left field.People like you and me that are hard core riders and used to spinning wrenches know that shit happens.Most people that buy these bikes have NOT spent there life throwing roost.They put there money down on a honda because of its legendary reliability.I believe honda makes a good product (from a guy that bleeds blue that's a big compliment),but even honda f,,KS up sometimes.It is common for people here(USA) to think spending money will get them the unicorn.As a heavy offroad guy I do not think larger damper tubes will help me on this bike with the slow speed offroad stuff I do on this tank of a bike.I'm better off with my Heed bars at that point because this bitch lands hard.Part of the problem is honda pr acts like this thing is ready for Dakar (not even close as no bike is with out big money prep as you know).Am I pissed about the forks?,damn rite I am.but I will try the hardcoat and shave my tubes above the upper band and hope it works.I would consider the SS mod but I really like the Twin front discs.
  12. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    And rite after I post the above post will promise you a unicorn but not keep your tubes from being trashed.Let's fix the problem instead of adding more parts.I am sure there products work but I think it would be better to fix the problem before throwing parts in that are not the problem.
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  13. Motociclo

    Motociclo Been here awhile

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    Which colour do you like?
    Not person here that won't give a different opinion.
    No of the brands you quoted are bad, but you could get equally good by getting stock suspension re-sprung and revalved to suit.
    Fork tubes aren't that crap. There is an issue which should not exist, but it does, so expect to the need to get your outer tubes reanodised.


    There are so many bikes that have issues that should not exist. We all expect to us a product that will be defect free. I am not one to buy a bike on marketing hype. It is just that, hype. I think this bike is a soft roader to extent. CRF1000L, not CRF1000R or X. I think the name says a lot.

    I think the only thing that is certain to date with these forks is the anodising is sub standard. No proof that they flexing too much or are to small for intended design. If some of the forks being considered for swaps are used, they may not solve the thought of flex. The outer tube diameter is less than stock. Bigger diameter tubes are less prone to flex.
    Nothing wrong with swapping out forks, if that's your thing. For me it is not an option. I will see if a reanodised will solve the problem.i really think it will.
  14. Big Willy

    Big Willy Gen. Italia

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    And that is the other point...

    Will these aftermarket cartridges get damaged from the aluminium shavings that are present when the outers wear?

    Better to get the wear issues sorted first as you say.

    If I had the spare change, I would try the cartridges but for my style of riding, they would be unnecessary.

    And I do actually think that the standard damping is pretty good !!
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  15. roktbox

    roktbox Adventurer

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    3036 mi on mine with Andreanni kit installed. Not sure what the longitudinal wear lines are from (?), but the "spot" on the right fork leg is clearly visible. Fork oil was very dark. Will likely bevel the edges of the bushings, rotate the forks, and button them back up with fresh oil. See what happens in another 3k. [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  16. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    I'm rite behind you.I turned that post in for soliciting product on this part of forum which to me is bullshit.I love the aftermarket stuff but they do not help by pushing there product here.I will chose what I need from feedback elsewhere.I look forward to seeing how your kashima coating works against my hard anodizing.Not a competition for us as we just want something that solves the problem.Ride safe.
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  17. Motociclo

    Motociclo Been here awhile

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    The darkened oil is from aluminium being worn. I would recommend repairing these tubes now, not rotating them.
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  18. Motociclo

    Motociclo Been here awhile

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    Couldn't agree more. I just couldn't seem to find anyone here in Oz that does hard anodising on fork tubes. I'm sure they are there. Like yourself, I just want to see solutions that work and keep us riding. As soon as my tubes land in my grubby mitts, I will be sharing my thoughts and will keep all you lads and ladies updated with how the coating performs.
    I will piece together another tutorial on fork tub e install tricks I learnt sometime ago. You will be surprised at the difference it can make.
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  19. Big Willy

    Big Willy Gen. Italia

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    There is a shop on the Gold Coast that does hard anodising. They will strip the old anodising off while you wait.

    The reason this is a good idea is that they may need a hone before recoating so I could take them home, get out the broomstick and 1200 grit and send them back for the final :-)

    I will wait and hear from Honda first though
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  20. Big Willy

    Big Willy Gen. Italia

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    before the feckers wore out :D