Dr650 suspension

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by SOTA, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. SOTA

    SOTA Adventurer

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    What do broke people do to beef up the suspension? I would like to get my supension a lot stiffer without spending thousands of dollars. I'm mainly focusing on the rear but as you know the front needs help also.
    #1
  2. SBG

    SBG Neville1 to TT boys

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    Springs and heavier weight oil, probably the cheapest way to go for about $130. Of course you could just do oil. After that, Race tech emulators or Ricor intiminators for about $150-$200.
    #2
  3. Midpack

    Midpack Been here awhile

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    Ricor:D
    #3
  4. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    What sort of riding do you do? What is your skill level? Terrain you intend to ride? Off road? ON Road? ... and what is your weight? Unless you ride aggressive and are a B rider or better ... for now ... I'd stay with stock. Add preload to the forks (bigger spacers) and go with 12 wt oil. This is a poor man's compromise but may work for you.

    Out back it's tougher. Stock shock has terrible rebound characteristics ... and the spring is rated for around a 160 lbs. rider. Best free mod is to crank up the preload ALL THE WAY! But that is not really a solution. sorry, gotta spend a few bucks there.

    TIPS:
    If you're handy, there are a couple good tutorial threads on ADV Thumpers to rebuild the rear KYB shock. It's really not that hard! (I was surprised!) New seals and valves are relatively cheap, nitrogen recharge is easy ... but you'll need a stiffer spring as well. Buy a used one here (maybe $50 to $75?) ... once in a while a guy goes with one too stiff and sells it off. Something between a 7.6 kg. and an 8.0 would probably be about right if you're between 220 and 280 lbs. Over that? Can't help ... not sure if there is anything stiffer commonly available.

    Front Forks:
    Look around for some forks off a moto cross bike or other ... Ebay is full of cheap options. You may have to machine top clamps or switch stem. Lots of options, some easy, others hard. But guys have bought older Moto forks for just $100. Research, find which ones you can use that fit the DR650.

    Also, I've seen several Race Tech Emulator kits for sale in Flea Market for the DR650 (some were New, Unopened) ... selling for a bit less than new. New, they go for $160, I've seen used for $100 to $130 or so, IIRC. But once again, you'll need stiffer fork springs to complement the Emulators.

    The Ricor product cannot match Race Tech off road, but it's good ON road.
    Ricor are not a Budget item either and very few around used.
    So if you're on a budget ... pay attention to the Flea Market here and on other DR650 forums. Wait for a deal.

    Adding heavier oil is not really a solution. With 15W or heavier your front end will be dead, unresponsive. Sure, it won't dive ... but it won't suck up bumps very well either.
    #4
  5. SOTA

    SOTA Adventurer

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    Wow that's a lot of good info , thank you
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  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    If you want it to work,it costs a little money.

    There's no way to just stiffen it up and have it be very good.

    I had a local shock tech put a Gold Valve in the rear shock,and an Eibach spring for my weight.

    I had the shock out 2 more times for (free) re valving,it was way too stiff on compression damping with Race-Tech specs,once it worked it was a world of difference.

    Emulator and springs in ft forks.

    It likes to go fast on really rough fireroads and does it smoothly,stock suspension was an excersize in hanging on while the bike bottomed/wallowed/slammed around like a drunken water buffalo.

    Works great on the road,and very passable off road.

    Nothing fun is cheap.

    I think the stock forks are ok once tuned,cheap older forks arent generally better working forks just because they are inverted style forks,they for sure look cooler.
    #6
  7. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    What he said.

    Admitted, I have a DL not a DR, but an amazing difference and far and away the easiest mod to do as wel.

    Pete
    #7
  8. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    A couple friends have tried the Ricor,both long time riders and have fiddled with suspension a lot. Both ended up selling the Ricor stuff as it just didnt do what was needed. I think a lot of newer riders cant tell whats what with suspension and figure if its different it must be good.

    Race Tech has been in the business a long time,if set up right their stuff works great.
    #8
  9. JDUBinCO

    JDUBinCO Mass Centralized

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    You could start with cartridge style forks from a 98, 99 dr350 or drz250. Still would need stiffer springs but you get adjustable compression and rebound. I have a pair sitting around (shameless plug :norton ).
    Externally, they are very similar to the xr400 forks. I wonder if the shim attack would be as easy to modify to suit your style of riding?
    #9
  10. MartiniUp

    MartiniUp Long timer

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    Race Tech. Do one end at a time if need be to fit your budget. Just be sure to go to a Race Tech center that you have done your homework on. Some are better than others.
    #10
  11. sintax

    sintax Been here awhile

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    Send a message to Vintagespeed.

    He swapped a DRZ400 rear shock in, and I sold him a set of USD forks off of my KX500 that he put on his DR650

    He is captain cheap, so I know it did not cost too much
    #11
  12. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    So true. Many shops have are certified Race Tech Centers but in some cases their techs must have slept through the seminars. :D Also, many shops have a guy on staff that took the Race Tech classes ... but that guy has only done a few suspension jobs ... and is really still a Noob.

    Go somewhere where they specialize and do suspension work all the time.
    You're odds will be much better for a good outcome. Reputation is everything.
    #12
  13. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    All true,my local suspension tech has been doing suspension for 5 or 6 years and really likes doing it,he plays with all sorts of bikes all the time.
    The thing is,you have to be able to tell what works for you.
    Some figure if its stiffer it must be good,my DR skipped off every sharp bump with the supplied race tech valving and it took 2 major steps towards soft on the shim stack to get it to be compliant.
    Yet most DR riders who go race tech seem to think the valving is great as is from RT. I want mine to be cush for all day rides,yet a few clicks on compression and it firms up for dirt beatings.

    It took some fooling around with the shock but its good now.
    #13
  14. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Spot on! I have sent several sets of Forks down to Race Tech headquarters is SoCal. On two occasions they came back TOO STIFF. (Road Bikes)

    Despite speaking with the manager ...at length ... stating I was not a National level racer and preferred PLUSH over Harsh. One set I returned and they did a better job. With the other set Race Tech recommended a local shop in my area ... and that worked out best because I went in IN PERSON.

    They nailed it ... and still allowed enough adjustment to fine tune the settings to suit terrain and ride pace.

    From now on I only deal with suspension guys face to face. I recently had the forks re-valved on my 1050 Triumph Tiger. I used Catalyst Reaction in San Mateo. The results have been incredible. They will be rebuilding the old Ohlins shock on my DR650 soon. Catalyst mostly do Road Race guys but do enough street riders and Dirt bikes that they "Get It". They've ridden our beat up NorCal roads and know what works there on a heavy bike like the Tiger 1050. I'm hoping they can nail it with my Ohlins.
    #14
  15. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I too recommend a suspension person. When I wanted my forks/shock done I called a few local shops. They all told me they sub the work out so they would have to get back to me on price and time-frame. Finally I asked who they use and called him directly. He asked what I was trying to accomplish with the suspension. I told him where I ride and he asked what kind of rider I am (from mild to wild), he was familiar with the area (since he rode the same areas). He set my suspension up for me and where and how I ride. They were mail-order parts (all Race Tech stuff), but getting the work done local really seemed to help get it right the first time.
    #15
  16. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I have a question ... the owner at Catalyst Reaction suspension told me they no longer use Race Tech valves ... they now use a company in Oregon. Damn, can't recall the name. But they apparently are the NEXT big thing ... cheaper than Race Tech ... and better, according to the Catalyst Reaction guy. Any idea which company he is talking about? If
    you said the name, It may come back to me. So my 1050 Showa forks have these valves in them. The adjustability is very good, compliant, plush yet controlled at high speed leaned over, hitting stutter bumps.
    #16
  17. 1989THEARK

    1989THEARK Been here awhile

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    I'm a 240lb guy without gear(working on reducing that number for better power to weight ratio):D

    with a 110(soaking wet with a burlap sack) pillion/passenger

    Now i know there isn't a solution but there's gotta be something CLOSE.

    Something that gets what we ALL want out of our suspension.

    Dampening adjustment that actually does something.

    and has rebound adjustment that does something separately.

    Whether it cost 1k or a full front end and rear swap.

    i've looked all over thumpertalk,procycle,ADV and i read all about the improvements people have made
    but haven't found a definitive solution. :cry

    BUT its bin years since the DR has bin out.

    there HAS to be either a plug and play
    or a swap that gets the job done.

    I have an 05 DR650SE

    This is my commuter to and from work.
    love my bike.
    BUT i want to improve on what needs improving.

    for me i dont really have any complaints about hp,bar height, headlight, vibration,

    the 2 things i want to fix are the seat
    and the suspension.

    im new to dirt pretty much always stayed where my tires stay sticky.

    but as i ride more and more in the dirt i find the stock setup to be mush, not feel very reliable or confidence building whether its in the dirt or on the road.

    if i had to say percentage of my riding its 27% dirt the rest street on not so nice roads. constant construction, potholes, cracks etc etc.
    the more they fix the worse it gets.

    I was gonna go with the Cogent dynamics "mojave" shock (Rear)

    But will that fix the rear end will i be able to dial it in for the terrain that im in?

    or will i be left thinking Man if only i would have gone with the ricor racing shock.

    Or Jeez that WP swap might have bin the way to go.

    There are so many options out there and i know these all address a problem for the individual or maybe they just wanted to be different or it could just have bin circumstance they had the parts so why not.

    but for a noob like me having so many threads to go through and so many options and so many people to contact getting asked how do you ride. where do you ride, what do you want. :huh

    What i want is something that gets the job done. no matter what it may be.

    whether its 2 up heading to the beach,climbing a small mountain, blasting through the dirt WOT(not quite there yet but i know it will happen)
    or finding a good hill to jump because work sucked and i need that tiny adrenaline rush.

    I know i mostly complained about the rear suspension. But thats because it needs to be taken care of first. had fork work done not to long ago and for what i need it. its decent but needs an upgrade as i gain experience. And i dont want to shovel out cash over and over in improvements so it can do what i need.

    i want to measure 5 times and cut that chunk out of my wallet once.

    Does anyone have a solution the way to go. Even if it means a swap then gut re do and tune to have that true tune ability.

    I don't make crazy amounts of cash but if your gonna do something do it once

    its late and i guess i went on a rant. I haven't really gotten any complaints from the GF but i know she's not happy with the ride and is just being nice and thats even more irritating. :kboom
    #17
  18. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I would suggest one of the options with rebound adjustment, Race Tech Shock Shaft Assembly or Cogent Dynamics. What I would do then is just buy a separate spring that you could change if you planned for a two-up ride. You could get away with a 7.6 or 8.1 and then put an 8.6 or 9.6 if you really needed it. I think that's going to be about as close as you're going to get to something that can bridge the gap between what you want. With that, you pretty much have to do it once and then for another $100 you have that second spring for two-up.
    #18
  19. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I haven't heard of any new valves, except Rick's at Cogent, but he's on the East Coast. He came out with a new valve to rival Race Tech's.
    #19
  20. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I would agree that either Rick at Cogent can fix you up ... or someone at Race Tech. I would talk to them in PERSON and provide all your details.

    Also, if you care do to more research the DR650 Index thread has a suspension topic:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=634743

    Very useful information from a variety of DR650 riders.

    This is not a big problem for you. You're big but nothing the right spring and a good shock won't cure. I would let your suspension guy find the right spring ... and match the shock's damping to the spring. And don't neglect the front forks. May as well jump in and do them as well. A nice BALANCE between front and rear is important ... as any suspension expert will tell you. Good luck!
    #20