Rally-Raid Products Honda CB500X

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by ktmmitch, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    WD40, kerosene, or wiping down with a lint free clean towel came to mind.
  2. Newstrom48

    Newstrom48 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    Alberta
    I did replace my fork oil, but there was no improvement in the front forks. My Rally Raid fork kit arrived today! Looking forward to greatly improved ride! Of course only 2 feet of snow to melt first. LOL.
  3. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
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    California
    Just to let you know the front/first page of this thread has been updated with the latest FAQs, a copy of them below:

    The main change is the way we describe the wheel and suspension 'kit' options for the CB, and for 2018 have taken the opportunity to streamline the range of CB products into two core 'levels' - LEVEL 1 and LEVEL 2.

    LEVEL 1 is the same as before - upgraded replacement front and rear suspension components (available individually if desired) that retain the original travel and seat-height, plus 17/17" spoked wheels in a choice of tubed or tubeless rims.

    LEVEL 2 is the same +2" fully adjustable suspension as before, but we now refer to our complete 'LEVEL 3' 17/19" wheels and +2" suspension combination simply as the LEVEL 2 wheels and LEVEL 2 suspension kit.

    As before, the 17/19" LEVEL 2 wheels can only be fitted once the LEVEL 2 suspension kit has been fitted - either together as a package, or as an upgrade at a later date (typically as finances and/or usage dictate).

    The LEVEL 1b suspension kit has been officially discontinued from January 2018 - although we still have a small number of standard-travel fully adjustable LEVEL 1b shocks in stock at a discounted price (see www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk for more information).

    As always, feel free to ask any specific questions in this thread if you feel they have not be adequately answered below:


    CB500X Adventure FAQs


    (revised 1st January 2018)​


    Please note: These FAQs pertain specifically to the current Production Specification Rally-Raid Products CB500X ‘Adventure’ kit, and associated parts and accessories for the Honda CB500X, (plus CB500F and CBR500R where appropriate).


    1) I understand there are different ‘Levels’ of kit available, can you explain the key differences to me in simple terms?

    For 2018 onwards, we have simplified our range of wheel and suspension upgrades for the CB500X: There are now two core upgrade options available: LEVEL 1, and LEVEL 2.

    In a nutshell, LEVEL 1 maintains the original length suspension travel and corresponding standard seat height. There is also the option of fitting direct replacement heavy-duty spoked wheels in both 17” diameter front and rear sizes.

    LEVEL 2 is our +2 inch (50mm) longer-travel suspension kit - a comprehensive reworking of the original suspension components, which in turn also allows you to fit our dedicated spoked wheel kit that features a larger diameter 19” front wheel together with our 17” rear wheel.


    please note. while the standard dimension front and rear LEVEL 1 suspension components are available and can be fitted separately (as desired and/or finances allow), the LEVEL 2 longer-travel suspension components have to be sold/fitted as a complete kit.

    Similarly, while the LEVEL 1 17/17” spoked wheels can always be fitted independently of any suspension modifications, the LEVEL 2 19/17” wheel kit can only be fitted once our LEVEL 2 suspension has been fitted.



    2) So can you describe the two ‘LEVEL’ options in more detail?

    L1 Suspension

    LEVEL 1
    upgrades the standard travel suspension with higher quality and adjustable components front and rear. This is the ideal option for those who do not wish to raise the seat height at all. These components are also suitable upgrades for the CB500F and CBR500R models.

    The LEVEL 1 rear shock offers the same travel as the OEM shock, but offers far high-quality and adjustable damping (via a single combined adjuster wheel for rebound and compression); together with the option of fitting a hydraulic remote preload adjuster to easily compensate for different loads.

    The LEVEL 1 fork kit offers the same travel as the OEM fork components, but complete replaces the internal parts with our unique shim valves and dedicated damper rods, plus longer linear-wound springs, which eliminate the OEM plastic spacer inside the forks. note. In addition, our billet preload adjuster caps are available as a separate accessory for owners of the pre-2016 model bikes that do not come with fork preload adjusters as standard.


    L1 Wheels

    The LEVEL 1 wheels (pair) come in direct replacement 17/17” sizes both front and rear, and utilise the OEM brake discs, hardware, and cush-drive/sprocket assembly from your original wheels, and are fitted with OEM size wheel bearings and seals. note. Pre-2016 ABS models also utilise both OEM sensor rings; while 2016-onwards models do require our own replacement front sensor ring while retaining the OEM rear.

    In addition, the LEVEL 1 spoked wheels are now available in either standard tube-type or professionally converted Tubeless rim options, together with the choice of black or gold powder-coated rims.


    L2 Suspension

    LEVEL 2 increases the overall travel and ride-height by +2” (50mm) front and rear, which correspondingly offers far greater off-road performance, and is only suitable for the CB500X model.

    The LEVEL 2 rear shock is fully adjustable - offering individual controls for rebound plus high&low speed compression damping - together with a remote reservoir for increased oil capacity. As with our LEVEL 1 shock, there is also the option of fitting a hydraulic remote preload adjuster to more easily compensate for different loads and conditions.

    The LEVEL 2 fork components are similar to the LEVEL 1 specification, but with an increase in travel to match the longer rear shock; while the complete kit also includes revised geometry rear-suspension linkage components, a billet top triple-clamp and a longer side-stand.

    Because these matched components raise the bike equally front and rear, it is perfectly possible to retain your original cast aluminium wheels with our LEVEL 2 suspension kit fitted - typically appealing to those riders who spend the majority of their time on paved or mild unsurfaced roads, but would appreciate more ground clearance and an improvement in ride quality afforded by the longer travel and fully adjustable suspension.


    L2 Wheels

    However, the LEVEL 2 wheels complete what we consider is the ultimate specification for the CB500X to be used in an all-terrain ‘Adventure’ bike role. These are available as a package with our LEVEL 2 suspension, or as a second phase to anyone who has previously fitted our LEVEL 2 suspension to their machine.

    The LEVEL 2 heavy-duty spoked wheel kit retains our 17” diameter rear wheel, but comes with a larger diameter 19” front wheel together with a dedicated 19” front fender and associated mounting hardware. These wheel sizes mean there is a far wider range of all-terrain tread pattern tyres available; and in conjunction with our LEVEL 2 suspension kit, we consider the revised geometry and associated ground clearance is now optimised for the bike to be used in a more adventurous role.

    As with our LEVEL 1 wheel kit, the LEVEL 2 wheels are available both in standard tube-type or tubeless rims, and in either black or gold powder-coating. Similarly all the OEM brake and drive hardware is carried over, and they are equally suitable for both non-ABS and ABS models of all years.



    3) Can I purchase any of the suspension components separately, or do they have to be bought as a package?

    It is possible to buy the LEVEL 1 front fork or rear suspension components separately - as these do not affect the original geometry of the bike in any way.

    However, the longer-travel LEVEL 2 suspension components must be fitted as a matched pair and can only be sold as such - since it is also essential to fit the revised rear linkage components together with the billet top triple-clamp that are included as part of the +2” (50mm) long-travel suspension package.



    4) I love the look of the spoked wheels - can I just buy the wheels on their own?

    You can buy the pair of LEVEL 1 17/17” wheels independently of any suspension upgrades, but It is not physically possible to fit the 19” front wheel on the CB500X without also fitting our longer-travel LEVEL 2 suspension kit - which ensures clearance at full travel.



    5) My original cast wheels are tubeless - do you have that option for your spoked wheels?

    Yes, although our standard rim option means you do have to use inner tubes with our spoked wheels, (even inside tubeless tyres such as the continental TKC80) - we now offer both LEVEL 1 and LEVEL 2 wheel sets professionally converted by BARTubeless in Italy with a 4-year warranty, available from stock. You simply choose either the tube-type or tubeless product option when you order, then select your rim colour preference from the drop-down menu.

    Please note that not all colour/tube/tubeless options may always be available immediately from our warehouse stock, but all specific orders will be satisfied as quickly as possible.



    6) Ok, I’m ready to buy - I see you are based in the UK - how do I purchase the parts I want?

    Rally Raid Products have a comprehensive web-shop: www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk, that accepts International payment in a range of currencies, proportional to the default UK pound pricing.

    We use UPS for worldwide shipping, to most destinations using their 48 hour priority service. Typically all products in stock shipped to both Europe and the USA arrive within a week.



    7) Can I fit the suspension/full Adventure kit myself at home, or does it need professional installation?

    The kit/s have been designed to be DIY fit, and full step-by-step instructions are available on the Rally Raid Products website to read/download at the bottom of each respective product page.

    The kit/s have been specifically designed to be completely bolt-on, and there is no need to cut or weld anything to fit the upgraded components. Typical workshop tools - a metric socket set, wrenches and allen keys are really all that is required. Should you prefer a professional workshop to undertake the work on your behalf, then they too will appreciate the straightforward nature of the conversion.

    note. To safely fit the front and rear suspension components, you will need support the bike so that no weight is on either the swing-arm/front forks in turn. In that regard, we suggest you consider our tubular Engine Guard which cradles the engine, and fit that first of all - then you can support the complete weight of the bike on a scissor lift directly underneath the engine.

    In addition, while the vast majority of the installation is simple bolt-off bolt-on, you will be required to remove the fork internal components and replace them with the new Rally Raid parts. If you are not confident or familiar with such a procedure, we do recommend obtaining the assistance of an experienced and/or professional workshop mechanic for that element of the conversion.




    8) Can I still use a centre stand if I fit the longer-travel LEVEL 2 suspension?

    No. Unfortunately the standard length centre-stand is not long enough to lift the rear wheel off the ground once the +2” (50mm) suspension has been fitted. The LEVEL 2 suspension also requires a longer side-stand to replace the original (supplied as part of the complete LEVEL 2 suspension kit), and there is simply not enough space for both stands to stow correctly on the bike.



    9) OK, so how can I lift the rear wheel for chain maintenance for example?

    We realise it is useful to be able to lift the rear wheel off the ground for maintenance, but at the same time, consider a traditional centre-stand bulky, and unnecessary weight to carry around with you for the vast majority of the time - particularly on a bike that is intended to be used more frequently off-road.

    Instead we would suggest you consider a short removable prop-stand similar to those used by dual-sport riders - which typically locates under the swing-arm and is used in conjunction with the side stand to lift the rear wheel a few inches off the ground. The Endurostar Trail Stand or Bikemaster Lift-Stick are two popular choices.

    For workshop and home maintenance, we strongly recommend you invest in either a traditional paddock stand to lift the rear wheel (the universal type can be used with many other motorcycles too of course), or a simple scissor-lift that can be used to lift either wheel in conjunction with the Rally Raid tubular engine guard.



    10) My bike has ABS - do the Rally Raid spoked wheels still work with the ABS?

    Yes, they certainly do. In the UK and Europe the CB500X is only sold as an ABS equipped model, so it was essential that our replacement wheels would retain all the OEM ABS and braking components. They work equally well with the non-ABS bikes too of course.

    The only consideration is that from 2016-onwards, the OEM front ABS sensor ring changed shape. Rally Raid subsequently sell a direct replacement front sensor ring for owners of the later models.



    11) I see that some manufactures offer ‘switchable’ ABS these days, is that something I can have too?

    Yes. Again, the UK/EU bikes all come with ABS as standard, and while we feel it is an excellent system both on-road and off, there may be an occasion (traditionally in very technical off-road terrain for example) that you absolutely don’t want the ABS to cut in.

    We offer a simple ABS bypass switch that complete disengages the front and rear ABS, allowing the bike to behave in exactly the same way as the non-ABS version (which is sold in the United States for example) does. When the ABS is disengaged, a dash warning light is illuminated to remind you. You can also switch between ABS on and ABS off on-the-fly as you ride along.



    12) How much taller is the bike once the long-travel LEVEL 2 suspension and 19/17” spoked wheels are fitted?

    We have measured our full LEVEL 2 bike (fitted with Continental TKC80 all-terrain tyres) at a little over 34" seat height (870mm). To compare, the standard seat hight on the OEM cast alloy wheels and street-biased tyres is 31.9 inches (810mm).



    13) I’m rather short in the leg, what are my options to upgrade if I want to ride my bike off-road more seriously?

    We realise that the CB500X does appeal to shorter riders, which is why we felt it important to offer our high quality/adjustable suspension in standard travel/ride-height length for both front and rear.

    The LEVEL 1 suspension components will make the most of the original travel available, without raising the seat height at all - you just have to keep in mind that without raising the bike, your ground clearance is still limited.

    Therefore we would certainly recommend also fitting the tubular Engine Guard to protect the otherwise vulnerable sump; while our heavy-duty foot-pegs offer a far larger platform for when standing while riding off-road, and indeed improve general comfort when riding long distances too.

    Finally, the LEVEL 1 17/17" spoked wheel kit offers stronger and more resilient heavy-duty rally-bike specification wheels, which can accept the OEM size tyres or similar more all-terrain tread pattern alternatives.

    Whether you specify our 17/17" spoked wheels or chose to retain the OEM cast wheels, we recommend fitting the Continental TKC80 in 120/70 x 17” front and 150/70 x 17” rear sizes - which will make the bike feel significantly more sure-footed and capable off-road than the standard tyres.



    14) If I fit the LEVEL 2 (19/17”) wheels, can I swap between my OEM cast wheels for commuting during the week, then swap to the spoked wheels for off-road use?

    Yes, if you so wish - however, we have designed the Adventure kit to specifically improve and enhance the standard CB500X into more of an ‘all-road all-rounder’, without compromising its day-to-day usability at all.

    The full LEVEL 2 wheel and suspension package really ought to be considered a complete re-engineering of the original bike, making it comparable with other mid-size adventure bikes such as the BMW F700GS, Suzuki V-Strom XT or Kawasaki KLR650 for example - none of which you'd consider actually require changing the wheels every weekend I’m sure…

    However, retaining your OEM cast wheels does mean you essentially have a set of 'super-moto' wheels available now, and could always have those fitted with street tyres for more spirited on-road riding, and/or if you regularly commute and want to save your all-terrain tyres specifically for longer adventure rides. All you need to do is swap the OEM brake discs and cush-drive assembly back and forth between each set of wheels as desired.



    15) Do I need to change the gearing (my chain and sprockets) if I fit the LEVEL 2 spoked wheels?

    No. One of the main reasons we decided to retain the 17" rear wheel diameter is so that the final-drive gearing would remain the same, and that the speedometer (which is driven from the gearbox) also remains accurate. Of course there is nothing to stop you gearing up or down a few teeth to suit a personal preference, and do consider that depending on what brand/size/tread-pattern rear tyre you fit, the rear wheel may be slightly larger in diameter overall than standard - but we found that when using a 150/70 x 17 Continental TKC80 for example, there is no appreciable difference.



    16) I see the LEVEL 2 longer-travel suspension kit comes with new rear linkage parts and a replacement top triple-clamp too - why is that?

    The rear linkage components are essential to allow the much longer rear shock (+50mm travel) to physically fit on the bike, and to retain the original leverage ratio for the rear suspension.

    At the front, the LEVEL 2 components offer +30mm more travel over standard (so that both the front and rear suspension are now equal at 170mm travel), and as part of the geometry revisions, it was also essential to lower the top of fork legs by 20mm, which is achieved with our dedicated billet top triple-clamp.

    In addition, the top triple-clamp offers a choice of handlebar mounting position fore and aft when using the OEM handlebars, plus the option of choosing Fat-bar risers should you wish to fit stronger aluminium handlebars. It also incorporates dedicated mountings for an optional Scotts steering damper if desired.

    Also included in the LEVEL 2 package is a longer replacement side-stand so that the taller bike remains at the correct angle with the longer suspension fitted.



    17) I really don’t like the stock handlebars, but I understand their shape means the choice of alternatives is very limited - is there any alternative from Rally-Raid Products?

    Yes. Our billet top triple-clamp (standard with the LEVEL 2 suspension kit, and there is also a LEVEL 1 version available as an accessory) has a choice of bar riser options.

    You can specify the standard height bar risers to retain the (22mm) stock diameter bars, or select the high-rise Fat-bar option that is designed to accept 28mm tapered bars - mounting them correspondingly higher so that a wider selection of traditional MX/Enduro bars can now be fitted to the bike.

    Our Fat-bar risers have been specifically designed to mount the Renthal 'RC High' bend (84mm rise) bars, as we feel these offer the combination of rise and sweep for off-road riding (and indeed are a very popular choice with rally riders), and fit with the OEM cables, hoses and switchgear wiring without modification.



    18) The LEVEL 2 wheel kit comes with a replacement front fender - why is that necessary, and why a low fender?

    The street-style OEM front fender is designed to fit closely around a 17" tyre, and there simply isn't enough clearance for the 19" spoked wheel to fit. The LEVEL 2 wheel kit comes with a dedicated replacement 19" front fender (and new mounting hardware), that properly follows the profile of the new wheel, and offers improved mud-clearance.

    Unfortunately, because of the brake-hose routing, it is not possible to fit a high fender successfully on the ABS equipped bikes; but we also feel that the low rally-style fender compliments the bikes styling, and also offers better protection to the front of the engine and radiator too.



    19) I have a CB500F model - can I fit the longer-travel LEVEL 2 suspension to my bike too?

    Technically no. While the rear shock, linkage and the fork internal dimensions are exactly the same between models, the CB500F headlight is mounted directly to the triple clamp, which is different to the replacement version we manufacture for the LEVEL 2 kit for the CB500X.

    We consider that CB500F customers would be more than adequately served by fitting our standard travel length LEVEL 1 upgraded suspension, perhaps in combination with the LEVEL 1 17/17” spoked wheels should they desire more of a ‘Scrambler’ style conversion.

    rev. JMo 1/1/18

    Jx
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  4. Scootrider

    Scootrider Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    Champlain Islands, VT USA
    Can you remind us what the original travel for the front forks is, the level 1 front travel, and the level 2 front travel?
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,126
    Location:
    California
    Hi Scoot' - yes, the standard travel from the CB500X fork is 5.5", or 140mm.

    The LEVEL 1 fork kit retains that amount (but offers much better [shim valved] damping plus a choice of spring weights), while the LEVEL 2 fork kit increases the travel by 30mm to match the longer travel LEVEL 2 shock, which also offers 170mm travel.

    Note. the stock rear end offers 4.7" or 120mm. The LEVEL 2 shock increases this travel by 50mm, so both ends are now 170mm. The LEVEL 2 suspension kit also includes a replacement triple clamp that matches the front ride-height with the rear, so the bike remains level as before, just with 170mm travel at each end.

    Hope that clarifies things!

    Jenny x
  6. BeanRidin'

    BeanRidin' Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Adirondack's NY
    Since its been quiet here, I thought I would ask the level 1 riders to talk about their ride quality and the terrain they have gone on. Any regrets about not going to level 2/3? I have a general impression from having read the whole thread but would like to see it consolidated to help me and possibly others decide if the level 1 is best suited for the bike's needs. I say this as MY needs are varied. Ego says go with level 3, it looks cool. Wallet says stay with stock, you can make do. Body says stay with something low, you lost your flexibility and agility. Back says hitting those ridges every 100 yrs or so at 80 mph hurt.
    I am thinking of upgrading from stock this summer and wondering if the level 1 is all that I need or should I go all in?
    I have found the stock suspension to be better than the stock of the Suzuki Boulevard that I was riding previously. Maybe the hits feel softer because the tires are narrower and the weight is reduced?
    I ride the CBX mostly on frost heaved, potholed rough paved roads with about 10% dirt. I use it to commute 70 miles RT and on longer weekend trips and camping. I hope to add more off road to the mix now that I have a bike more suited to the task. I am new to dirt riding other than taking my street bikes to place I probably shouldn't have. I have a 30" inseam so not initially comfortable on a tall bike. The off road riding I see myself doing is on sandy dirt roads with small loose rocks, rocky logging trails with roots, small blowdown and muddy stream crossings, and grave roads. I also plan in about 3 years to explore what lies between upstate NY and California, on both the US and Canadian sides.
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts. (after I clear the 11 inches, and still falling, dense snow from the 230 yrd driveway:()
  7. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    898
    Location:
    Idaho
    It's kind of a personal decision.

    First of all, how comfortable would you be on the bike with the seat 2" higher from the ground? If that is NOK for you, go L1. You can test this easy by rolling your bike up on a couple of 2X4s and then see how comfortable you are reaching the ground. That is pretty close to what it will be after the long travel conversion.

    If you are OK with a higher saddle, don't mind spending the money, and want to ride more off pavement then go all the way. Off pavement the advantage of the 19" front hoop is huge, along with more suspension travel. Riding sandy roads that you mention is much more relaxed with the 19" front wheel. It is still possible with the stock hoops, it just takes more focus.
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  8. ben2go

    ben2go I am Ben! Hear me snore!

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    7,522
    Location:
    Upstate SC USA
    No probs riding sand for me on the 17's with 705's. I don't really like sand and avoid it.
  9. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    533
    Location:
    Budapest, Hungary
    As a past TA owner, how does the CB compares to it (with and without the RR conversion?)
  10. Migolito

    Migolito Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,848
    Location:
    S-Cal
    My Level 1 decision process. I have a KTM500exc that does everything dirt I'd ever want. I am also making mods that will allow me to do some fairly long range slab/dirt. So, no need to get a 500+ pound 'dirt' bike. So, no GS, no AT, etc. For TAT/BDR type riding the KTM will excel. It's 255 pounds and 55hp with crazy suspension travel. What I wanted was a long range sit up bike (comfort) that could ride the slab endlessly AND do dirt/gravel roads competently. I started looking at the CB500 because the mpg are so high and the reliability is so great and it is about 420 pounds. But, most of all (and this can't be overstated) there is a tremendous aftermarket for parts. The bike is very basic, but, with the right mods, really becomes quite the specialized tool. RR is just one of those after market companys that correctly chose the CB500X as a great Mod opportunity. Like u, I looked at the 19" from tire option and the additional 2" of travel. But, at the end of the day, I choose the L1 based on what I wanted the bike to do. Mostly slab/gravel road. Right now I have it with a Mitas E07 rear and a TKC80 front AND (very important) I can plug these tubeless tire easily. I don't need to change a tube in the field. (I run Tubliss on my KTM). I weigh 210 pounds nekid and add another 20+ pounds of riding gear, plus add another 60 pounds of soft luggage, hard luggage rack, tents, stove chair, camera, etc, etc. Thats a lot of weight. Yes, I can limit what I take...but, why? I go ultralight when I mountaineer, I don't when I ride. I went with the L1 kit with the highest weight springs. To say the L1 changed the bike completely (for me) is an understatement. It feels very well planted on the slab. It corners better than the E07/TKC80 deserve and soaks up all harshness from ruff roads. In the dirt...? It's no KTM500 AND it's not supposed to be. It rides great, particularly since I'm hauling all kinds of stuff down gravel, bumpy dirt roads. Think Death Valley/Calif desert roads. This June 'Sally' and I are making the trek from SCal to Tukotayuktuk NWT and I will have a better understanding of my choice. I'll review all the choices in bike/equipment during the journey. I'm what you might call brutally honest when it comes to reviews.
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  11. garzan

    garzan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Oddometer:
    651
    Location:
    Udon Thani, Thailand
    I bought the Level 1 kit when you had to buy both pieces at the same time. Now that you can split the front half from the back half, I'd have done the upgrade sooner. For me, I don't plan on stump jumping, or rock bashing, that sort of riding holds zero interest for me. My CBA of an extra 2" of suspension travel that would probably never get used, was why spend the money? To quote an often used phrase in Thailand, "buy for what?!?" :-)

    I also think Ed March pretty conclusively proved when he rode a Honda C-90 down from Alaska, and then all along the TAT, that if a C-90 can do it, a bone stock CB500X most certainly can do it. The CB500X may not (will not) be as fast doing it as a made for purpose dirt bike, but it will still do it. Just slow down and enjoy the view rather than seeing how quickly you can push through. And on the in-betweens of pavement, getting from here to there, the CB500X will be a lot more comfortable than either the C-90 or the purpose built dirt bike. I look at the CB500X as a purpose built 'do everything passably well' bike. As a 'one bike to ride them all' sort of bike, I'm happy with my choice, and three years later, I'm still really happy with my choice.

    Now, while the stock suspension will get you up the Al-Can, or across the TAT, it won't be as comfortable as it could be. The Rally Raid Level One kit, front and back, was still a big chunk of change for me. Importing it into Thailand, I paid about 50% markup to the government of Thailand in assorted fees and duty to get the parts out of Customs, so it was really a big chunk of change for me. Even with the extra 50%, I still do not regret getting it. The quality of the ride is so very much better. My spine thanks me every ride for the bike not trying to compress it several inches. My wrists thank me every ride for the bike not trying to break them off with jarring shocks. The bike is just plain more enjoyable to ride, and it was pretty enjoyable to begin with.

    I ride with a definite road bias. The only dirt tracks I see are poorly maintained rural roads with the occasional pothole big enough to swallow an SUV whole. I have a non Rally Raid skid plate (ref: no stump jumping, or rock bashing), and more in between style tires (Pirelli MT60 Corsa) and I have 100% confidence the bike will take me anywhere in Thailand I would want to ride, and thanks to the Rally Raid suspension upgrade, will do so with much more comfort than I would have had with the stock suspension.

    In retrospect, I regret not buying the RR kit sooner. :-)
  12. acap650

    acap650 acap650

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,064
    Location:
    Western PA
    The level1 vs level2 decision is not easy for some as I found out helping a friend set up his 2016 CB500X. The additional height of the level2 was an issue and it's more than the thickness of a 2X4 with the 19" wheel. We rolled the stock bike onto blocks to test the height and they were over 2" to simulate the +2" suspension and +1" height of the 19" front wheel. In the end he chose the complete level2 set up after I agreed to help him reduce the seat height by thinning the seat foam and dropping the fork triples by 1/4".

    The other issue was his insistence on having a centerstand and we were able to extend an SW Motech stand to work with the added height. I should also mention that the longer RR sidestand is not really long enough for the +2" suspension and 19" front wheel, it is a compromise to work with the level2 suspension and 17" wheel. So we ended up extending the sidestand as well.

    To make the stands work together it was necessary to lower the retracted height of both. The centerstand stop was lowered for chain clearance and the sidestand stop was then set to tuck in as closely as possible without hitting the centerstand. It does reduce lean angle clearance but with the additional ride height it should be similar to stock. As you can see (I hope they show) from the pictures the retracted stands are nearly touching with around 2mm gap between them and cannot be deployed independently, i.e. sidestand first then centerstand.

    Pic links: https://photos.app.goo.gl/RcqaXoj7UOrmXbhi1, https://photos.app.goo.gl/B1QEe6XBnG0wTtMp2, https://photos.app.goo.gl/gldBguVuxigspQ8t2

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  13. Scootrider

    Scootrider Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    Champlain Islands, VT USA
    Installed the Level One on my bike when it became available and love the bike to the point where I never even THINK about alternatives, for what I normally do: gravel roads in Vermont and West Virginia. When I think about the TAT, I think about level Two or whatever we're calling Three now, but then I think I'd really want a lighter bike ('cause I'm old, feeble and only weigh 140lbs). I could stand more ground clearance and engine protection, but I've never had a problem. I could stand more aggressive tires (I use road tires because I like the ride quality and the mileage) but I don't know how they'd help except when it gets greasy, and I give the roads some time to dry out when it does. I'll do some class four roads, but when it starts to get technical, I'm hoping that we'll get through it in a half mile; it's not that much fun after that for me. I like second and third gear riding, but first gets tedious. If you relish this stuff you might be able to charge it like Juan and Jenny, with Level Two or Three, but I don't see myself going quite so hard...
    Migolito likes this.
  14. surfsofa

    surfsofa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Was going to ask this question directly to Rally Raid, but thought others might be interested in the answer too:

    I have a L2 bike with RR wheels (the artist formerly known as L3). I specced medium spring rates but am right on the border weight between soft and medium. While I'm happy with the suspension when riding the bike hard on or off road (truly great feedback), when my bike is doing its routine commuter duty the ride is quite hard. It's quite easy to soften the rear with all the adjustability there, but not so easy for the forks.

    So, my questions are: Can I order a set of soft front fork springs independently from Rally Raid? Will this unbalance the bike or push things too far the other way? Has anyone else tried this?

    Thanks!
  15. Manray

    Manray Killing Time

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    334
    Location:
    North America
    I would try changing fork oil viscosity, volume and air gap before looking into getting softer front springs. As far as I know, the 5.0 Nm springs that come with the standard fork kit are RR's softest spring. Therefore, if you must have softer springs (less than 5.0 Nm), you may need to get some wound up by a custom shop.
  16. Manray

    Manray Killing Time

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    334
    Location:
    North America
    How many inches exactly did you have to extend the SW Motech center stand?
  17. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    898
    Location:
    Idaho
    First try softening up the fork preload using the RR fork caps. There isn't a huge amount of adjustability there but there is some, and it is very quick and easy to do.
  18. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,126
    Location:
    California
    Hi Surf' - I have written about this [sort of thing] quite a few times now, but would agree in a thread this size things do get buried quite easily, so a quick summary erm, detailed description for you - and as you say, anyone else interested...


    Suspension [spring rate] choice and set-up 101

    First of all, a lot of people equate stiffer suspension [than they have, or the bike comes with as stock] as some sort of 'performance' upgrade - you see it all the time on threads on ADV rider "first thing I'm going to do is fit stiffer springs..." (and it's always stiffer, never softer - plus I'd suggest the first thing you should do is actually ride your new bike and see how it actually reacts over a range of surfaces, ahem).

    I can only image these guys eat a lot of donuts, or are planning on jumping their ADV bike like it's a motocrosser...

    In general, Adventure style bikes almost always have longer suspension travel than a road bike - and correspondingly this tends to be softer, as there is more overall travel available, and that range is meant to be used - both for comfort when riding over rougher surfaces, and also to maintain traction and grip.

    People from a road-bike background (and I include a lot of moto journalists in this generalisation) think soft springs equates to fork dive, and squatting under acceleration - and to a degree it does [more than a sporty road-bike] - but that is no bad thing as long as the damping is well controlled - it's basically a different style of bike and riding, and aimed at a far wider discipline where your suspension has to cope with far more variance often in a single journey.

    Essentially, any spring rate should be chosen to support the intended load - be that a solo rider, or if you intend to regularly carry a passenger or luggage. As you've found, when commuting solo, your bike feels a little stiffer than you'd like perhaps - but stick a pillion on there, or load up with luggage, and you'll find the bike reacts differently - not only initially squatting/sagging with the extra load, but also the speed with which the suspension reacts - both in compression and rebound - hence the facility to dial that in more accurately with the adjusters on the LEVEL 2 shock.



    Choosing shock spring rates

    When it comes to choosing your initial spring rate (a choice of 4 for the shock, and now 2 for the forks), I always suggest to those who are around the crossover point, that you err on the side of softer - that is primarily for a LEVEL 2 set-up you understand, where you've now got +2" more travel for the bike to 'float' in.

    note. for a LEVEL 1 bike that you intend to use off road (ie. where you don't want to increase the seat height) then you need to flip a coin - slightly stiffer will maintain your limited ground clearance for longer, but conversely may mean the bike skips around a bit more on rough surfaces - this is why we always say our +2" travel LEVEL 2 geometry is what we consider optimum for this particular bike if you intend to ride it more regularly off-road.

    Each spring rate is not hard and fast - there is a degree of adjustment and fine tuning with the preload of course - but fundamentally, you cannot soften a spring any further once the preload is wound right off, but you can add preload/ride-height when tuning the sag towards the ideal with your preload adjuster - typically if the load is a little more heavy than the spring rate can ideally support naturally.

    Obviously, there comes a point where you've wound the preload as far as it will go, so would need to fit a stiffer spring if you've continued to eat a lot of pies, or you end up regularly carrying more luggage or a passenger, and find your sag is still greater than ideal - but that range is pretty wide with the TracTive shocks.

    In this case what adding preload gives you is the correct sag/ride-height, while maintaining a soft spring for comfort, grip and traction - and where the reaction of the softer spring is controlled by the damping (which is what it's designed to do), which I'd/we'd suggest is the optimum suspension set-up for an 'Adventure' style bike, designed to be used on multiple surfaces and terrain.

    Note. the above information mainly applies to the rear shock, as that is the thing that carries the majority of the additional load - rider/passenger/luggage.



    Fork springs and set-up

    At the front, the stiffer 5.5 weight springs (5.0 is standard in both the LEVEL 1 and LEVEL 2 fork kits) are for primarily for [much] heavier riders - and/or those who might want to ride their bike more aggressively off-road (although don't forget you've still only got 7" of overall travel to hit stuff with!).

    It's worth noting what Manray suggests a couple of posts above - that in the case of the forks, changing the oil level/air-gap ratio can also help the way the forks feel - although the most noticeable effect is when you add oil/decrease the air gap to help 'stiffen up' the action towards the end of their travel while still using a softer spring for the majority of riding conditions, where front wheel tracking (rather than skipping) is essential to maintain grip and directional stability when riding off-road.

    Note. changing the viscosity [weight] of the oil will change the damping characteristics - thicker oil moves through the valve shims more slowly, meaning the damping reacts more slowly. This can help with the initial compression stroke (meaning the available travel isn't used up quite as quickly) but conversely slower rebound means the spring has not necessarily returned to full/optimum extension by the time you hit the next bump - leading to what is termed 'packing down' with repeated hits.

    Generally speaking, the TracTive shim valves and the damping rods that make up our fork kits have been optimised to work best with a 5wt fork oil - maintaining a lively feel to the front end, that tracks and reacts about the best you can get from a conventional open-bath design fork. For more fine and individual tuning, you need to go for a cartridge design which is a lot more expensive - as it's essentially a pair of two-foot long shock absorbers inside the fork legs.

    Finally, to answer Surf's final question directly: the 5.0 fork springs are what would have come in your kit unless you specified the stiffer 5.5 version at the time of order.

    It is worth noting that the Rally Raid springs are linear (ie. the same rate all the way though), whereas the OEM springs were a little softer initially 4.8 (although a lot of that would be taken up with initial sag of course, especially if you were a heavier rider), rising to 8.0 towards the end, and with a marked step about 1/3 of the way through the travel - which is why the stock bike can feel a bit harsh and crashy in the middle of the stroke (where the suspension tends to sit when riding).

    All I can suggest is if you find the 5.0 springs a little firm for your weight (and keeping in mind that rate was chosen to support the weight of a 200Kg bike of course, and not let it dive too much under breaking), then try backing the preload right off as Wind-Rider suggests, and perhaps run a little less oil in the forks too as Manray suggests - and make sure you're using 5wt oil, as you want the damping/springing to be as reactive as possible for a lighter load.

    Obviously these revised fork settings are likely to compromise the optimum setting you say you've achieved when you're riding off-road, and unfortunately there always has to be a degree of compromise when riding a single bike designed to tackle what are two very different disciplines. Hopefully the above explanations combined with the tunability of the Rally Raid suspension will help minimise any compromise you need to make... in fact it may even be the case that simply removing [when commuting] and then adding [when heading off-road] fork preload is sufficient to achieve the result you are looking for?

    Me, I'd just ride off-road more ;o)

    Hope that helps!

    Jenny x
    ThirtyOne, Manray, Wind_Rider and 3 others like this.
  19. surfsofa

    surfsofa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Thank you all for the quality replies. I'll continue my experimentation :ricky
  20. patagon

    patagon Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Jenny, I see in the FAQ #19 that for the CBF there is only Level 1. Is it absolutely imposible to fit the headlight to your triple tree?

    Regards