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  #1  
Old 03-31-2010, 03:52 PM
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tomla tomla is offline
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Default Elka shock tuning

might be nice to put the techie info in one thread?

Problem-Spring is pretty firm from the factory, nice for smooth roads, trackdays, but harsh on asphalt of lesser pedigree.

Stock spring rate is 16kg/mm or 895 lb. per this forum, 16.7 or 933 lb. on the Racetech website, but Elka says their spring scale shows it to be 975 lb.
Spring rate supplied w/shock is 1050 lb. or 18.77kg/mm by my calc
I'm 192 in birthday suit. Spec'd touring/commuting for riding style.
Rider sag 1" with collar backed all the way off.

Backed off compression damping all the way soft, rode on potholed gravel road 25mph-ish, then ran a few speed bumps same speed, had about 8mm travel (on shaft) left before bumper is contacted.

Sending shock back for softer spring. BTW, they respond quickly and seem to want to resolve any problems.

Last edited by tomla; 03-31-2010 at 04:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2010, 09:36 PM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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tomia,
Your ride results sound about the same as mine. How did you contact Elka, emails or telephone?
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2010, 09:57 PM
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started w/email to moto@elkasuspension.com and they replied within hours. Sales rep is John Ilkiw at JIIkiw@elkasuspension.com and that's who is sorting this out for me.
If I average RT's and Elka's measurements, the stock spring is around 954#, and they offer a 950 or 1000, both better than the 1050 on there now...I'm very tempted to go with the 950, unless Elka can give me an idea of what sag #'s I should get with the 1000 based on the info I've provided.

Bruce, what do you weigh, what spring rate did you get, and what are your sag #'s?

Last edited by tomla; 03-31-2010 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:01 PM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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I weigh 170 lbs. I can't find it noted anywhere which spring they sent me. Where did you find that information? My sag is 1 3/16, which is on the low end of what they list for street bikes in the owner's manual. But much lower than what Gustavo recommends http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...read.php?t=705 I would have tried more sag but the shock came with the preload adjuster ring backed off all the way. Was yours the same way? My free sag is 1/4". My unloaded ride height was 5/8" higher. Macdaddy noted that his was higher too.
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2010, 07:25 AM
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I haven't even got to setting sag. I just wanted to get the darn thing on after waiting a month to get it.

I ordered the following setup:

215lb rider
Street / Touring rider
I like it plush

I only weigh 165 without gear, but my Corbin seat adds weight, and all my luggage stays on the bike at all times loaded. The 3 Givi bags with a bit of stuff in them weigh 55lbs themselves. I never have a passenger, I rider alone.

As Bruce stated, my ride height adjuster was not all the way down when delivered and did raise the back of the bike up (although a quick comparison to the OE shock unmounted gave very similar lengths.) This leads me to believe the spring on the Elka is quite a bit stiffer. My preload was all the way open when delivered too.

I'll try and take some measurements when I can, but truthfully if it does what I want I don't get all caught up in numbers...
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2010, 08:45 AM
Phoneman064 Phoneman064 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomla View Post
started w/email to moto@elkasuspension.com and they replied within hours. Sales rep is John Ilkiw at JIIkiw@elkasuspension.com and that's who is sorting this out for me.
If I average RT's and Elka's measurements, the stock spring is around 954#, and they offer a 950 or 1000, both better than the 1050 on there now...I'm very tempted to go with the 950, unless Elka can give me an idea of what sag #'s I should get with the 1000 based on the info I've provided.

Bruce, what do you weigh, what spring rate did you get, and what are your sag #'s?
Hi Tomla,

A starting point for rider sag is 30% of the wheel travel. So if someone were to mount the shock up without the spring and measure the rear travel we would know a standard starting point.

Typical street bike rider sag is around 40mm to 50mm. Again it is based on how much wheel travel is available. Since the versys is not a typical street bike (has more travel) then you could start around 50mm and see what you think about the ride. The more sag you have in the rear the more stable the bike is at speed (resists turning).

Static sag is the other important measurement in determining the proper spring. This is the amount of sag without the rider. My '08 was topped out when I got it. I reduced the preload all the way and now it has about 20mm. This feels like the best setting for me when riding (220lb). The bike shouldn't be topped out statically. If it is topped out after you set your desired rider sag then your spring is too soft.

How you determine which spring is correct is based on both static and rider sag measurements. Since I have not taken the stock shock off to measure the free length of the spring, I do not know how much preload is being applied by the stock adjuster on the lightest setting. I suspect that the stock spring is too soft. But have no empirical data to support this until I measure the spring.

Anyway, keep in mind the spring is to hold the bike up. The shock is what damps the movement of the spring when it hits the bumps along the road.

-dave
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2010, 11:13 AM
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Seems like they're sending them out on the stiff side, great for fast riders on good roads. Hey Mack Daddy, I'm with you, if it does what I want, who cares what the #'s are....but it doesn't, so now the numbers are helpful. Big q is should I drop 50 or 100# off the spring rate? Bruce, I had to contact them with the order # to get the spring rate.
Below is the response I got from Elka-

"There have been situations in the past where I have gone on to the racetech site for info as well, and got the wrong information concerning OEM spring rates, so I am a little cautious with the info there. We used a spring scale in our shop which is pretty accurate to determine the stock rate.
Regardless I will provide you with a new 950lb spring, which should solve the issue. Do you have a dealer close that can change the spring or would you prefer sending it back to us? If so, I could provide a call tag for the pickup.
I suggest going for a 950 lb spring, and it should do the trick. I will verify with either supplier to see who can get it to me faster.
1.375 inches is a good number to aim for sag. The ideal sag for a touring type of bike is anywhere between 35mm to 45mm...depending on driving style and roads. I run 37 mm of sag on my Bandit 1200 for the roads around here in Montreal, but when I ride on smoother roads in Upstate NY, I preload the spring a little more to get around 32mm-33mm of sag."

I'd say pretty good customer service.

Talked on the phone with John. We may all have spring rates that are too high...but they'll fix it up, no problema. They are issuing me a call tag and will put a 950# on for me, which is fine. I just put the stock shock back on and am fine with the spring rate, getting 40mm sag with 0 preload and 28mm sag on the 5th ramp. Ran a few bumps just to make sure and the 950 should do it.

Last edited by tomla; 04-01-2010 at 02:11 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2010, 10:40 PM
Tonymorr Tonymorr is offline
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I just got mine on tonight. Seems too stiff. The spring is only 2-3 threads from being fully backed off and I have very little if any static sag. I will check the rider sag before I contact John but I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a weaker spring.

P.S. My shock arrived Friday. Still waiting for a tracking number from Vlad.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2010, 12:52 PM
Tonymorr Tonymorr is offline
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Hey Tomla;

I'd be very interested in hearing how you like the softer spring. Please update us when you get it?

Thx
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  #10  
Old 05-06-2010, 09:56 PM
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Default round 2

rec'd the shock w/ the 950# spring. I gained 11mm rider sag from the original 1050# spring. new rider sag w/no preload is 35mm, free sag is 6mm. it's ok for most street riding, but I have to say it's not perfect, especially now that the front is. I'd like to be able to adjust for more (any) sag, so I'm thinking of sending it back once again for a 900# spring. I ran it over some really crappy roads with huge potholes at speed from 15-30mph to the point of worrying about bending the rims and it's about 6mm (shaft travel) away from bottoming out. i only ran the compression at 0-5 clicks in as I was more interested in what the spring was doing, so no data there.

funny, forum posts say it's #895 stock, Elka says it's 975# stock, racetech says it's 930-ish stock. I don't know what the tolerance is for springs, but if it's 2% that could explain the variances in rates. if the above info can be extrapolated on, I should be able to gain another 3-6mm sag and probably bottom the shock on the really big hits by dropping another 50# in spring rate...maybe. I'm going to have to run it over the weekend on some higher speed roads and some more junk roads to see what I'm going to do...

comments?

Last edited by tomla; 05-06-2010 at 11:55 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-07-2010, 08:11 AM
Tonymorr Tonymorr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomla View Post
it's ok for most street riding, but I have to say it's not perfect, especially now that the front is.
Mine came with a 1050 spring. I just swapped it for a 1000 spring. Doesn't look like much more sag but I haven't checked it yet. Preload is all the way loose. I rode around a bunch last night playing with the damping. I asked for plush. Definitely not there yet....
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonymorr View Post
Mine came with a 1050 spring. I just swapped it for a 1000 spring. Doesn't look like much more sag but I haven't checked it yet. Preload is all the way loose. I rode around a bunch last night playing with the damping. I asked for plush. Definitely not there yet....
I'd really like to see how a 50# change affected your sag #'s. Yea, I want plush, too. I could live with the 950#, but life is short...
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:41 PM
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I checked my sag today...I have 38.1 mm with the preload fully backed off. Static sag is 4.5mm. However I am 235lbs with gear on. I am waiting for a day that isn't pouring rain to try it this way. I have been riding it most of this season with 3 full turns out which worked out to about 24 mm of sag. As much as I asked for it to be "firm, but controlled" I really would like to be able to have a bit more adjustment on the "plusher" side in case of going on a long trip on the highway. I believe I am probably going to exchange spring I have for the 950 lb'r. We'll see after the ride tomorrow.
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  #14  
Old 05-13-2010, 04:47 PM
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After three emails and no reply I called and talked to John. He said my shock came with a 1000 psi spring and for my weight (170 lbs.) I should have a 900 or 950 psi spring. They must have adjusted their weight tables because this is the same weight as on my original order form. I said I would prefer the 900. He agreed and said he would send it to me.
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:37 PM
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Where did you guys hide this thread? First time I noticed it...

I was busy at work after I installed the shock and didn't get out to ride much or to have it measured until a couple of weeks ago. It felt firm on the first rides I took, but I didn't get a chance to have someone help me measure until a couple of weeks ago. The conclusion is that my shock was also shipped with too stiff a spring. I am not getting more than 20mm of sag with min preload. I'm still waiting on a reply from Elka. Based on my calc, mine is a ~1000 lbs/in spring too. Since I see most got shipped with a 1000 lbs/in spring, it's not the custom build I was expecting.


Gustavo
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  #16  
Old 05-14-2010, 11:52 PM
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We appear to be the field testers for this application. Factory R & D seems to be lacking.
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  #17  
Old 05-15-2010, 03:35 PM
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I emailed John after riding the 950# around. It's ok, with 6-7mm free sag and 35mm rider sag, but that's w/no adjustment. John basically told me that's it, he didn't want to send a 900# to try, that the sag #'s were in spec.

There are 3ea 1mm spacer rings on the spring of which I can remove 2 and that'll give me a bit of adjustment. The 6" spring is preloaded 1/2" w/ the collar all the way backed off.

I did manage to bottom it on a big hit, too, so i think I'd rather have a little stiffer spring w/less preload than a softer spring w/more, due to no rising rate linkage. This shock thing has really brought it home that spring rate is a compromise w/no linkage. The valving is good, and I'm pleased with that and the ride height adj.

Since it took a month for the first spring swap (which was their mistake), I'm not sending the shock back again. Eibach or other spring mfr.'s may have an alternative spring, but for now I'll leave the hyperco on and just ride it.

Last edited by tomla; 05-15-2010 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:34 PM
Phoneman064 Phoneman064 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomla View Post
I emailed John after riding the 950# around. It's ok, with 6-7mm free sag and 35mm rider sag, but that's w/no adjustment. John basically told me that's it, he didn't want to send a 900# to try, that the sag #'s were in spec.

There are 3ea 1mm spacer rings on the spring of which I can remove 2 and that'll give me a bit of adjustment. The 6" spring is preloaded 1/2" w/ the collar all the way backed off.
Are you sure about the half inch of preload with the collar backed all the way off? I would have thought that the shock body was threaded and you could back the collar all the way to zero preload. If what you say is true then they are giving you too long of hyperco springs. You should be getting a 5 1/2" spring so that you can properly set the sag.

This situation is what I think is wrong with the stock setup as well. Too much preload on too soft a spring. I guess I really need to take mine off an measure the preload and spring rate.

If you really bottomed out your shock all the way into the bumper (on say a dip in the road) then the spring you have is too soft if it has 1/2" of preload at a minimum on it.

I've designed several shock specs using penske, which use hyperco springs. The hyperco springs come in different lengths.

Its very hard to speak absolutely using an internet diagnosis but you have to get the spring rate right in order for the valving to perform at its best.

This doesn't sound right to those with just a cursory knowledge of suspension, however the following is true. Alot of preload on a soft spring is often much harsher over small bumps and bottoms out thru g-out obstacles as compared to a little preload on a stiffer spring being plusher and no bottom on g-out. It has everything to do with overcoming the force that the preload stores in the spring.

Without any empirical data it is difficult to "guess" at a change that improves the situation. But if the stock spring is 950lbs and has a 1/2" or more of preload on the minimum setting, then I think that the ride would improve with a 1000lb spring and 5mm of preload. This is for a 220lb rider. A lighter rider might could use a 950lb spring. It doesn't appear, from the dissatisfaction of the elka spring (ride) sag measurements that much data was done to gather slope information on the rear suspension. So a bunch of spring swapping is going on.

Rule of thumb on the rider sag is 30% of wheel travel. Especially on a long travel suspension like the "V". So a reasonable setup would be around 45mm of rider sag and 5 to 10mm of free sag. This should net you about 10mm of compression (preload) on the spring.
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Old 05-16-2010, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoneman064 View Post
Are you sure about the half inch of preload with the collar backed all the way off? I would have thought that the shock body was threaded and you could back the collar all the way to zero preload. If what you say is true then they are giving you too long of hyperco springs. You should be getting a 5 1/2" spring so that you can properly set the sag.
...Elka paperwork states it a 6" spring, so that's where I got that. Upon remeasuring, compressed length is 5 5/8". It'd be nice if there was a little more threading on the shock body.

This situation is what I think is wrong with the stock setup as well. Too much preload on too soft a spring. I guess I really need to take mine off an measure the preload and spring rate.
...please do.
If you really bottomed out your shock all the way into the bumper (on say a dip in the road) then the spring you have is too soft if it has 1/2" of preload at a minimum on it.
...it was a big hit, a not wanting to repeat big hit.

This doesn't sound right to those with just a cursory knowledge of suspension, however the following is true. Alot of preload on a soft spring is often much harsher over small bumps and bottoms out thru g-out obstacles as compared to a little preload on a stiffer spring being plusher and no bottom on g-out. It has everything to do with overcoming the force that the preload stores in the spring.
...word

Without any empirical data it is difficult to "guess" at a change that improves the situation. But if the stock spring is 950lbs and has a 1/2" or more of preload on the minimum setting, then I think that the ride would improve with a 1000lb spring and 5mm of preload. This is for a 220lb rider. A lighter rider might could use a 950lb spring. It doesn't appear, from the dissatisfaction of the elka spring (ride) sag measurements that much data was done to gather slope information on the rear suspension. So a bunch of spring swapping is going on.
...Elka should have made Kelly project manager, then it would have been smooth sailing, she's all about the business.

Rule of thumb on the rider sag is 30% of wheel travel. Especially on a long travel suspension like the "V". So a reasonable setup would be around 45mm of rider sag and 5 to 10mm of free sag. This should net you about 10mm of compression (preload) on the spring.
My bet is that only 1 or 2 of us is going to hit the sweet spot and have good #'s AND a great ride in most conditions. w/o a rising rate linkage (maybe speedy can design a cam operated lowering link?) "good" might just be it. It's still way better than the stock shock, but a better bang for the buck for a lot of riders would be to just get the racetech revalve, if that gets good reviews.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:29 PM
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Happily reporting that I've managed to hit that sweet spot with mine. 2up riding though but that was the main goal anyways. Still experimenting with the solo setup but no doubts about the end results. Spring is Eibach, rated 950, and the Elka stage 4 delivers.
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