Lighter weight fork oil to ease compression dampening in the front forks - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Lighter weight fork oil to ease compression dampening in the front forks

The front forks on my '11 are just a little stout on the compression dampening. I've got the preload backed out 10 turns (to achieve the proper sag in the front) and the rebound set at 1 1/2. This is just kind of a happy medium so that everything works descently. The big issue is over the sharp edged bumps. It really jounces the front end quite a bit and the forks are no where near bottoming.

I don't know if the forks are different from the gen I to the gen II and any of the topics in the archives seem to be old enough just to pertain to the gen I. I'd like to hear from anyone here that has gone to a lighter weight oil in the forks to ease the compression dampening a bit. I'm looking at changing the stock 10W for the 5W Yamaha cartridge oil. I have a quart lying around and it seems to be a simple solution for the abruptness of the front end.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 08:52 AM
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I recall Gustavo covering this on the '08/'09 V. Did Kawasaki make any changes on the '11 forks? Don't know.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 09:00 AM
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HyperPro progressive springs will also help a lot. Improved the ride and greatly reduced the "dive" when breaking sharply. I've installed them on both an 09 V and 10 V. Both standard height and (30 mm) lowering springs are available. I got mine at http://www.epmperf.com/ I installed them on both front forks and the rear shock.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ScottyNeal View Post
HyperPro progressive springs will also help a lot. Improved the ride and greatly reduced the "dive" when breaking sharply. I've installed them on both an 09 V and 10 V. Both standard height and (30 mm) lowering springs are available. I got mine at http://www.epmperf.com/ I installed them on both front forks and the rear shock.
I tend to shy away from progressive rate springs. They don't fare well for heavier riders. If I need a spring change, I'll go the route of Race Techs or Sonics in a fixed rate.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 09:36 AM
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I did the Gustavo change. Lighter oil, more air gap.
It took the edge off for sure. Now the rebound seems underdamped though. I'll probably go to heavier oil with the bigger gap next time.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Baron650 View Post
I did the Gustavo change. Lighter oil, more air gap.
It took the edge off for sure. Now the rebound seems underdamped though. I'll probably go to heavier oil with the bigger gap next time.
Me thinks you did too much at once.

My starting point will be 5W oil and setting at the lesser of the two recommended heights in both legs. Then if I need to increase the airgap I can simply pull the caps and extract a little at a time until the desired outcome is achieved. I have a syringe with a tube attached that allow me to measure what would be removed so I could keep track.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 05:42 PM
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I have a zip tie on the fork of my 11. I can bottom it occasionally with proper sag. I love the way this handles on the road. I wanted a bike that handled like my KLX351SF (supermoto) but bigger. Its a good compromise. Its the best factory suspension I have used.

6,000 trouble free miles so far.

David
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 07:29 PM
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I have a 2008. If anything regarding the forks changed between 2008 and 2011, it was hardly significant. I agree, the forks are harsh over abrupt bumps, i.e. expansion joints, RR crossings, frost heaves and cracks, surface transitions. That's the high speed compression damping. With stock springs and oil weight, rebound valving is pretty close. The accurate method of adjustment for the harsh high speed compression damping is the changing of valving shim thickness or stack height. As you experienced, oil weight affects rebound as well, when you really didn't want to. I prefer to use straight rate springs as progressive springs a difficult to valve damping for. They're more of a compromise for riders who have gross weight swings like passengers and heavy luggage.

Bottoming out is ultimately the spring rate. Bottoming can be resisted internally be varying oil height (though you can still hydraulic bottom if springs are too soft), and adjusting low speed and high speed compression valving. If I were bottoming either the front or back on high speed compression bumps, I'd immediately change my springs.

The best ride you know is the best you've ever ridden. I've ridden many better. Like your levers, suspension is meant to be customized. Mine rarely remains stock for long.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 07:41 PM
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Changed to Ohlin front and back with Ohlins 10W (same viscosity as stock) fork oil. Ride way improved. Agreed , suspension is meant to be customized.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2012, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Retro Rocketeer View Post
I have a 2008. If anything regarding the forks changed between 2008 and 2011, it was hardly significant. I agree, the forks are harsh over abrupt bumps, i.e. expansion joints, RR crossings, frost heaves and cracks, surface transitions. That's the high speed compression damping. With stock springs and oil weight, rebound valving is pretty close. The accurate method of adjustment for the harsh high speed compression damping is the changing of valving shim thickness or stack height. As you experienced, oil weight affects rebound as well, when you really didn't want to. I prefer to use straight rate springs as progressive springs a difficult to valve damping for. They're more of a compromise for riders who have gross weight swings like passengers and heavy luggage.

Bottoming out is ultimately the spring rate. Bottoming can be resisted internally be varying oil height (though you can still hydraulic bottom if springs are too soft), and adjusting low speed and high speed compression valving. If I were bottoming either the front or back on high speed compression bumps, I'd immediately change my springs.

The best ride you know is the best you've ever ridden. I've ridden many better. Like your levers, suspension is meant to be customized. Mine rarely remains stock for long.
I understand that the forks would greatly benefit from a gold valve install from Racetech, which may eventually happen on down the road. And since the rebound dampening is adjustable and the compression dampening isn't, it makes since to work toward the fixed aspect and then adjust what's adjustable to recover what may have been lost.

As soon as my front end stand gets here, I'm going to pull the forks and and change fluid. At worst I'm out $25 and a couple of hours of my time.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-06-2012, 06:19 PM
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I got a LARGE improvement when I changed my forks to ATF (which "Invader" figures to be 7.7 viscosity). Search for "changing fork oil"....
...and here it is:
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...nging+fork+oil

Ed
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 05-07-2012 at 11:57 AM.
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