Harsh ride - front suspension - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Harsh ride - front suspension

I was a cold winter here in Wisconsin, and it has taken its toll on our roads.

I have taken several rides on my V recently, and I now have a sore neck from the harsh and bumpy ride. I've taken out all the preload (front the back) which helped a little, and experimented with the rebound on the forks (which only made things worse).

It seems the bike has way too much compression damping front and rear.

I am looking to solve this without spending a ton of money.

Question: Would changing to a lighter fork fluid decrease the compression damping? If so, can anyone recommend a fork fluid weight?

Would changing to the lighter fork fluid weight also effect the rebound damping?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by trialsguy View Post
Question: Would changing to a lighter fork fluid decrease the compression damping? If so, can anyone recommend a fork fluid weight?

Would changing to the lighter fork fluid weight also effect the rebound damping?
Yes, yes and yes.

How much do you weigh? I used 5w oil (keep in mind that there are some wide variations in actual viscosity, even when nominally rated the same, if you experiment with different weight oils, try to stick to the same brand if you don't know the actual viscosity) and it was significantly better. I could see even going to 2.5w. Unless you are currently using the maximum rebound damping, you can always make up for the decreased rebound damping by dialing more damping with the adjuster.

I agree, the standard compression damping on the Versys is too aggressive for the claimed standard rider weight. It's probably better suited for someone who weighs in at 220-250.

I'd start by making sure the springs are the right rate for your weight (see suspension setup thread).

I don't think I posted it here, but on the other Versys forum you can read about fixing the front end - installing new fork springs and fork oil.


Gustavo


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

I weigh 175 lbs, with all my gear on.

It looks like I have some reading and fettleing to do.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 10:55 AM
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Great info Gustavo............thanks.
Dan
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Gustavo,

I've read your posts on the forks -

How much less oil (5 wt) did you put in the forks?

Thanks.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 03:44 PM
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Initially I tried 5w at the recommended height (per 2006 manual). As I noted in the fork mod thread, it's interesting that adding the correct measured amount of oil (again, as listed in the manual) does not result in the correct oil height. But, I decided to go with the oil height recommendation first, to see what the lower viscosity did. It helped, but not enough. For the second iteration I doubled the air gap. I chose that number because most bikes work best with an air gap that is about equal to the total suspension travel. Like everything else that requires fine tuning, it's a good place to start, there may be room for improvement with a little experimentation.

Gustavo


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Initially I tried 5w ... It helped, but not enough. ...Like everything else that requires fine tuning, it's a good place to start, there may be room for improvement with a little experimentation.

Gustavo
Have you thought of going down to a .80 spring? You mentioned you weigh about 150, and that might help. Or have you experienced "bottoming" with the .85s ?

Or possibly the reduced rebound damping (due to the 5 wt. oil) could be causing some jerkyness in rebounding over bumps?
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 05:56 PM
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Have you thought of going down to a .80 spring? You mentioned you weigh about 150, and that might help. Or have you experienced "bottoming" with the .85s ?
Yes, I did consider softer springs, but I am getting close to using the full suspension stroke now, so softer springs would eventually lead to bottoming out for my weight/riding style. It may not have been clear from the message above, but my front suspension is working very well now. As I said, there is always some room for improvement through fine tuning (it's what I do for a living... ), but it would only be for small incremental benefits.

Gustavo


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 09:27 PM
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No suspension problems here

Gustavo, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said the V's front suspension was designed for a 225-250 pound person. I'd go as far as to say the entire suspension was designed that way. I weigh 225, and the front suspension seems perfect for me. I've never touched a single adjustment on my forks, and they remain at the factory settings. Now the rear suspension - that's a different story. It definitely felt too harsh at first, so I backed off one notch on the preload adjustment. Now that the spring has "broken in" some, and the chain has stretched a little, I have no problems with the rear suspension either. I must have lucked out, as my weight just seems to fall into the V's suspension sweet spot. I bet it would be a very harsh ride for a 140-150 pound rider....

HandKPhil
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 10:40 PM
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I'm pretty ok with the front, too, but even at 200#, the rear is still too harsh...I really gotta get a new rear shock!
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Gustavo,

Sorry to drag this out so much - but, in your spring changing link, in the first photo of spring changing tools, what is the one on the left? It is black, and looks like strange "vice-grip pliers". What's it for? Where do I get one of those?
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 11:57 AM
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in the first photo of spring changing tools, what is the one on the left? It is black, and looks like strange "vice-grip pliers". What's it for? Where do I get one of those?
It's a PVC pipe cutting tool to cut the new spacers to the correct length. I prefer it to using a hacksaw because it leaves a cleaner cut that doesn't have to be deburred like crazy to avoid having PVC particulate contaminate your oil. There are different types you can get, I got this one at Home Depot, ~$12 IIRC. If you have a copper tube cutting tool, it works on PVC just as well and also leaves a clean cut.

Gustavo


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Oooohhhh. I've just been using the saw and sand method.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post
Yes, yes and yes.

How much do you weigh? I used 5w oil (keep in mind that there are some wide variations in actual viscosity, even when nominally rated the same, if you experiment with different weight oils, try to stick to the same brand if you don't know the actual viscosity) and it was significantly better. I could see even going to 2.5w. Unless you are currently using the maximum rebound damping, you can always make up for the decreased rebound damping by dialing more damping with the adjuster.

I agree, the standard compression damping on the Versys is too aggressive for the claimed standard rider weight. It's probably better suited for someone who weighs in at 220-250.

I'd start by making sure the springs are the right rate for your weight (see suspension setup thread).

I don't think I posted it here, but on the other Versys forum you can read about fixing the front end - installing new fork springs and fork oil.


Gustavo

Great post and I agree with all of it. We often tailor fork oil weight in our offroad bikes to the rider and/or conditions. I'd be at or over that 225lb mark with my gear on and it's not all that harsh for me. A little stiff, but nothing overly problematic.

Dave

2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
2010 KTM 300XCW, 2007 KTM 200XC, 2006 KTM 200 XC,
2004 CRF250X, 2002 CRF150
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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I weigh 175, and the springs and/or damping is just too much.

I was just thinking about my sore neck (from riding). It may be partly from the harsh suspension, but also from riding with windshields that have a lot of buffeting, especially riding at high speed, on a very windy day. I'm working on fitting a homemade, very low windshield and new low brackets to hold it on the bike.
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