Speedy's Lowering Kit Improves Rear Suspension - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Speedy's Lowering Kit Improves Rear Suspension

First things first: At 5' 7" I am short. While the Versys isn't the tallest bike out there, it's still tall enough that I'm far from having flat feet at a stop. I usually put down my left foot and keep the right on the brake. Backing up is sometimes a chore since I can't get a lot of traction with both feet on tip-toes. I've had the seat worked on to lower it a bit, but I was still far from having my feet flat. (I have flat feet at a stop with my ST, for whatever that's worth.)

Anyway, after four years I decided to try Speedy's suspension lowering kit and today I took my V for a ride for the first time since installing the link in the back and lowering the bottom triple tree in the front. I rode about 25 miles on some windy back roads close to home, roads I know well. Yes, my feet now touch the ground flat on both sides, but I was also surprised at the improvement in the rear suspension. I know I'm not the only one who finds the stock Versys rear end oversprung, and it's probably worse for me than for others because I'm not much over 140lbs. The bikes rear spring preload is set full soft and at times, especially on less-than-perfect pavement, it's still too harsh. Speedy's link moves the aft end of the spring father back which reduces the preload at bit. (EDIT: Apparently this is not the case...see explanations below.)

Whatever the cause, the result is that the rear suspension works better for me. It's less harsh and more supple, and I'm loving it. The bike's center of gravity is also noticeably lower. The bike falls into turns with more linearity and less tippy flop-over. Reminds me of my friend's SV650 in that regard.

So overall, in addition to the fact that my feet now reach the ground (both feet, flat on the ground) the rear end doesn't feel over-sprung anymore and handling is noticeably better. I intended to improve one issue and came away improving two.


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Last edited by Bones; 03-30-2013 at 08:30 AM.
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post #2 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 08:33 PM
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Anyway, after four years I decided to try Speedy's suspension lowering kit and today
Four years??? Wow, Only took me 4 weeks of reading the forum to be convinced to give it a try! Glad you like it! I am 5' 8" and would not go back to stock height.

Highly recommend for shorter riders.
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post #3 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 08:36 PM
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Works great for someone thats broke down with bad knees or hips that makes it a pain to get the leg over. BTW I'm 6'2" and yes the handling was greatly improved.

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post #4 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Four years???
What can I say? ("Um, I'm not as smart as I look?" ) Big improvement, even if I should have done it long ago.

Now what else have I been putting off for years...


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post #5 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 09:56 PM
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Speedy's link moves the aft end of the spring farther back from original swingarm mount point to make the rear end lower. It doesn't affect the spring's preload as mounted on the shock. It's also mounted a bit higher which increases the spring compression to suspension travel ratio, thus slightly decreasing suspension travel while increasing stiffness at the same preload setting... This also reduces the need for extra clearance in the fender when bottoming out suspension with lowering kit.
The ride improvement impression would be coming from the lowered center of gravity, mostly.

Last edited by invader; 03-29-2013 at 10:38 PM.
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post #6 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I'm even less smart than I thought I looked. The rear suspension feels way less harsh than befote. Why?


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post #7 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 11:06 PM
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not that I know squat abt bike suspensions but wouldn't changing the angle between the shock and the various lever elements effect the overall shock rates?
I picture in my head my truck shocks...the closer the angle of movement of the axle is to 90 deg to the shock the more force the shock can resist.

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post #8 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 11:07 PM
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I don't know... You're still at the same preload setting? Which setting are you at? Any other changes at all?
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post #9 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 11:09 PM
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The lowering block's resulting higher mount changes the rear suspension's geometry a bit... Because the shock's rear mount is further above the straight line between swingarm's main pivot point to rear axle, it's now following a longer arch in its movement as the spring compresses, so the spring has to compress more for the same amount of rear axle lateral travel (suspension travel).

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post #10 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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I don't know... You're still at the same preload setting? Which setting are you at? Any other changes at all?
I lowered the front suspension so the lower triple tree is at the lowest smooth surface on the fork tube. Other than adding the link, I made no rear suspension adjustments on purpose because I wanted to evaluate the change resulting from the link alone. I am really pleased with the outcome, just wanted to understand the cause. The explanation regarding the change in angle makes sense. Thanks. And the lower CG is quite apparent.

I have a great dog, too, so I have to factor that into the positive outcome. (That's Norton.)
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post #11 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 11:41 AM
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Thank you Bones. I believe you've convinced me. I've been waffling for some time about making that particular mod, but your comments have sold me. Although I'm 5' 11" (on a good day) I apparently have short legs because it's all I can do to get the balls of my feet on the ground and that can become rather exciting with a strong cross wind.

Sooo . . . it's back to Speedy's once again for another welll made product.

Oh, BTW, how did you raise the rear of your bike and keep it stable? I get a little anxious about that part of the task.

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post #12 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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I raised it using a service stand. That was the easy part.

You'll want to lower the front suspension, too. Speedy's instructions are good, but make sure you interpret "loosen" (as in "loosen the bolts on the lower triple tree") to mean "just barely loosen" or you'll do what I did and let the triple tree clamp slide too far down the fork tube. You won't be able to slide the triple tree clamp back up without taking all the weight off the front suspension. Could have tried suspending the bike by the top triple tree from the rafters but in my garage those are concealed. Redline helped me solve the problem by propping the bike up on the sidestand and rear tire while I made the adjustment. If I was doing it again I'm sure I could do it alone, but only if I "barely loosen" those bolts so the triple tree clamp can slide down the fork tube by working it a little at a time.


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post #13 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACK DOG View Post
not that I know squat abt bike suspensions but wouldn't changing the angle between the shock and the various lever elements effect the overall shock rates?
I picture in my head my truck shocks...the closer the angle of movement of the axle is to 90 deg to the shock the more force the shock can resist....
When I lowered my KLR (since returned to stock height, and SOLD!), what I didn't expect was the change in the way the rear shock would respond, then noticed and commented on by other "KLRistas". I am SURE you are getting the same effect due the change in angle, but how to quantify...?

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post #14 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 02:24 PM
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Oh, BTW, how did you raise the rear of your bike and keep it stable? I get a little anxious about that part of the task.
This is how I easily lifted the rear:

You can't use a normal rear stand to install the lowering kit on. The swingarm needs to be free. I had a friend help me lift the bike while my wife placed 2 jack stands under the aluminum pieces that attach the foot pegs. I think we used some rags between the jack stands and bike to keep the jacks from scratching the aluminum.



I lowered the front after lowering the rear and installed the flatfoot kit. It keeps the bike closer to the same angle as before.

If you have a triple tree front stand (the kind that has a pin) and lifts the bike by the bottom of the triple tree like the photo below, it makes the lowering of the front a breeze if you have two people. It literally took us 5 minutes.See Warning Below!



I used a stand like above and slid a 2X4 under the front wheel and made the 2X4 a lever to hold the wheel from dropping when my buddy loosened all 6 fork clamp screws. After they were all loose, I easily lifted the forks up to the new location with the 2X4. While I held in place, my buddy tightened up the fork clamps and we were done! If you do not have a front lift that uses the triple tree pin and a helper... DO NOT USE MY METHOD OF LOOSENING ALL THE FORK CLAMP BOLTS OR YOU WILL DROP YOUR BIKE ONTO THE FRONT FENDER!!!

If you do not have a front stand with pin, follow Speedy's instructions to lower the front.

Inspect your chain slack after lowering the rear, mine got tight and I had to adjust the tension per the owners / maintenance manual. This was my first chain driven bike so I had a little learning to do but it was not bad at all.

FYI if you adjust chain tension, you will need new cotter pins (5/32 X 1.5" Lowes has 'em) as well as a 22mm and 27mm socket for the rear axle bolt as well as two 12mm open end wrenches to adjust the tensioner screws.

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post #15 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 10:50 AM
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I was able to install the link with both wheels on the ground. I took out the lower bolt of the shock, lifted the rear and balanced an oat meal can on top of the wheel. It was enough to raise the back enough to rotate the shock and install the link. wasn't as precarious as it sounds. wife was always within screaming distance if something went wrong.


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post #16 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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I took a longer ride today and confirmed that adding that link and lowering the front suspension improve handling. Great change for me.


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post #17 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 05:19 PM
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LOL - it took me 2 years to make the decision to add the lowering kit! I guess I was just stubborn, but man, what a fantastic upgrade. I agree that the suspension feels better, and I enjoy riding much more now.
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post #18 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 05:34 PM
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[QUOTE=flywheel;263690]I was able to install the link with both wheels on the ground. I took out the lower bolt of the shock, lifted the rear and balanced an oat meal can on top of the wheel. It was enough to raise the back enough to rotate the shock and install the link. wasn't as precarious as it sounds. wife was always within screaming distance if something went wrong.


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Good tip. I'll have to remember to keep my wife within screaming distance.

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post #19 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-31-2013, 09:19 PM
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[quote=Arion;263938]
Quote:
Originally Posted by flywheel View Post
I was able to install the link with both wheels on the ground. I took out the lower bolt of the shock, lifted the rear and balanced an oat meal can on top of the wheel. It was enough to raise the back enough to rotate the shock and install the link. wasn't as precarious as it sounds. wife was always within screaming distance if something went wrong.


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Good tip. I'll have to remember to keep my wife within screaming distance.
My wife would just ask me why I was so ill prepared.
I do have a mechanicly inclined neighbor that I usually text when I'm trying something on the edge of my capabilities.
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post #20 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 09:58 PM
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You can't compare the shock's angle to a truck's suspension which operates on a very different geometry... Having the shock nearly upright on the Versys swingarm mount as on a truck would not work at all. You need to see and understand how the shock gets compressed from the shock's swingarm mount which is much higher than the straight line between rear axle and swingarm to frame mount. Shock compresses from that point in an arch travelling forward towards the shock's frame mount as the swingarm pivots. The higher the shock's swingarm mount is, the higher the shock's compression to suspension travel ratio is as it follows the resulting longer arch.

With the lowering kit, front end cannot be lowered nearly as much as the rear, so there is more weight than before that is riding on the rear suspension, which renders it more compliant... This also slows down steering response from the resulting increased front end rake and trail.

Last edited by invader; 04-02-2013 at 01:03 AM.
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