Is The Stock Suspension Really That Bad ? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Is The Stock Suspension Really That Bad ?

Just curious as to why some riders think the stock suspension is bad. Is it better suited for heavier riders like my self (220 lbs.)? Is it bad for the more aggressive rider (which I'm not)? The suspension on my 2013 seems to soak up all the bumps, potholes, manhole covers, etc. with ease. I have no complaints. Maybe it's because my previous ride was a Sportster.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 09:06 AM
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It's not bad at all IMO.

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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 09:29 AM
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I agree with Big Mac. The Versys is an all around bike so the suspension should serve a variety of riding environments reasonably well. The Versys does that IMO.

The more narrowly focused a motorcycle is (super sport, cruiser, ADV) the more refined - or more specifically designed for the narrow-focus primary environment - the suspension needs to (or should) be. It improves performance and thus owner satisfaction, at least in theory, although it also adds cost. And it also depends on the fictional "target rider" each manufacturer it aiming to satisfy. Again, IMO. Whoever it might be, I've come to realize it isn't me.

Oh, and some folks just can't seem to keep themselves from tinkering to make things "better." Some succeed and some don't. It's sort of like golf. Everyone seems to think they can play well.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 09:48 AM
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I think it's quite good for stock suspension actually. Enough adjustment for the average guy (like myself) to be able to dial it in, but not so much as to be overwhelming.

That said, It doesn't feel as plush as some bikes, especially over hard edge bumps. I think some people equate that plush feel with the suspension being good, but that's not really the case. I think the Versys suspension does a good job of keeping the wheels on the road, which is more important in my opinion.

I have mine set a little soft, for my smaller frost heaved back roads I travel, and it handles it well. My settings likely have me giving up a little on the sporting end, but hell I don't even have the sack to run the chicken strips off my rear tire, and I have yet to scrape a peg, so it likely doesn't matter for me anyway.

Then again, I'm heavier as well at about 210 lbs, so you may be on to something with the rider weight. maybe for a light rider its not the case. It's kind of a strange setup on the rear, with no linkage like in a traditional setup.

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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 10:13 AM
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The suspension sucks when faced with something other than perfectly smooth pavement. Kawasaki chose to use a single cartridge, to save costs, and the damping in it is pretty firm as it has long travel, that is why it doesn't dive that bad when braking. However, a single cartridge that has already some hard damping dialed in, can't cope with bad pavement, so it is pretty harsh.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 10:29 AM
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I wouldn't say it's "bad", but I think it could be a little better. The bike has long suspension travel, but for me at 180 lbs, it is sprung so stiffly that most of that travel doesn't get used, so what's the point? It's nice and firm for aggressive riding, but on bumpy roads (which is the only kind we have in MD) I wouldn't mind if it was a bit softer.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 10:36 AM
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I weight 175 lbs. The front suspension works fine for me, with some added rebound damping. The rear suspension is too jarring on sharp edged bumps (for us medium to light weights). A Progressive shock helped some.

Also, setting the sag correctly will help in any case.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trapper View Post
Just curious as to why some riders think the stock suspension is bad. Is it better suited for heavier riders like my self (220 lbs.)? Is it bad for the more aggressive rider (which I'm not)? The suspension on my 2013 seems to soak up all the bumps, potholes, manhole covers, etc. with ease. I have no complaints. Maybe it's because my previous ride was a Sportster.
For your weight, it's great! It was made for you.

And yes, a supermoto bike compared with any bike is going to feel much better. You just have to tweak it to your personal preferences. It's a blast and don't let anyone tell you any different!
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 07:03 AM
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progressive rear shock for sale by someone right now

http://advrider.com/index.php?thread...ersys.1093329/
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 10:55 AM
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progressive rear shock for sale by someone right now

http://advrider.com/index.php?thread...ersys.1093329/
It asks me to LOG IN to get to that page.......I'm not a member!

Anyway, back to the shocks issue, the Brit V forum has many ideas on the worthiness of the shocks, & mostly negative, but they do have more bumpy & potholed roads & do tend to go off into the boonies quite alot as well!

For me being a 6ft 200lb (should be 190Lb!) rider l find it's adequate on the NW Arkansas almost perfectly tarmaced roads, but it does become "suspect" when l push it too hard (for the 'bike) into fast 70mph corners sometimes.
I also rode the 'bike 2 up once.......NEVER again!
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 11:17 AM
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The Versys' suspension is a step up from other bikes in its price range. It has preload and rebound adjustment on the front and rear (pre 2015) as well as more suspension travel. Most have rear preload only. That's not to say it can't be improved with aftermarket components wisely chosen.
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 12:01 PM
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It asks me to LOG IN to get to that page.......I'm not a member!
a member there selling progressive rear shock for 250$
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 12:29 PM
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There's a wooden wagon with steel wheels and the versys is one notch above that
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 01:12 PM
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The Versys' suspension is a step up from other bikes in its price range.
That's the thing. Other manufacturers tend to mount cheaper/worse suspension on their bikes in the similar price range, the V is actually pretty good.

I think one of the few manufacturers that cares about suspension in cheaper bikes is KTM. And yet, the 690 Duke has an unadjusted front suspension and the rear has only preload (both with less travel than the Versys, 135mm). Still, it costs more than the Versys 650 here. That is unless you look at the Duke 690R, which has fully adjustable front and read, both with 150mm travel. But the R version costs more than an FJ-09 (and almost as much as the Versys 1000).

So basically, for the buck you're getting a lot. It won't be as precise as a top-end sportbike's suspension, but the V is not a sportsbike. It won't be as sturdy as a top-end enduro's suspsension, but the V is not an enduro. It's an everyday bike than can do anything you need it to do, and its suspension is more than enough for that.
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 11:50 PM
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It servers its designed purpose very well-No complaints.
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post #16 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 12:12 AM
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Use this advice at your own risk. Suspension settings are kinda like taste preferences in beer and wine. Not everyone likes the same level of firmness or damping.

I'm 185lb and found an improvement when I reduced preload by one notch on the rear, from the stock preload setting (on version 1 and 2 bikes). It removed the harshness which I experienced every time I struck a bump without making the bike too soft to handle well. Still playing around with damping trying to find the ideal setting for it but it appears to not be too far from stock for me.

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post #17 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'll just leave "well enough" alone. When I picked my bike up last year, the service technician (who is about my size) tuned the suspension. I have not adjusted it since. I stuck some serious $$$ into my Sportster's suspension and it was just a little better. I'll put money into other items for my Versys.
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post #18 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 03:10 PM
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Maybe it's because my previous ride was a Sportster.
Nuf said.

Not sure which bike you have. I have the V1k and I think the suspension is fine.
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post #19 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 01:33 PM
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Even for a heavier person at 220, I have let out all the preload on the rear in order to get proper sag.
The front is more compliant, so I run about a third of available preload. Both ends require about all of the rebound adjustment to provide high speed stability and resist the pogo effect. Mine is a '12 with about 3k miles. Had about the same settings on my old '09 as well.

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post #20 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 11:36 AM
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Wanted to put my two bits on this old thread....just in case someone rolls past it in a search.

My comments are from a 50yr old guy that is 165lbs, and not some peg draggin crazy kid. I have been on different bikes for 40+ years now and have had more then I can count.

The suspension on the Versys has to be the most horrid suspension I have ever been on for a street bike....bottom line, end of story. Yes you can make it better, take preload out of the thing, set sag and all that jazz, there is a VERY good article on it here on this very site. But set to "factory" spec this thing is HARSH.
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