Versys Suspension Improvement ... My Way - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Versys Suspension Improvement ... My Way

First of all ... I have to tell you that I usually don't share improvements that I discover in search of the perfect machine ... Mainly because it is one mans perception ... And the other thing that I must say before I go further ... is I grew up racing motocross ... then hare scrambles, then enduros, then ( when family came ) off road dice runs ... well you get the picture on my back ground ...

My criteria for a good suspension for what I am using this motorcycle is unimproved roads, dirt and gravel roads, two track ... Based on usage I was looking for the most compliant ride possible, utilizing maximum suspension travel, without bone jarring bottoming on the occasional unseen pothole ... or the like ... Being that I don't want to reinvent the wheel ... or break the bank ... I took a very practical approach to what I wanted to achieve ... I was running my suspension at minimum setting on both ends ( meaning minimum preload on the springs ... and minimu rebound on the dampening ) ... I did this for approx 5000 mile to be sure the suspension was totally broke in in all aspects ... Where I ended up was on the rear shock max rebound ( turned all the way in ) and second notch from weakest on the spring preload ... On the front forks ... I ended up with max rebound also ... and seven turns in from the weakest setting ( there are 14 turns available ) so I was half way on the preload ... It worked OK ... however on the occasional pothole or abrupt obstacle the front end would bottom with a teeth clenching jolt and loud bang ... Of all the variables in changing the suspension ... I went with the cheapest way out to to correct the front end bottoming ... which is oil viscosity ... and air space ... or air gap ... which for those of you who don't know ... The air space left at the top of the fork tube with the fork totally collapsed ... without the spring ... the stock setting is asymmetrical as the right leg does all the dampening ... the left legs job is only to house a spring to help support the front end ... stock setting is 3 inches from the top on the right leg ... 2.6 inches from the top on the left leg ... I chose to remove a 1/2 inch of air gap on both legs to make the forks firm up more toward the end of the stroke ... 2.5 inch's on the right ... 2.1 inches on the left ... In addition to this ... I felt that ... both the rebound and compression dampening needed to increased ... so ... knowing that stock viscosity is 10wt ... I mixed a 50/50 mixture of ATF (10wt ) and 15/40 shell rotella ( base 15wt ) to achieve a 12.5 wt ... 1 pint of each total of one quart ... which is enough to do both legs ...

I have to tell ya fellas ... I feel I nailed it on the first try ...

Previous to the Versys ... I had a DL1000 Vstrom ... Which stock had a way better ride than the Versys ... after the mod ... hands down ... the Versys has a better feel for the road and now has even a better ride quality than the Vstrom ... the only weakness now in my opinion is the rear shock ... Don't get me wrong ... it works well ... however ... If major money needs to be spent ... It is on the rear shock ... separate the compression and rebound damping ... and it could use more in both categories ... In my opinion the spring rate is spot on for a 200lb rider plus or minus 20lb ... I invite you to try these settings and give me a critique

Last edited by freewheeler; 08-18-2010 at 07:28 PM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:54 PM
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20W fork oil in the left fork tube (no damping cartridge), and 13.25W (20W fork oil mixed with 5W fork oil) in the right fork tube works very well for me, by the way. I also capped up my forks cooled down to 20 degrees Farenheit, to have 5 psi more than atmospheric pressure at 70 degrees... Forks typically operate at about 26°C (78°F) in 21°C (70°C) ambient temperatures.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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20W fork oil in the left fork tube (no damping cartridge), and 13.25W (20W fork oil mixed with 5W fork oil) in the right fork tube works very well for me, by the way. I also capped up my forks cooled down to 20 degrees Farenheit, to have 5 psi more than atmospheric pressure at 70 degrees... Forks typically operate at about 26°C (78°F) in 21°C (70°C) ambient temperatures.
I see the theory in the left fork leg ... more viscosity to slow the moving parts on both compression amd rebound ... For my application ... I believe reducing the air gap is better ... as it makes the fork stroke more progressive ...

Last edited by freewheeler; 08-12-2010 at 12:19 AM.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 05:46 PM
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... stock setting is 3.5 inches from the top on the right leg ... 2.6 inches from the top on the left leg ... I chose to remove a 1/2 inch of air gap on both legs to make the forks firm up more toward the end of the stroke ... 3 inch's on the right ... 2.1 inches on the left
You're still at stock oil level in the right fork tube, but 1/2" higher in the left. Settings are meant to result in equal air space after assembly, including damping adjuster rod. Pneumatic support is now more progressive in your left fork leg, than you do in your right. Sealed air spring rate is already highly progressive under compression. A smaller air gap compresses at a higher rate, thus exponentially increasing pneumatic support proggression upon compression.

Fork Oil Level Stock Settings:

Right Fork Leg 75 ą2 mm (3.0 ą0.08 in.) (fully compressed, without fork spring, below from the top of the outer tube)

Left Fork Leg 65 ą2 mm (2.6 ą0.08 in.) (fully compressed, without fork spring, below from the top of the outer tube)

Last edited by invader; 07-20-2010 at 06:57 PM.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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I have reduced both tubes air gap by 1/2 inch ... as you stated right 3.5 ... left 2.6 stock

my air gap now is right 3 ... left 2.1

We are saying the same thing in different ways ... by reducinjg air gap ... makes the forks firm up ... effectively stiffening the suspension towards the end of the forks stroke

Last edited by freewheeler; 07-20-2010 at 10:04 PM.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 10:22 PM
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No... Stock oil level in right fork leg is 3.0 inches below top of outer tube, not 3.5 inches. Your right fork leg's oil level is now at stock 3.0 inches, and your left fork leg's oil level is 1/2" higher than stock 2.6 inches, at 2.1 inches.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 11:01 PM
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My kind of thread. Let you two settle matters then I have a couple of questions. Namely I am a 180 pound rider (no gear on). I want to reduce front end dive. Currently I'm on a quest to improve my suspension and braking performance. Any info will be appreciated.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 11:21 PM
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My kind of thread. Let you two settle matters then I have a couple of questions. Namely I am a 180 pound rider (no gear on). I want to reduce front end dive. Currently I'm on a quest to improve my suspension and braking performance. Any info will be appreciated.
What are you actual front and rear suspensions settings? You could try your forks at 2 turns out- give or take a turn from maximum preload, with say 1/2 to 3/4 turn out on rebound damping. You should still have sufficient front end sag.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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No... Stock oil level in right fork leg is 3.0 inches below top of outer tube, not 3.5 inches. Your right fork leg's oil level is now at stock 3.0 inches, and your left fork leg's oil level is 1/2" higher than stock 2.6 inches, at 2.1 inches.
I stand corrected ... I got lost in my own numbers ... The bottom line is I have 1/2 inch less air gap than stock settings. My current setting is ... Right Leg 2.5 ... left leg 2.1 ... I edited the first post the the correct numbers as not to confuse those following the thread

Last edited by freewheeler; 08-12-2010 at 12:17 AM.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 04:17 PM
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What are you actual front and rear suspensions settings? You could try your forks at 2 turns out- give or take a turn from maximum preload, with say 1/2 to 3/4 turn out on rebound damping. You should still have sufficient front end sag.
Thanks Invader. I will try that on my next outing. probably this weekend.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 09:44 AM
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I am new here & confused: What settings might be OK for a 220lb inexperienced person?

I found this thread interesting, but beyond my limited knowledge. I'm about 215-220 without gear and 6'. Dealer set settings seems OK, except for I'd like a little less "hop" on abrupt bumps/creases in the road. Being new, these abrupt bumps aren't my favorite at 60mph!

Any general ideas or experience with settings for someone my size? Thanks!
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 11:37 AM
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Suspension

At 185# dressed to ride the dealer set up is fine with me.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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I found this thread interesting, but beyond my limited knowledge. I'm about 215-220 without gear and 6'. Dealer set settings seems OK, except for I'd like a little less "hop" on abrupt bumps/creases in the road. Being new, these abrupt bumps aren't my favorite at 60mph!

Any general ideas or experience with settings for someone my size? Thanks!
IMO ... the Versys suffers from the lack of rebound damping ... The hopping you are refering to is the suspension rebounding to quickly ... Try maxing out the rebound adjustments on the right front fork ... and on the rear shock ( turn both clockwise until they stop ) don't force the adjusters though ... set the front spring preload ( the 17mm nuts on the top of both forks ) half way... 7 turns from either end ... set the rear shock spring at the second to weakest setting ... try that ... and then tell me what you think

Last edited by freewheeler; 08-12-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 07:16 PM
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IMO ... the Versys suffers from the lack of rebound damping ... The hopping you are refering to is the suspension rebounding to quickly ... Try maxing out the rebound adjustments on the right front fork ... and on the rear shock ( turn both clockwise until they stop ) don't force the adjusters though ... set the front spring preload ( the 17mm nuts on the top of both forks ) half way... 7 turns from either end ... set the rear shock spring at the second to weakest setting ... try that ... and then tell me what you think
this is interesting, I still havenīt tried both rebounds fully clockwise.
My problem is on a single day I can have 2 up on the bike and just one.

One way or the other the ridding is much more confident and confortable in road / city driving and turning with 2 people up the bike!

Somehow I found equilibrium for that situation at front preload 6 turns out from full, rebound 3/4 of a turn from full clockwise, on the rear preload 2 down from highest and rebound at click number 6 (one softer than factory setting)

but I would like to fiddle some more!

what do you think of this ?
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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this is interesting, I still havenīt tried both rebounds fully clockwise.
My problem is on a single day I can have 2 up on the bike and just one.

One way or the other the ridding is much more confident and confortable in road / city driving and turning with 2 people up the bike!

Somehow I found equilibrium for that situation at front preload 6 turns out from full, rebound 3/4 of a turn from full clockwise, on the rear preload 2 down from highest and rebound at click number 6 (one softer than factory setting)

but I would like to fiddle some more!

what do you think of this ?
I think I would like you to try my settings ... and then give me a report ... I doubt you have any more variation in weight on the bike or road surfaces than I do

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2010, 06:13 AM
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Ok, Free, I will and report back!

So damping at its tightest and will follow on the springs!

greetings
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 08:02 AM
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Ok, so I tried fully closed rebound damping and preload as stated.
Experimented riding with one and two up over the weekend.
Found it a bit too stiff - although we have a few good strips of road mostly in city/town traffic and commuting thereīs lots of high and low bumps and pavement changes.

So I opened the front rebound 3/4 of a turn and the back one 3 full turns. Front spring preload at 7 turns from highest and back at mid position (3th)

Still room to experiment and sugestions of course.

Canīt remember where but heard some comments that the 2010 versys has slight changes on the front and back suspensions relating to prev years, either on the springs and/or the fork oil.

Anyone knows about this?


rgds
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I tried fully closed rebound damping and preload as stated.
Experimented riding with one and two up over the weekend.
Found it a bit too stiff - although we have a few good strips of road mostly in city/town traffic and commuting thereīs lots of high and low bumps and pavement changes.

Your discription is confusing ... the rebound ... by tightening it up ... makes the springs come back to the neutral position slower ... by your discription ... it sounds like you like a bouncy ride ... could you elaborate ...
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 08:31 AM
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Gustavo got a brilliant thread on the whole suspension black magic and is my personal guru on subject, worth going over.
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ht=black+magic
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 03:14 PM
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Your discription is confusing ... the rebound ... by tightening it up ... makes the springs come back to the neutral position slower ... by your discription ... it sounds like you like a bouncy ride ... could you elaborate ...
hi free

yes you are right, springs coming to neutral slower, thatīs what I meant. I noticed on the zillion bumps, holes, tram tracks, and a few more others we have around here if the springs come back too slow they will not have enough time to do their duty, and Iīm caught in the next bump without the spring having time to return to neutral.. no I donīt like a bumpy ride surely.. but the way I imagine most US cities and roads thereīs not much they share in common with the ones around here (exception made to highways, as said before)

let me sample it for you..
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