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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think that most of us can agree that the front suspension on our bikes leaves something to be desired. In my personal case, being used to the high performance fork style found on ZX-6Rs, the front forks on my Gen 2 V650 were dog ****. Too much high-speed damping, not nearly enough low-speed damping, and a front end that seemed to have two positions: uncompressed and fully compressed. After fiddling around with rebound and pre-load setting, and even experimenting with different weight oils I came to the realization that the stock components were never going to get me close to what I needed.

A Gold valve kit from Race tech was the first option I looked into, but wasn't thrilled with the idea that I still wouldn't have any compression damping adjustment. The other two options were to go with a cartridge kit or swap over to a ZX-6R fork. Not wanting to lose height and travel with the ZX forks (even though I have a spare set), I decided to go with a cartridge kit. There are a few brands on the market, though Andreani was the only name I was familiar with, and also the cheapest; so I picked up a new set off eBay for $600 shipped.

Installation of the cartridge kits is pretty straight forward as long as you have a fork spring compressor. I won't get into the exact process of installation, because this isn't a How-To thread, but basically you're just removing the OEM cartridge and installing the Andreani cartridge in it's place. The Andreani set up uses one fork for compression, and one for rebound, with both having preload.

After throwing the forks back on the bike I set compression, rebound, and preload all in the middle of their range and then fine tuned the adjustments over the next few weeks. Overall I'd say the cartridges are tuned more for sport riding, so I ended up on the softer side of the adjustment range to allow for a little more touring comfort but still stiff enough to handle the twisities without me needing to make adjustments. Over all I'm super happy with the kit, it's made a night and day difference in how the front end handles and the bike is actually, imo, safer to ride as it is more predictable and easier to handle under hard braking. No longer does the bike dive all the way to the bottom of its travel when you hit the brakes or bounce and wallow around when hitting uneven surfaces in a corner.

Next up is a rear shock to compliment the improved front suspension. But I gotta save up my spending cash again for that.
 

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...Next up is a rear shock to compliment the improved front suspension. But I gotta save up my spending cash again for that.
A lot of us have used the Yamaha R1 shock ('07 and '08) for a GREAT rear suspension (I've had 'em on all three of my Vs, for MANY miles!). BTW - SAME shock on the two GREEN Vs.





 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The only downside to the R1 shock is that the preload is even more time consuming to adjust that the stock V shock. And as someone who rides one up, one up with gear, and two up, it's nice to have quick preload adjustment. That's why I have my eye on the Nitron shock with the hydraulic preload adjuster.

*edit* I take that back, that generation of R1 had the quick preload adjustment style like our Vs. The Hydraulic adjuster knob is still a desireable feature though.
 

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...*edit* I take that back, that generation of R1 had the quick preload adjustment style like our Vs. The Hydraulic adjuster knob is still a desirable feature though.
For ME, my R1 shocks have been 'pretty-much' set and forget. I don't change pre-load for my passenger (about 125 pounds).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
For ME, my R1 shocks have been 'pretty-much' set and forget. I don't change pre-load for my passenger (about 125 pounds).
Man, if I don't adjust preload when riding two up I feel like the bike gets noticeably unstable at low speeds. And that's on any bike I've ever thrown a passenger on, not just the V.
 

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Next up is a rear shock to compliment the improved front suspension. But I gotta save up my spending cash again for that.
Nice write up on the fork cartridges.

As you explore shock options be sure and have a look at the Nitron line. I went with their base model and am very pleased with it's performance.

I ran a Penske double clicker on my FZ09 and I have to say I actually like the Nitron better.

I did a write up on it a while back.

https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/162-general-discussions-v-650/203417-new-nitron-shock.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As you explore shock options be sure and have a look at the Nitron line. I went with their base model and am very pleased with it's performance.
The only downside to the R1 shock is that the preload is even more time consuming to adjust that the stock V shock. And as someone who rides one up, one up with gear, and two up, it's nice to have quick preload adjustment. That's why I have my eye on the Nitron shock with the hydraulic preload adjuster.
:wink2:
 

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Nice write up. If my bike was newer i might consider.

I wish more manufacturers would sell bikes with optional better suspension instead of increased power.
 

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Great review and very interesting. The front end is no doubt a total dog on this bike.

What year is yours? And is this the kit your ordered? LINK

This listing says it fits both a 2010 and 2015. Are the fork on the Gen2 and 3 similar enough that this is reasonable? I thought the forks were changed in 2015, hopefully Im wrong because I would love a set of these, my 2016 is way way over-sprung for my 140lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great review and very interesting. The front end is no doubt a total dog on this bike.

What year is yours? And is this the kit your ordered? LINK

This listing says it fits both a 2010 and 2015. Are the fork on the Gen2 and 3 similar enough that this is reasonable? I thought the forks were changed in 2015, hopefully Im wrong because I would love a set of these, my 2016 is way way over-sprung for my 140lbs.
Mine is a Gen 2 2011 and that is the kit I ordered. I don't know enough about the Gen 3 bikes to 100% confirm that the same kit will work on both Gen 2 and Gen 3 but if both forks are the same diameter and length, then chances are good that it will work for both, as all that really matters is that the Andreani cap threads into the outer fork tube and the bottom bolt threads into the end of the cartridge kit.
 

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Mine is a Gen 2 2011 and that is the kit I ordered. I don't know enough about the Gen 3 bikes to 100% confirm that the same kit will work on both Gen 2 and Gen 3 but if both forks are the same diameter and length, then chances are good that it will work for both, as all that really matters is that the Andreani cap threads into the outer fork tube and the bottom bolt threads into the end of the cartridge kit.

IMHO there is no bottom bolt on the left front fork.


 

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IMHO there is no bottom bolt on the left front fork....
I just re-read the FORK section in my SERVICE MANUAL, and you're RIGHT! (The left fork inner is held secure to the outer by a "retaining ring". Who'd a thunk?)
 

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I did some more web surfing and it looks like there is a different part for Gen3 bikes. There is a different eBay listing here LINK

The manufacturer also has a 'news story' (not much to it) stated a new cartridge product is available for 2016+ bikes LINK

I suspect the European market didnt get the Gen3 until 2016? Either way there is a different part for a Gen3.

It is unclear if the difference in for construction pointed out earlier will affect the effectiveness of this product vs is application in a Gen2. Not too concerned anything with more adjustability and correct springs rates will feel like a huge improvement.

Fast Bike Industries, it seems like the premier US importer and distributor, does not have the Gen3 cartridges listed on their site but surely have access. That is where I will be going to order these sometime this fall or winter for an off-season upgrade.

Now to find the best shop to rebuild an R1 shock...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
IMHO there is no bottom bolt on the left front fork.
I just re-read the FORK section in my SERVICE MANUAL, and you're RIGHT! (The left fork inner is held secure to the outer by a "retaining ring". Who'd a thunk?)
How strange, dunno why they couldn't just use the normal style for the Gen 3 forks.

I did some more web surfing and it looks like there is a different part for Gen3 bikes. There is a different eBay listing here LINK

The manufacturer also has a 'news story' (not much to it) stated a new cartridge product is available for 2016+ bikes LINK

I suspect the European market didnt get the Gen3 until 2016? Either way there is a different part for a Gen3.

It is unclear if the difference in for construction pointed out earlier will affect the effectiveness of this product vs is application in a Gen2. Not too concerned anything with more adjustability and correct springs rates will feel like a huge improvement.

Fast Bike Industries, it seems like the premier US importer and distributor, does not have the Gen3 cartridges listed on their site but surely have access. That is where I will be going to order these sometime this fall or winter for an off-season upgrade.

Now to find the best shop to rebuild an R1 shock...
I ordered from Omnia racing on eBay, they're based in Italy and shipped my kit from the affore mentioned Pasta state.
 

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@Eviltwin did you make a fork spring compressor or buy one? I am gathering tools in preparation of buying these soon
 

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@Eviltwin did you make a fork spring compressor or buy one? I am gathering tools in preparation of buying these soon
Your signature shows that you have a 2016 Versys 650. Spring compressors are not required for the OEM Gen 3 fork spring.
Note: I don't know if a spring compressor is required for the Andreani Cartridge Kit. Eviltwin can tell you that.
Good luck! :)
 

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The only downside to the R1 shock is that the preload is even more time consuming to adjust that the stock V shock. And as someone who rides one up, one up with gear, and two up, it's nice to have quick preload adjustment. That's why I have my eye on the Nitron shock with the hydraulic preload adjuster.

*edit* I take that back, that generation of R1 had the quick preload adjustment style like our Vs. The Hydraulic adjuster knob is still a desireable feature though.
My base model Nitron has a single preload adjuster ring and comes with a special wrench to adjust it. It is super easy to do and the wrench is small enough to fit in you pocket or tail bag.

Personally I would not waste my money on the hydraulic adjuster.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@Eviltwin did you make a fork spring compressor or buy one? I am gathering tools in preparation of buying these soon
Your signature shows that you have a 2016 Versys 650. Spring compressors are not required for the OEM Gen 3 fork spring.
Note: I don't know if a spring compressor is required for the Andreani Cartridge Kit. Eviltwin can tell you that.
Good luck! :)
I have access to a motion pro fork spring compressor, however I cannot speak to the exact installation procedure for the 3rd gen Versys as we've already established there are some differences in the OEM set-ups. IF the Andreani cartridges for you bike are the same as mine, then you will need a spring compressor for proper installation.
 
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