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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I love my Versys-X 300, but I hate its damper-rod front suspension that hydraulically locks over high-speed bumps, particularly corrugations on gravel roads. The stock front end is very harsh when it encounters high-speed bumps. For low-speed bumps it is fine.

Have any Versys-X owners fitted emulators?
Did you keep the stock fork springs? If you changed the springs, then why?
Which emulators did you fit?
Did you fit them yourself or did you pay a specialist to do it? If you did fit the emulators yourself, how hard was it to do? (I have access to a drill press for drilling additional holes in the damper rods.)

What improvements did you notice?
 

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2017 Kawasaki Versys-x 300 (non ABS)
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I haven't done any suspension mods ... and didn't know what a fork emulator was :unsure:馃槀

So ... with your questions + google searches, now I know. Doesn't help you much, but thanks for the learning opportunity (y)
(My docile riding is pretty agreeable with stock setup ... or maybe I just don't know what a better suspension would do for me -- ignorance is bliss!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think the stock fork springs on the Versys-X 300 are strong enough. The sag looks good with my weight (78 kg) and for the kind of riding I will do, I doubt that I will bottom the forks out. I am not a motocross rider.

What I don't like about the stock fork internals is that they use the classic damper rod (with a hole to let the oil through and get the dampening effect). This is cheap and works fine adsorbing low-speed bumps (like on gentle undulations). The problem is that when you hit a high-speed bump, like a corrugation on a dirt road, the oil gets slammed into the damper rod hole and you get a momentary hydraulic lock (fluids don't compress). The fork locks and you sense this as a harsh bump.

Emulators solve this problem because the shim stack "burps" open when the high-speed bump rams the hydraulic fluid into the emulator's ports. The result: the forks absorb high-speed shocks far better. You will know the bumps are there, but their "hard edges" feel like they have been rounded off. The result: greater riding comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Try KSS in New Pymouth,Robert sorted out the forks on my 650.

Happy riding
Thanks for that. I had Norman Cobb (Suspension Tech) do the front forks of my R6 back in 2002 (20 years and 165,000 km later, I still really enjoy my Yam. She's a keeper!). Norman is now in Rotorua, and he has recommended a guy up here in Auckland that I am in contact with. (I'm only considering emulators because I intend to keep my Versys-X as I have done with my R6.) The stock suspension on the Versys-X is not bad, but I have been so spoiled by having emulators on the R6 that I am keen to fork out the money and have similar treatment for the Versys-X.
 

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I'm actually having this done on my 2017 next week... New springs and emulators. VERY much looking forward to feeling the difference. I'll post a review once I feel it out!

QUOTE="Flying Translator, post: 1693839, member: 288922"]
Hello Everyone,

I love my Versys-X 300, but I hate its damper-rod front suspension that hydraulically locks over high-speed bumps, particularly corrugations on gravel roads. The stock front end is very harsh when it encounters high-speed bumps. For low-speed bumps it is fine.

Have any Versys-X owners fitted emulators?
Did you keep the stock fork springs? If you changed the springs, then why?
Which emulators did you fit?
Did you fit them yourself or did you pay a specialist to do it? If you did fit the emulators yourself, how hard was it to do? (I have access to a drill press for drilling additional holes in the damper rods.)

What improvements did you notice?
[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I'm actually having this done on my 2017 next week... New springs and emulators. VERY much looking forward to feeling the difference. I'll post a review once I feel it out!
Here's the body of the e-mail that I sent to a couple of suspension service providers, to gather costing data. I am waiting for two more quotes to come in.

My 2018 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 (in the foreground of the attached photo) gives me a harsh ride over corrugations. The forks can not handle high-speed compressions. They handle low-speed compressions well enough.

I want a comfortable, compliant suspension for street and unsealed road touring.

  • I will not carry a pillion passenger.
  • My body weight is 78 kg.
  • I will only ride on sealed and unsealed public roads.
  • I will not race my motorcycle (so I don't expect fork dive under hard braking to happen very often)
  • I may sometimes carry 10-20 kg of camping gear.
I would like emulators fitted to my forks. The stock fork springs seem okay. My bike has about 7,000 km on it and the forks are in good condition.

The stock fork springs are 0.60 kg/mm. I will see how the emulators work out.
If necessary, I may upgrade the springs to 0.80 kg/mm ones, but first I want to test the fork setup on real NZ roads, rather than blindly follow an Excel suspension calculating formula created in the US or Europe based on a completely different riding environment.
If I determine that I need stronger springs, I will fit them, but one step at a time. Emulators will come first, to allow the forks to actually absorb shocks rather than simply lock up and bounce off them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Removing the forks was easy, thanks to the center stand. I put a block of wood and a car jack under the front of the engine and lift the front wheel a little off the ground.

The guy fitting the emulators has come down with a bad cold, so I waiting to hear back from him.

I expect that the emulators will take the harshness out of the front end (when it hits high-speed bumps such as corrugations on dirt roads). The stock forks are very poor in their handling of high-speed compressions. That's damper rods for you.

I plan to compare my forks with a friend's stock Versys-X and see what the difference is like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I got my forks back today and reinstalled them. The weather was wet and squally, being the New Zealand winter (yes, we are in the Southern Hemisphere so our winter runs from June through to August), so I couldn't go on a long ride. Instead, I rode around the block and then turned into our driveway.
The stock forks would always lock up as I rode over the transition between the roadside and my uphill driveway. Each time I would feel a blow as if someone was belting the bottom of the wheel with a sledgehammer.
This time it was different. The forks absorbed the shock. There was no harshness at all. Looks like I have high-speed dampening (for the first time).

I'll need to do a longer ride tomorrow when the weather improves.
 

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I got my forks back today and reinstalled them. The weather was wet and squally, being the New Zealand winter (yes, we are in the Southern Hemisphere so our winter runs from June through to August), so I couldn't go on a long ride. Instead, I rode around the block and then turned into our driveway.
The stock forks would always lock up as I rode over the transition between the roadside and my uphill driveway. Each time I would feel a blow as if someone was belting the bottom of the wheel with a sledgehammer.
This time it was different. The forks absorbed the shock. There was no harshness at all. Looks like I have high-speed dampening (for the first time).

I'll need to do a longer ride tomorrow when the weather improves.
Good luck with the weather ... and the longer ride !
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I took the Versys-X over some dirt roads with corrugations. The emulators make the front forks a lot more plush. You can still feel the bumps, but it's as if the sharp edges have been taken off. Not having to deal with all the hammering coming through the handlebars means that you can relax and enjoy the ride in greater comfort, and probably not get so fatigued on a long ride.
The stock rear shock (with rising rate suspension) is not that bad for a cheap bike like the Versys-X. I could spend a lot of money and buy an after-market rear shock and get a smoother ride, but the bang for my buck would not nearly be as much as I got having emulators fitted to the forks.
Conclusion: The $NZ437 I spent all up for the emulators (YSS) and their fitting was worth it. But then, I plan to keep this bike. If I was intending to sell in a season or so, I would simply put up with the harshness of the stock front forks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello Poldark,
All I know is that the guy who fitted the emulators used ones made by YSS. I don't know which diameter he selected.
Is "PD" the name of the manufacturer or does it stand for "port diameter"? (Google has been no help to me.)
I suggest that you e-mail YSS and ask them what sized unit they recommend for the Versys-X. Alternatively, contact RaceTech and see what size they use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
There is some drilling (six 6-mm holes) required to bypass the original damper road holes so that the emulator shim stacks can do their job. I'd pay someone with experience to do the drilling and fit the emulators for you. I used the services of a local motocross guy who had converted many damper-rod forks over the years and had a lot of real-world experience.

Beware of "race-track" suspension gurus who may not have any experience with setting up suspension for unsealed dirt roads. Also, you don't want a "serious motocross" suspension because you aren't going seriously offroad. I wanted dampening that would be able to handle high-speed low-amplitude bumps of the kinds you get on the corrugations of dirt roads (i.e., shallow annoying ripples that judder the stock suspension like crazy.) Road corrugations are not found on either road racetracks or serious off-road tracks.

At the end of the day, the biggest benefit I have gained from the fitting of emulators is the suppression of those sharp bumps through the front suspension. The bumps are still there but it's like the sharp points have been smoothed off. On long days, I found that the sharp shocks really tired me out. I don't have that problem so much now. Rider fatigue is not your friend.

I didn't change the front fork springs (I weigh 80 kg and always ride solo). If I was over 100 kg (220 lbs) I would think about getting heavier springs when I had emulators fitted. Also, I do not run with lower-than-recommended tire pressures.

It cost me about $NZ437 to get the emulators fitted. I still have the stock rear shock. A replacement would be about $NZ1,500. The rear shock is acceptable for the kind of riding I do. Spending money on the front forks will give you the greatest bang for your buck.
 

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Thanks for the advice above.

I got my YSS setup from Bikersbitz, who are in Thailand where YSS is located.

The YSS instructions are silent about drilling, says to simply drop the valves in front. I know know I need remove my damper rods and drill the compression limit holes out. Or have my favorite Yamaha dealer do it.

The instructions say the shock spring compression is set for the bike at factory, but is infinitely adjustable with the ring.

What front and rear YSS package Costa through BikerzBitz is below, to USA a few days ago. They have the parts listed for the bike, no long search for compatibility is necessary.

I also found it in England, with potential for changing spring weight for maybe $2-300 more. The base shock spring is ok for my weight per YSS.

I could not find the package in USA.

Versys-X 300 ('17-'20) YSS Fork Upgrade Kit​
YSS_Y-FCM37-KIT-02-013​
1​
USD186.45​
Versys-X 300 ('17-'20) YSS Topline​
YSS_MZ366-320TR-58-85​
1​
USD232.35​
Subtotal​
USD418.80​
Shipping & Handling​
USD64.06​
Grand Total​
USD482.86​
Tax​
USD31.59​
Grand Total to be Charged​
THB16,833.09​
 

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Thanks for the advice above.

I got my YSS setup from Bikersbitz, who are in Thailand where YSS is located.

The YSS instructions are silent about drilling, says to simply drop the valves in front. I know know I need remove my damper rods and drill the compression limit holes out. Or have my favorite Yamaha dealer do it.

The instructions say the shock spring compression is set for the bike at factory, but is infinitely adjustable with the ring.

What front and rear YSS package Costa through BikerzBitz is below, to USA a few days ago. They have the parts listed for the bike, no long search for compatibility is necessary.

I also found it in England, with potential for changing spring weight for maybe $2-300 more. The base shock spring is ok for my weight per YSS.

I could not find the package in USA.

Versys-X 300 ('17-'20) YSS Fork Upgrade Kit​
YSS_Y-FCM37-KIT-02-013​
1​
USD186.45​
Versys-X 300 ('17-'20) YSS Topline​
YSS_MZ366-320TR-58-85​
1​
USD232.35​
Subtotal​
USD418.80​
Shipping & Handling​
USD64.06​
Grand Total​
USD482.86​
Tax​
USD31.59​
Grand Total to be Charged​
THB16,833.09​
The day will come, I hope, when I buy a bike that has suspension which does not want upgrading.
 
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