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In my opinion the rear suspension is the weakest link on the Versys. The front needs work but for sure the rear wheel does not handle bumps very well. Kawasaki said:
Its suspension offers the next level in sophistication: an advanced Showa rear shock featuring a free piston and two-stage damping valves for progressive compression damping which firms significantly as the shock moves through its stroke. This allows a longer wheel travel with a feel that is initially soft like a dual sport, but firms to near sportbike levels as suspension loads escalate. Of course, this advanced shock is fully-adjustable and connected to a beautiful aluminum gull-wing swingarm that is longer than average, thanks to a short/compact engine and chassis.
The above quote refers to two-stage damping which would indicate that the shock has position sensitive damping. This would make sense if the spring is straight rate, since there is no linkage to introduce a rising rate of resistive force as the swingarm compresses through its travel.

So considering that the shock performs ok (doesn't seem unsafe unless you hit some washboard in a turn), we would want to make sure that any replacement suspension component would perform at least as well as stock.

I think the options for after market improvement are numerous. I think the list of possible changes might look like this (from least expensive):

- For 1up riding a lighter rate spring or possibly slightly progressive.
- Re-valving the stock shock with proper straight rate spring
- Racetech goldvalve stock shock
- Hyperpro, Penske, Elka, Ohlins, WP, ... complete shock replacement

The concern I would have about a complete replacement would be that there is sufficient bottoming resistance without using an excessively stiff spring. I believe the stock shock suffers from two stiff of spring causing rear wheel deflection over small bumps.

A linkless rear suspension would require internal position sensitive damping or external progressively wound spring or both to achieve the proper performance.

Since most aftermarket shocks are priced without the spring it would be interesting to see what each manufacturer of shock recommends for the their spring rate and whether it is progressive or not.

I hope to take my shock off soon and measure the spring. It will be important to know the rate and how much preload is set on the lightest setting in order to select a proper aftermarket spring.
 

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Here is list (copied from German forum) that can be useful to some:

Shock absorbers
  • Bitubo ??,?? €;
  • EMC 1 519,- bis 850,- €; normal oder sport, mit und ohne Vorspannung
  • FG Gubellini 424,- €; FG FQE11
  • FG Gubellini 685,- €; FG FQE31
  • Fournales 655,- €; Luftfederung (Dämpfer und Feder in einem)
  • Hyperpro 1 2 107,- €; progressive Feder; auch 30mm tiefer (ohne Dämpfer)
  • Mupo 549,- €; AB4
  • Nitron 295,- bis 475,- Pfund; 3 Modelle
  • Öhlins ??,?? €;
  • Wilbers 349,- €; Typ 540 Ecoline; mit ABE
  • Wilbers ab 449,- €; Typ 640 Road; mit ABE
  • Wilbers ab 649,- €; Typ 641 Competition; mit ABE
  • WP Suspension ??,??; Emulsion oder Fusion
Currently active discussion and group buy of
Elka Shocks
 

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Versys rear shock applications:
(1-way: rebound damping, 2-way: rebound and compression damping with remote reservoir, 3-way: rebound, high+low compression damping adjustments with remote reservoir)

EMC- SPORTSHOCK I twin-tube emulsion shock (single adjuster affects both compression and rebound damping) # K135, SPORTSHOCK II fusion shock # K135B. (Add 'C' for height adjuster, add 'P' for remote hydraulic spring preload adjuster)
http://www.emcfrance.com/PBCatalog.asp?ActionID=67174912&PBCATID=238269&PBCATName=650 VERSYS

Elka- Coming soon: 2-way / 3-way fusion shock
http://www.motoworldonline.com/Versys_c_3639.html

Hyperpro- 3D Emulsion 1-way shock # KA06-0AG
http://www.hyperpro.com/PDF/shock okt 2008.pdf

Mupo- AB4 1-way shock
http://www.mupo.it/index.php?cPath=36_261

Nitron- NTR Sport floating piston monotube shock (single adjuster affects both compression and rebound damping) £295.00 ($455.08 US + shipping) # NTBKK26S, NTR Track fusion 2-way shock £425.00 ($655.63 US) # NTBKK26T, NTR Race fusion 3-way shock £475.00 ($732.76 US) # NTBKK26R.
http://www.nitron.co.uk/nitron09/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=3_9_305

Öhlins- S46DR1 1-way shock # KA 907.
http://www.ohlins.com/Product-search/?query=Kawasaki+Versys+2006-2009

WP Suspension- 4014 Emulsion 1-way shock # 17.17.9C.68/01, 4014 Fusion shock (3-way) # 17.17.8C.68/01.
http://www.wpsuspension.com/products/Lists/Recomm._street.pdf

Wilbers- Type 640 Road Ø 46 mm 2-way shock # 640-725-00, Type 641 Competition Ø 46 mm fusion 3-way shock # 641-725-00.
http://www.wilbers.de/en/kaw.php
 

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Going fast on a bumpy curvey road is sometimes scary .No doubt it is the shock being overwelmed.Few times almost pooped myself.I just have to slow down,I don't think I will invest in a shock and spring.The bike is comfortable,nimble,handles well and rides great the rest of the time.
 
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