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  #1  
Old 13 Jan 2010
croissant_warrior's Avatar
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KLR 650 rear shock suggestions

I am preparing my KLR for a possible South America trip and am looking for feedback for a good replacement for the rear stock shock. There are a lot of good things said about the Progressive, but I am concerned about the ability to get re-build if I was to break down - I heard they have a long waiting list.

Klaus (formerly of Wilbers-USA) is suggesting the YSS and told me he would personally deal with a re-build if I was stuck somewhere, but then I am relying on him staying in business...

Any other thoughts out there?

~CW
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  #2  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croissant_warrior View Post
I am preparing my KLR for a possible South America trip and am looking for feedback for a good replacement for the rear stock shock. There are a lot of good things said about the Progressive, but I am concerned about the ability to get re-build if I was to break down - I heard they have a long waiting list.

Klaus (formerly of Wilbers-USA) is suggesting the YSS and told me he would personally deal with a re-build if I was stuck somewhere, but then I am relying on him staying in business...

Any other thoughts out there?

~CW
For a KLR it's hard to beat the service and quality of the Moab shock from Rick at Cogent Dynamics. He will custom make a shock to your specs and needs.
Here's a good thread about them:
Cogent Dynamics Suspension - ADVrider

Recently there's been a buzz about a new shock for the KLR650 from Ricor, but it still too new to really tell yet.

Many folks are very satisfied with the Moab shock, myself included.
And the customer service is second to none, that counts for a lot IMHO.
Give them a call.
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  #3  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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Interesting shock indeed, thanks.

i am also keeping an eye on an inexpensive Fournales.
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  #4  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by croissant_warrior View Post
Interesting shock indeed, thanks.

i am also keeping an eye on an inexpensive Fournales.
I don't think a really cheap formula exists, I studied it. Rebuild the original shock was the cheapest but not by much.
The Moab shock is a little more $, but the quality far outweighs the cost factor.
I think Rick offers an attractive package including reworking the front springs as well with the Ricor anti-brake dive valve.(which really does work well)
Fix the suspension well and you won't regret it. Especially if you're gonna ride the peepee out of it.
I put 18k miles on mine last year. I was very glad I did the suspension well.
I'll probably get Rick to rebuild my shock before I head to Argentina next year.
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  #5  
Old 16 Mar 2010
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Put the extra dollars to something else mate! Unless your bike has high miles, why not stick with your standard rear suspension until it is kaput? If you are paranoid then purchase an aftermarket and take it with you, or have a mate hold onto it, ready to ship DHL. Plenty of folks have done Sth America with stock standard KLRs e.t.c. Lighten your load and ride to preserve!
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  #6  
Old 16 Mar 2010
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I'm 20,000 miles into a South American trip (70,000 miles on the KLR), and so far I'm with al baylis. Loaded, the bike wallows and bucks and acts....loaded. Unloaded, it rides pretty much like it always has, which is to say well enough but not outstanding. Maybe I'm not as picky as some, but the previous post extolling the virtues of one particular aftermarket shock, then saying he's going to have it rebuilt before the next trip, don't inspire me to go out and drop big bucks on the upgrade.

Grumpy as ever in sunny, warm Buenos Aires,

Mark
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  #7  
Old 16 Mar 2010
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I've ridden a few KLRs and owned a couple as well. Both stock and modified suspension. I found a significant difference between stock and modified suspension in terms of bike control, feel and feedback.

Well worth the investment, IMO. Where suspension upgrades really pays off is when the KLR is loaded up. Transforms a wallowing, out of control pig into something that actually does pretty well both on and off road. I was shocked just how much better the modified KLR worked, even carrying 85 lbs. of crap on board.
The one I rode had the Progressive shock and the front had been re-worked as well.

Rick at Cogent has a great reputation and has made lots of KLR and DR riders (and others!) very happy. He has specialized on the KLR and DR and focused his efforts on dual sport bikes in general and is a dual sport rider himself. He really works magic on the stock KYB KLR shock ... and does the work at a fair price.

A heavier spring with better damping will have the bike riding up higher in the stroke. This is a good thing. He also replaces all the seals and oil. This shock should last! Going through nasty rocks and whoops the modified KLR just sucks this stuff up. No bottoming out, no swapping sides in sand, just dead straight and in control. What is that worth?

The KLR is basically a bargain as it sits. Compare its price to any BMW, KTM or whatever. It's cheap, but its not perfect. The good news is for a small investment it can be made a whole lot better bike to spend a year on. Going All Cheap, All The Time, is well and good, but why not enjoy riding the bike closer to its full potential? We all have our budgets to adhere to but IMO the cost of admission to KLR-world is so reasonable that it is worth it to sink some dough into a few things that will make the bike better and safer to ride.

I would also re-do the seat and upgrade the front brake (on old KLR). Add up all that stuff and the suspension work. How much have you spent?

Now how much is that R1200GS or KTM 990? (both also need seats, suspension, and lots more)
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  #8  
Old 16 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croissant_warrior View Post
I am preparing my KLR for a possible South America trip and am looking for feedback for a good replacement for the rear stock shock. There are a lot of good things said about the Progressive, but I am concerned about the ability to get re-build if I was to break down - I heard they have a long waiting list.

Klaus (formerly of Wilbers-USA) is suggesting the YSS and told me he would personally deal with a re-build if I was stuck somewhere, but then I am relying on him staying in business...

Any other thoughts out there?

~CW
If Klaus said that, I'd believe him.

I busted my YSS when I entered Mongolia as I accidentally gave him the wrong weight. Klaus had one shipped to me on the spot...waiting for me in Ulaanbatur...no charge.

dscn7698.jpg

Klaus will back you up.

Plus you're on a KLR heading to South America...you'll be fine.
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edde
93 BMW K75s
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  #9  
Old 17 Mar 2010
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Bigger picture?

I would come down on the side of upgrading the suspension.

The stock suspension is, well...not the best. Loaded, off-road, it's bad enough that I would lump a suspension upgrade in with modifications to improve safety.

It is certainly possible to do extended trips with the stock suspension; paring the gear down to the absolute minimum and riding with a "spare the horse" attitude will get you through. But I think the return on the investment in the upgrade, in terms of confidence in the bike, is well worth the money.

The Cogent upgrade is on my list.
--
Mark
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  #10  
Old 18 Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by Capt_Aubrey View Post
It is certainly possible to do extended trips with the stock suspension; paring the gear down to the absolute minimum and riding with a "spare the horse" attitude will get you through. But I think the return on the investment in the upgrade, in terms of confidence in the bike, is well worth the money.
It might be that someday I'll see my way clear to agreeing with those who say a suspension upgrade is worth the money. Maybe. But it's worth noting that I have in no way done anything like "paring the gear down....). I've got well over a hundred pounds of gear, parts, tools and other stuff--probably 60 kilos, maybe more. I'm not an offroading fool, but I'm not being very nice to my bike, either.

Lots of people say you need an aftermarket seat. Others hold out for rear shocks, or emulators up front, or this or that or whatnot and you-name-it. The fact is, I'm not ready to drop US$ 500 on a new shock unless I really have to, and I'm not dead yet--or even severely bruised. I've got a stock seat, too, at 70k miles (call that 115k km). I put progressive springs up front, but not until 50k miles just 6 months ago. All this stuff is nice, no doubt, but riding off into the sunset without it is really not the end of the world....and it won't make an impossible trip possible. You've still got to ride your ride.

Plus I'll repeat that when I hear someone say what a glorious thing his $500 shock is, but in the next breath say it's almost due for a rebuild after a mere 20k miles (that's four or five months of riding--enough to take you far from home but hardly enough to bring you back again), I'm not tempted to take the plunge.

Consider it a different perspective. If my spring breaks or seals fail tomorrow, I'll eat crow right here in public. Won't be the first time.

Mark

(Feeling eager to get out of Buenos Aires, where it's now raining like crazy, providing a zillion breeding ponds for what is already a very robust population of mosquitoes)
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  #11  
Old 23 Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
snip: How how much is that R1200GS or KTM 990? (both also need seats, suspension, and lots more)
...Interesting point Mickey. Many riders scoff at HD riders who spend a ton of cash to buy their bikes then another 1.5 tons after that... but as you say are the big name DS bikes that much different???

Seems to me that if I spent what one of the above bikes would cost me (especially down here in New Zealand) I certainly DON'T want to have to take out another mortgage for all the stuff to make it "right"... I'd expect it to BE right from the get-go!

cheers
Tracy
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  #12  
Old 23 Mar 2010
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Following on from what Mark posted...

For me personally my biking journey (and car journey for that matter) over the years has led me to this:

If it's a known weakness, rectify it.

If its not comfortable to sit on, make it comfortable

and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

cheers
Tracy
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