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  #1  
Old 14 Apr 2010
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DL650 VStrom rear suspension upgrade for RTW

Hi all!

My DL650 K9 has a standard suspension. I'm concerned that it won't be able to cope with the terrain and the extensive load on the bike. We're going 2 up and the anticipated load overall would be:

DL650 Dry - 190kgs
Fluids (Oil, petrol, water, additional petrol in jerry cans) - 45kgs
ME - 100kgs
HER - 50kgs
Gear - 50kgs

Overall: 435kgs

Problematic areas when it comes to the terrain in my opinion would be: South Amerca, Central America, South East Asia and Central Asia.

We'll cover 80k miles.

Should the suspension be upgraded? If so do you know any good manufacturers that would do it on the cheap?

All comments appreciated!
Andy
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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depends what kind of person (people) you are. bits of your bike will probably fail, if you see that as part of the adventure then why waste money replacing stuff before it's failed ? some of the memorable parts of a trip like this are the times when you deal with adversity or a challenge.

expensive/upgraded shocks also fail. ride according to your weight and the terrain, ie slow down when it gets rough.

cheers
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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Good call! I do want to see dealing with these things a very important part of the trip. It's boring when everything goes well and there are no problems on the road - no real experience

I've just phoned a shock manufacturer called Hagon Shocks and they can build a custom shock for the DL650 provided I give them the exact loads on the bike (£345). They did say though that they are a road shock manufacturer not OFF Road and they won't give me a proper warranty for it. I think you might be right.
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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I have a K7 DL650,I am going to upgrade my shocks later in the year (when I have saved enough pennies up!) however it will be a road shock as 95% of my riding is paved,main reason I am having the upgrade is because I often have a pillion & the standard suspension struggles a little 2up with luggage.
If you want some more info contact this lot,he does off road too,very helpful.

Reactive Suspension Motorcycle Suspension Specialists

By the way best things i have done to the Strom are a Fork Brace,handles so much better,feels much lighter at the front. Also Barkbuster handguards,since these have replaced the standard ones I no longer get shoulder buffeting no matter what the speed.

All the best,Andy
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holodragon View Post
I have a K7 DL650,I am going to upgrade my shocks later in the year (when I have saved enough pennies up!) however it will be a road shock as 95% of my riding is paved,main reason I am having the upgrade is because I often have a pillion & the standard suspension struggles a little 2up with luggage.
If you want some more info contact this lot,he does off road too,very helpful.

Reactive Suspension Motorcycle Suspension Specialists

By the way best things i have done to the Strom are a Fork Brace,handles so much better,feels much lighter at the front. Also Barkbuster handguards,since these have replaced the standard ones I no longer get shoulder buffeting no matter what the speed.

All the best,Andy
Could you tell me how many pennies are we talking if you don't mind? I don't want to kill the trip budget

thanks Andy
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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Maybe go for an Ohlins but get the heaviest spring fitted if you're going 2 up with luggage. I started on the standard spring but after bottoming out on crap roads, had to get the spring replaced with a heavier one. And that was solo, albeit on a heavy GS with too much luggage. I also blew the seals but the Ohlins can be serviced.
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Maybe go for an Ohlins but get the heaviest spring fitted if you're going 2 up with luggage. I started on the standard spring but after bottoming out on crap roads, had to get the spring replaced with a heavier one. And that was solo, albeit on a heavy GS with too much luggage. I also blew the seals but the Ohlins can be serviced.
Ohlins tend to be really expensive and outwith our pricerange I think. The Hagon Shock ones seem to be ok. They said that they could build a custom one for us for 345 quid so it's not too bad. They said that that would be without any adjuster as that costs an additional 120. I don't think we'd be needing adjustment as we'll be carrying the same stuff all the time and the load won't change - or at least won't get any bigger. They obviously said that the suspension is going to be silly stiff when riding solo and with no luggage but that isn't going to happen so maybe it's a posibility?

Andy
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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Yeah the ohlins aren't cheap. I got mine in ebay but you need to watch for that import tax....

Could you just get a stiffer spring fitted to your stock shock if its still working ok? That would be the cheapest option.
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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Regardless of the fact if you stay on pavement, you will need a good rear shock. The Topes and potholes down below the US border throughout central and south America are a shocker, with the stock shock you will have big problems. I would not go forking out big bucks, I did and I think it was a waste of money in hindsight.

I would definately get a larger stiffer shock and have it designed for the 450kg you expect, but it will need to be revalved as well or you will have riding issues, this is hard to do on the stock shock. Another option is if you visit the states, go and see Suspensions by Sasquatch, he will modify the original shock for your weight with a stiffer spring, plus add different valves and it will be modified so the shock can be serviced by anyone afterwards.

I went that route just recently before I returned to Oz and the bike has performed extremely well on the highways and through the desert and corrugations, carrying around the same weight, including extra water and fuel. It still uses the original remote preload and damping controls.

Cheers
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Last edited by TravellingStrom; 15 Apr 2010 at 02:50. Reason: spelling
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravellingStrom View Post
Regardless of the fact if you stay on pavement, you will need a good rear shock. The Topes and potholes down below the US border throughout central and south America are a shocker, with the stock shock you will have big problems. I would not go forking out big bucks, I did and I think it was a waste of money in hindsight.

I would definately get a larger stiffer shock and have it designed for the 450kg you expect, but it will need to be revalved as well or you will have riding issues, this is hard to do on the stock shock.

Cheers
TS
Apologies for the ingnorance - revalved? What do you mean? Do you think a custom build one from Hagon Shocks for 345£ sound like a good deal? I don't think forking out additional 125£ just for the adjustment posibility is worth it. Or maybe it is?

I still will get in touch with that reactive suspension lot to find out how much it would cost.

Thanks a lot!
Andy
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Yeah the ohlins aren't cheap. I got mine in ebay but you need to watch for that import tax....

Could you just get a stiffer spring fitted to your stock shock if its still working ok? That would be the cheapest option.
It does sound like a good idea - this is what I though of doing initially but figured it would cost just as much or a little less and won't do the job. I'll do some digging on this and try to find out.

Thanks for the idea!
Andy
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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Spend the money now if your going to C. and S. America, otherwise it will cost you even more when it breaks down on you while on the road. I've ridden these roads, and they will HAMMER your suspension big time. Especially 2-up with luggage. The most common failure i read about is shock failure. Check with a pro to make sure it's sprung right. Make sure it's re-buildable and bring a kit with you if you can, as anybody with some enginuity can get the nitrogen re-filled in any large city. Most importantly is keep it clean, as i believe this is the #1 reason of failure. Get a Dirt Skin or a Shock Sock (google) or at least hang a piece of a rubber tube over the spring to keep out dirt and grit. Remember, you get what you pay for .
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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Don't go spending your money just yet...

80,000K !! It's unlikely your shock will last through that but no shock will. Ohlins are great but they don't seem to last any longer although they are servicable.

Get on ebay and buy 1 or 2 two spares. You'l probably pay £50 each of you're patient.

Keep them boxed up with a blank address label on and in the hands of someone who will have it posted to it if need be.

Putting a stiffer spring on may extend the life a little by reducing the damping wear. You will have to do this anyway with 2 up and luggage.

Springs don't really wear enough to notice, its the damping you need to worry about. The bike won't collapse without damping but it wont be a pleasant ride. If you're damping fails, crank up the pre-load and watch those pot holes.

Don't think you can't get your shock serviced in the 3rd world. Those countries are well up on keeping things going WAY past their service lives.

Do your research on good places to do these kind of repairs and you will know where you need to visit if things go wrong.

DakarMotos in Buenos Aires should be on your list. There are plenty more listed on the hubb in that section.
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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saltire should be able to source and fit you a new spring, without too much expense. If that's the route you choose.

but, obviously, once you've stiffened the rear then the front will feel like jelly.. thankfully you can get the forks re-worked too.... ;-)

I had a DL650 for a long weekend, with pillion and mountains of her luggage. It actually felt better than my DL1000 with the same setup.
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Old 15 Apr 2010
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I think the first stretch that I would like the suspension to survive is all the way to the states where I think we'd have to reservice/rebuild it. Bear in mind that we're starting with South America - Central America into US.

So it seems that we've got 4 options here:

1. Leave the stock suspension and worry about it constantly
2. Upgrade the spring on the rear shock making it a half way option - the bike is pretty new (only 3.500 miles on the clock) so wouldn't it be a waste to throw out an almost new shock with Option 3 or 4?
3. Go to Hagon Shocks and get the rear shock custom made for 345 quid + optional 120 for the adjustment - bear in mind they wont warrant it as they do "ROAD" shocks not OffROAD...
4. Go to Reactive Suspension and get the OFF Road custom made Shock for 495 quid?

I phoned up Cupar Suzuki as that's where I bought the bike. They reckon the stock suspension is not going to survive even with the beefed up spring.

I bought the bike at cupars beacuse the price of my DL650 K9 with all the bits on (givi panniers, rack, topcase, 12v socket, heated grips etc.) was 6900 at saltire suzuki in edinburgh - same exact bike at Cupars (50 miles away) - 6000.

Another thing that Doug mentioned is the front suspension. Won't this need some work as well since the back is going to be built for the load?

I feel that the weestrom is a nice ride but mind that I've never taken it offroad so what do I know It seems I'll have to fork out some pennies for that suspension upgrade after all. ARGH...We'll end up with half the budget for the trip - sure we'll have a good bike ready to tackle everything but we won't have wnough money to actually do it

P.S. Just found this video on youtube: YouTube - Lovely Day in the Congo

Lovin' it! At the end of the day as Doug mentioned both custom made and suposedly great shock aborbers cock up the same way
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