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post #1 of 44 Old 09-12-2013, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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2012 DL650 suspension questions

My last two long distance two-up trips have shown me that the stock rear suspension on my 2012 DL650 isn't really up to the task of my weight (240), passenger weight (about 130), and cargo. In searching the forums, most of the info available seems to apply to pre-2012 models, and I'm not sure if the rear suspensions between the 2012 and earlier models are the same. I get the impression that they aren't.

My initial idea was to replace the rear spring with a stiffer one, and Blair at SV Racing was very helpful, but I've read a lot of conflicting info on this forum on whether that's a workable solution without re-valving the shock. I know that Sasquatch is no longer in the business of rebuilding stock shocks.

I know there are aftermarket shocks such as Elka and Ohlins, but those $800.00 to $1200.00 price tags get pretty unmanageable.

My questions boil down to these:

Has anyone done a spring only replacement on a stock 2012 650 rear shock? If you have, can you describe the installation process, and whether or not you ultimately found that it was an improvement?

Has anyone had a stock 2012 650 rear shock rebuilt? Who is actually doing this for the 2012 models? If you've actually had it done, can you tell me what it cost, and whether a stock rebuild was worth the expense, rather than just biting the bullet and buying an aftermarket shock?

I'm not a knee-dragging hardcore racer type rider; just a guy who likes to see the country by motorcycle. I know that an Elka is always going to be way better than anything done to a stock shock, but that might be more improvement than I actually need. Any personal experiences you guys have with these questions would be helpful; thanks!

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post #2 of 44 Old 09-12-2013, 10:06 AM
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RC, check with local motorcycle suspension shops about upgrading the valving in your shock as well as installing a suitable spring. Some local shops do a good job, and it is good to have some one to speak with.

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post #3 of 44 Old 09-12-2013, 11:25 AM
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Call Rick at Cogent Dynamics. He can probably revalve and respring the shock for you. I don't know what his rates are, but I've heard that he is a great person to work with.

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post #4 of 44 Old 09-12-2013, 12:28 PM
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What you have to understand is that these bikes are sprung, front and rear, to try and put a size 10 shoe on everybody. That is fine if you happen to have a size 10 foot. The more we weight, the more we carry will compress the spring and leave less room for the actual travel of the shock. The more we add preload just means that we are limiting the travel of the piston inside the shock. Ideally, we should have the same amount of travel for compression as well as rebound damping. When the travel is used to hold up the bike we will lose compression damping. A stiffer spring will keep the bike in the center of travel and allow the piston to have as much room up and down to either absorb the bump or push it down. Too high of a rated spring will limit the downward or rebound damping and the ride will be too firm. I'm not saying we want the ride to be like a 57 Caddy but it should not be a Flinstone car either. One of the first things I did was to put a heavier spring up front and then valve it to control the heavier spring. In the rear I added a heavier spring for my weight and co-rider and left the stock shock alone. Just a few bolts and you can drop the rear shock. You will need a press to remove the spring. It was a half hour job up front and about the same in the rear. Granted, I've done hundreds of suspensions on various types of bike but on the Stroms everything is accessible and much easier to do. Bottom line is for the rear the shock is good, just under sprung for your weight.
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post #5 of 44 Old 09-12-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdenoyer View Post
What you have to understand is that these bikes are sprung, front and rear, to try and put a size 10 shoe on everybody. That is fine if you happen to have a size 10 foot. The more we weight, the more we carry will compress the spring and leave less room for the actual travel of the shock. The more we add preload just means that we are limiting the travel of the piston inside the shock. Ideally, we should have the same amount of travel for compression as well as rebound damping. When the travel is used to hold up the bike we will lose compression damping. A stiffer spring will keep the bike in the center of travel and allow the piston to have as much room up and down to either absorb the bump or push it down. Too high of a rated spring will limit the downward or rebound damping and the ride will be too firm. I'm not saying we want the ride to be like a 57 Caddy but it should not be a Flinstone car either. One of the first things I did was to put a heavier spring up front and then valve it to control the heavier spring. In the rear I added a heavier spring for my weight and co-rider and left the stock shock alone. Just a few bolts and you can drop the rear shock. You will need a press to remove the spring. It was a half hour job up front and about the same in the rear. Granted, I've done hundreds of suspensions on various types of bike but on the Stroms everything is accessible and much easier to do. Bottom line is for the rear the shock is good, just under sprung for your weight.
I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly, but you will always have the same amount of rebound travel as you do for compression travel. You can only rebound as much as you have compressed.

If you're saying that you should have as much rebound damping as you do compression damping, then I disagree.

Rebound only has to return the suspension ( referred to as unsprung weight ) back to zero, so to speak...whereas compression has the job of supporting the bike, and rider, ( referred to as sprung mass ) and absorbing the terrain.

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post #6 of 44 Old 09-13-2013, 12:56 AM
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I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly, but you will always have the same amount of rebound travel as you do for compression travel. You can only rebound as much as you have compressed.

If you're saying that you should have as much rebound damping as you do compression damping, then I disagree.

Rebound only has to return the suspension ( referred to as unsprung weight ) back to zero, so to speak...whereas compression has the job of supporting the bike, and rider, ( referred to as sprung mass ) and absorbing the terrain.


You only have just so much travel whether it is the front or rear suspension. Whether the bike is under sprung or over sprung will give 2 different forces. The bike will react differently to sprung and unsprung weight. To give an example, I will use the forks of a gl1800 because I know the exact figures. A stock suspension has 120 MM of total usable travel. A stock spring uses 68-78 MM to absorb the weight of the bike. That only leaves 42-52 MM of usable suspension. Add a rider, co-rider and gear and you have even less. In most cases out of 120MM less than 35-40 is all that is left. I don't have the exact figures on the Strom but the results are still the same. Undersprung and it can't hold the weight and over sprung and there is nowhere for the wheel to go without bringing the bike with it. A properly sprung bike will be neutral. Have the same ability to absorb, move up in the stroke as to drop into whole without the bike following.

To use your term of zero, lets say + being up(compression) and - being down.(rebound)

You are riding on a level road on a stock suspension which is under sprung and you aren't riding even. You have less room for compression as you do for rebound. If you started out with even 10 points of each you now have 5 or 4 remaining of compression because you have used up half or better to hold up the bike. Rebound is not always just to get the wheel back to zero because sometimes there is a hole or a dip after a bump. A under sprung bike will have only a third to half to absorb and not enough to push the wheel in the opposite direction with enough force without letting the entire bike drop and then trying to absorb the re compression. On the other side if a bike is over sprung it is now being pushed up and there is little room for the wheel to drop without bringing the bike with it. Over sprung does not push up but pushes down and hinders a upward movement. Ideally you want a spring that will allow as much movement up as it allows down. If every road or terrain was flat with only bumps then rebound would only have to go to zero. There is high speed compression, not the speed of the bike but you hit a 2x4. There is low speed, again nothing to do with the speed of the bike but the slow undulations of the road surface. The hills and valleys. A properly sprung bike will have the wheel go from zero to a +5 to a -5 and back to Zero without the bike moving.

Again, if you only have X amount of total travel the ideal situation is to have a spring able to carry the weight of the bike, rider, co-rider and gear and leave the remaining suspension in the middle of the stroke to have as much compression damping and rebound. This is the same for the front and the rear. The front is only different in that once you put a stiffer spring you need some sort of valving to control the spring.
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post #7 of 44 Old 09-13-2013, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by gdenoyer View Post
I will use the forks of a gl1800 because I know the exact figures. A stock suspension has 120 MM of total usable travel. A stock spring uses 68-78 MM to absorb the weight of the bike.
That's a badly set up suspension with well over 50% sag. The sag should be 25-33% of the usable travel. If that cannot be achieved by preload setting, a stronger spring is needed.
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post #8 of 44 Old 09-13-2013, 10:42 AM
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That's a badly set up suspension with well over 50% sag. The sag should be 25-33% of the usable travel. If that cannot be achieved by preload setting, a stronger spring is needed.

Correct, unfortunately on an 1800 the actuator doesn't start to put any pressure on the spring before you have reached 4 or 5 on the preload. Also the line is rubber and being under constant pressure expands. That is one instance where just changing the spring is only a start. Adding fluid and bleeding the actuator so 1 is 1 is a must and putting a SS line is another piece of the puzzle.

Just like most stock shocks, the Strom shock included, after 25-30K miles they are declining rapidly. The best I have found for a replacement is a G3 S. Having ridden almost 100K miles on my Wing with one it will be the next upgrade on my dl650A. I love the adjustability of both compression and rebound damping. With just a quick turn of a knob and a collar and 2 screws on the top of the forks I can dial in front and rear to the changing ride. This is something just changing springs cannot achieve.
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post #9 of 44 Old 09-13-2013, 05:15 PM
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The more we add preload just means that we are limiting the travel of the piston inside the shock.
Huh? Adding preload actually raises the bike on its suspension so the full travel is again available, unless the load is so great that a different spring is needed. In this link, if both unloaded sag and loaded sag can't be achieved, a different spring is needed. Suspension Adjustment

I don't understand most of the posting. Damping is slowing the travel of the suspension. Springs absorb the shock and return the wheel to its normal position. Compression is when the suspension gets shorter. Rebound is when it gets longer. Compression damping is the damping (slowing of movement) when the wheel is going up, shortening the suspension. Rebound damping is the reverse, regulating the rate of travel of the suspension when the wheel goes down lengthening the suspension. The combination of the right springs to minimize the chance of either topping out or bottoming out, with the right damping settings, gives the good, controlled, safe ride.

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post #10 of 44 Old 09-13-2013, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by PTRider View Post
The combination of the right springs to minimize the chance of either topping out or bottoming out, with the right damping settings, gives the good, controlled, safe ride.
In addition to those basic facts, add in different response of the valving due to whether it is a fast compression or slow compression, as well as whether it is the wheel trying to move upward quickly or the chassis trying to descend quickly, and you have Inertia-valve-type reaction...which is darn hard to beat.
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