Front End Upgrade - Testimony
I just finished riding 610 miles on Interstate, primary, secondary and dirt roads in Maine and New Hampshire and I have to say that a front end upgrade is as essential as ATGATT, (did I get that acronym right?).
I chose Sonic Springs and I have to agree with Rich Desmond that a "straight" spring compared to the OEM progressive, (on an 07 DL-650), is the right thing to do on this bike, (there is now absolutely no "BOING" and very little "dive" to the front end.). I am also glad that I took the time to e-mail Rich with my bike specifics, (weights of everything I added to the stock bike), my weight with riding gear, my riding style and the parameters of the terrain I like to cover. If I didn't do this step, and relied solely on the calculator on his web site, I would have chosen too stiff a spring, (Rich suggested a .90 spring and 12.5 wt oil. He said, "Rule of thumb, undersprung and good dampening." Using the web site calculator, I would have chosen a 1.0 spring.)
Some of you New England riders are familiar with RT 153 that travels the border between Maine and NH. I stuck like glue to the road, (using TKC-80s front and rear.). RT 16 North of Berlin is very "choppy" from the winter. I was riding it at 60 mph and above. Cars were navigating the potholes at 40 mph. RT 16 from Errol to Wilson Mills was even worse, but here again, I was flying. I finished up riding a dirt pretty pot holed road from Solon to Athens, ME, (The, Hole In The Wall Road.)
The front end of the bike always felt like it was on a rail. Every line I chose, the bike stuck to it, (there were some pretty nasty "crown cracks" in the road through nearly all of my journey). I ignored ALL of the "Frost Heave" and "Bump" signs.........grinning every time I "launched". One labeled Frost Heave I hit, I knew was going to be a big one; at 66 mph, the bike came clear off the pavement. When the bike landed, the front felt absolutely solid; sort of like I was a "slot car" on a race track. The rear end was another story........ It wobbled back and forth.
Which leads me to say, "Blair, the U.S. Goverment's policy states that the last two digits of my social security number dictates that my 'Economic Stimulus Check' will not arrive UNTIL the middle of June......." I would be all over the Elka Shock in a heartbeat if it were here sooner..... I know that it will do exactly the same for the rear of my bike as the upgrade I did to the front of the bike.
NOTE 01: I have also added a Superbrace fork brace.
NOTE 02: I did these upgrades after riding this bike 23,000 miles over the same types of roads. I will never do that again. (Step One: Buy bike. Step Two: Upgrade front end and add forkbrace. Step Three: Ride Bike.)
Again, I want to state, if you are an aggressive rider, (AND!), or are riding on different surfaces of varying qualities, I feel that a front end upgrade that is "fit" to you is well invested money for handling and safety sake. It's as important as as All The Gear, All The Time! (Did I say that right?.......)
I have a couple of pics and tips from the work I did that I will post tomorrow in the How To forum.
2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"