raising / lowering fork tubes - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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raising / lowering fork tubes

I know it's popular to raise the fork tubes in the triple clamps for better handling and stability on the road. I found out it works the opposite when riding on dirt and loose gravel.

We just got back from riding the Trans Labrador Highway and Route 389 in Quebec. This is a rough dirt, gravel, and pot-holed road. Some of the gravel is quite deep and very loose. The road from northeastern Quebec also includes very steep hills. The wee-strom is setup with Intiminators in the forks, fork brace, Scotts steering damper, and Sasquatch shock/spring mods. Sag set to 1 3/4" front and rear with load. On the rough parts of the road the suspension worked great and absorbed all the potholes fine. The bike struggled in the deep gravel and dirt. I'd raised the forks 10mm to help the road handling. My buddy on his KTM 990 Adventure was rolling through the loose stuff at 45 mph, as was a couple riding double on a 1200GS. Meanwhile I'm struggling to keep the bike upright at 15-20mph. Just wanted to plow and the rear end trying to break loose.

Having nothing to loose at that poing, my buddy suggested lowering the forks in the triple clamps back to flush/stock levels. He'd lowered his forks prior and it'd helped in sand and loose surfaces. What a profouind difference! Like a completely different bike. Where I'd struggled before, I was now sailing at 40-45mph on the same loose gravel surfaces. I'd been wondering if the weestrom wasn't cut out for this type of travel, or maybe (horrors) I wasn't up to the task.

Now I'm thinking of looking for a set of DL1000 forks, since they're better internals (cartridge) and I believe a bit longer.

Anyway, I've seen numerous posts regarding the benefits of raising the forks, but non on the possible benefits of lowering. Lesson learned...

]

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post #2 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 12:35 PM
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Lowering the front reduces the rake and trail which makes the bike more agile. Unconscious movements we all make to keep our bikes going where we want are easier so road manners seem improved. It's also easier for irregular surfaces to influence steering as you found out. A steering stabilizer is a great help for that, even more than going back to the stock rake and trail.

You would have to get a front wheel as well and figure out how to handle the speedo drive if you went to DL1000 forks and they are not the best set up cartridges around. Better fork internals will help keep the wheel on the surface but won't help with forces that push it to the side. Ricor Intiminators or Race-Tech cartridge emulators help with the 650's fork damping mechanism. Traxxion Dynamics can change your forks to real cartridges but it's costly.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general...nicknames.html

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post #3 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Pat. I was already using a Scotts steering damper, set 3 clicks from full hard - any harder and you could barely turn the handlebars. Also using a fork brace. Even WITH the steering damper it was a real bear to handle until I dropped the forks back down and lowered the rear preload.

Thanks for the heads-up on the DL1000 forks, I hadn't considered that I'd need to replace the wheel also. In reality, I was mainly thinking of a way to make the fork longer for this kind of surface. My buddy with the KTM 990 actually had his forks below the top of the triple clamps.

Suspension wise, the setup actually worked very well in regard to absorbing the punishment from the potholes, big rocks and the like on the TLH. The Ricor Intiminators and Sasquatch shock did the job. It was the deep gravel/dirt that gave me fits.

Dr Dale

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post #4 of 5 Old 07-29-2009, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDale View Post
...Now I'm thinking of looking for a set of DL1000 forks, since they're better internals (cartridge)...
Better on paper only, at least with the stock valving.

Rich Desmond
'07 DL650, '01 DR-Z400S, '99 SV650 (race bike), '80 GS1000S, '85 RZ350, '08 Ducati 848
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-31-2009, 03:49 PM
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Also

If ground clearance or suspension bottoming is not an issue can also drop the preload on the back, which has much the same effect as longer fork tubes at least as far as rake and trail are concerned.
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