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Discussion Starter #1
Are suspension upgrades (custom springs, separate compression / rebound damping adjustments, etc.) worth while for the average commuter-strom? I ride interstates 80% of the time, and ride semi-non-aggressively on country backroads 25% of time. I'm mostly solo, but occasionally ride two-up to the movies on the weekend. I currently crank up the rear preload for two-up, and make no adjustments to the front preload. I know a little about suspension from mountain biking...mostly applicable to off-road type stuff.

I guess the real question is directed to folks who's dropped some coin on aftermarket suspension improvements: Is is worth it for just an average commuting machine? Would I notice any noticeable improvement on those semi-non-aggressive backroad sprints?

Thanks.
 

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Worth it? Not always. I would offer that if you plan to keep the bike for several years it most certainly is worth the cost and labor. If you are just commuting a few miles to work and take an occasional ride you probably are not putting a lot of miles on the bike per year. In other words you can live with how it came.

For those that say they are fine with the stock suspension, no reason to change anything, I will tell you that you simply don't know what you are missing. Ignorance is bliss, but don't preach that there isn't a need for improvement.

I couldn't stand long ( think 800 miles ) days on my 2012 DL 650 as the front suspension was very harsh on small bumps, cracks in the road and so on. I went with stiffer springs ( yes, seems that stiffer would ride more rough but that isn't always so ) and cartridge emulators. I actually modified the cartridge emulators to soften them on small bumps. Much less brake dive now and much smoother ride on Interstates as well as rough pavement and gravel. Really isn't all that expensive and not all that hard to do.
 

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WOW you manage 105% riding. Wish I could do that. If your suspension parts are not broken, don't replace them based on someone else telling you it is better. Suspensions are money. If you want to spend it, then spend it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Worth it? Not always. I would offer that if you plan to keep the bike for several years it most certainly is worth the cost and labor. If you are just commuting a few miles to work and take an occasional ride you probably are not putting a lot of miles on the bike per year. In other words you can live with how it came.

For those that say they are fine with the stock suspension, no reason to change anything, I will tell you that you simply don't know what you are missing. Ignorance is bliss, but don't preach that there isn't a need for improvement.

I couldn't stand long ( think 800 miles ) days on my 2012 DL 650 as the front suspension was very harsh on small bumps, cracks in the road and so on. I went with stiffer springs ( yes, seems that stiffer would ride more rough but that isn't always so ) and cartridge emulators. I actually modified the cartridge emulators to soften them on small bumps. Much less brake dive now and much smoother ride on Interstates as well as rough pavement and gravel. Really isn't all that expensive and not all that hard to do.
I should have mentioned in my OP...I have a 100 mile round trip commute each day. I bought the bike new in late February, and I already have 6,000 miles on it.

One of the issues that started this train of thought is some bumps on I-71 just South of St.Rt. 68. I drive over these every day. It feels like the front tire is off the ground for a few milliseconds after each bump, and the bump feels pretty harsh. The rear shock handles them well...smooth and no noticeable road disconnection. So my brain got to thinking about different damping speeds for the front fork.
 

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One of the issues that started this train of thought is some bumps on I-71 just South of St.Rt. 68. I drive over these every day. It feels like the front tire is off the ground for a few milliseconds after each bump, and the bump feels pretty harsh. The rear shock handles them well...smooth and no noticeable road disconnection. So my brain got to thinking about different damping speeds for the front fork.
In that case you will very much appreciate the front fork upgrade. I still have the stock rear shock, and it is at times noticeably weak. But not a big problem like the front was. The difference in how the front end handles bumps like you mention above is quite dramatic after installing the upgraded springs and cartridge emulators. The job is actually a lot easier than it might seem. Getting the bikes front end off the ground safely is the hardest part! Removing the forks is actually very easy. Removing the front fender can be a chore, it is easy to spin the locking nut on the backside of the fasteners...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I decide to upgrade the fork components, I'll likely leave that to my local shop. I'll work on a lot of thinks myself (same on my cars / trailers), but I usually leave suspension stuff to the professionals. Plus, I got enough projects floating around the house / garage / yard.
 

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Can't see which bike you have on Tapatalk.

On my 1k, I adjusted my back spring to feel like a cloud. I do not feel cracks, and the rest gets greatly absorbed. Haven't touched the front adjusters because they were fine with my type of riding.

For me, aftermarket parts would be a waste of money.

If I keep the bike long enough, and the suspension needs to be replaced, I'll consider it if the cost is close or less than oem.
 

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I should have mentioned in my OP...I have a 100 mile round trip commute each day. I bought the bike new in late February, and I already have 6,000 miles on it.

One of the issues that started this train of thought is some bumps on I-71 just South of St.Rt. 68. I drive over these every day. It feels like the front tire is off the ground for a few milliseconds after each bump, and the bump feels pretty harsh. The rear shock handles them well...smooth and no noticeable road disconnection. So my brain got to thinking about different damping speeds for the front fork.

I installed the Ricor Intiminator they absolutely got rid of the sharp edge hit. You use a lighter weight oil with them also. I didn't change springs or the preload spacers as I'm in the correct weight range for the OEMs.

They are easy to install, just drop in under the springs. Have to change oil in the forks though which requires removing them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I installed the Ricor Intiminator they absolutely got rid of the sharp edge hit. You use a lighter weight oil with them also. I didn't change springs or the preload spacers as I'm in the correct weight range for the OEMs.

They are easy to install, just drop in under the springs. Have to change oil in the forks though which requires removing them.
That looks like an interesting option. Thanks!

Also, would you mind riding up to Ohio and riding I-71 between StRt 68 and StRt 73 so I can get an apples-to-apples comparison? I can provide you with directions if needs be. :mrgreen:
 

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I installed the Ricor Intiminator they absolutely got rid of the sharp edge hit. You use a lighter weight oil with them also. I didn't change springs or the preload spacers as I'm in the correct weight range for the OEMs.

They are easy to install, just drop in under the springs. Have to change oil in the forks though which requires removing them.
I did the same thing and the front is a lot better than before. Easy to do yourself. PM me with your e-mail address if you need more detailed instructions how to install.

Rear shock: Consider finding a used one here or ebay and getting it re-sprung and re-valved by one of the suspension guys. Daughterty does good work, maybe slow, and is reasonably priced. With those 2 changes you don't spend a ton of money and get significant improvements.
 

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It really comes down to your personal tastes. I ride somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 km per year, 25,000 to 30,000 miles per year. A lot of it is my 160km/100 mile round trip commute, a lot of it is weekend day rides and long muti-day trips. (ie heading around Lake Superior late next week.) Roughly half of my commute is interstate type roads, the other half a combination of rough secondary roads and often non-paved roads. Some of these roads are very rough. I very much like going fast on twisties so the bike has to be able to feel safe while scraping pegs.


On my 2006 DL650 I changed the front springs twice. The common wisdom of springs around .95 or more seemed much too harsh for riding on roads that aren't baby bottom smooth so I put .85 or so ultimately. At the same time I put cartridge emulators and put on a much better rear shock and spring that handled my 240 to 250 lb weight much better.

It made a world of difference on that bike.


My 2012 DL650 I found the stock suspension almost as good as my "improved" 2006 DL650 and didn't feel the need to do any mods.

My 2015 DL1000 is much better both in springing and damping (even though at least one person seems to think it's a joke.) I haven't felt any need to modify it.

So what it right for you? Hard to know the answer but before you take advice make sure you understand what the adviser's expectations are and that they understand just what is important to you. There isn't an overall right or wrong answer, just hopefully a solution that works for you.


..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #14
...Roughly half of my commute is interstate type roads, the other half a combination of rough secondary roads and often non-paved roads...
Wow...that's a wide range for one suspension setup to carry :surprise:.

...
So what it right for you? Hard to know the answer but before you take advice make sure you understand what the adviser's expectations are and that they understand just what is important to you. There isn't an overall right or wrong answer, just hopefully a solution that works for you.

..Tom
Sounds like about par for the coarse as far as Internet Advise goes. You gotta have your judgement cap on and your own research to complement what you are given on forums and what not.

Spec's suggestion seems to hit the nail on the head. I read up on the valves and it seems like they will make my oil do what I need it to do up front. The rear shock feels fine, but I am maxed out on preload when two-up (and maybe a little excess sag at that), so I may grab a slighter higher spring-rate spring for the rear at the same time I drop some damping valves in the front. That setup seems like it will make me a bit more two-up compatable, smooth out the rough interstates some, keep things planted when I'm going faster than I should on the back roads, and not require the dollar signs that a track-ready suspension setup would cost.

I appreciate everyone's input, and am still open to advice. This will probably be a late-summer project.
 
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I put an Ohlins shock on my 2012 DL650 and am really happy with the upgrade. I ride a lot of secondary roads, gravel and unmaintained roads and the suspension really shines when riding rough surfaces. I feel all the road imperfections through the handlebars while the rear tire just floats over them. It makes it feel like a higher end motorcycle. I got it used from a forum member and I think he bought it from a vendor on ADVrider for about $750.

It is by no means a "must do" upgrade on the newer DL650's but I sure am pleased with the results.
 

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not sure what your weight is ?

but if you are under 90kg or 200lbs, on a post 2012 Dl650 - and you are not fussy, i say stay with the stock.... maybe if you want a slightly firmer spring - go with a spring that suits your weight and road condition, maybe one those cartridge emulator, intiminator or DDC or whatever it is the flavour of the month. (they all do the same thing albeit in a slightly different way)

Anything beyond that would require serious money and tuning time and it is a question of more $$$ and/or effort to squeeze that last bit performance out of a very ordinary system

and this is from someone who has gone all out on a fully adjustable wilbur shock and over 100+ hours of tuning on an intiminator setup on both the 08 and 2012 Wee Strom
 

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Do the front, Intiminators are affordable and the stock spring rate is near enough for me. (90kg).

However, having just had my Wilbers rear serviced and trundling up and down the local motorway with the stock rear suspension to do that I have to say my Wilbers 641 rear is night and day ahead of the stock shock.

Not too bad on the section that's tarmac, but quite a bit is concrete slab and that was just painful.

And note the rear with a decent rebuildable shock is cheaper long term than you'd think. Mine had done 140,000k's since the last service (2 bikes), while it's a lot better now for the service even rather worn it was better than the stock rear. (The standard Suzuki shocks typically start failing somewhere past 20,000k's.)
 

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I went with stiffer springs ( yes, seems that stiffer would ride more rough but that isn't always so )
According to Rich at Sonic Springs, the original springs are dual rate. The softer rate gets compressed quickly and then we're riding on the short section of the heavier rate part. Single rate springs of the correct value for the rider's loaded riding weight are the first step to a front upgrade.

For the damper rod forks on the 650s, I think I'd choose the Cogent Dynamics Drop In Damper Cartridges.
Cogent Dynamics Motorcycle DDC

I used Ricor Intiminator damping valves, and I had to fiddle with them a lot to get the ride I liked. I put in much softer shims than they originally came with. Also, Ace Rider's mods to the damper rod are a big help.
http://www.stromtrooper.com/suspension-tire-tech/76643-intiminator-summary-mods-make-work-great.html
 

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The new Intiminators on a 2012 DL with a 90kg rider work just fine as is. They seem to have learned from the riders who played with them and fixed the default shimming and the slightly heavier springs on 2012 up are enough.

They took around 2000k's before some of the harshness went, but other than that they work fine and unlike the other cartridge emulators the stock springs are fine with Intiminators.
 

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1 simple question
do road in your area get damaged by winter frost heaves and your local/state DOT can't afford to fix them ?

if so, yes, good aftermarket suspension is worth while
 
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