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Discussion Starter #1
I've been listening to some older episodes of the Adventure Rider Radio motorcycle podcast; specifically, a 2-episode series they did on nothing but suspension. I came away from it with the understanding that I'm a complete dolt for ever rider more than a mile on stock suspension (and, at 50k+ miles, my old Kawasaki Concours was probably a little overdue for a suspension upgrade).

After listening to a combined 3+ hours of talk about suspension, I also understand that I'm never going to be a suspension expert -- sag, rebound damping, compression damping, spring rate...it's all greek to me.

So, while my 2012, at around 20K miles probably still has some life left in the stock set-up, I'm already thinking about swapping things out down the line.

What I'm wondering is how I can find someone locally that could help me get the bike set up properly. From what I understand, this isn't the sort of thing you want to rely on your average dealer mechanic to advise you on -- you need someone that really knows this stuff.

Also, I know suspension parts come in all budget ranges. But can anyone ballpark what I should be thinking about setting aside for suspension upgrades to the front and rear? I bike on a budget, so this isn't the sort of thing I can drop $2k on -- I may only be able to afford new springs/fork oil up front and perhaps a new, rebuildable shock for the rear.

Finally, while I'm an intermediate wrencher, this seems like the sort of thing I'd want someone else to do the install with. How much extra does it add to have someone do the work?
 

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You want someone locally? Try googling racing shops and suspension shops.
I know that Sasquatch in Idaho can get your stock shock in good shape for a bargain price($300?) compared to most aftermarket shocks. Emulators seem to be a good thing for the front forks.
The specifics of exactly how to get it right for you is as you said it's all Greek
Figure 100 dollars an hour minimum to cover shop costs. Sasquatch and I changed out the shock in a dirt parking lot in about 20 minutes. Woulda been quicker if we were on a good cement pad.
Changing fork springs is simple, pull the cap, remove old and install new replace caps. Otherwise a few hours in the shop to pull the forks and do the renew.
That would be plus sundry parts like new seals and such since they are in there anyway.
 

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The forks are the inexpensive part. It will run you about $250 for springs and a pair of emulators. The shock starts at $300 for a rebuild of your stock shock, and goes up to $1000 for an Ohlins.


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Discussion Starter #4
It's interesting to hear several of you talking about rebuilding the stock shock. On the shows I listened to, they interviewed probably 5-6 MC suspension experts. They didn't agree on everything, but the one common thread was they all said stock shocks were, with very few exceptions (high-end KTM motorcross bikes, for example), non-rebuildable and should be considered wear items to be replaced at 25,000-30,000 miles.
 

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A few places have the knowledge and tools rework the stock shock so it is rebuildable.
 

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Mine had 3 times that much when it became a pogo stick. Sasquatch put in a gas cartridge and gave me a spring proper for my weight and load.
The big companies always say they are mo bettah.
What you don't know is to their benefit.
 

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Sag...how much the suspension settles from wheel-in-the-air to fully dressed rider aboard (or rider & passenger). We want about 40 mm, front & rear, on the strom.
Preload...the adjuster of the spring mount to get the correct sag. It does not stiffen nor soften the suspension.
Rebound damping...how fast the damper extends.
Compression damping...how fast the damper compresses.

Step 1...get the correct springs for your loaded riding weight. Sonic Springs
Step 2...set the sag.
Step 3...Which bike do you have. It isn't listed in your profile, nor you location. For the 650s, improved damping valves are a big help. I'd go with the newest, the Cogent Dynamics Drop In Damper Cartridge. http://www.motocd.com/product/ddc-complete-package/
For a 2002-2013 1000, the RaceTech Gold Cartridge. For a 2015+ 1000A, ditto. Nothing available for the 2014 1000A.
Step 4...shock. Whoever either reworks the stock or sells you a new one, be sure they know what damping you like. Do you want desert racer stiff or smooth pavement plush? They need to know.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks -- good point on the bike owned. I never updated that once I bought my 2012 Wee.

As for riding style, I've been a 99% street rider...though, since my state hasn't seen fit to invest in much infrastructure improvement, my morning highway commute is rapidly turning to washboard conditions.

With the Strom, I'm a little more confident on the gravel roads, but still wouldn't expect to do much of anything beyond rough gravel or an occasional forest road in the foreseeable future.
 

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My advice is to fiddle with your front fork sag and rear shock sag adjustments to learn how to do that. If you are over 150 lbs, you probably won't be able to get them exactly where they need to be "by the book" as the spring rates won't be high enough.

Springs and different oil in the front forks are a start. Cartridge emulators are not really cheap so forget about those right now.

Have your rear shock modified by Sasquatch or Daugherty Motosports. Both can and do upgrade both the valve action and can install a proper spring on your stock shock. Here is a price list from Daugherty: Stock Shock
For a street rider, even an experienced rider, these are going to be hard to beat.

Suspension upgrades can transform the bike. Make it so much easier to ride with confidence. You go faster while thinking you are going slower!
 
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I bought a used strom with a shock modified by Sasquatch. It was too harsh for the street riding the previous owner did, and also harsher than I liked. Be sure to specify what ride quality you want.
 

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I bought a used strom with a shock modified by Sasquatch. It was too harsh for the street riding the previous owner did, and also harsher than I liked. Be sure to specify what ride quality you want.
This is an important key. When I set up a shock for an owner, I set it up for him specifically. His weight, his loads, and where/how he rides. Unless you are really close to the previous owner, it will not be perfect for you. That said, you can back off the preload if you can, and back out the damping screw on the bottom of the shock to help smooth it out a bit. You can email me with the previous owner's name and your details and I will look up his info on how I built his shock for him. This might give you some guidance.

The stock shock is not technically rebuildable on many bikes. That said, once modifications are made to the shock body, the internals look like any other shock. Oil, valving stacks, a piston, gas chamber, etc. They can be rebuilt and modified into a very good performing shock. I was the one that pioneered this back in 2006-2007. It was only a matter of time before someone else copied my work. But as far as I know, I am the only one who has custom, 100% exact fit springs custom made for my shocks. Others use off the shelf springs and adapter plates to keep costs lower. That said, in their defense, they still work fine, it is just not the route I chose.

If you email me off my website and ask for a suspension tuning sheet, I can email you a write-up I did talking about sags and suspension settings (compression/rebound) that will help to give you a better understanding on what all these adjustments do and how to set them up for you. It is the same one I hand out at suspension seminars.

If you have questions, email me. I will do my best to answer you. I do not have the time to browse these forums as much as I would like, so email is the best way.
 
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