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Mexican Hard Shell Taco
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm not big into modding bikes, and suspension bits are horribly expensive. The most I did with my sportbikes was to setup the stock suspension and that was it...

My Versys 650 has budget suspension, better than other bikes in it's price bracket, but budget none the less. One fork handles rebound and damping, the other has a dummy cartridge and the rear shock is only adjustable for rebound and preload. Not too bad, but compared to a sportbike stock suspension, it is really lacking.

So I came across a cheap set of lightly used Penske 8983 rear shock and AK20 cartridges for the Versys, a wee bit less than half of MSRP. I'd have never spent that much money on the GSX-R, the stock setup is good (that's what I thought), and I'd have never paid full MSRP for the Versys setup, but that was a smoking deal!

So, out with the old: (dummy cartridge is on the top)



In with the new:






And I just can't believe how good it works. There are some twisties near home that I rode yesterday three times, once on the Versys with the stock suspension, another time with the GSX-R and then again the Versys with the modded suspension. I was going faster on Versys than the GSX-R once it had the new suspension bits.

I was thinking of selling my GSX-R 600 as I wanted more power. I thought that the stock suspension, specially the BPFs, was very good, so I needed more power to go faster in the track. Now I'm not so sure. If the AK20s (20mm) cartridges are that good, I don't even want to imagine how good the 30mm Ohlins setup is...

Daytona 675 R?


Just wanted to share because this has changed my way of thinking. I never thought that suspension could do SO MUCH to transform a bike. Now, after riding the new setup I'm a believer. If I spend some money modding a bike, it will go straight into the suspension.
 

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Are we not men?
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Suspension bits aren't that horribly expensive when they work that well, are they?

I'm sure the longer travel of the Versys makes for a huge difference.
 
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Isn't it amazing how foolish you feel when you realize that after you have spent the money, you wish you had spent the money earlier?
 

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Suspension is the most confusing thing to me. On my FZ1 I knew the front was too soft so I stiffened it up and it was better. But with my Aprilia I felt fine with the settings from the previous owner so I didn't really know what to do to the fully adjustable front and rear to make it better.

On my Tiger I know the basic non adjustable suspension is the weak point, but I'm pretty comfortable on it and don't really know what I'd be looking for out of upgrades. I'm sure I could stiffen it up for better on road performance, but then I think I'd be compromising the plush touring ride and dirt/gravel road performance.
 

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Mexican Hard Shell Taco
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5,894 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Suspension bits aren't that horribly expensive when they work that well, are they?

I'm sure the longer travel of the Versys makes for a huge difference.
Isn't it amazing how foolish you feel when you realize that after you have spent the money, you wish you had spent the money earlier?
Honestly I always assumed that the Versys being a budget bike, based off the ER-6 series, couldn't be made into a good handler. Something related to the weight, steel frame, geometry, etc. But now it has that precision feeling that my 07 600RR had, the GSX-R feels sloppy compared to both.

The long travel suspension I always assumed would remain an "issue", you know? Long travel means lots of dive under braking, lots of dive under braking means geometry changes, geometry changes as you let go off the brakes prior to getting to the apex, it changes again as you get on the throttle, etc...

Not anymore. Now it doesn't dive, or squat, like that anymore, it's barely noticeable, and it holds a line through corners like you wouldn't believe.

It feels completely different.

Suspension is the most confusing thing to me. On my FZ1 I knew the front was too soft so I stiffened it up and it was better. But with my Aprilia I felt fine with the settings from the previous owner so I didn't really know what to do to the fully adjustable front and rear to make it better.

On my Tiger I know the basic non adjustable suspension is the weak point, but I'm pretty comfortable on it and don't really know what I'd be looking for out of upgrades. I'm sure I could stiffen it up for better on road performance, but then I think I'd be compromising the plush touring ride and dirt/gravel road performance.
Do you want to spend money? Then go ride one of the big KTMs (990 / 1190) and you'll see how a good suspension can handle dirt and pavement. The best thing about adjustability is that you can setup your suspension for a day in the twisties, or you can set it up for a day that will have pavement and dirt.
 

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Yes, I have secretly longed for a KTM Adventure for years. I think they are amazing dual sport scooters
 

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Suspension should be one of THE first real mods do a to any bike after the normal "bike fit" mods.

Good choice to finally do it and congrats on the score on some well proven bits! :)

-Christian
 
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