Start of Project Upgrading Suspension... - Kawasaki Forum :: KawasakiWorld.com
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-21-2019, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Start of Project Upgrading Suspension...

After some time and contemplation about what to do or not to do with my bike I decided to... Well more or less -Fu&% it, I'm doing this.... The major issue/hurdle with doing this project for me was is the nagging question -Is it really worth spending a fairly high amount of money upgrading a 18 year old motorcycle? ...truth be told, I'm still haven't convinced myself to a 100%, but I spent the money so....

..Any way..... Bought a set of racing fork cartridges from Maxton Suspension, a company located in the UK. The cartridge model is SD25 F3. The cartridges are a "split" design. What that means is that one fork cartridge controls ALL the rebound damping and the other cartridge controls the compression. This type fork cartridge design is found in most new sports bikes.

I also bought a new rear shock from Wilbers Suspension, a German company. The rear shock model is a Wilbers 643. The shock is fully adjustable, so rebound and Low- and High speed compression damping...

A little side note. Many times I have heard bikers, when talking about of rear shocks and settings, that many do not understand how/what the Low- and High speed compression works/is. Many times I've heard bikers talk that this setting has something to do with speed, that is true, BUT many are talking about the speed of the bike, in other words, how fast you are riding. That is NOT correct. The Low- and High speed compression damping is how the shock "reacts" to different types of bumps/dips in the road/track. Making it really simple. The shock "Low speed" compression valve reacts/controls the compression when riding through dips in the road/track (Slow), the "High speed" valve controls/reacts to hard bumps like potholes, etc... (Fast).

I'll post more pictures once I start to rebuild the forks and install the rear shock....

/Tom
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Last edited by Mefirst; 03-21-2019 at 11:45 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-22-2019, 06:52 PM
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I'll be interested in your thoughts on the Wilburs shock once you've done some miles on it.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-23-2019, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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I'll be interested in your thoughts on the Wilburs shock once you've done some miles on it.
Cheers! I will write a ride review and how the bike feels with the new suspension. That said the review will come later, reason is, the roads over here are still in really bad shape after winter.. gravel, potholes, etc..... not to forget, me the rider need some time in on the bike before I start to scrape my kneepads One would think after all these years riding it would be easier to start riding again after winter, but it takes me at least a month to get my riding level up where I feel comfortable on the bike.... and when I really feel I'm at my peak, then winter is back again

any way... I did not take that many pictures. On the topic of servicing and rebuilding forks you can find miles written in different forums and also videos on YouTube... It's not that difficult as long as you have the right tools for the job...

I will be installing the rear shock today...

/Tom
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-23-2019, 06:06 PM
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Very nice. Looking forward to you review.
The shock is beautiful.

cmg
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-24-2019, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Little update

Spent the day in the garage. Got most of the things I had planed done. Unbolted the swingarm and checked the bearings, they were fine. Cleaned the road grime off, lubed everything and bolted it back with the new Wilbers 643 shock..

I did have one temper tantrum though Some previous owner of my bike had painted the rear hugger with, well I don't know what paint he used on it, but when I sprayed a little de-greaser on it (the de-greaser I use is really light weight!), any way, the damn thing just started to melt and that really Fu&%ed up the hugger... I started looking at it more closely and it was not even made of plastic, it was/is fiberglass, and when I sprayed the de-greaser on it, that started some weird chemical reaction.... Just thinking about it now raises my blood pressure... Any way, Ebay to the rescue... Found a new hugger made by a company in Germany....

Everything else went nice. I still have a little work left to do. Need to clean the side fairings and then install them. After that bike is ready for the road....

/Tom
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-25-2019, 02:44 AM
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How much was the shock if you don't mind me asking?

I've done a lot to my 12, mainly engine work, but it is in need of more body/suspension work (have Racetech internals in front forks), and although I have another bike to suck my money dry, I intend to keep the 12 so will gradually get things done on it.

Don.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-25-2019, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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How much was the shock if you don't mind me asking? Don.
Hello Don!

No secret.. I bought the Wilbers shock through a dealer here in Sweden. I looked at dealers outside Sweden as well. The price difference was only that outside Sweden there would have been an added shipping cost...

Any way, the shock set me back 8430 Swedish krona (inc. tax), or 1287$ (AUD)...

/Tom
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-26-2019, 01:46 AM
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Thanks mate
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-27-2019, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Update....

Bike is back together... The whole project took a little longer than I had planed, had a couple of minor snafus along the way.. Any way, I'm going on a test ride tomorrow, well technically today, just hope the weather will cooperate.

/Tom
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-27-2019, 06:17 PM
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Your 12 is clean! Looks great. When are you going to get out and ride. Want to hear your impressions of the suspenders

cmg
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post #11 of 13 Old 03-28-2019, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Ok first test ride done....

I will start by saying -Men and women who put their money on full sport exhaust, Power Commanders, etc.. are spending their hard earned money in the WRONG place. Now that I have done it, spending the money on suspension upgrades is, and I will argue this until I take my last breath, the BEST thing period! In other words, spend your money on suspension upgrades first, then, specially on old bikes, upgrade/service the brakes, this could/should probably be done the other way around, brakes first... After all this is done, then go and spend money on exhaust, PC, etc.... but you really don't even need to...

I set the sag and set the forks and shock to the basic settings recommended by the manufacturers. Tires I use are Pirelli Diablo Rosso III, I set air pressure up front to 36.5Psi and in the rear to 37Psi. Then took my bike out to a road with many long and fast sweeping curves. I use this particular road every time I take out my bike for a new season after the compulsory winter intermission (This road is my "after winter confidence build up" road). I will say that at the moment I do not have the confidence to really "scrub the knee pads" because I have not ridden my bike for almost 5 months... Also the roads are still in bad shape after winter, lots of gravel and stuff left behind now that the snow is gone. Good thing is the Road&Safety crews will start to clean the roads in a couple of weeks time.

So, first impressions... All I can say is -WOW The feel of the bike is out of this world. It went to the point I had to say out loud to myself -SLOW THE FU%& DOWN!!! I've ridden this particular road more times I can remember, after four or five shake down passes I opened the throttle, I hit every stage of the road with such speed which would most likely have sent me off the road with the old suspension. The suspension upgrade gave me such a massive confidence boost in what the bike is now capable of. AND this is the amazing feel I get with the basic settings, I haven't even started to tinker with the suspension settings yet... just amazing... The front end feels so planted, like on rails. I raised the rear shock mounting height a little bit, the Wilbers shock lower mounting bracket can be turned shorter/longer. This mod made the bike more nimble, this mod can of course be done to the stock shock to, just add a washer on the top mounting bracket that bolts the shock to the frame.. When braking hard, the forks do not dive like they did with the stock cartridge, the feel is now so much more progressive. This was probably because the stock spring inside the forks was not the correct for my weight, or more probable, the stock fork springs were "dead" even though I never had any issue when I set the sag height and no stupid amount of turns of preload..

Another thing I have to bring up. Doing the advance timing mod (I put in a 4* advance rotor) and resetting the TPS -Ooh, how those two simple mods made my bike come to life... and together with the new suspension components all I can say is -Damn this bike feels good now.... -Can't wait to really start bombing the twisties and taking the bike to some track days...

/Tom
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Last edited by Mefirst; 03-28-2019 at 10:57 AM.
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post #12 of 13 Old 03-28-2019, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Your 12 is clean! Looks great.
cmg
-Thanks! Sadly looks are deceiving, the photos are manipulated... It looks OK from afar, but a closer look and you will see some nastiness.. Then again it's not bad for an 18 year old bike. I've seen newer bikes that look like rats nests compared to mine....

/Tom
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 06:33 PM
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Pssst for those on a budget, ZX14 forks and triple trees are darn near a direct bolt in swap on 02 and newer ZX12s IIRC.
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