View Full Version : Heavier rear spring = different bike !

Steve strom
07-02-2005, 05:50 PM
Replaced the stock rear spring on my bike with a heavier rate spring. I'm too tight to spend the $$$$$ on a performance shock absorber.

With the stock spring I had the preload on max to get 1" sag w my bodyweight only. Had no more adjustment to accommodate luggage.

With the new spring the preload is set to minimum to get 3/4" - 1" of sag w my bodyweight. Great, now there is adjustmennt available for any extra load. This is an improvement worth the $100. I figured.

But......finally took the bike out for a spirited ride today w no xtra load. The bike handled like a different bike. The improvement that most excited me is the significantly enhanced cornering ability of the bike. It will now hold a line thru a turn ssssssoooooo much better than before. Another cornering improvement is that the bike now does not wobble or feel insecure when changing the throttle in a turn. Maybe now I'll be able to control the bike in a turn w the throttle????

If you think that the springs on your bike are too soft for you and you'd like a little more stability then, imho, put properly sized springs on the bike.


Here a a few particular details on my situation w a V-Strom.
V-Stroms, at least thru 2003 models, are widely considered to be soft sprung. I'll attest that it is too soft for my 220#s.
The bike already had heavier than stock front springs and gold valves.
The rear spring is a Wilbur's spring ordered from Klaus at run-n-lites@monmouth.com. I told him my weight, paid $100 and got the springs in the promised 5 weeks.
Removal of the shock was simple. But due to using a centerstand the shock would not come out thru the bottom as the manual says but instead had to be pulled up and out over the right side swingarm. Had to remove a little plastic mudgaurd to do this.
Did have to pay a shop $30. to swap the springs for me as I did not have a proper spring compressor or press.

Jesse H
07-04-2005, 02:54 AM
Kinda neat...so I guess the stock shock can handle the increased spring rate?

07-04-2005, 01:46 PM
Steve, I'd be very interested in swapping Stroms for a few miles on a ride to see what yours feels like with the upgraded front suspension and the new springs. Since I'm still fairly new to riding, I don't think I really know what a bad suspension feels like...

07-04-2005, 01:59 PM
I really know what a bad suspension feels like...

A lot like a V-Strom. Or a Concours.

Texas T
07-04-2005, 04:42 PM
I really know what a bad suspension feels like...

A lot like a V-Strom. Or a Concours.
I know it's not the best, but not having ridden anything else for 25 years I'm like Squeaky in that I don't really know what "good" feels like.

07-04-2005, 06:52 PM
I know it's not the best, but not having ridden anything else for 25 years I'm like Squeaky in that I don't really know what "good" feels like.

Sometimes, Ignorance is bliss... and cheaper too! ;-)

Good suspension gets ride of harshness, sponginess, that old caddy bouncy thing, etc,... It makes the bike feel much more stable and like it is really gripping the road. You can better tell what is going on with your traction and the uncertain vague feeling goes away.

07-08-2005, 11:24 PM
This is kind of interesting. EVERYONE I know absolutely RAVES about the effect of virtually any type of suspension mod they perform on their bike. It doesn't seem to matter if it's a fork brace, fork/shock springs, gold valve, new fork oil, or a new shock, they seem to make an incredible difference. I'm sure there's no exaggeration because I've experienced seemingly incredible improvement from something as basic as a fork brace and also fork spring replacement. I'm certain the more basic your suspension, the greater the effect of the modification and therefore more noticeable the improvement. But I've heard of significant improvements to modern high-end sportbikes when the same mods are performed. The question that I have is when was the last time you read a review that really criticised the handling of a modern motorcycle? I'm sure the handling of a modern motorcycle isn't really BAD, but if it could be so dramatically improved then... Usually the comments in the mags come across more as 'minimal observations' more than they are outright crticisms. The thing is, if motorcycles can be so dramatically improved with relatively simple bolt-on mods, should there be greater calls from the professional "evaluators" for the same improvements to be incorporated as stock from the factory??? I seriously doubt that it has anything to do with retail price/msrp, but more like profit margin. I think most people would pay $400-600 more for superior components from the factory, if it would save them $1000-1200 in aftermarket replacement of those same parts. Additionally, any suspension mod can be marketed as a commitment to greater safety, the same way that Michelin markets their tires. Just a long thought. :-?

07-09-2005, 01:49 AM
:tab That is a good point and one that I have often wondered about myself. The one comment that I see most often in magazine reviews is that the stock suspension is on the soft side. I have never understood why? However, on many of the bikes I have ridden, the stock suspension is usually poorly damped and undersprung. This results in a vague feeling at the front of the bike. When I first started riding, I knew no better. I used to be skeptical of other people's ability to detect small changes to the suspension on a bike. Once I rode a bike with quality suspension that was set correctly, the difference was like night and day. It was not just a mere case of "it must be better because I spent all this money..." :lol: Simply a few clicks of damping or several turns of the preload adjustment on my GS makes a dramatic difference in how the bike behaves.

:tab Still, the question remains, why don't bikes come from the factory with good suspension? I think it is a price point. They can sell the bike for less with inferior suspension and the average rider will never know the difference. Those that do will spend the money to upgrade. Regarding the mag writers, I think they are more concerned with how a bike handles relative to other similar bikes, not the latest race bike. But in recent years, I have noticed more comments regarding the latest crop of the full on crotch-rockets and the increasing quality of the stock suspension. So maybe the factories are finally getting serious about putting decent suspension on the bikes. But look at any of the "bargain" bikes: SV650S, FZ6, Honda 599, etc... and they all have the lesser quality bits. I really think this is a big part of what makes them bargain bikes.

:tab Suspension is not the only thing people upgrade because it sucks from the factory. Seats are a major business! Then there are the worthless headlights on my GS :roll: There is no reason that ANY of the factories can't put good quality seats on their bikes. Just like there is no good reason why BMW had to make the headlights on the GS so pathetic...

:tab The factories only seem willing to give us about 80% of the package it seems. If they add to one aspect of the bike, they take away from another. To get that last 20% you have to really want it! Of course, for some people, 80% is just fine ;-)

07-09-2005, 09:45 AM
Most bikes are spring from the factory for the average human male, i.e. 160lbs.

Most American are, ahem, above average. If they sprung the bikes for the average American, the Euros would scream about them being oversprung.

Steve strom
07-09-2005, 10:55 AM
Some babbling:

When I got a 2003 model bike, it was the first bike I'd gotten since a 1971 model. Shopping research and then riding the recent purchase led me to assume, firmly believe and lament the fact that modern bikes are so good that owner performance enhancement was no longer possible. In '71, exhaust and carb. tuning could add much more power than they do today. Hundreds of dollars for 2-3 hp???????? Nah.

Took not too long to perceive the imperfections of the new bike. .....familiarity & contempt????
When is something that you are passionately interested in good enough? Being passionate means that you don't fit into the 80% of the people / 80% of the time target of mass marketing. (80 was suggested in a previous post).

If you can't improve a thing then perhaps that means that one cannot innovate. This don't sound too good, does it?

Don't get too mad.....you were warned about the babbling. :-)


Tx Rider
07-09-2005, 12:43 PM
I think modern bikes are better than they used to be by far. They are usually undersprung for 200+lb folks though, and the damping leaves a little to be desired but is adequate. Both of those upgrades will be noticeable when set right.