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Fork spacers or Progressive springs? Please answer all questions.

  • I'm too lazy to switch

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
EDIT 3/31/2011--took out the spacers and stock springs and installed progressive springs- better yet.





I just put spacers in my forks, along with some new 20wt belkin fork oil. Wow! I should have done this before. Quite a difference riding down the road for sure. Feels like a different bike. Very stable and predictable in the curves too, not all squirrley like it was with no spacers and ATF. How about some feedback from all you other CX/GL riders out there? Have you added spacers or gotten the aftermarket Progressives? I almost bought some progressives ($70) then I thought hell, that is gas money! so I grabbed a couple 1/2" PVC unions....
 

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Softie, if you don't mind me asking a personal question, how much do you weigh ? I'm about 225 - 230 and I just switched over to the belkin 20 wt. It's noticably better than whatever sludge was in their, but I still notice a little bit of brake dive. I was thinking about trying some spacers and seeing how that works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Softie, if you don't mind me asking a personal question, how much do you weigh ? I'm about 225 - 230 and I just switched over to the belkin 20 wt. It's noticably better than whatever sludge was in their, but I still notice a little bit of brake dive. I was thinking about trying some spacers and seeing how that works.


Yes I believe you have gotten to the bottom of the problem I was having. I am also 225-230 lbs. Plus the fairing adds weight to the front. I actually could bottom out the forks on occasion (rough dirt roads). Pumping the fork air up to 18 lbs helped a little. Putting these spacers in helped a lot! I was trying to bottom out my forks today and was not able to. Much less dive under hard braking. Ride seemed smoother on the highway as well. The caps are difficult to push down due to the added total length when installing the spacers, your weight will come in handy. I put the spacers between the lower fork spring and the upper shorter spring. First try screwing in the cap without the upper spring in place to determine the point the threads match up. It really helps to mark the caps at that point. I practiced a few times without the top spring to get a feel for when the cap started threading. I removed the air valve from the cap. Then I pushed the cap down with a large socket and extension.

1/2" pvc coupling
 

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I'm 250 and my springs are like soggy wet noodles. (ok soggy wet may have been a little redundant) Don't think I've seen fork oil at walmart or autozone, so one of these days I need to go to the local Kawi dealer (closest to me) and pick something up.
 

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Maybe you should add weight poll too. I've seen some big guys on these bikes and then I have seen people who were just short of paper weights.
 

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,,,, my springs are like soggy wet noodles. ........


That was the main reason I made the step up to Progressive springs, spacers, and heavier fork oil.  If you've only had the stock system you don't know what you're missing, but the first day with the new changes and you'll wonder why you ever waited.  You'll always have some brake dive, but when I first got my bike before I did anything to it the forks nearly bottomed out on hard stops, no good at all.  If you're on a tight budget and can't get new springs, at least get new oil and put some spacers in, that alone will improve things greatly.
 

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Since getting the front brake working properly on the scooter (the CX
), I have noticed that the front end likes to make deep dives under firm braking. I do have the seal kits on hand to rebuild the forks and had intended on doing that while I had the front end torn apart for the stem bearing replacement, but opted to wait until after replacing the bearings. The logic being I wanted to make one change at a time and see how the bike reacted to the latest improvement.



This thread is timely for me. Here in a week or so, I will tackle the forks and may incorporate the spacer as well. I am not sure what weight fork oil to go with (hot climate typically with a fat boy on the back - 210 Pounds) and am curious on spacer length. Then there is the question of replacing the springs...
 

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I haven't tried this myself yet but car valve springs apparently make good spacers. They are stiff but not rigid, helping to avoid fork bind on compression.



Currently my bike is running 30mm steel tube spacers. These were on my bike when I bought it and I took them out when I rebuilt the forks but soon put them back as it soon became obvious why they had been put in there in the first place.
 

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Valve springs... Excellent idea!
It just so happens that I have a few laying about.
 

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Adding spacers doesn't make your existing soft springs any stiffer and it does not increase pre-load on the springs unless your forks have been topping out while riding (they shouldn't be). What the spacers really do is increase your ride height (ie. the front forks will sag less when your weight is on the bike), which means you are less likely to bottom out. That's a good thing for heavier riders and/or if the springs are wore out enough that they sag a lot and give you a low ride height.

If you noticed an improvment in handling the twisties and bumps without replacing springs then unless you were bottoming out a lot before I would suspect the improvement is actually the result of your use of a proper and heavier fork oil, or you improved the steering geometry by increasing the ride height (or at least you brought it back to normal) with your spacers.



A lot of folks like what the spacers do for the bike, no harm in that!
 

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That 1/2" pvc coupling, is it the length or diameter?


Neither. It says this coupling can be used to join two pieces of pvc pipe 1/2 inch in diameter. The space available inside the early cx forks is around 7/8 inch since some people cut pieces of handlebars to drop in as their spacers.



The gl forks are a hair larger inside.



I have used these on several bikes and it works good for 29 cents a piece.
 

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Went to 20W fork oil but I barely weigh 120 after the cancer treatments, I'll be fine. All new NICHE/EMGO pads, shoes, a recently rebuilt MC, tires and I feel fine. Stops on a dime even with a heavy rider or even with heavy passenger.
 

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That was the main reason I made the step up to Progressive springs, spacers, and heavier fork oil.  If you've only had the stock system you don't know what you're missing, but the first day with the new changes and you'll wonder why you ever waited.  You'll always have some brake dive, but when I first got my bike before I did anything to it the forks nearly bottomed out on hard stops, no good at all.  If you're on a tight budget and can't get new springs, at least get new oil and put some spacers in, that alone will improve things greatly.




I'll second this , since I just replaced my springs as well.



Also, the progressive springs come with spacers... so I wasn't sure what to answer in the poll




Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OK, OK I've heard enough!



I have taken notice of the comments made here and and the poll results and just sprung for a set of Progressive 11-1100 fork springs. Paid $61.20 with free shipping (cuz I bought a pair of socks too) from Powersportsuperstore.com. The spacers made quite a difference but I want to move forward and upgrade to new springs too. Thanks for all the comments and all your responses to the Poll. My review is forthcoming once I get them installed and have ridden on them for a while.



A big reason for making the effort at this point in time to enhance riding comfort and control is the 2000 mile ride coming up in a few weeks, down to Suches GA and back for the Spring Rally at High Valley. It will probably include two 800 mile days and I just want the best ride I can get out of my GL650I.



Anyone have any tweaks to the rear suspension that have helped the ride?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What kind of socks did you get? Do they help the ride? I might need some socks too.


I got some motorcycle socks. I wear touring boots all the time and I need high socks that don't fall down into my boots. These are padded and feel very comfortable year round. I have two pair already but wanted a third pair. Shipping is free on orders over $74.99, and the socks brought my order up to $75.15. Otherwise the shipping for the Progressives was going to be $15. So I saved a buck something by getting the socks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update on my forks, I installed the Progressive springs today and went out riding. I did notice a difference in the ride. More sure footed and stable than the stock springs and spacer setup. Noticeable but not a huge difference. They also ate bumps better, and didn't dive as much during hard braking. I want to play with the oil level a bit, since I added 40ml to each fork, which I think introduced some harshness to the ride. When I got home I drained 30ml out and will see if it makes any difference on my ride into work tomorrow. The fork caps are a breeze to install with the new springs. With my old setup the stock springs and spacer stuck out of the fork tubes 5" or so and it was extremely difficult to push them down and spin the caps on. The new spring tops sit 1/4" up...easy!
 
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