Don't gripe about your old suspension, fix it!

Makingitwork6999

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When you think you cannot do anything more with your bike, take it off road. Take it everywhere and find the limits. Never be afraid to crash your bike.

You can imagine that I have no fear. I think my fear switch is broken in the "off position". Probably from 30 years of high-end snowboarding. Yeah, that will do it. No, I was not born that way, but given enough time, your fear of falling goes away. Maybe after you have fallen a few hundred times.

Your bike, if it is an nc700 or nc750, probably has a very basic suspension. Yes, it will last a long time, but after a while, it starts to go funky. The oil picks up a lot of aluminum and rust particles. The shock wont slide right. And an oil change is required. But, if you are changing the oil, take out the springs and see if they are still the same length. They probably are not if you have an older bike. So, now is a good time to add fork emulators and new springs. If you are getting kicked up in the pants on road buckles, swap out the rear shock too with a better one. There are a few choices out there.

Anything for the CB500x should do just fine. The parts are swappable. Yes, the cb500x is a popular adventure bike, but the 700 or the 750 was left to the imagination? Come on! The 500cc engine is just too small for us big boys.

Yes, I hear people say you can ride anything off road. Like a Goldwing, and yes, I did that in a group ride. Four guys in the dirt on Goldwings. Wow. But, can you really enjoy it for a while? Can you throw it around and slide the tires around in a sunken tire track? Would you cringe if a rock bounced off the bike?

Stop cringing and get out there and get some scars! Put a band-aid on it. Laugh it up. Charge up your phone for emergencies and go out there and tear it up. Bring a camera and record the action.


Use a camera to validate the suspension action. Is it the tires? It is it the forks that do all the work? How can you be sure?


I knew when I added the emulators and new springs that there is a big difference. The question was for me: Was it working the way I needed it to. The only way to be sure is to observe it directly. And do it on the roads I ride often.

You can feel the big changes in the big bumps, but can you really be certain of the small ones? You would think that a progressive spring is better for this. The truth is, not really. It is all about matching the spring to your total weight. This is why the suspension guys ask you about the bike model and your weight. Trust in your experts. Give them an accurate assessment of your total weight. Include your luggage.

What I noticed was that progressive springs cause a lot of nose dive. This happens when you brake and when you lean over the bars suddenly. Do them both and you could find yourself kissing the dirt. Dirt bikes are notorious for this. This is how you accidentally go over the bars.

So, do you want a dirt bike? Or do you want something more adjusted to your needs?

Dirt bikes tend to lose their cool in urban settings. The ones that work look funky. They seem out-of-place. The tires are often toothy and slide all over the place when it is cold and wet. You are not a stunt person. Do you need a stunt bike? You can have a fairly cool middle-ground bike and be happy too.

I am constantly prototyping new changes and testing new things. Keep an eye on me. If you see a picture of me with my face pressed to the dirt, then I went a little too far. There might be a video of me actually doing a Captain Kirk tuck and roll. I will share my ups and downs as best I can.
 

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Makingitwork6999

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If you really want to take it to the next level, crash at least once.


ride the slippery stuff for a few hours. Ride through a few puddles. Get a bug stuck in your helmet.

 
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