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Upgraded shocks on Bonneville

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by ngalbrai, May 5, 2014.

  1. Having lived with my new 2009 Bonneville SE bike for a couple months and ridden it in various conditions on various quality of road I have to agree with the general consensus that the stock shocks are nothing to write home about.

    Have seen lots of recommendations of the various brands to go for etc and that’s been discussed to death, what I am interested in is more detail about how they affect the ride and how it feels. Do better shocks and front springs smooth things out on bad roads (most of them in Sydney) when riding at usual speed, as well as improving handling in the twisties? I am pretty light (65kg) and find the bike lurches about quite a bit on rough roads and crashes around in a spine jarring way. Would a set of Ikons etc sort me out, could some people who have upgraded describe how the ride feels now?


  2. Any particular setup needs to take into account the weight of the bike + the weight of the rider. There are two things to consider whenever one is considering a change. Springing, which supports the load, and damping, which determines how quickly a spring can be compressed in responding to a bump.

    Lighter riders often find a softer spring beneficial. Rear shockers often have a preload adjustment. Back it off for a softer ride. The same adjustment is often achieved in the front shockers by the use of a spacer above the spring. Using a shorter, or no spacer may help to soften the front, conversely longer spacers preload the spring and can act to make it a little harder. Damping may be adjusted by using a lighter, or heavier grade of fork oil. Rear shockers may or may not have an external damping adjustment. Stock shockers usually don't.

    There is a lot to be said for going to a bike shop which "does" suspensions. They can match the spring rate to the weight of the rider and can provide for preferences that people have for compliance and comfort vs firmness, depending on the roads people ride and what they want in a ride. Just buying an expensive rear shock set won't necessarily get you the best ride you can get, though it may improve it considerably, particularly when comparing to stockers, unless one considers the "weight" of the springs and damping in relation to rider weight. Front forks can have their characteristics changed considerably by changing the springs to a harder/softer, or even progressive rate spring (soft for little bumps, hard when compressed - never bottom).

    You haven't been real specific in your post. Is the problem the suspension bottoming (too soft a spring, inadequate compression damping) or simply too hard (hard spring rate, overdamping)?

    Best I can do
  3. By no means a suspension authoritative, however I would recommend contacting a suspension place for advice, for a nominal fee (usually just shop hourly rate) they will set the bike up for you, taking in to consideration your riding style and weight. Money well spent.

    Changing to aftermarket suspension would definitely improve the feeling of your bike. I changed to Hyperpro for my ZZR (the stock suspension was stuffed to begin with) and after also having it set for my weight and riding preferences, it has changed the entire feel of the bike.
  4. Assuming that the suspension tech knows what he/she is doing (there are a lot of sub-standard suspension tuners out there), aftermarket suspension upgrades should:

    * Make the ride more firm in the slow, large undulations
    * Make the ride plush over small, sharp bumps
    * Decrease the likelihood of bottoming out the suspension
    * Increase grip
  5. Bonnies are pretty softly sprung out of the crate. They're not really a rad bike, more so a Sunday cruiser for a guy who is braver than a scooter rider whom likes to feel the wind on their vagina's.

    I think the forks can be worked on, the shock isn't so lucky I believe. making the forks better s a simple matter of shuffling some shims and replacing the fork oil with a grade or two lower in viscosity.
    I'd buy a new rear shock with remote preload adjustment. eg White Bros, Penski, Ohlins or even a Showa, some of their stuff is pretty good.

    What an improved suspension will do is make the bike more stable and settle down faster. It wont pogo as you punt into a corner hard or dive as bad under brakes. it wont put as much pressure on the front or I guess I mean it will keep the pressure more consistant... ie more grip.
    @ your weight the springs should be ok.... It sounds like your dampening is next to useless. Remembering a Bonnie is more a cruiser than you Type R... Don't take it too far out of it's intended parameters or you will be spending money all over the bike.

    For $$$ value I would replace the rear shock first. This will make both ends of the bike feel much more planted and responsive. Then do the front of your still not satisfied
  6. Terry Hays at Shock Treatment.Recommended.Make an appointment,ride over to Walasha{sp} and leave in the arvo a happy camper.More or less preload DOES NOT CHANGE SPRING RATE,it changes ride hight which effects handling.Expect a huge bill for quality dual rear shocks.Close to a couple of grand for Wilbers,more for Ohlins.Fantastic performance but overkill,have a look at the alloy bodyed Ikons,rebuild able and pretty good valve at $600 or so.So get a quote from Terry for a set of fork springs,and maybe some Cart ride Emulators if your forks are not Cartridge type,variable damping.Old style forks either could be made to work for big hits or little choppiness,not both.Later designs could do both and these Emulators mimic that to a well acceptable level.And then a set of shocks with springs set to your weight.Set the reload and you will be surprised how good it could be at a reasonable cost
  7. What @Zim@Zim said, but without the spelling/punctuation errors!

    Sorry @Zim@Zim, I couldn't help having a cheeky dig. ;)