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VT250C Soft forks... Poor handling.

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by RobPatto, May 29, 2016.

  1. I've just taken my 1994 Honda vt250 custom (81,000 k's on the clock) for my first decent ride on it since purchasing it 4 days ago. It replaced a ZZR250 which I'd done a lot of work on but which didn't suit my 60+ year old back.
    The suspension seems very ordinary all round and the thing tries to buck me off on the rough country roads around here.
    The forks are extremely soft and the rear shocks not a lot better.
    Will new fork oil help the front end?
    Are the 'Progressive Suspension' shocks standard and are they adjustable?
    I'm no a big bloke... 6 foot tall and 85 kg... so the feel of suspension bottoming out came as a bit of a surprise.
    Sorry if this is an often asked question... I did a search of the forums and found nothing that helped.

  2. thicker oil will sort of stiffen, but maybe not in a good way.
    easy to add preload spacer to forks a a first step, and if that is not enough, then different fork springs
    not sure on rear shocks
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Thanks for your reply.
    I'll do as you suggest and replace the oil as the first step. I have no idea if it's ever been done in the past.
    I had another look at the shocks and they're not as bad as I thought.
  4. check what the stock oil weight should be (should be in the manual), and there are a variety of oil weights available thanks to dirtbikes..

    the amount of oil will change the airgap (ie air spring) in forks too, to help prevent them bottom out (a bit).. ie effective spring rate ramps up fast at end of travel.
    but.. stronger springs or longer spacers will help a little. measure length of both when forks apart.

    before that, measure the fork and shock sag with you on the bike, as a proportion of total travel. if more than about a third of travel, springs are too soft.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. I replaced the fork oil...it was dark grey and crappy looking. The book said 10 weight but I used a 50/50 mix of 10 and 15 weight and the front end now sits a bit higher and feels much better.
    I have new shocks coming for the back end... the old ones hardly moved when a 130kg friend sat on the bike and that's at their softest setting.
    The new ones should make the bike a pleasure to ride.
    Thanks for your help.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. The new JBS rear shocks arrived.. only cheapies at $155 for the pair but the ride has improved out of this world.
    They were bottoming out a bit on the crappy roads around here but a bit of spring adjusting has made a heap of difference.
    Just need to find someone in Wagga Wagga who can check/recharge the nitrogen in the shocks... feels like a bit more pressure will make increase dampening and make the ride perfect.
    Next move will be a new rear tyre (have replaced the front)... tossing up between the D404 ($189.96 delivered) or the slightly more expensive K555 ($209.95 delivered) that is the tyre the factory issued the bike with.
  7. I finally have the VT handling like a cruiser!
    I ditched the 'el cheapo' ebay shocks (JBS brand) and replaced them with second hand originals off a wreck I bought.
    I replaced the forks with a near new pair.
    I put original bars back on it replacing the Harley style almost straight ones.
    Test run was a sweet 80k trip out on the same roads that had been a torture track before... very comfortable. So nice to be getting the best out of the VT now.
    Next step will be a small wind screen to take that bit of pressure off and I reckon it'll be about right.
    Thanks for all your input.