Un-happy suspension-'02 220

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#1
I have a '02 220 and put stiffer springs in the front, which helped. I left the rear alone. I weigh around 180. I'm still not happy with the suspension. Since it's high-winter and no riding for awhile I was contemplating working on the suspension or sending it off to get it done (dependent on price). I was thinking of gold valves or something along that lines... What kind of money is involved and for what? Feedback appreciated.
 

Smit-Dog

Mi. Trail Riders
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#2
I weigh the same and have an '02 KDX 220. I sent my forks off to MX-Tech for stiffer springs and a revalve. $340 complete.

As with any suspension tuner, give them as much information as possible regarding your skill level, the type of terrain you ride, speed, and what you are looking to change / improve.
 

Zerotact

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#3
Since you already put in stiffer springs, you will save a litte money.. I also sent my fork to MX-tech, and have been pleased. What aren't you happy with on your suspension? I just didn't like how the front end floated like an old boat of a car, and then dove as soon as you tapped the brakes...
 
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#4
First off, I'm wordy. :-)

I weigh a little more than you so ended up doing the fork springs/gold valves and rear shock spring. I'll include everything I ended up using. Its a real PITA when you need to order something and it lengthens the process by a week. Kawasaki parts took me a week from ordering to arrival. My costs are basically as follows:

Aftermarket parts:
Fork springs - $100
Gold valves - $149
2 Qt Silkolene 5wt - $24
Rear shock spring - $110

Needed specialty tools:
in/lb torque wrench
ft/lb torque wrench
cartridge holding tool - can either be fabricated ~$7 or purchased from FRP for ~$25
9/16" grade 8 bolt double nutted to remove cartridge ~$2
soft jaws in vise
shim to separate springs/preload from fork cap - sounds like you already have it.
File.
Metric tape measure.
Breaker bar.

Nice-to-have specialty tools:
43mm seal driver ~$60 (I would say its needed but there may be a way around it)
Sag measurement tape ~$20
Fork oil syringe - can be fabricated or bought for ~$50
micrometer and/or dial caliper to measure shim thicknesses.
10mmx1.0 plug tap to thread a piece of tubing to make a rod holder.
2 6"x6"x3' plastic flower boxes/planters to keep both individual fork tube pieces together.

Incidentals:
I took my forks completely apart and munged the teflon coating on the outer bushings and so replaced both outer and inner bushings and the fork seals. The OEM seals and bushings added another $50.

Like Smit was saying, no matter who you order from, mx-tech, race tech, etc, they'll ask you questions as to weight, type of riding, and skill level, and make recommendations. I went with race tech and set up my suspension a little on the firm side but I like it that way. You probably won't save money doing it yourself if you don't already have most of the tools, especailly the torque wrenches. It was a fun process and the intructional video with the gold valves was extremely helpful to me, especially since the Kawi valve and the gold valve only have the cartridge body and the 10mm top nut in common.

Follow the video and the Kawi manual and it all works. The first leg took forever and the second took about a half-hour. :-)

Best,
Greg
 
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#5
I don't trust the cornering and workout with aggressive riding One of my problems might be my preload. When I'm going balls to the wall over ridiculous terrain it seems jarring (sp) to my upper body, not enough absorption. I've tried dialing it in but to no avail. More suggestions....
 
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#7
I too am unhappy with the front forks on my 03-220 I did get frp springs and that helped some but,, I was also thinking of a revalving job,, has anyone had frp do this for them? if so how do you like it now? , thanks Kevin
 

Zerotact

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#8
I concidered Having FRP re-valve my forks but, all he installs is gold vavles... that's why I sent mine off to MX tech.
 
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#10
Originally posted by Crispie0
I don't trust the cornering and workout with aggressive riding One of my problems might be my preload. When I'm going balls to the wall over ridiculous terrain it seems jarring (sp) to my upper body, not enough absorption. I've tried dialing it in but to no avail. More suggestions....
This is my setup and I'm a 230# OK rider... I'm running about 9mm of preload on the .46kg springs, cH7 shim stack in the gold valves, stock fork oil level, damping is 11c out, 5.2kg shock spring with sag set to ~95mm and the suspension seems to be doing the job. When I had the stock parts in, with me weighing 230, the front fork would compress and rebound very quickly on fast bumpy terrain which I attributed to there being too light springs combined with excessive preload and incorrectly set damping. The stock spacers combined with stock springs seemed to give me more than 15mm of preload which I think was the factory's way to make the suspension "work" for riders over the 130# limit.

I only have the stock suspension to compare to and the springs/gold valves were a tremendous improvement in stability. The front end definitely doesn't dive like it used to. Also, I'm a trail rider not a jumper. I don't know of cons to Race Tech/ gold valves but everyone has their preferences. The kit is straight forward though some of the drawings are a bit generic and mocking up the first valve a few times made it come clear as to how it all went together and worked. I asked around and searched the web and everyone I talked to or read about seemed to be pretty happy with them.

Best,
Greg
 

Braahp

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#11
Originally posted by kevin c.
what are the pros and cons of gold valves?
 

From RaceTech's site     "Stock valving pistons have very restrictive ports. This makes it impossible to get the ultimate results with the stock pistons. Gold Valves triple the flow area putting valving control on the shim stack instead of the overly restricted stock piston. This results in outstanding tuneability, improved control, traction, plushness and bottoming resistance."
 
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#12
Before or after you make big improvements in your front forks, buy a new, good front tire. It will make all the difference in the world in the way the front end will stick, even with bone stock suspension.
 

Smit-Dog

Mi. Trail Riders
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#13
I made the mistake of not riding for 20 years, then jumping on a new KDX with stock springs (I'm 180lbs) and stock tires. The second day of riding, my front end washed out on an easy 10MPH berm in the woods. Broken collarbone. Out for 4 months.
 
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#14
I have an '03' 220 too. I have two riding buddies that also have 220s, one that had Gold Valves in the forks and one that sent his suspension out, front and rear, to Factory Connection. I've ridden both bikes and they are similar, but the one with gold valves in the forks seemed a bit soft, almost too soft, but that could have been his settings. They both have the stiffer fork springs. Consequently, I sent my suspension out to Factory Connection too for the mods and love it. It costs about $600 for them to do it, but that's a one time fee. Any future mods are done for free. As for the front end washing out; I also had a problem with that, but when I raised the forks up in the triple clamp 1/4" the problem went away. It's a little twitchy at really high speeds, but worth it for the way it turns now. Make sure the sag is set properly in the rear first. Good luck!
 
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#15
I just checked out the Race Tech site. Their calculation for shock springs for me (170 lbs, '01 220) is to use a 0.42 kg spring. FRP site recommends a 0.38 kg spring. What's everyone's experience on this. Do the suppliers like Race Tech and MX Tech generally recommend stiffer springs. What's everyone's conclusion, slightly stiffer or not