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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Before I begin the post, yes I know there are numerous threads out there. I have read many of them and have also extensively read Brad's suspension write up. With that in mind, I have been exposed to a wealth of knowledge and information that has left me a bit overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. I was hoping to see if anyone could recommend suspension upgrades they have done themselves that have proven to be worthwhile.

For my situation:

I am looking to upgrade my stock suspension for commuting on the street, aggressive street riding and the occasional 2 up with a passenger. My 2011 650 will not be taken to the track, only the street. I am not looking to make a superbike out of the 650 platform but I am interested in improving ride quality, comfort and handling.

The HyperPro StreetBox interested me as it is advertised as an all-in-one package. Any comments or reviews on this for my riding style?

Hyperpro's Street Box Kit

Also have heard the Penske, Nitron, Ohlins and other rear shocks are good options but would like to hear opinions.

Lastly, front suspension has me lost. I've heard the terms emulators, intiminators, pre load adjusters and springs thrown around and it has left me confused.

I would like to hear from other forum members and learn more before I drop a significant chunk of change. Looking forward to any kind of help or advice that is offered, thanks so much. May the 4th be with you! :yoda:
 

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You forgot about the 636 front end swap. ;)

It really comes down to how much you want to spend.

I have done progressive springs, race tech springs with gold valve cartridge emulators, and Traxxion Dynamics springs and emulators in the front suspension on different bikes. The main thing is getting a spring rated for your weight and getting the static sag set up correctly by adjusting your preload.

On the rear, I have done progressive shocks, and Cogent Moab. The rear wasn't as big a deal for me on most bikes. I do recall the Ninja 650 being harsh on square bumps but I traded for a Versys instead of putting money into the suspension.

Hopefully others can chime in and guide you in more detail.
 

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Look for a reputable suspension shop near you first and foremost as they will have the knowledge to give you what you are looking for. Checking your local trackday/racing forums can help you to find suspension shops in the area. If you do not have one around, then read up on how to perform your own work. I drive 2-1/2 hrs one way to mine, if that gives you an idea of how important a good shop is. I would recommend the following in order of importance.

- springs for your weight (front forks and rear shock)
- adjustable rear shock (pre-load, compression, rebound, ride height)
- gold valves for the front forks (will require more than basic installation skills sometimes, i.e. machining)

A lot of people disregard the rear shock as unimportant, but it is every bit as important as the front forks. And underperforming rear shock is going to translate into bad body motions in the bike which a lot of people mistake for poor fork action. If you will be doing two-up, then a proper rear shock is in order, and making adjustments for single and dual riding is required.

Going with a better known brand of shock, i.e. Penske, Ohlins, etc... will offer more options in servicing and repairs. However, most shocks are fairly straightforward, so service should not be much of a problem. Repairs may be more difficult or longer due to sourcing parts.
 

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I'm not the tech guru, others know a lot more, but I did replace the suspension on my first generation 2007. My previous bike was a cruiser with a budget suspension, and the Ninja felt a lot better even as stock. But it improved greatly with Race Tech springs for my weight and their gold valves, and a Penske double clicker shock in back.

Since you've done the research, I really can only offer my personal observations. I did the front first, and the improvement was immediately obvious even on roads that were in good shape. But having only done the front, the shortcommings in back became glaring and distracting. So I recommend doing both, not just one or the other.

The new suspension really does make an overall improvement to the Ninja. Bumpy corners at speed would unsettle the Ninja's performance, now they hardly ever seem to bother at all. As a result, I'm much faster in corners, with a lot more confidence in the bike's line. And fatigue on longer rides is greatly reduced. I would most definitely do this mod over if I were to buy another bike at this price point.

Twowheeladdict noted that a lot of the benefit comes just from the proper springs for your weight. I don't have the breadth of experience to voice an opinion on that issue, but the Hyperpro Street Box gives progressively rated springs and a shock with a progressively rated spring. My understanding, in a very general way, is that a progressive spring essentially offers more resistance as more pressure from a bump is applied. This implies to me that a progressive spring would be able to react subtlety to small bumps while still performing well on larger bumps. Hopefully a few riders on the forum have used the Street Box and can chime in with their observations. It seems that the Street Box is less expensive than what I did, and would also take less skill to install, so if it works well it would be a good improvement.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes Baxter, the street box can not be tailored specifically to the rider in terms of weight and riding style which is unfortunate. It stands at a price point of $700. So perhaps a few hundred more for proper springs tailored to rider weight would be worth it. However, I can't help but think about what is considered overkill for strictly street use. I have run with the stock suspension setup for nearly 8,000 miles and have just begun to look into improving it now. Really hoping more can share their suspension builds to help aid in my decision and others who will use this thread as a resource in the future.

Also, can someone clarify front fork preload adjusters for me? Are they needed once you swap and upgrade the front fork internals? The stock ones are only fork caps, is that correct?
 

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for me, my c14 has ak20 and a 8983 penske shock, now my 09 650 is stock, the front doesn't feel too bad for me, 220lb, but the rear feels terrible.
the rear shock is on my todo list, but having a hard time wanting to throw money in this little bike. my 09 has 9k miles possible, forgot, lol

interested to see what shock options there are. also traxxion dynamics has a front kit say for 300, or they can do a ak20 setup,
 

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Also, can someone clarify front fork preload adjusters for me? Are they needed once you swap and upgrade the front fork internals? The stock ones are only fork caps, is that correct?

The preload adjusters allow you to set sag. The caps do not allow for adding/removing tension on the front springs. Without the adjusters you will not be able to modify the preload on the suspension.


PS - here is what I went with
 

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I am kind of in the same boat... I got forks built by a racer for about my body weight so I am happy with the front, but the rear stock shock is like Laffy Taffy after 16K miles. I'm debating between a Progressive shock for the Ninja or calling up Nitron to build me a Versys shock to raise the tail a little bit. Would be nice to have rebound adjustment
 

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Minimum - straight rate front springs for your weight and riding style and a rear shock, also set for your weight and riding style.

Sonic Springs will run about $100 delivered
A Works Performance shock will set you back about $550 - $600

I did these on my 07 a few years back and I haven't felt the need to make any additional changes. YMMV
 

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If you dont do a lot of fork tuning, the emulators are really decent. It takes some set up effort, but its a hard mod to beat, for its price.
 

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I put Ohlins rear shock on mine and Wilber springs with emulators and preload adjusters in the forks.

The fork springs were straight rate and both front and rear matched to my weight.

Worked a treat and really tidied up the handling on my Ninja 650.

I've since sold it but as soon as I got my new bike it was in the shop for the same treatment within the first 1000km. This time I went for Ohlins both front and rear.

Whilst I'm not necessarily advocating Ohlins as a brand, any quality suspension upgrade will transform the handling of your bike for the better.

Do some research and read some reviews, and if necessary, hold off until you can buy the kit you really want, not just the cheapest.
 

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I know how you feel OP, considering that I am going through the same as you with the exact same requirements as you are. Alone I will be doing semi aggressive street riding and will also be doing 2 up. Honestly the rear shock was my toughest decision and I finally figured that out for "me". I am keeping the stock zx10r spring in as its real close for my weight at the factory .95 and will just be doing seals and new oil. Also consider if you do a front swap, you can sell your front end to help offset the cost, of course this is after spending the coin but it will help.

If it helps you any heres a list of what I bought/have coming to do my upgrades and why I choose the route I went. I spent more then I wanted but it was for convenience more then anything and not having to possibly have a headache with the lower triple. I have a buddy that is going to machine out the fork holes to 54mm for me. I bought some other stuff other then listed below but none of it is needed to do a swap, just extra goodies I wanted like nissin master cylinder and calipers from a zx14.

05 zx10r forks ($200 needs seals, but complete with triples) - Bought these so I can reuse my front tire as the axle diameter is the same. I did have to buy 05 zx10r wheel spacers so everything fits properly
Versys Lower Triple ( 175 , more then I wanted to spend)- bought this so I didn't have to mess with steering stops (same as 650r) and pressing out steering stems on the zx10r lower triple. Will have to machine the triple from 52mm to 54mm for the forks.
z1000 upper triple (complete 100) - bought this so I can reuse the sport bars that came on my bike when I bought it.
Penske 8975 shock ( call traxxion, don't want to say something I'm not supposed to) - For the money I think it was the best bang for buck and awesome support. Ordered from Traxxion, and I highly suggest calling him for best price and to get squared away. Also had to call Penske to make sure it would work with the 650R. Almost bought a ohlins but after shipping it was so dang close to the Penske that it was worth the little extra to get the 8975 in my own opinion. I almost went with the Hyperpro but was worried about support but the 500 price tag and built to order almost had me. Seriously what helped my decision was talking with Traxxion.
 

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I'm not the tech guru, others know a lot more, but I did replace the suspension on my first generation 2007. My previous bike was a cruiser with a budget suspension, and the Ninja felt a lot better even as stock. But it improved greatly with Race Tech springs for my weight and their gold valves, and a Penske double clicker shock in back.

Since you've done the research, I really can only offer my personal observations. I did the front first, and the improvement was immediately obvious even on roads that were in good shape. But having only done the front, the shortcommings in back became glaring and distracting. So I recommend doing both, not just one or the other.

The new suspension really does make an overall improvement to the Ninja. Bumpy corners at speed would unsettle the Ninja's performance, now they hardly ever seem to bother at all. As a result, I'm much faster in corners, with a lot more confidence in the bike's line. And fatigue on longer rides is greatly reduced. I would most definitely do this mod over if I were to buy another bike at this price point.

Twowheeladdict noted that a lot of the benefit comes just from the proper springs for your weight. I don't have the breadth of experience to voice an opinion on that issue, but the Hyperpro Street Box gives progressively rated springs and a shock with a progressively rated spring. My understanding, in a very general way, is that a progressive spring essentially offers more resistance as more pressure from a bump is applied. This implies to me that a progressive spring would be able to react subtlety to small bumps while still performing well on larger bumps. Hopefully a few riders on the forum have used the Street Box and can chime in with their observations. It seems that the Street Box is less expensive than what I did, and would also take less skill to install, so if it works well it would be a good improvement.
Hi. How much did the Ninja suspension overhaul cost.
 
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