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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If you share the work, reference the article.
I recommend Dark Reader.
This was written for the 2016 YZF-R3.

Forks
Although most of this post seems to be about the rear shock, its aim is to build a consensus on replacing the 0.65kg/mm fork springs using Traxxion Dynamic OMNI 0.80kg/mm Fork Springs, but keeping the stock KYB 41C damping rods, as seen here:


YZF-R3 Rear Shock Replacement
As a result of the R&D @Norton-Motorsports.com, we have been provided information regarding a non-rebuildable rear shock replacement that is better suited for heavier street riders and lightweight, budget track riders. That product a used 2006-2015 Ninja 650 Rear Shock.

Installing a Ninja 650 rear shock will raise the rear end by close to an inch.
Pre-owned 2009 Ninja 650R Rear Shock Fitment Spec
Pre-Owned 2015 Ninja 650 Rear Shock Fitment Spec
Ninja 650 Rear Shock Fitment
The specs on Norton-Motorsport.com call for a 2006-2015 Ninja 650R. eBay has options:
  • 2006-2011 Ninja 650R, or
  • 2012-2015 Ninja 650
  • There is no selection for 2012+ Ninja 650R
References to the Ninja 650/650R is used interchangeably, but is assumed to reference 2006-2015:
This simple adapter kit will allow you to mount an OEM shock from a Kawasaki Ninja 650R (2006-2015) to the Yamaha R3.
Norton-Motorsports Adapter Kit
Ninja 650 Rear Shock Bolt Size
Reference to Ninja 650 rear shock performance:
From my suspension testing, the 972 lb-in spring is ideal for street riders up to about 180-190 lbs, or racers up to about 140-150 lbs.
Norton-Motorsports Adapter Kit
  1. Will the stock KYB 41C Damping Rods perform well (as a (spirited) commuter) with Traxxion Dynamics .80kg/mm fork springs and a Ninja 650(R) rear shock?
    • Evidence as to why I think this won't work:
      For those of you not as familiar with suspension valving, the valving inside the shock must be closely matched to the load on the shock (the rider weight pushing against the spring (at least within the adjustment range). This means you can't just take an R6 shock and change the spring out for a way stiffer one, or the valving will be too soft and be ineffective at damping the higher forces generated by the rider and the spring with the mechanical advantage of the R3s suspension setup.
      Compatible shocks
  2. And is it logical to reason that a newer year means less wear?
    • Considering comparable origins between the rear shock of a 2015 Ninja 650 and a 2009 Ninja 650R
    • Perhaps the condition the motorcycle was in which a given shock came from, whether:
      • It is from a wrecked, racing, or street & road bike
        could imply any number things
        • Damage or high mileage
        • Used alot or not used much at all
        • Someone who just wanted to upgrade
    • We could receive a lemon without knowing it, which is discouraging being that
      Ninja 650(R) rear shocks are non-rebuildable (see question 3).
  3. How do I assess the condition of used shocks?
    • Read descriptions wherever you can find them!
      Rear Shock - ORIGINALLY REMOVED  FROM A 2016 EX650 WITH 1,803 MILES
      This shock description states it came from a 2016 Ninja 650, although the ebay listing is for a 2015 Ninja 650.

      As stated in the section "Ninja 650 Rear Shock Bolt Size", this model rear shock should fit using the 2015+ YZF-R3 rear shock bolts (with the adapter kit).
  4. Also, should the 650(R) shock be rebuilt before installing?

Reference Material
Compatible shocks (Norton Motorsports response)
Just installed Ninja 650 rear shock on 2019 R3

*eBay links have results "But it Now", and "Worldwide" shipping filters enabled
 

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Raising rear ride height by 1" (25mm) is a lot. My R3 is a race bike, and I do ride height adjustments 2mm at a time. This bike already steers lightly; too much rear ride height will make it nervous. YES they can benefit from a little more ride height if your spring rates are right, but 25mm is a lot. But you can raise the front ride height by sliding the forks down in the triple clamps. On the track, these bikes want more ride height front and rear. Hopefully the rear preload adjustment on that shock allows it to be backed out enough ... you may have to.

Your proposed fork spring rate (0.80 kg/mm = about 8.0 N/mm) is in the ballpark. I never rode mine with the stock damping rods - I have the Ohlins cartridge kit in mine. The Ohlins-recommended springs (7.5 N/mm) were too soft, I changed to 8.5 N/mm.

Article says the stock rear fork spring rate is 862 lb/in and the 650 spring rate is 972 lb/in; those numbers are greek to me. The original Ohlins rear shock spring for my weight (100 kg) was 170 N/mm (970 lb/in) which I found to be too soft - bottoming. What's in there now is 190 N/mm (works out to 1085 lb/in) and it seems about right.

But ... mine is a race bike. And I'm a smidge heavier. For a street bike 8.0 N/mm front springs and the 650s roughly 170 N/mm should be fine. You can slide the forks down in the triple clamps to raise the front of the bike and you can back off rear preload if it steers too nervously.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
For a street bike 8.0 N/mm front springs and the 650s roughly 170 N/mm should be fine.
...
You can slide the forks down in the triple clamps to raise the front of the bike...
...and you can back off rear preload if it steers too nervously.
I wanted to sum up the parts that got me thinking. Thanks for the response, @GoFaster

I have developed a potential solution for the rear ride height increase due to the lengthy Ninja 650 rear shock (below). I am not keen on altering the stock clip-ons in any way.
 

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I used a guy in North Carolina, Bruce Triplett to modify my dirt bike damper rods. Excellent work and very reasonable pricing. I think it would be worth a phone conversation if you want to look at modifying your damper rods. Many years of experience and knowledge in that guy.


He is not a street rider but he knows moto suspensions as good or better than anyone else.
 

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I cannot imagine anyone riding with the stock fork springs unless they weigh about 100 lbs. My MT-03 OEM springs were rated .65 kg/mm. At about 165 lbs, I moved to race tech .80 springs along with 20w fork oil. Night and day difference.
 

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The difference between a Ninja 650 and a Ninja 650R is in name (and model year) only. There was never a "non-R" and an "R" version that were mechanically different in the same model year. They just changed the styling and the name. The 2016-and-later model was a full redesign and is a completely different bike.

Re-mounting a longer shock so that the ride height is maintained would be an interesting challenge. There's no room around the upper shock mount to raise it, and at the bottom, the central pivot bolt has to pass through an access hole in the swingarm and that bolt is concentric with the bottom eye of the shock.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
My motorcycle in pieces, I have been ordering, waiting (and cancelling) back-orders and a lost package to retrieve a replacement fork tube as I damaged it (like an idiot). I have since received everything I need to finish the job.



Traxxion Dynamics will reach out to you (email) after you submit an order for springs, regarding rider weight and riding style and match the part with the required specs for optimum performance.

My rider weight with gear is 185-190lbs and I ride as a (spirited) commuter; the specs provided in their packaging for the 2016 YZF-R3 read:
  • Recommended oil viscosity: 15w
  • Recommended oil level: 110mm
While the preload spacer length reads "254mm", which are the metal tubes you see just "below" the straight-rate springs (pictured above).
The Ninja 650 rear shock I bought on eBay mentioned it was removed from a 2016 Ninja 650 with 1,803 miles. Be aware of potential mounting bolt size differences on 2017+ models here's one such example (BRPTrailRider bought a rear shock for a 2018).

2016 Ninja 650 Rear Shock with 1,803mi

2016 Ninja 650 Rear Shock (Minimal Rust)

I also got the Traxxion Dynamics 1/2 ounce fork seal grease, as well as the Ninja 650 Rear Shock Adapter Kit (both from Norton-Motorsports.com). Their website is rough to navigate and find what you need, but they're passionate and have responsive customer support (phone calls only at the time of this writing).

Here's an ounce of unknown compatibility and unknown quality parts:
HardDrive Fork Tube Rebuild Kit (41mm forks)

See my resourceful (and possibly damning) maneuver to retrieve a generic 41mm fork tube.

I will be reassembling the forks soon. Unfortunately I won't be able to ride yet, as I am in the process of geographically relocating and one fork isn't 100% functional, being that I broke some plastic thingamajig.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Don't do it that way. I'm told that the stock handlebars can be re-mounted below the upper triple clamp, possibly with very minor modifications (I've not tried it). Or get Woodcraft handlebars meant to be mounted below the upper triple clamp.
@GoFaster tells us to not use Fork Tube Extensions to lift the front of the motorcycle. However, he never gave me a reason as to why, and since I haven't heard of anyone else doing it, I tend to take the advice seriously enough not to try it.

The reason being that if you have clip-ons that can mount beneath the triple clamp, it's best to do this, then push the forks down to (the @GoFaster recommended) 18.5mm fork tube above the triple. This means to exclude the fork tube cap while setting the fork tubes 18.5mm above the triple clamp. Discard the OEM clip-ons (which were designed to mount on the top of the triple clamp).

I have found the 75mm Woodcraft Clip-ons does the trick (I have yet to configure them for the test on full-range of steering motion; will edit once I have them configured).
Ensure you use at least blue Loctite on all the bolts for your clip-ons, snug your bolts, too.

I kept section here in case anyone else happens on the bright idea (it's all in the spoiler below).

GoFaster says to not do it this way. Proceed at your own risk.

What if: Fork tube extensions (+~1" front end)
with Ninja 650 Rear Shock (+~1" rear end)

As I was searching for generic fork tubes on ebay (refer to this post), I came across an interesting part called a "fork tube extension".

These parts mount to the top of the fork tube (in place of a fork tube cap) and extend the length of the fork.

Things Worth Considering
Theoretically, you could just replace the fork tubes with longer ones, but you'd also need longer internals (you might get by with fabricating preload spacers).

The other problem I see that would arise is that if you do use fork tube extensions, you will not be able to use the caps for rebound and damper adjustments that often come with aftermarket cartridge kits.

And the last issue I see with extending the fork tubes, is the potential for snagging cables (as the clip-ons will be roughly +1" (an addition inch) further from their connecting points on the rest of the bike.

Fork Tube Extension Purpose
These "fork tube extensions" are legit parts that are sold and used mostly on choppers, and I would go on to wonder if the integrity of the threads would be at stake for mounting the fork tubes lower in the triple clamp, given the expanded length the fork tube extensions provide.

Honda NC700X Example
The idea is summarized here mid-way through this video on adding fork tube extensions to a Honda NC700X:

Aftermarket Handlebar Option
Contrary to what I knew about the availability of handlebar clip-ons, FangShui linked to japan.webike.net, citing clip-on handlebar adapters from an old post. It becomes a matter of whether you trust HURRICANE products won't leave you spiraling out of control.

The R3 uses clip-ons (compared to handlebars of the NC700X), so the clip-ons would grip the top of the extensions. What extensions will do is balance the R3's suspension geometries after installing the Ninja 650 rear shock.

CycleVision's 41mm Fork Tube Extensions will be used (until further notice).

How to Go About Doing It
The Ninja 650 rear shock raises the rear ride height close to an inch.
[The Ninja 650 rear shock raises the] rear ride height by 1" (25mm) is a lot. My R3 is a race bike, and I do ride height adjustments 2mm at a time. This bike already steers lightly; too much rear ride height will make it nervous.
Installing fork tube extensions allows "lift" by loosening the triple clamp and clip-on bolts to then push the fork tubes downward (through the triple clamp). In turn, this enables you to raise the front end.

By raising the front end, the bike's geometries should level out and the handling should return nimble. After the procedure, the R3 will be raised by close to an inch (this isn't ideal for short riders).

I'm going to order a pair of fork tube extensions and check back in with their installation.
 

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Don't do it that way. I'm told that the stock handlebars can be re-mounted below the upper triple clamp, possibly with very minor modifications (I've not tried it). Or get Woodcraft handlebars meant to be mounted below the upper triple clamp.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Don't do it that way. I'm told that the stock handlebars can be re-mounted below the upper triple clamp, possibly with very minor modifications (I've not tried it). Or get Woodcraft handlebars meant to be mounted below the upper triple clamp.
I was imagining a reason as to why I shouldn't do this as clamping the extensions may strain the threads of the fork tubes. It may negatively affect the seal between the extensions and the fork tubes, is that what you're thinking too?

If not, why shouldn't I use fork tube extensions and secure the extensions in the triple clamp?

Also, I forgot I had Woodcraft clip-ons (which I bought a couple years ago), so I'm happy to utilize them for the forks rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
@GoFaster, my bike leans way over now that it's raised an inch (Ninja 650 rear shock, forks flush with triple clamp).



It may not seem like it's leaning more than usual, but it definitely is.
It's especially more difficult to stand it upright to set it up on the rear stand.

Is it okay that it leans (like it's going to fall over) or should I have a shop weld an extensions onto the kickstand?

You can tell by the looks of it (the 2016 Ninja 650 rear shock being on the right on the picture below), that the ride height will definitely be excited once it's installed.

You can also tell, by how wide the lower mount of the Yamaha rear shock is (on the left of the below picture), where the kit comes into play to widen the lower mount of the Ninja 650 rear shock.



Tips on How to Mount Rear Shock
After setting the bike up on a rear stand and front stand, I rigged a custom "hoist".

I got an idea and decided to tap into a stud in the ceiling, screw in a hook and use two tie downs from the hook in the ceiling to the passenger foot pegs to help support the weight of the rear, while the front was supported by a stand.



Mounting the Ninja 650 is relatively easy by hoisting the rear of the bike.

By hanging the bike from the "hoist", I was able to lower the swingarm by removing the bolt on the lower Yamaha rear shock, as well as removing the rear stand, thereby lowering the swingarm.

I used Permatex Lithium Grease to lube the spacers and bolts, but cleaned the threads after mounting the shock and applied blue loctite, then snugged and torqued the bolt/nut to 42 ft-lbs.

For the upper rear shock mount
  • By lowering the swingarm, I could maneuver the Ninja 650 rear shock in between the upper and lower shock mounts
  • Start the upper rear shock mount bolt in the first flange
  • Place one of the (generic) washers that came in the kit in between the bushing and the flange, push the bolt thru the bushing
  • On the other side of the shock bushing, place another washer
  • Then push the bolt through the washer and the second flange
  • Use loctite (I used blue, red was on there before), then spin on the nut by hand
For the lower rear shock mount
  • As the bike was supported by the hoist, I actuated the swingarm by leveraging my rear stand underneath
  • Past the first flange, I held the first spacer in place, slid the bolt through the lower rear shock mount bushing
  • Then, held the second spacer, leveraged my rear stand to actuate the swingarm and pushed the bolt through the second flange
Snug and torque the bolt/nut
  • Both the upper bolt/nut and the lower bolt should be torqued to 42 ft-lbs.
 

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On that Ninja 650 shock, I spy a preload adjuster. Make sure it is on the lowest setting (least spring preload).

Set the forks so that there is approximately 18.5mm of the fork tube (not the cap - the tube) projecting above the top of the upper triple clamp. If you have it flush, your ride height is way too high. The 18.5mm is where I have it on my race bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This won't be a "track" bike, @GoFaster, but if that's what you're suggesting (18.5mm fork tube height above the triple clamp) to use in conjunction with the Ninja 650 rear shock height, I will use it.

I will be receiving the 75mm Front Mount Adjustable Riser Set soon, so will come back with a picture of the clip-ons and fork height measurement. The downside is that I'm still waiting for a new fork tube for the front brake rotor-side of the bike.

The Woodcraft clip-ons originally came with 1.5-inches (38mm) risers, which is far too low for the clip-ons underneath the triple clamp. The wiring beneath all the hand controls (master cylinder, throttle cables, turn signal, clutch lever) are much too close to the dash; with a 75mm (3-inches) risers, it'll be much more comforting to know I will be able to steer the bike properly.

Thank you for your input.
I appreciate you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I received the 75mm (3-inch) Woodcraft risers (with +5/-5-degree tilt barrel inserts).



This helps clear the dash when turning left to right, but I have yet to:
  • Lower the front by 18.5mm as GoFaster suggests
  • Rotate the clip-ons (around the fork) to allow complete left to right steering clearance on the front and lower dashboard fairings
I don't know what the 10-o'clock position translates into degrees... I will snap some more pictures once I get the fork tube and tidy everything up.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
On that Ninja 650 shock, I spy a preload adjuster. Make sure it is on the lowest setting (least spring preload).

Set the forks so that there is approximately 18.5mm of the fork tube (not the cap - the tube) projecting above the top of the upper triple clamp. If you have it flush, your ride height is way too high. The 18.5mm is where I have it on my race bike.
By the way, the preload adjustment is the lowest it can go. Refer to the picture of the shock comparing eyelet sizes (the upper shock pictured is the same one that I've installed in my R3). I've marked the preload settings with numbers.

 

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Since we are discussing the ninja 650 shock mod, anyone done these on the 2019 and newer model R3's? Curious to what fork height you set it to. As I understand, the fork length is different and will require a different setup. I currently run 8Nm Ohlins springs in the forks flush to the triple and the rear shock set to preload setting no. 1. Before this, I had the front lowered by around 15mm but the rear would start stepping out and the forks would bottom out under heavy braking. I am pretty much a track novice at this point and don't really like the way the bike breaks traction and would appreciate some setup pointers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Decided to adjust front height (to @GoFaster recommended 18.5mm fork tube height above triple clamp) and adjust the swivel of my clip-ons today.

Still waiting on the brake-side fork tube (since I broke the check valve inside the bottom of the one that's currently installed).

Here are some torque specs I came across during re-tightening (all with blue Loctite):
  • I don't know what the Woodcraft clip-ons bolts are, but I snugged them
  • Fork cap bolt, 17 ft-lbs (23 N-m)
  • Upper bracket (fork tube) pinch bolt 15 ft-lbs (20 N-m)
  • Lower bracket (fork tube) pinch bolt, 22 ft-lbs (30 N-m)
  • Front brake caliper bolts, 25 ft-lbs (34 N-m)
  • Front axle nut, 38 ft-lbs (52 N-m)
    • While the wheel is off, clean the spacers, and wheel bearings
    • Then apply a new coat of Lithium Soap-based Grease in and around the axle, spacers, and bearings (I stuff the spacer "seals" with the stuff; wasn't sure how to do it)
Conversions to newton-metres from this calculator

I also see on p167, section 4-24 "Adjusting the Front Wheel Static Balance". Come to think of it, I haven't balanced my wheels since I bought the GPR 300s new.

This could be the perfect time to get them rebalanced. I just called Cycle Gear; apparently the only time it's really necessary to balance tires are
  1. When they're new, or
  2. When there are certain vibrations (like the bike is "bouncing")

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Since we are discussing the ninja 650 shock mod, anyone done these on the 2019 and newer model R3's? Curious to what fork height you set it to. As I understand, the fork length is different and will require a different setup. I currently run 8Nm Ohlins springs in the forks flush to the triple and the rear shock set to preload setting no. 1. Before this, I had the front lowered by around 15mm but the rear would start stepping out and the forks would bottom out under heavy braking. I am pretty much a track novice at this point and don't really like the way the bike breaks traction and would appreciate some setup pointers.
I'm interest to know, as well.
I summon the track gods.
Maybe @GoFaster knows someone.
 

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Oh boy.

The basic geometry has to be right. Swing-arm pivot height, steering axis inclination, etc.
The spring rates have to be right.
The spring preload has to be right
The damping has to be right.

In that order. If changing something later in the list screws with something earlier in the list, you have to go back and fix that.

So first of all, let's establish what your basic geometry - suspension completely unloaded - is.

It so happens that my race bike is in the workshop up on stands for the winter. The following measurements are made with 110/70-17 front tire and 140/60-17 rear tire, and the suspension completely topped out (unloaded) with the bike up on stands.

Organise it so that the space from the bottom of your rear tire to the floor (or the surface of my bike lift ...) is the same as from the bottom of your front tire to the floor and is a known dimension. In my case, this required slipping a few pieces of wood underneath the wheels of the front stand to raise it up a little. This allows you to measure the distance of certain things relative to the ground. The following dimensions have been corrected for the clearance between the tires and the ground so that they represent how the bike would be sitting if it were on the ground, absolutely vertical, unloaded.

Now, to find common reference points on the frame of the bike, from which it is possible to measure the distance straight down to actual ground (and then subtract the distance from the bottom of your tires to actual ground, to get what that distance would be if the bike were sitting on the ground).

On the front of your steering stem/neck is the tab that projects forward, to which the instrument panel bracket attaches via two sideways-pointing bolts. This should be the same on all of these bikes regardless of model year and regardless of whether it uses the conventional or inverted forks, considering that the main frame of the bike is (supposedly) exactly the same. On my bike, in my race set-up, that distance from the center of the upper of those two bolts to imaginary ground (distance to actual ground minus clearance from bottom of tire to actual ground) is 857mm. This relates to the unladen static front ride height of your bike.

The rear is easy. Measure from the center of the swing-arm pivot to actual ground, then subtract your bottom-of-tire-to-ground distance. In my case, that is 417mm.

For a plausibility check, let us check the unladen swingarm down-angle. Measure the height of the center of the rear axle to the ground, subtract that from the height of the swing-arm pivot to the ground. Divide this into the distance between the swing-arm pivot and the axle center-line. "Inverse-sin". This gives an angle. In my case, it is 11 degrees. That is in a good range.

Now ... "what if it isn't".

A couple millimeters different here or there is not a big deal. If you're using different tires than I am, some difference is to be expected. Bear in mind that mine has an Ohlins shock and the Ohlins cartridge fork internals. With that in mind ... A 5mm discrepancy in ride height, especially if it is one way up front and the other way in the rear, is starting to be a fair bit. A 10mm discrepancy is starting to get excessive.

There are things you can play with, when it comes to preload settings. But make those measurements above, then let's get into the next post.
 
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