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1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Have a question about fixing something on a Yamaha Virago XV1100? Post it here!
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jsyzdek
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
What Virago you Own: It's a 1995 XV1100. And my dad has a 1996 XV535 :-)

1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by jsyzdek » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:58 pm

Hi All,

Last year I bought a 1995 Virago 1100 with 26k miles on it. What a sweet ride! I gave it a little TLC and it's been treating me and my wife well. With that said, the first couple of rides I was bottoming out the rear suspension. I added a couple of clicks on the preload and that generally fixed it. However, I'm quite convinced I need to swap the fork springs. I think my pen has a stiffer spring... I found on race tech that the stock spring is 0.32kg/mm, 29mm dia and 377mm long. Is that correct? I know, pulling the spring out isn't the biggest job in the world, but it never hurts to ask... and I'm on a road trip right now... The issue is that: (1) the bike is really bouncy; I know, replacing the fork oil will help with that, some, but it won't help (2) which is the ground clearance. The fork compresses a lot under its own weight, and then some when I get on it. It gets even worse in the corners when you add the extra forces. I end up so close to the ground and the floor boards are scraping, and there are still chicken strips on my tires, so I know I'm not leaning a whole lot. And I do think I have my throttle control under, hmmm, control.
Oh, and the bike doesn't seem to be lowered. I haven't opened the forks yet, but when I measured the seat height it matched the specs in the manual.

Anyways, I was wondering what springs you guys recommend? I'm about 180lb + gear. My wife is about 160, but her weight is mostly on the rear wheel, so we can tentatively leave that out of the equation. Race tech recommends 0.84kg/mm for my riding style, but I tend to agree with the content here: https://www.viragohelp.com/virago-suspension-systems/ and say, that seems like really stiff. The softest spring they have in that size is 0.70 kg/mm. They also want $130 for a pair + shipping. For my other bikes I used to get spring from Sonic, for about $90, but their softest one is 0.85kg/mm. So I'm not sure where to go from here. Looking forward to any recommendations.

Lastly, just for clarity: RT says the fork oil level should be 165mm. I'm guessing that's the measurement from the top of a compressed fork, to the top of the oil, with the spring in? or the spring out?
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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ViragoJoe
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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by ViragoJoe » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:25 am

jsyzdek wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:58 pm
Hi All,

Last year I bought a 1995 Virago 1100 with 26k miles on it. What a sweet ride! I gave it a little TLC and it's been treating me and my wife well. With that said, the first couple of rides I was bottoming out the rear suspension. I added a couple of clicks on the preload and that generally fixed it. However, I'm quite convinced I need to swap the fork springs. I think my pen has a stiffer spring... I found on race tech that the stock spring is 0.32kg/mm, 29mm dia and 377mm long. Is that correct? I know, pulling the spring out isn't the biggest job in the world, but it never hurts to ask... and I'm on a road trip right now... The issue is that: (1) the bike is really bouncy; I know, replacing the fork oil will help with that, some, but it won't help (2) which is the ground clearance. The fork compresses a lot under its own weight, and then some when I get on it. It gets even worse in the corners when you add the extra forces. I end up so close to the ground and the floor boards are scraping, and there are still chicken strips on my tires, so I know I'm not leaning a whole lot. And I do think I have my throttle control under, hmmm, control.
Oh, and the bike doesn't seem to be lowered. I haven't opened the forks yet, but when I measured the seat height it matched the specs in the manual.

Anyways, I was wondering what springs you guys recommend? I'm about 180lb + gear. My wife is about 160, but her weight is mostly on the rear wheel, so we can tentatively leave that out of the equation. Race tech recommends 0.84kg/mm for my riding style, but I tend to agree with the content here: https://www.viragohelp.com/virago-suspension-systems/ and say, that seems like really stiff. The softest spring they have in that size is 0.70 kg/mm. They also want $130 for a pair + shipping. For my other bikes I used to get spring from Sonic, for about $90, but their softest one is 0.85kg/mm. So I'm not sure where to go from here. Looking forward to any recommendations.

Lastly, just for clarity: RT says the fork oil level should be 165mm. I'm guessing that's the measurement from the top of a compressed fork, to the top of the oil, with the spring in? or the spring out?
I recommend going with Progressive Springs to alleviate your problem. Yamaha placed mushy springs in the front forks, only they know why.

Do you also get a Clunk from the triple tree when stopping?

CLUNK IN TRIPLE TREE - TIP [INFO]:

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=564&p=3601&hilit=springs%2A#p3601


"Lastly, just for clarity: RT says the fork oil level should be 165mm. I'm guessing that's the measurement from the top of a compressed fork, to the top of the oil, with the spring in? or the spring out?"



FORK OIL 1100's: Forget measuring from the top of the fork tube. Just pour in the right amount of oil 12.6 U.S. oz.
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=652

If you still want to measure. It is with the spring out.
ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)

NOTE TO ALL:
:arrow: Please edit your profile to include YOUR LOCATION.
It will aid us in ASSISTING YOU! :!: CAPEESH? :?:

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
What Virago you Own: It's a 1995 XV1100. And my dad has a 1996 XV535 :-)

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by jsyzdek » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:21 pm

Interesting. That image someone posted in the other thread says that the factory spring is 0.64kg/mm, while RT says it's half as much. Either the Yamaha manual counts two of them for the total of 0.64, or someone is straight-out wrong. I'm intrigued now to measure what it really is. Sure, springs can undergo some degree of plastic deformation over the years and sag, but it won't be a 2x error due to that. I'll make sure to post what I find.

Already bought fork oil some years ago, thinking that $13 is not a whole lot compared to everything else...
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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ViragoJoe
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Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by ViragoJoe » Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:13 am

jsyzdek wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:21 pm
Already bought fork oil some years ago, thinking that $13 is not a whole lot compared to everything else...
Yep, but $2.50 to $3.00 a quart for 10W30 sounds so much better to me. It also accomplishes the same purpose.

Plus, as the oil begins to heat up the damping will move closer to the 30 viscosity level and firm up the rebound automagically!
ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)

NOTE TO ALL:
:arrow: Please edit your profile to include YOUR LOCATION.
It will aid us in ASSISTING YOU! :!: CAPEESH? :?:

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
What Virago you Own: It's a 1995 XV1100. And my dad has a 1996 XV535 :-)

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by jsyzdek » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:59 pm

I measured the full travel of my fork and it's 141mm. With the bike upright (just holding it gently) and almost empty tank, the for compressed by 68mm (almost half) leaving 73mm. When I sat on it without any gear, it compressed by additional 11mm, leaving only 62mm of travel. I have no problem pushing it to a bottom-out just by bouncing it with the front brakes on... That's way too soft. I bet old fork oil doesn't help, either.

I wanted to get started on the job yesterday, but I need 17mm hex bit. I know, I could hack it with a bolt and a couple of nuts but that would run me about the same as hex bit. Should get it in mail on Monday.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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ViragoJoe
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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by ViragoJoe » Sun Feb 23, 2020 2:38 pm

jsyzdek wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:59 pm
I measured the full travel of my fork and it's 141mm [5.5"]. With the bike upright (just holding it gently) and almost empty tank, the fork compressed by 68mm [2.7"] (almost half) leaving 73mm [2.9"]. When I sat on it without any gear, it compressed by additional 11mm [0.43"], leaving only 62mm [2.4"] of travel. I have no problem pushing it to a bottom-out just by bouncing it with the front brakes on... That's way too soft. I bet old fork oil doesn't help, either.

I wanted to get started on the job yesterday, but I need 17mm [0.67"] hex bit. I know, I could hack it with a bolt and a couple of nuts but that would run me about the same as hex bit. Should get it in mail on Monday.
Well Sir,

You still might need to make one of these with 1/2" electrical conduit and two bolts. See last two pictures below:


See part labeled 9,27. That is the Inner Fork Assembly.
Click Images to Enlarge them:
FORK ASSY XV1100 SCHEMATIC.png

This is what that Inner Fork Assembly looks like inside the top.
FORK INNER XV1100.jpg

Here is a Home Made Wrench below to hold that Inner Fork from turning when you remove Screw #12 from the bottom of the Complete Fork Assembly.
FORK WRENCH 1.jpg

The Bolt heads measure 18.5 mm's [0.73"] and 21.5 mm's [0.85"]. The total length of this home made wrench is 28.5 inches [72.4cm's] long. Drill holes through conduit and bolts. Dump out shavings prior to putting in pins to hold them in place.
FORK WRENCH 2.jpg
Joe
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ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)

NOTE TO ALL:
:arrow: Please edit your profile to include YOUR LOCATION.
It will aid us in ASSISTING YOU! :!: CAPEESH? :?:

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
What Virago you Own: It's a 1995 XV1100. And my dad has a 1996 XV535 :-)

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by jsyzdek » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:34 pm

A quick question: what's the sag on your bike (I'm assuming you have the progressive springs installed)? just the bike, and with you on it? I'm 170lbs so I'm guessing we may be close enough to make your measurements relevant. I know that the amount of fuel in the tank can affect that, but I'm not looking to split hair here, just to have an idea of what things will look/feel like when I swap the springs.

I measured the spring constant btw, and it came out to be 0.32kg/mm (18lb/in). I think something 50% beefier would be optimal, as it would compress the fork about 1/3rd (instead of over 50%) with the rider on it, which generally is a good place to be.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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ViragoJoe
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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by ViragoJoe » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:04 pm

jsyzdek wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:34 pm
A quick question: what's the sag on your bike (I'm assuming you have the progressive springs installed)? just the bike, and with you on it? I'm 170lbs so I'm guessing we may be close enough to make your measurements relevant. I know that the amount of fuel in the tank can affect that, but I'm not looking to split hair here, just to have an idea of what things will look/feel like when I swap the springs.

I measured the spring constant btw, and it came out to be 0.32kg/mm (18lb/in). I think something 50% beefier would be optimal, as it would compress the fork about 1/3rd (instead of over 50%) with the rider on it, which generally is a good place to be.
All I can say is that the standard springs for me were way too mushy and would bottom out when stopping and causing Triple Tree knock from the totally compressed springs in the forks. Switching to progressives changed all that to a good rebounded and handling. If you think 50% beefier springs would work for you, go with your gut feeling. I can only tell you that Possessives took care of my problem and I'm satisfied with them. You just need to do what you think would be best for you.
ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)

NOTE TO ALL:
:arrow: Please edit your profile to include YOUR LOCATION.
It will aid us in ASSISTING YOU! :!: CAPEESH? :?:

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland, CA
What Virago you Own: It's a 1995 XV1100. And my dad has a 1996 XV535 :-)

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by jsyzdek » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:00 pm

I do feel like progressive springs will do the trick, but I would like to know what things will look like once I put them in. I don't think they would take a return in case I'm not happy, but have the spring covered in oil already... ;-)

Mushy ride is one issue, the actual sag (ground clearance) is another. I'd like to make this as educated of a decision as I can.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

User avatar
ViragoJoe
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 10:36 am
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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by ViragoJoe » Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:57 am

jsyzdek wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:00 pm
I do feel like progressive springs will do the trick, but I would like to know what things will look like once I put them in. I don't think they would take a return in case I'm not happy, but have the spring covered in oil already... ;-)

Mushy ride is one issue, the actual sag (ground clearance) is another. I'd like to make this as educated of a decision as I can.
If you already have the progressive springs covered in oil it may be a little late to think about returning them. But, wouldn't it not be the same for any springs that you may have chosen? I had to take the chance with something to get that dreaded CLUNK out of the front fork suspension (if that Clunk wasn't present. I wouldn't have gone with the Progressive springs). So, I took a chance (gambled) on Progressives and there wasn't a "Flo" around to confirm my choice :lol:.

If they had not worked, it would have been back to the drawing board. However, they worked for my problem. Will they work for what you are trying to do? That I don't know. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and take a chance. For me, I am satisfied with the results. The annoying CLUNK is long gone. The added plus, was that the rebound and handling improved and it was right and tight! Good choice for me. It's not a perfect world. Sometimes things work. Sometimes they don't. There's an Engineering term for this "trial and error" or a best guess.

At first, I thought it may have been the Triple Trees bearings, but not so, for that was the first thing I checked out. It was just that those soft mushy springs just didn't have any rebound or push back. They would just collapse to the point that there was no spacing between the spring coils and got to the point of being solid pieces. And as they would collapse their rigidness would get telegraphed up the fork and clunk as if it were the Triple Tree. Had me scratching my head for a while. If you were applying the front brake aggressively on bumpy surfaces. Your got a repertoire of clunks. One after another. Extremely, more annoying than our blinking oil level light!

The standard OEM springs will in some cases support folks heavier than your (180lbs) like 220lbs. Depending on the bike, however, those mushy springs are just too mushy and can't cut it with any weight rider. So, one has to make adjustments or improvise if there is an issue.

If your concern for ground clearance is a factor or sag as you call it. You could always adjust the preload by placing in longer spacers made out of PVC pipe. See part labeled 15,33 in the front fork schematic. Use a miter box to get a good square cut or if you are lucky enough to have a compound radial saw.

Click Image to Enlarge:
FORK ASSY XV1100 SCHEMATIC.png
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ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)

NOTE TO ALL:
:arrow: Please edit your profile to include YOUR LOCATION.
It will aid us in ASSISTING YOU! :!: CAPEESH? :?:

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