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1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Have a question about fixing something on a Yamaha Virago XV1100? Post it here!
User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 54
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 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:28 pm

I just ordered the progressive springs (PSs), mostly because it's the cheapest option. The thing about straight rate springs is that there is a lot less "trial and error" because the math is pretty simple. PSs don't list any rate constant because it's NOT constant. That really means there must be trial and error in place. And if you find that it's an error, there isn't much you can do because they come in 'one size fits all'. Another thing is that the bike itself produces most of the compression. Given that only 25% of the rider weight goes towards the front, most of the 'soft' part of the PS is compressed before you even get on it, so then you mostly rely on the stiffer part of the spring anyways. If you want to add preload by putting a longer spacer in (yeah, I know the PVC pipe trick, and I do have a miter saw) that means you're eliminating even more of the soft part, possibly all of it. So at the end of the day, you may end up with a stiffer ride than what a straight spring would've given you.

Not trying to be a complaining type. Just sayin' that in street riding, PSs don't really have much to offer. It's really on the dirt bikes, with long forks, long travels, and very bumpy tracks, where they shine. Still, I would've had to spend extra $20 to get straight springs from Sonic in the size that fits the Virago, so I'm biting the bullet and trying this first, hoping that it will give me the ride I wanted. I will report the sag numbers, just for future reference for other people that may have similar hesitations to mine.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 54
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 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:08 pm

OK, I finally got the springs in mail and swapped them. Long story short, here are the sag numbers with a full tank of gas and me, weighing 170lbs. I used the race method:

1) just the bike: 1.125" (28mm)
2) bike with me on it: 1.406" (36mm)
3) the most I could compress the fork by holding the break and bouncing it: 3.938" (100mm)
4) full travel of the fork: 5.25" (133mm)

My honest opinion about these springs: they are a good solution. They are NOT the BEST solution, but they are good. I'm quite confident the bottoming out will stop (and the clunk), however, I'm quite sure a straight spring with 0.5kg/mm constant would do better. The coils on these springs on one end are all touching each other, making that a dead mass, providing no spring action at all, effectively making it a shorter and stiffer spring. With the rider on, the sag should be about 1/3rd of the full travel, which in this case should be more like 45mm instead of 36, again: meaning that the spring is too stiff.

Am I gonna send these back? no, I don't want to waste more time on it, and spend my money on shipping things around, but if I were ever to put new springs in another Virago, I would go with straight springs of a proper length (~20"), with a constant of 0.5kg/mm. I guess 0.45 or 0.55 would work just as good. The sag would be where it needs to be, and the spring would be softer around the equilibrium point, providing a more cushy ride.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

Schu
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed May 27, 2015 7:13 pm
Location: Marine City MI
What Virago you Own: 1995 XV1100 (sold)
1976 DT175
1975 DT400
1975 DT250 (2)
1975 DT175
1975 DT125
1975 DT100
1975 GT80
1974 DT360
1974 Z50
1972 JT60 (2)
1971 JT60
1971 CT175
1970 CT175
2017 SCR950

Re: 1995 XV1100 suspension upgrades?

Post by Schu » Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:56 pm

Great thread!
Great info!

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 54
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 Mar 10, 2020 2:03 pm

Thx!

I took the bike out yesterday and it does ride a lot better. It doesn't bottom out as easily, feels a lot firmer in turns, giving me more confidence to lean it in, and with less sag, I have quite a bit more ground clearance, so that I can actually lean it in more without scraping the floor boards or my heels ;)

Still, with the top coils wound closely together (they actually touch when the spring was just laying on the ground, without any load), and the fact that the spring is shorter by about 1/2", and because the coil is quite a bit thicker, you lose some travel. Now that I know what I know, I would probably choose a longer spring, with about 0.5kg/mm, and cut the spacer a little shorter so that your static sag isn't too bad, you still get a comfy ride, and have plenty of travel in the fork to accommodate hard braking and bigger bumps.

These springs do the job though. I'm happy I did it.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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