1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

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Ironforger
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:10 pm
Location: Lawrenceville NJ USA
What Virago you Own: 1992 XV1100 7k miles

1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by Ironforger » Wed May 11, 2022 9:38 pm

Ok, so Iv'e been doing many fixes on my Virago 1100. Now it's time to focus on the suspension.

Is there anyway to soften it up? My bike is very stiff and I really feel the bumps.

Figured I'd try a 7.5 wt front fork oil (I'm doing a front fork rebuild anyway, replacing seals etc.).

How about the rear? My 92 virago still has the factory rear shocks. I have them on the softest setting but it's still a very hard ride. I guess it doesn't help that I'm a skinny dude 6' 0" at 150lbs.

Any super soft rear shock recommendations?

How about tire pressure? I got new michelin commander III cruiser tires, What is the minimum safe recommended tire pressure for our bikes?

Thanks!
1992 XV1100 7k miles

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jsyzdek
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland CA
What Virago you Own: 1995 XV1100. My dad has a 1996 XV535. I also ride a 2008 SV650S and 2004 Yamaha TTR125. Currently restoring a 50cc Yamaha Champ moped

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by jsyzdek » Thu May 12, 2022 12:47 am

Wow! That's a first. I don't mean to offend you or anything, but most everyone has the exact opposite issue: suspension being too soft, leading to it bottoming out and hitting you hard.
Before you go down the road of making it softer, please make sure that you're not confusing too soft with too hard.

I'm 170lb, although I tend to wear heavy leathers, and I found the stock suspension beyond soft. Anything I hit would lead to it bouncing and bottoming out. I put progressive springs that tend to work for most people, but if I had a second chance, I'd get something beefier yet.

For the rear I got heavy duty shocks, 1/4" longer than stock, and they are OK, but they still bottom out when riding with my wife.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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ViragoJoe
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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by ViragoJoe » Thu May 12, 2022 5:34 am

Ironforger,

Wow! This indeed is a first. I'm with jsyzdek on this one. Most of us are troubled with not being firm enough.

Just strap a 50 pound bag of potatoes to your rear seat. Problem solved! :lol:

7.5 Viscosity fork oil is for rebound purposes not spring compression. You would have to find weaker resistive coil springs. They may be out there, but Virago front fork springs are pretty mushy to start with. More than a few of us have experienced this and had to go with progressive fork springs.
ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)


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jsyzdek
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland CA
What Virago you Own: 1995 XV1100. My dad has a 1996 XV535. I also ride a 2008 SV650S and 2004 Yamaha TTR125. Currently restoring a 50cc Yamaha Champ moped

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by jsyzdek » Thu May 12, 2022 11:23 am

What I'm thinking now is that maybe you (Ironforger) have bought a bike with beefy aftermarket springs already installed? if that's the case, let's chat via message and I'm happy to send you my stock springs that I'm sure I will not be putting back in. I'd only ask you to cover the shipping cost and a 6-pack of beer for trouble :)
Once you take the springs out, take some measurements and I can compare to the stock springs I took out. We can quickly verify what they are based on the diameter of the wire the spring is made of, its length and the number of coils.

If they are indeed aftermarket, and beefy, maybe we can trade?

Also: your bike being 1992: I think it still has air valves in the fork? bleeding some of that air out would make it softer, too. Joe wrote a good article about Virago suspension, I cannot find the link now though.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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ViragoJoe
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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by ViragoJoe » Thu May 12, 2022 4:53 pm

jsyzdek wrote:
Thu May 12, 2022 11:23 am
What I'm thinking now is that maybe you (Ironforger) have bought a bike with beefy aftermarket springs already installed? if that's the case, let's chat via message and I'm happy to send you my stock springs that I'm sure I will not be putting back in. I'd only ask you to cover the shipping cost and a 6-pack of beer for trouble :)
Once you take the springs out, take some measurements and I can compare to the stock springs I took out. We can quickly verify what they are based on the diameter of the wire the spring is made of, its length and the number of coils.

If they are indeed aftermarket, and beefy, maybe we can trade?

Also: your bike being 1992: I think it still has air valves in the fork? bleeding some of that air out would make it softer, too. Joe wrote a good article about Virago suspension, I cannot find the link now though.
=======================

Ironforger,
Also: your bike being 1992: I think it still has air valves in the fork? bleeding some of that air out would make it softer, too. Joe wrote a good article about Virago suspension, I cannot find the link now though.
Here are two Suspension write ups that jsyzdek alluded to:

CLUNK IN TRIPLE TREE - TIP [INFO]

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=564

This second one was written by my friend and mentor Mac McCurdy (Dr. Piston).

Virago Suspension Systems

https://www.viragohelp.com/virago-suspension-systems/
ViragoJoe 🇺🇸
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"
;)


NOTE TO ALL:
:arrow: Please edit your profile with location (State/Country) & Bike Information. It will aid us in assisting you!


All topics are archived by vehicle families for easy perusing and to find answers.

Also: If this website was helpful, please consider donating to help keep this site here for yourself and future Virago owners.

Ironforger
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:10 pm
Location: Lawrenceville NJ USA
What Virago you Own: 1992 XV1100 7k miles

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by Ironforger » Fri May 13, 2022 1:08 am

jsyzdek wrote:
Thu May 12, 2022 11:23 am
What I'm thinking now is that maybe you (Ironforger) have bought a bike with beefy aftermarket springs already installed? if that's the case, let's chat via message and I'm happy to send you my stock springs that I'm sure I will not be putting back in. I'd only ask you to cover the shipping cost and a 6-pack of beer for trouble :)
Once you take the springs out, take some measurements and I can compare to the stock springs I took out. We can quickly verify what they are based on the diameter of the wire the spring is made of, its length and the number of coils.

If they are indeed aftermarket, and beefy, maybe we can trade?

Also: your bike being 1992: I think it still has air valves in the fork? bleeding some of that air out would make it softer, too. Joe wrote a good article about Virago suspension, I cannot find the link now though.

jsyzdek: Thanks for the info! I do not know if the bike has aftermarket springs, but I will check them and let you know once I have the forks apart. It's not out of the question because the girl who bought the bike new in 1992 was not skinny at all, I'm guessing 250lbs (sister in-law, who since passed away 10 years ago).

Yes, my bike has air valves, but there was no air pressure.
1992 XV1100 7k miles

Ironforger
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:10 pm
Location: Lawrenceville NJ USA
What Virago you Own: 1992 XV1100 7k miles

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by Ironforger » Fri May 13, 2022 1:16 am

ViragoJoe wrote:
Thu May 12, 2022 4:53 pm


Ironforger,
Also: your bike being 1992: I think it still has air valves in the fork? bleeding some of that air out would make it softer, too. Joe wrote a good article about Virago suspension, I cannot find the link now though.
Here are two Suspension write ups that jsyzdek alluded to:

CLUNK IN TRIPLE TREE - TIP [INFO]

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=564

This second one was written by my friend and mentor Mac McCurdy (Dr. Piston).

Virago Suspension Systems

https://www.viragohelp.com/virago-suspension-systems/
Joe,

Excellent info, thanks! I read both articles. Yea, I've noticed that "clunk" in the tripple tree a few times!

I will check my suspension sag while fully loaded.

I really appreciate everyone's input and suggestions. The Progressive suspension aftermarket fork springs and rear shocks look really interesting, I may purchase both! Perhaps I can play with spacers and or oil weight in the front forks to get that soft ride I'm looking for, and perhaps slightly longer rear shocks & tweaking with the spring pre-load.
1992 XV1100 7k miles

User avatar
jsyzdek
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland CA
What Virago you Own: 1995 XV1100. My dad has a 1996 XV535. I also ride a 2008 SV650S and 2004 Yamaha TTR125. Currently restoring a 50cc Yamaha Champ moped

Re: 1992 XV1100 Suspension too hard (Lawrenceville NJ USA)

Post by jsyzdek » Fri May 13, 2022 11:18 am

Ironforger,

I'm not sure about the quality of the pavement around your part of the country. Over here, in urban areas it's almost like a 3rd world. Once you get out into the countryside, it's a 50/50 bet: it'll either be smooth as silk, or beat up, just like cities. I'd love a plush ride, but then when you run across anything: a pothole, a speed bump, whatever it may be, even at low speed, you'll bottom out, and so beefier springs it means.

To be honest: when the pavement is nice and smooth, hard vs. soft springs makes little difference since they don't really have to work (smooth pavement!). But when I run into something, I'd rather have a tougher spring. The harsher suspension response is still way better to me than a bottom-out that sends a jolt up your spine and neck.

A nice trick to see how much suspension travel you're using is to put a zip tie around your fork tube (make it pretty tight!) and go for a ride. You'll see how far up it gets pushed, and with the bike on the center stand and front wheel in the air, you can measure the full travel. You can also just take a look at the fork tubes and see how far up they are nice and shiny, and where dirt and grime begins (unless yours is all shiny from frequent washing).

Regarding the rear: I thought that the heavy duty springs would be too harsh for riding solo, but I got them anyways because I mostly use the Virago for riding with my wife. But I actually like them. Not too hard at all.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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