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9 kg spring too light?

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2002 XR 200 

suspension mod: WP 13.5" 500-lb shock & '85 XR200 fork




In my previous post, I asked about my Works Performance shock spring, because I thought the spring is too light for my weight. I set the race sag to 3.5" and the free sag is at zero. I turned the preload nut down to just 2 threads left, and I got the race sag to 2.75". I like this setup. But the lack of free sag means the spring is too soft.


So I called WP. WP said they used a 500-lb spring (which is equivalent to 8.9-kg). WP said the current setup is fine if the shock is not bottoming out on the trail. WP said don't worry about the zero free sag. They said if I insists on going with a heavier spring, the shock damper would have to be revalved ($$$). I am not exactly sure whether the shock is bottoming out on the trail or not.


Chuck here said the I should be using a 10-kg spring for my 150-pound naked weight. Should I get a 10-kg spring and revalve? I'm not aggressive rider, but I don't want a soft spring to hold back my skill development either.

Edited by Terminatr

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Wow lots of info there. The following will probably be more confusing than helpful.


I have no experience with the short travel/lowered XR200s but for shorter travel you need stiffer springs for the same riding speed/situations to avoid too many bottoming events.  For the 86-90, of the several springs that I have measured and then calculated the rate, the stock springs are  just under  10kg, ( about 9.9 by my calculations).  I have an 84 XR250R spring that calculates at  10.4kg, and a 95 XR250R spring (blue) that calculates at 10.8kg, and a 02 XR250R spring (yellow) that calculates at 11.9kg.  

The first three have about a 4-5% increments in stiffness, the last one a 10% jump.


YMMV, my ride weight is about 170, and I'm  running a 4.00R18 rear tire that absorbs sharp edge bumps and roots with less deflection than a knobby.  But I liked the increase in rate using the first two XR250R springs on my 90 XR200 with a stock shock, but I prefer the stock XR200R spring rate on the 96+ XR250R shock on my 01 XR200. Maybe I should have rebuilt/revalved the stock shock.  All setups using the same linkage and rear tire so the only variable is the spring rate and shock damping.  I also ran the XR200 shock without a shaft bumper and didn't have bottoming problems so my preference for stiffer springs probably had more to do with ride motions than bottoming resistance.  The XRs have a lot of rising rate in the linkage so feel free to experiment since you won't experience many rear bottoming events.


Others say you should have several bottoming event on a ride but I like the suspension a bit stiffer than that to reduce chassis motions, it makes the bike feel better to me when the pace picks up, but it is frustrating on the slow rough stuff.


Newer bikes tend to use stiffer springs and less damping, which may be great for MX, but IMO trail riding is different because of the roughness of the terrain and slower speeds compared to MX. The 96-04 XR250 shock is valved for a spring that is 20% stiffer than a stock 200 spring but the valving works good for my weigth on a 40lb lighter bike with a stock 200 spring. So I guess my preferences don't fit Honda's targeted riders for the various XRs.


Based on the above, and experiences with other bikes, my conclusion for the XR200 is it is all about the damping in the shock.

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