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Suspension - I'm Really Lazy...

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Okay, here's the situation;

- I've got an '03 XR400 with stock suspension. I've played with the fork clickers, but that's it.

- I'm not exactly a mechanical idiot, but I'm not very experienced either and I don't have anything more than the basic - and I mean BASIC - tools. Ratchet set, wrenches, etc. My typical repair/maintenance job ends up with skinned knuckles and lots of swearing. That's generally okay - I don't have a big problem with that as long as I can get the job done PROPERLY, but I do have limited time, patience and tolerance for mechanical work.

- I've got a garage that is not really set up for messing with oil, no real work bench, etc.

- I want/need to tailor the suspension properly as everyone here says this is the first "mod" to undertake cuz it's the most effective to increase performance. I raced MX way back and I believe this.

- 5'11", 185 lbs, moderately aggressive woods/trail rider

- I live, almost literally, in the middle of nowhere (middle of Canada). No "suspension specialists" for - oh, let's just say approximately 1,000 miles in any direction. Frankly I don't know of any in Canada, but there may be some.

Would you (if you were me)-

- take off the rear shock and forks and send them South to a place like Barnums, or

- dive right in and do it yourself. (If this option, how would you go about it?)

Any thoughts appreciated.

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I just did mine myself, there is a huge thread in the suspension section on this. I think it cost me a total of $45 to rebuild/shim my suspension. It was a huge difference in how the bike handled. I did make a custom tool to hold the dampening rod so I could get the compression bolt out of the bottom of my forks, but other than that I used basic tools to get the job done. I couldn't justify paying someone to do something I knew I was capable of doing. I didn't know much about suspensions going into it, but I ended up learning a lot of valuable information.

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My typical repair/maintenance job ends up with skinned knuckles and lots of swearing. That's generally okay - I don't have a big problem with that as long as I can get the job done PROPERLY, but I do have limited time, patience and tolerance for mechanical work.

This sounds like your biggest enemy when it comes to doing the shock. You need patience and attention to detail. A workbench with a soft-jawed vice is pretty much a necessity for dealing with a shock.

If you were sitting on the fence wondering whether to do anything yourself then I'd say have a go at the forks 1st and see how you find that. Aside from the home-made damper rod tool (unless you use an impact) it is a lot less complex to remove some compression shims from the fork than it is to get into the innards of the shock. As said above there is lots of information here in the various forums.

😢

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I'd say, if you're not set up for doing the work at home(work room, tools, know how, desire)send them off if you can't get it to ride satisfactory for you as is. But that's gonna be a chunk of change, especially if you have to send them to the US.

To adjust the suspension for best ride and handling til then, Start by setting your rear sag. You can do this. Search the archives. There has been alot of discussion on it. You should be able to get the stock suspension to work pretty well for your weight.

Thumper just posted his article on doing the rear shock and there is a link in my signature to how to do the front forks mod. Read both those carefully to determine if they are something you have the tools, ability and patience for doing.

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