Low Budget Supermoto adventure

Comments.....please consider age and cost of project.

Wheels/tires $400.00 gotta love Ebay!

1988 NX650 with modifications: Ohlins custom fit/valved shock and linkage, Noleen exhaust, Baja Designs jetting, Ims pegs, all smog removed, spare wheels Dirt/Street

Total running cost $2865

This bike has never broke down in the 10 years I've owned it and it has been on thousands of miles of Colorado/Utah trails including serious single-track.



C'mon......is it just too wierd or what?

I think its pretty sick, I can't believe you took that thing on single track :thumbsup: Great deal though. Hows she handle on the tight twisties?

The stock rear shock on this bike was the worst ever put on a motorcycle.

I am positive that is scared anyone who dared go offroad with it. I was ready to get rid of the bike until I found a good shock I could modify to fit it.

I have taken this bike on the hardest trails I could find in Colorado and only put it down once.

After too many racing injuries I retired to just trail riding, dual sporting and occational track day.

At moderate speeds it now works in the dirt as good as all the XrL's/XR's I've riden.

True it is sadly slow compared to the newer 450's and is in no way a race bike. The twistiest road I know of in Colorado is nearby and if I stiffen up the suspension more it will be great. The 10" suspension was modified extensively to work off-road and has too much movement on twistier road turns to feel like pushing it hard. As it is, it works best at steady speeds, hard breaking/acceleration pitch the bike too much. At a steady speed it has massive cornering ability.

C'mon......is it just too wierd or what?

Freakie deakie baby. :thumbsup:

Did the Ohlins you are running clear the stock airbox, it is really tight in that area. I have considered trying to adapt a highend shock to mine but hae not got past the considering phase. How much work was involved in getting yours to work?


The NX was the 5th bike I've put a high-end shock on and it had the most dramatic effect by far. All I can say is its worth every penny and whatever time involved. Truly, a whole different bike. I've kept up with decent riders on modern off-road bikes until jumps are involved......300+lbs lands a bit too hard.

You need to trash the stock shock! That being said, it requires modifing the airbox to clear the remote reservoir. Using a heat source the ABS plastic will soften and then you can push a depresson into it for the needed clearance.

After 10 years I have not had a problem with the airbox cracking or leaking.

Depending on what shock you find the length could be another issue.

Care to share anymore tips on what it took to get the zx9 Ohlins shock on your bike?


I can provide pics and a lot more help if you need it. It is a project and takes a good chunk of time and money.

If you can find a shorter shock with adjustable length you'll save the custom "Yoke" problem. The length and stroke needed for the NX are not normal at all. I can look up all of my notes but I believe the length is approx 10.25" and stroke only 1.5".

I am a Tooling Eng. and work closely with a CNC Toolroom so I made the Yoke exactly as needed(very short).

The valving, spring and interal travel stop were all changed.

It is one very custom setup and as I said worth every penny and then some.

racetwins - you've hit the nail on the head! The internals are what make a shock work for your application or not.

When I raced Hawks, it was common to put a CBR 900 shock on them, and it was an improvement over the horrid stock shock (commonly lost all damping at <5k miles due to internal seal wear!!) but I never believed it was correctly damped.

The other challenge in this aspect is that none of the suspension tuners/parts sellers really want to help with the valving. They'll gladly sell you a spring -- they can easily calculate the correct rate for swaps. They'll gladly sell you the large-port piston for the swapped shock. But I haven't met any that want to take a stab at the valving, and I've even offered to plot linkage rates!

How did you go about getting the valving set up for your bike? I'd be very interested to hear about it.

My only comment would be to change the front fender to a shorter one, a supermoto style and you might as well paint it

Outer then that the bike is very nice


sick ride, I can see the love for the sport in your ride!

Roadracer Al,

An experienced suspension rebuilder can get a lot of valving info from the shock manufacture. In this case I went with Eurosport outside of Denver who had re-built a WP shock for me before to fit a different bike.

Its true that with a fully adjustable shock you can tune things pretty well but to realy fit your riding style and weight it will need the right valving.

I had them go for an offroad setup that is very plush but never bottoms out. It is not perfect for the new 17" setup I have now as it feels too soft going into corners. It maybe time for re-valving again.

As you know the Hawk has no linkage, with mine it was made longer to raise the back and decreese the trail to help it turn in better at the track.

I really have no experience on how to modify a stock shock, I guess some people have luck with it though.

Thanks for the response and a Sumo fender is on the way.

A shinny new fender will be out of place on this bike, may need to rough it up some to blend in better.

As far as new paint or being pretty and shinny.........

I'd rather be lean'en than clean'en!

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now