How to: Re­place your bike’s shock

If your rear sus­pen­sion’s lost its sparkle it may be time to re­place it. Here’s how

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Find out what you’re get­ting into

Whether you want to up­grade the bud­get shock on a new bike, or re­place a worn out one on an older ma­chine, fit­ting an af­ter­mar­ket monoshock is some­thing any DIY me­chanic can do. But be­fore you start, check the spe­cific re­moval pro­ce­dure for your bike in a work­shop man­ual. In the­ory it’s a straight­for­ward job but many bikes re­quire com­po­nents, like the side­pan­els, air­box, ECU and bat­tery, to be re­moved.

Choose your sup­port

If your bike has a cen­tre­stand then you’re in luck, as it’s the ideal so­lu­tion for se­cur­ing the bike while you carry out this task. Stands that lift the bike from the swingarm pivot, such as an Abba stand, are also per­fect for the job. If not, you will need to jack the bike up from the mid­dle us­ing a trol­ley jack and a block of wood, then use ratchet straps and a ca­ble tie around the front brake lever to keep it sta­ble and se­cure.

Start the strip down

In the case of our XT660, the pro­ce­dure starts with the side­pan­els be­ing re­moved, fol­lowed by the bat­tery and var­i­ous elec­tri­cal com­po­nents. There are also a lot of fas­ten­ers that need to be re­moved; the XT has a se­lec­tion of 10mm bolts and clips that all play a part in se­cur­ing the air­box and un­der­tray. Be sure to lay out all the parts that you re­move in a log­i­cal or­der.

Whip out the wheel

Re­mov­ing the rear wheel will make it eas­ier to raise and lower the swingarm, which will give you room to ma­noeu­vre. As you re­move the rear wheel take care that the wheel spac­ers do not ran­domly fall out and you know which goes which side. Undo and re­move the bolts that at­tach any ris­ing rate ‘dog bone’ link­ages.

Time to get greasy

Check the con­di­tion of any seals or rub­ber bushes around the mount­ing bolts. Any dam­aged items need to be re­placed with fresh orig­i­nal parts. The mount­ing bolts can be cleaned up with de­greaser and wire wool and then coated with fresh grease ready for in­stal­la­tion. Do the same with any other link­age bolts that have been re­moved.

Tighten, torque then check

Tighten all the bolts and then torque up to the value in the man­ual. The new shock should now be se­cure, but you must dou­ble check your work be­fore you ride. Take the bike off its stand and check the ac­tion and move­ment of the shock by push­ing the back end down firmly. There should be smooth com­pres­sion and re­turn with no bind­ing or clunk­ing sounds. Re­fit all items and pan­els and then take the bike for a test ride.

Wrig­gle and re­move

Undo the nut from the bolt that se­cures the top of the shock to the frame, but do not re­move it at this stage. Undo the nut at the bot­tom of the shock, then tap out the top bolt. It helps if you have a friend to take the weight of the swingarm as this al­lows the bolt to come out more eas­ily. Raise and lower the swingarm to help the shock wrig­gle free.

Slide in the new shock

Do a quick vis­ual check to en­sure that the re­place­ment shock has the same mount­ing points as the stock item, and that the holes are the same di­am­e­ter as the orig­i­nals. Wrig­gle the new shock into place and line up the top mount­ing hole first and slide the bolt in. You may need to move the swingarm up and down to line up the holes.

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