Give this a read.
My first post here- been lurking for months, I've learned a lot- this is a great group.
I live in Haiti and rely on my 2005 TW almost daily. I'm off pavement about 90% of the time.
I didn't want to like this bike when I first got here! I used to race enduro a little so I thought this bike was for old slow guys...not me yet!! But she is a wonderful trail bike. More relaxing. I guess I am getting old?
To me, the front end is the weakest link on this bike. I already did the roller bearing swap in the head set. That fixed my sticky turning issue. But on rough dirt roads the front shocks don't soak up the bumps like my KTMs or even my trusty old Yamaha IT175 used to. Sometimes it feels like the front end is actually shaking- but nothing is sloppy or loose. I've played around with tire pressures, running the front tire below 10psi but that didn't seem to make much difference. The back end suspension is ok. I'm not flying off jumps or anything like that- I just would love to find an inexpensive way to get the front end smoother. I suppose if I drove faster I would be flying over some of the rough terrain, but then I think I would be bottoming out the rear suspension too often.
So what do you guys think- anyone else feel the same way as me about the front end suspension? Anyone found some good solutions? Thanks in advance!
And let me know if there's anyone out there who'd like to do some trail riding in the Caribbean! Put your bike on a boat and come on!
I spend about 100% of my riding off-pavement during the winter, I too have found the TW to be a bit less confidence-inspiring vis-a-vis the front end. The other day I topped it off to the proper pressure for my weight - I'd been running it a bit low, and I found that it seemed to improve the handling on our dirt roads. Nothing scientific here, just an observation. BTW Mr Bracket has a post with some significant improvement in his front end - page 4 here's the link https://tw200forum.com/index.php?/top...d/page__st__90.
Check the oil level in the forks. Mine came from the factory with the oil 157 mm down from the top and it bottomed out all the time. The book calls for 135 mm but I set it at 130 mm and it hasn't bottomed out since, though I am sure if I hit something hard enough it still will.
Long live the internal combustion engine!
I did the fork tune described by lizrdbrth. Zip ties to find sag/travel etc.
In the end, I had a 127mm (5") air gap for my ~200lb weight with gear.
The suspension will still bottom out, front and rear, going over the bigger bumps. But the ride is more comfortable and it doesn't dive when braking as much.
2005 TW200, 2" PowerMadd bar riser, Tusk D-Flex Hand Guards, PowerMadd Hand Muffs, Kick-Start, Valco Cup Holder, Givi E45N Top Case, Inline fuel filter, Storage Tube with MSR bottle, 45 Tooth sprocket, Stebel Low Tone horn, #130 Main Jet / no needle shims / 1.5 turns out on idle, Jimbo Shield, DID O-Ring chain, Clarke XT250 4.1 Gal tank, Custom Cycleracks
Thanks guys, that is just what I was looking for. I love that the answer is NOT how much money can I throw at it but spend some time and thought and not too much money!
Enjoy your journeys!
I finally got around to doing this check, and like some previous posters, I found my factory level at 158mm!!
Geez, no wonder the forks felt like pogo sticks!
I set it at 130mm and will see how that works. Since I ride so conservatively, it was never a big problem, but what is with the factory? That's over an inch low.....
At 4,000 miles, the fluid was not real dirty, but there was a little black residue on the spacers and springs, so I'll probably pull the forks, drain, flush and refill at 5,000.
2014 BMW R1200GS LC
My trick is to rinse and drain out forks with regular cheap ATF which is 10wt
Then put in real synthetic fork oil