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Question about front shocks - how stiff should they be?

4842 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  spooph
Hi gang. More questions. bought 2002 Ninja 250 last fall in not so great condition. trying to fix it up.

How stiff should the front shocks be. Mine seem very soft when compared to my old Virago chopper style bike . Is that normal. They don't bounce but the front end dives when I apply the front brake- which by the way is grabby unless I am very light on the lever. Can I check/add oil/change springs without taking them off the bike? What kind of oil?

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Moved your post in "what did you do to your Ninja today?" into this section. :)

To touch on your questions, the front end is naturally going to shift downward when you brake... its physics... transfer of energy and the shocks are absorbing that energy. Sport bike brakes are much "grabbier" than some other bikes as they are meant to slow you down in a real hurry. So it sounds like you just need to get used to riding a sport-ish bike and modify your braking habits. Not every style of bike rides the same. That being said there could be an issue... but just going off what your saying it sounds like the bike itself is ok. If you're concerned take her in for a check up!

FHG has mentioned some important factors, but let me share my experience....

The 250 has 80's suspension on it. Since then oodles of technology has developed to fight dive. The pregens dove even more than the post gens....

I mitigated the dive on my post gen significantly by going to a heavier weight oil and Race Tech valve emulator inserts, and then setting the sag appropriately. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Before you buy springs, try the emulators, they're pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.... Also, check out race tech's site where they have a spring rate calculator, and see what differences there might be in the stock spring rate vs. your recommended rating for your weight....

If you have more questions, keep 'em coming.
thanks! I am getting an education with this bike. Now As of last Wednesday when the weather was warm about 70's so I took i to work and it warmed up and ran pretty good but then turned cold -dropped down to lo 50's - and it limped home - kept dying and stalling

I looked and gas was low thought not almost out, so I stopped and filled up for the last mile home, which I made with lots of choke levering and throttle twisting.

now it won't run powerful enough to ride it down the driveway. Tonite - 60ish -it was popping and backfiring when I started it up. let it warm up but it feels like there is no oomph - no power, and dies when I let the clutch out there was even some wet oil in the end of the exhaust pipe.

Also when it does rev up, it wants to stay up and comes down very slowly even when I back off the throttle or work the throttle mechanism at the carb. Anybody know a good mechanic in Chicago??

The only thing I did between Wed and tonite was change the fuel filter and the fuel is flowing very well which I found out because the hose clamp beyond the filter wasn't tight - now it is.
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slowly but surely, you're getting that bike a-o-k. :) Sorry, don't know a good mechanic in the Chicago area, but I still think you're bike has a vacuum leak, or compression issues (rings, valves, headgasket, etc). Good thing you're taking it to a mechanic. It's much easier to learn on a bike that is already right. :)
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