I can’t say enough about the great suspension on my bike. Thank you Alex Martens of Konflict Motorsports! Last summer before the big August ride in Cle Elum the stock rear shock failed on my 2012. I pretty much had two options, go through the process with Yamaha to get it replaced, or upgrade. It was an easy decision…. UPGRADE! Earlier last year the PNWSTOG met Alex at our spring tech day, where he explained our suspension in detail so I knew he was a master suspension specialist. After consulting with him about my build, riding style and budget, we settled on the Touratech Explore HP shock. Retailing at $1,095, It’s the base model that Touratech makes for the Super Tenere(2012 and 2013 only). No it’s not cheap, but the quality is superb. The other models are the Expedition for $1495 and the Extreme for $1795 according to the Touratech website. Here is Ian from Touratech to explain their entire line of their shocks. It was a night and day difference while on the ride last summer! Fast forward to a few weeks ago: after selling the 08 KLR, my budget had a little room to finally stop by Konflict for another visit, but this time it was for the forks. He re-sprung with the Touratech progressive fork springs and adjusted the valves on the front end for me. After the install, he wanted to point out that I had small pitting on the bottom of my fork tubes. He said it was most likely due to the road salt and the best cure for that is Pledge furniture polish of all things. He was able to polish them up so I was saved! (Keep them clean because pitting on the tubes will make your fork seals leak over time and tubes are a very costly part to replace.) He showed me a set of BMW F-800 fork tubes that needed to be replaced and the estimate was several thousands of dollars.
This past Saturday, a few of the guys from the group and I were riding near the Elbe Hills ORV park and then on Skate Creek Road to lunch in Packwood. (Skate Creek is open – no snow in February!) For those that don’t know, Skate Creek Rd/FR52 is a little gem of a road on the south side of Mt. Rainier National Park with 24 miles of curves and 2”-4” frost-heaves. This is one of the few paved roads in the NW where standing on the pegs is absolutely warranted, a lot like FR 25 on the east side of Mt. St. Helens National Monument. It really is a great workout for this top notch suspension! No more diving when braking, no more bottoming out, just smooth and steady. I am extremely impressed with the work Alex did and the quality of the Touratech suspension. When you see him, tell him you are “one of us” (PNWSTOG member) If you are on the fence with this expensive upgrade to your bike, I’ll suggest getting the forks done first then the rear. It’s the cheaper option by more than half, and I believe you will see the most improvement in the handling. The rear shock would need to be changed out if 1. It fails and you need a new one, 2.You are an aggressive rider off road, 3. You often ride with a passenger or 4. You carry lots of luggage off road. One last thing to add is that all aftermarket suspensions will need periodic maintenance by a qualified suspension specialist. (Touratech reccomends every 20,000 miles or every other year to be on the safe side) Each brand is different so when you see Alex, be sure to get the full scoop. It’s totally worth it!