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63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a condensed version of the famous GSX-R shock upgrade FAQ. It is meant to keep you from reading the entire 16 page post if you just want the general low-down.

This does not replace the original FAQ! If you’re taking on this mod, definitely read thru it, your questions have been asked & answered there.


Instead, go to the source -

That said, here’s what I feel is the most frequently used info from that post on one page. I’m sure I missed some good stuff, that’s why you’re going to read the other post.

Apologies for not crediting the authors, you know who you are.

What's wrong with the SV650 stock rear shock?
The stock shock in the SV650 is very basic, it doesn't offer a lot of dampening, and it is under-sprung for most riders. On top of that, it has a short lifespan. Depending on the weight of the rider, the shock may feel good /fine /OK when the bike it?s brand new, but it doesn't last long. Typically, owners start complaining about not enough dampening when the bike is somewhere 3,000 ? 7,000 miles (various factors affect the life of the shock, like rider weight, road conditions, how the bike is ridden, and having a passenger often or not). I would say that the stock shock is practically dead at the 10,000 miles mark, but YMMV.

What is so good about a replacement rear shock?
More adjustment, for one: The stock shock can be adjusted for spring preload only. A replacement shock will at least offer spring preload, compression and rebound damping (damping is the key word here).

The stock shock bottoms out more or less easily, and rebounds too quickly, upsetting the chassis with a pogo-stick action. This excessive suspension movement means that the bike doesn't inspire confidence to go faster, particularly in turns. On a bumpy road, instead of providing feedback about the road?s conditions, the rear wheel may keep going up and down in an exaggerated ?wave? motion, instead of following the road. Other symptoms include poor traction, diminished control, bike goes wide in turns because it?s difficult to aim / steer, etc. But all these symptoms come gradually, and most riders gets used to them. That?s why when a replacement shock is installed, the difference is noticeable.

In few words, a replacement shock is a better shock.

But... Is upgrading the suspension mandatory?
Well, read some opinions here:
?You don?t have to race to need good shock.? TWF

Which shock? Which spring rate? What model?
Depends! Replacement shocks fall in two different categories:
A) The more expensive, aftermarket offerings that are specifically designed to fit the bike (Ohlins, Penske, etc). This kind are straight bolt on?s that require no modification to fit.

B) Rear shocks from another bike, like GSXR, Hayabusa, R1, 636, ZX9-R, ZX10-R, etc.etc. This kind is the cheap alternative to the above, and requires modifying or changing the bike a bit.

various stock shocks out there that would make appropriate upgrades:

===== ========= ===== =====

00-03 GSXR750 325mm 400#

01-03 GSXR600 325.5mm 450# *corrected by TWF...thanks!

01-02 GSXR1000 329.5mm 430#

03-04 SV650 330mm 430# <== stock 2nd gen...05 should be the same

99-03 GSXR1300(Busa) 330mm 700#

04 GSXR750 332.5mm 408#

04 GSXR600 332.5mm 425#

03-04 GSXR1000 332.5mm 480#

99-02 SV650 337mm 510# <<<====stock 1st gen

04 ZX10R 338mm 540#

03-04 ZX6R(636) 340mm 540# *corrected by e lo...thanks!

96-99 GSXR750 345mm 375#

97-00 GSXR600 375mm 375#

05 GSX-R 1000 332.5mm 450# <<<===added by me...spring rate from, length from

EDIT: Correction to above from GrahamB on: January 27, 2007, 05:28:18 AM

96-99 GSXR750 356mm

97-00 GSXR600 356mm

05 GSX-R 1000 325mm

The 345mm GSXR750 shock is only for use with a kit linkage Ohlins made. I've no idea where the 375mm came from.
Could we get these corrected before someone else buys a shock with the wrong expectations?

Also, regarding the recommended spring rates, the Traxxion web site recommends 500lb/in (9kg/mm) for gen 2 & 650 for gen 1, 160lb rider.

I happen to agree with that for the gen 2, no comment on gen 1.


originally posted by user "in da zone" in another thread, but he copied it from ANOTHER thread, so I dunno who originally did the research and posted it, but whoever you are THANK YOU! if you claim your work, I will edit the post and give you credit. I saw a few 05 gsxr 1000 shocks on ebay, so I researched that one myself. I'm fairly certain that the sources of data I used are the same sources other folks used for the rest of it...I'm not positive, though.

what spring rate do you need on your second gen bike? depends on your weight:

410 lb/in - Under 140 lbs rider

430 lb/in - Under 160

480 lb/in - Under 190

540 lb/in - Over 190

originally posted in another thread by ronlarimer. kinda rough guesstimates, but gives you a good idea of what you might want to look for. Heavier rider will want a heavier spring and light rider will want a lighter spring.

disclaimer: I am a dumbass when it comes to this stuff. I know nothing about the intricacies of motorcycle suspension. I was just looking for this particular set of information, found it, and wanted to make it easier for me and others to find it. I haven't done the shock swap yet, so don't ask me how to do it...I don't know either!

edit - small errors have been found in this post, please use it as a guide only and do your own research!

How do I swap the shocks?
It is a hassle to replace the first time (but it is recommended because you will enjoy this modification every single second that you ride the bike). Considering the price of the shock and the time to swap it, it is a lot of bang for the buck.

The following instructions were prepared by TWF, I added some comments. These steps refer to the installation of a GSXR shock or similar.

1. Remove seats. Take rear body work (tail) off.
2. Take battery out.
3. Unbolt tank hinge and cut off the part that pushes against the battery as seen here.
4. Hang the bike from the ceiling using tie downs. This is necessary because the swingarm must not have any pressure on it. Therefore, you must raise the rear end without using a swingarm stand.

OK, here at step #4 I have to stop and mention this: if you have a garage with a strong ceiling, you can hang (suspend) the bike off as seen in this picture.

If that is not possible, a ladder has been used with great success. See Avid's photo:

If you cannot hang the bike, or don?t have a ladder strong enough, you can use jacks. Mstingray jack suspension method (jacks), photos in this thread:

If you are anything like me, you may not have a garage, or a ladder, or jacks. To complete the shock swap, I only had a rear stand, so I got 6 empty milk crates (from the reciclyng) and a steel pipe. Only one person is required to lift the bike and then suspend it. It looks 100% ghetto but it is the cheapest solution and it works. The picture below doesn't show it clearly, but the rear wheel is on the air and the bike is ready for the shock swap.

5. Take out six bolts that hold fender to subframe (4 under and two next to tail light).
6. Push fender back as much as the electrical wires /connectors will let you (or do as I did, remove it because I was installing a 2wheeljunkie undertray, see picture above, no fender).
7. Unbolt shock and rear bolt of linkage bones, pull shock out.
8. Install GSXR shock. Tighten top bolt. NOTE: before installing bottom bolt grind head of it for about 1/16-1/8" so bolt does not touch linkage bone when shock slides left and right (it is normal for shock to move left and right). Or replace with gsxr-1k lower shock bolt & nut): bolt - 10x55 part # 09103-10143 nut - part # 08319-31107. click here to see the grinding
9. Tighten bottom bolt. blue loctite on the lower shock bolt
10. Install and tighten linkage bolt.
11. Push fender forward and you will see where it touches shock - cut it out around shock until it does not touch. Install and tighten the six bolts holding the fender.
12. Installing the battery: it may or may not fit in, depedngin on the shock. You may have to remove the side foam out of battery box - battery will go in tight and touch shock. If you want more room for the battery take out the 4 bolts under the fender and put a washer between fender and sub-frame (no need to take out other 2 bolts by tail light).
13. Install the rest of the parts and enjoy clicking your new shock.

Common Problems
Installing shock - Unable to loosen dog bones!

Here's a few things that I'd like to note, which might be a good idea to put on the install page to help morons like me... The bolt that goes through the forks at the bottom of the shock threads in the OPPOSITE side of which it threads in the factory shock. The install didin't state this, but a pictures shows that it in place with the 2 nuts of the dogbone on the same side. When i threaded in the same side as the factory bolt, it thread through one side of the fork and the middle of the bolt is actually thicker than the threaded part, so it go in a bind and I got it locked up in the sleeve. Also another thing to note, which would have made it easier to line everything up is to not tighten the top bolt until all the other bolts are in place and started. This way, everything lines up nice and evenly? by InfiniteReality

GSXR shock ... Read before you do it! By JAS4396

But I want to see more pictures and need more info?


Go to the Tips section of the site, TWF made an entry there

AvidSV650Rider has a great site, TONS of PICS:
Sorry, his site is down for now

My 636 shock install by Punkjumper (nice pics)

ZX9-R Shock Install by Gary in NJ (with pics)

*PICS* Just got my new shock! By GaRn

BurnCycle posted this photos (more pics)

ZX10R shock installed on first gen by Omaha 1 (pics)

Typical FAQ

I hope it helps those riders that are thinking about improving / modding the rear suspension.


Also, so you don't ask:

SRAD Gixxer Shocks, and 636 shocks are preferred for 99-02 SV's.
The GSXR shock however is sprung lightly, and gives more ride height, so would be better for light riders. The 636 is sprung heavier, and standard ride height, and would be the best overall choice.
The Busa shock is a little shorter than stock, but sprung very heavy, and is best used by heavy (at least 200lb) riders.

The 00+ GSXR shocks are the best fit for the 03+ SVs.
00-03 is still sprung lightly, but works fine as the 2nd gen Spring rate is lower than the first gen. Or the 04 (GSXR 1000 I think) is sprung about equal to stock, and is the optimum replacement for 2nd Gen SVs.

Some additional info from SVRaceshop:

I've got Kelly working on an installation guide that we'll be sending out with shocks shortly, which obviously won't help you since you already have it. We'll help you through it, it's not very difficult. Yes, the battery box needs to be trimmed on the bottom to make room for the reservoir, there are some pics of a modded battery box on the web site:

Take the seat off and take the battery out. Then you basically just take a dremel or small saw and lop off the bottom corner of the battery box as you see in the picture. Only cut it as much as you need to for the reservior to clear, you can slide the shock into the top mount a time or two to "fit it up" and see how much you need to cut. You can do this with the undertray in place if you're patient, but some people also choose to remove the screws holding the undertray/battery box to the subframe so they can wiggle it back a bit to get easier access to it. Normally you'll want to use something to "space" the battery up a little bit inside the box, we use foam material like weatherstripping or something along those lines that you can find at any hardware store. The bottom of the seat has a foam and rubber piece on the bottom of it as well which will probably be in the way when you try to put the seat back on with the battery sticking up a little higher. You can trim this down to give clearance, and some people like to put a thin piece of rubber (like a mouse pad) on top of the battery for extra protection as well. If you get stuck with it and need some help on the phone, just give the shop a call and ask to talk to Kelly, he's our resident expert shop wench who does this process on customer bikes.

If you need more pics or anything, let me know, we have an '05 in the shop now that is having a shock installed on it.


63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
We just wanted to throw up some pics from our recent wrenching to help those in this post since the original links don't work. We'll try to cover the details from our experience to add to this already great thread of info. Hopefully we did everything right/efficiently...seemed to work ok with minimal issues. Followed instructions from on here and also from the SV service manual.


Eric - 2003 SV650S using SVRaceShop shock, 150 lb rider

Greg - 2005 SV650S using 05 636 shock, 190 lb rider


First, we put our bikes on the rear stands and removed the rear wheel. We put the 3/8" rod through the swingarm pivot as already explained and pictured. We positioned the jackstands under the rod and gently lowered the bikes down. We secured the kickstand out of the way by zipping it to the jack stands:

Then, we removed the lower dog bone bolt (14mm on one side, 17mm on the other I think):

Removed the lower shock bolt (14 mm ?) The stock shock is just a bolt threaded into the other side of the shock joint, no nut. Here is the result when you are finished with the bottom end. Good time to clean out all that dirt and grime and any remnants of chex mix with M&M's that may have melted in your undertail:

Removed the top shock bolt (14mm both ends ?) and yoinked that crappy old shock outta there:

Now, my body work was already all off because of another project and storage, so I didn't have anything in the way. Greg removed his tail plastics as well. I think it would be really tough to try to trim the battery box with the tail and undertray still on the bike. Pop the crappy, annoying, worthless little plastic tail rivets, disconnect lights as necessary, remove lock mechanism, pull off tail. Remove 4 screws that hold black plastic undertray to 2nd gen bikes (2 by battery, 2 at upper rear). Pull electrics off tabs and pull out undertray. Here is my bike's naked-ass rear end (note the rear stand is just there to hold the swingarm up once it was detached):

Then, we installed the new shocks, but just finger tightened the top and bottom bolts. We both had the lower bolts that came with the new shocks and did not appear to have clearance issues on either side between the bolt/nut and bones. I did however, slide my bolt in from the right and put the nut on the left. This seemed to maximize the clearance in my case. Greg will have to comment on what he did/saw with his.

We slid the undertrays back in to see what to cut out and went to the dremeling. Pretty easy if you take your time and test the fit a few times. Here are a couple pictures of Greg's 05 cut-up box:

Here is a top view of what my 03 trim job looked like:

Now, this is the only thing we might have messed up. I pretty much cut off the whole front of my batt box, including the tip-over sensor mount (doh!). Now, Greg's pictures still show the TOS mounting tab on his, so I don't know if he had to cut those off eventually or what, cause we ended up having to get creative with that little biatch when we realized why Greg's bike wouldn't start. Anyway, we zip tied his to the tank hinge. I have yet to do anything with mine cause the tank isn't on, but will try something similar. Seems secure and well placed. Note that the battery will rest on top of the shock a little. I have a small piece of foam to put in there. I will also end up trimming the rubber dust/dirt guard a little so that it will rest on the shock reservoir and butt up to the battery box. Greg removed the foam inserts under his seat to make clearance for the now taller battery position and said the seat fit back on fine. I did not have my seat to test mine. Tighten shock bolts to spec, replace lower dog bone bolt, reattach undertray, replace electronics, replace tail, re-install rear wheel, chain tension, done.

Whalla! That's it. Pretty easy actually. Better than I expected. All necessary tools are in the bike's toolkit. I thought removing the shock would have been harder and dremeling would have been less fun. But nope! Things went well other than the mix up on the TOS mounting tab. Maybe pay attention to leave that on there if possible. It is the small black box attached to the front of the battery box.

Greg can comment on the quality of the ride as I haven't tested mine yet. Good luck and happy upgrading! Holla with any questions and we'll be happy to pass them along to some professionals...

63 Posts
**Thanks to Matoo for the writeup and pics**

Ok, just put in a 05 GSXR-600 rear shock in my 05 SV650s. Here are the pics.

First I suspended the rear using threaded rod and jack stands. Then removed the seats.

Next, remove the grab bar and the 4 screws that hold the tail section on. There is also one screw holding the two halves together as well as a plastic rivet. Four more rivets need to be removed along the side, the seat latch and rear wiring disconnected and she should slide right off.

Next remove the battery. After that remove the 4 10mm bolts that hold the undertray on. After removing all the wiring attached to it, it will slide right out the back. No real need to remove the rear wheel if you don't want to. Also I should note the turn signals and license plate mount will be removed during this step or the previous, depending on how yours is mounted. This is top down after the undertray is removed.

Next remove the bolt holding the dog bones, you will need to work the swing arm up and down to ease sliding the bolt out.

Next remove the bottom shock bolt. The right side of the shock is tapped, so there is no nut on that side.

Now remove the top shock bolt.

The shock should now slip out.

Here is the old and new side by side.

Insert the new shock and bolt in the top using the nut and bolt from the old one.

For the bottom mount you will need the bottom nut and bolt from the new shock. The GSXR shock it not tapped on one side. Slip the bolt through from the right and mount the nut on the left as seen here. The dog bones remount the same as before.

Next you will need to remove the plastic piece and the rubber bottom from inside the battery box. Then remove the front part by taking out the three screws. I figured out where to trim by dry fitting it. You will need to remove the two plastic wire guides as well as the tapped mount for the screw you just removed. Here is the finished product. Remember if you remove the tip over sensor mount you will need to find a new place to mount it.

I trimmed the rubber guard to clear the new shock on the left while retaining the right side.

Reinstall the under tray just like you removed it. This is what the trimmed part looks like in place.

I put a bit of foam at the bottom under the rubber base of the battery box to support it. I did not have to remove the grey foam from the under side of the seat. Everything went back together with no problem or forcing.

Anything you thing I should add to this let me know, I'm going to host it on my site.

I just put an '06 GSXR 1000 shock in my '06 SVS. Even with the foam removed like others have stated my battery would not fit. Seems some bikes have room while others don't. One of those little quirks no one can explain. Others haven't had fit issues....I did.

So I bought a smaller replacement battery off Ebay. The model that fits is the Yuasa YTZ10S. Stock battery for the Honda 600rr and 600F4i. Got a Bike Master version of the battery for $48 shipped. It's about 1.25" shorter than the stock batter. I made a spacer to go in the bottom of the battery box to lift the battery above the resevoir. The new shorter batter now sits at the same height as the stock battery. Seat goes back on just as it did with the stock battery too.

So that’s everything that was relevant to me. It doesn’t mean there’s not a lot more useful info out there.


Instead, go to the source -
Every conceivable question has been asked & answered there.
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