Thunderbird 900 Rear Suspension, Swap For Kawasaki Zx7?

dearborn

Active Member
Local time
Yesterday, 21:29
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
111
Points
27
Age
70
Location
Dearborn Michigan USA
First Name
Doug
My Ride
1996 Thunderbird, 1975(ish) Norton Commando
Recently traded a '73 T100R with a very tired bottom end for a '96 Thunderbird. REALLY like the T'bird, but rear shock/suspension is horrible on Michigan's "pavement motocross" roads. Drives your spine up into your shoulders; day's riding means hobbling around and painkillers for next couple of days. I have tried playing with ride height/pre-load adjustments with no real success and could find no specs in owners manual, factory Triumph service manual, (provided by former dealer mechanic), or any of the various forums. The dealer mechanic says he dimly recalls setting ride height on them when new, but can't remember details. On one of the forums there was a thread about swapping for a '93 through '95 Kawasaki ZX7 rear shock. Claimed advantages were; improved compression damping, smoother ride, huge cost saving over $$$$$! aftermarket replacements and Kaw. shock is rebuildable vs the OEM Triumph unit which is not. I'm thinking that improvements may be due to; 1), the Kaw is a much lighter bike, and 2), the intended rider and passenger of the Kaw. would be younger and thus lighter than an old fart like me and the Kaw spring rate and shock specs would reflect that. I am about 215lbs and occasionally carry passengers; my 90lb daughter and my wife, (whose weight we WILL NOT discuss here! she says). The claimed disadvantage to swapping for the Kaw unit are it is about 14mm longer which raises rear ride height and thus may affect steering. Anybody out there have any experience with this? Any other tips/suggestions? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

Mad On Triumphs

1995 Thunderbird
Riding for 43 Years
Local time
Today, 02:29
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
4,375
Points
523
Age
60
Location
Lincolnshire, England
First Name
Garry
My Ride
1995 Thunderbird 900
I've never touched my Thunderbird's suspension since that day I bought it 20 years ago ( which doesn't help you that much )
I have in the passed spoken to people who've changed to Hagon shocks M66012 TRIUMPH T-BIRD & SPORT 900cc(SMTTC398) 98<02 - M66012 | Hagon Shocks Limited - Twin shocks, Mono shocks, Fork Springs, Wheels and have found the results to be favorable. I unfortunately can't think of anybody that I know now that I could ask them for you.
Here is a bit more information that I hope might be of some help to you.

Hagon Shocks LLC
1788 La Costa Meadoes Drive
Suite 101
San Marcos
CA 92078 California
USA

Tel: +760 308 8124
Fax: +760 510 2758
Email: hagonshocks@yahoo.com
Website: www.hagonshocksusa.com
 

dearborn

Active Member
Local time
Yesterday, 21:29
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
111
Points
27
Age
70
Location
Dearborn Michigan USA
First Name
Doug
My Ride
1996 Thunderbird, 1975(ish) Norton Commando
Here's the deal on the T'bird; I got it essentially for FREE!! I got the '73 T100R Daytona as a "tip" for restoring a Norton Commando. Fist time shown was at 2007 Detroit Autorama; bike took "First Place- Best Restored Bike". Owner was so happy, he gave me the Triumph saying "Want this? I'll never ride it again" It was rusty, crusty and hadn't been ridden in years. After a FULL "reconditioning"; replacing all rubber parts, cables, tires, resleeving carbs, Pazon ignition, etc, etc, I rode it regularly for maybe 10k miles over the next 5 or 6 years until the bottom end started to get real tired and noisy. Saw the T'bird locally on Craigslist, always wanted one, (worked as a mechanic in local Triumph dealer in '95-'96), and decided to take a quick ride on the Daytona to take a look. T'bird had been dropped and slid on L/H side, so needed work. He was looking at mine, I was looking at his. "Needs work" "Yup, so does mine" "Trade?" So, I owned a T'bird. After a bunch of used bits off Ebay, a good tune and jet kit, some cheap tires, (don't ever put Dunlop D404s on one, no matter how cheap they are!), I had something to flip and make a few bucks on. But, the more I rode it, the more I liked it. I've got maybe $500- $600 in it, most just the usual consumables. I'm still trying to limit the investment so I can sell it off to find one that's had a gentler life. Ideally an early '95 model with the cool swing arm and the sprag clutch access.
 
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