Author Topic: STOCK SHOCK HATERS BEWARE!: Lowering the stock shock  (Read 768 times)

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January 28, 2020, 10:45:47 PM on

Offline VABird (OP)

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Shortening the Tiger 955i shock to drop the bike about 1.25"
    I've had seven different Triumphs within the last six years, four of which I still have. I liked them all, and still do, but I now spend about 2/3 of my approximately 15,000 motorcycling miles a year on my 2006 Tiger 955i. There are so many things I like about the Girly, but my biggest complaint about it has been its height. I'm 5'11 with a 32" inseam. Average in most respects, but I still could not put my feet safely flat on the ground without thick heels, and even then just barely. Unlike my '08 Tiger 1050 (sold) it is neither easy or inexpensive to lower. I continually struggled with the idea of putting a $700-$900 lowering shock on a bike I'd be lucky to sell for $2500. I was getting to the point that I became willing to do that, but not without a fight. I also realize that there are some folks here (Chris!)  that don't think that the stock shock is worth its weight in sand, but I've never really had issue with it.
    So with the shock out for my winter maintenance, I decided I had nothing to lose and formulated a plan. I didn't do the write up sooner because I wanted to thoroughly test its integrity and results first. With about 600 miles, I believe I've done that now, so here is the process, blow by blow.
   It's not for everyone, as it requires specialized equipment that not everyone has, but here goes. If you decide to do this, READ IN ENTIRETY BEFORE BEGINNING AND MODIFY YOUR SHOCK AT YOUR OWN RISK!
1- Remove the shock as described in the shop manual and clean off the many miles of grunge.
2- Find the middle of the lower shock shaft. Make a scribe mark 3/16" on either side of that middle for a total of .39" that you'll cut out including the width of your saw blade. I picked this dimension as I was reluctant to cut too much and wind up cutting into the internals of the adjustment screw and I needed space inside to drill for the attaching stud (more on that later). I must admit that this measurement initially was a guesstimate, but worked out perfectly. (I'll explain why later.)
   You also have to realize that the dimension from the swing arm pivot shaft to the shock mount is about 6.75" and the dimension from the swing arm pivot shaft to the rear axle is about 21". That's a factor of about 3.1 to 1, so for our .39" cutout, should lower the bike about 1.21".
   From here on, and in the pictures, the part being cut off will simply be called "part" and the shaft still attached to the shock will simply be called "shaft".
3- Mount the shock in a power band saw. It is critical that the two cuts be made squarely, that is exactly perpendicular to the shock's length. First, cut off the "part", then the remainder of the .39". It's better to cut too little than too much, but try to be as accurate as possible.
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

January 28, 2020, 10:48:30 PMReply #1 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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4- With a lathe, fabricate a tool (I used 1.75" round aluminum stock) that is notched out the diameter of the "part". Also on the lathe, drill a 1/4" hole centered on the tool. This will allow you to drill a hole in the exact center of both the "part" and the "shaft".
5- Use the tool to pre-drill the "part" and the "shaft". Use masking tape or a drill stop to ensure that you only drill 0.6" deep into both. (Use width of tool minus depth of notch out in your factoring of where to place the tape so that  0.6" of drill bit protrudes from the tool.)
6- Step up hole in tool. I used a 11/32" drill. This is appropriate for an M10-1.25 tap. You can use a 3/8" or M10-1.5 if convenient, but have the matching (1" long) hardened stud before you drill & tap, and use the appropriate drill for the thread size. (I used a 12.9 hardness cap screw and cut off the head, and smoothed the threads at the cut.)
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

January 28, 2020, 10:50:06 PMReply #2 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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7- Use the newly drilled tool in the same fashion as before to step up the holes in the "part" and "shaft"  Again, drill only 0.6" deep. Tap the holes and insert your stud. Chamfer the edges of the "part" and "shaft". This will increase the surface to be welded.
8- Test assemble "part" to "shaft". If your cutout was perfect (again, I got very lucky!) when the part is tight, the casting lines in "part" and "shaft" will line up. This will ensure that the upper and lower shock mounts will be properly aligned with each other. You may need to remove more material from "part" to enable the casting lines match. That's why I stated in step 3 not to remove too much.
9 - When you're satisfied that the halves are tightly screwed together and casting lines match up, disassemble and clean. Using epoxy (i.e. JB weld), on the stud's threads, reassemble and install temporarily into bike to ensure alignment  of upper and lower mounts. It's not necessary to insert the needle bearings or nuts at this time, just upper bolt and lower bearing sleeve. Keep the shock in place until the epoxy sets up. Overnight is best.
10- When epoxy is set, remove shock and weld the joint. Dress the weld. If you want to install a grease nipple, follow procedure here: http://www.tigertriple.com/forum/index.php/topic,16901.0.html . Reinstall. Yup, now don't forget the needle bearings and nuts. 
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

January 28, 2020, 10:51:45 PMReply #3 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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11- NOW for the rest of the job. I raised the forks in the triple tree an inch. This got the rake back down to approximate factory setting. You may want to experiment with this.
12- The center stand will also need to be shortened. I found the side stand adequate, but depending on how & where you park your  bike, you may want to shorten that as well. I cut 1.25" out of the center stand and mounted in a jig that I made to ensure that it would keep its shape when being welded. I had a 1" pipe that I sawed in half (lengthwise) to reinforce the weld joint (called "scab patch" in 2nd pic). The aluminum spacer rod will need to be cut out after the welding is completed.
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

January 28, 2020, 11:20:54 PMReply #4 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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So in summation, the handling for me at my height is much more sure, being lower.
Also, my feet are able to be stretched out about 4-6" further per side to help prevent another embarrassing tip over.
AND I didn't need to spend $700 on a Wilbers or Hagon lowering shock.
I don't adventure ride much past a gravel road, so ground clearance is a non-issue.
I've inspected the weld each time I get home from a ride to ensure integrity. As I learn to trust that, inspections will naturally be fewer.
So far about 600 miles with NO ill effects!
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

January 29, 2020, 07:15:18 AMReply #5 on

Offline Timbox2

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Fair play mate, beyond most Im thinking,  you might get a raft of orders now. Im guessing that youve checked that under full compression the wheel is not gonna hit the undertray?
2016 Tiger Sport

January 29, 2020, 01:22:24 PMReply #6 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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   No interference so far. Wilbers sells shocks that lower the bike by 2", presumably tested by methods more intense than I can do, but I have not had an issue.
   If the Tiger was really designed for some off road antics, there's a lot more suspension travel than I'll ever encounter on the road.
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

January 29, 2020, 07:01:17 PMReply #7 on

Offline Timbox2

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   No interference so far. Wilbers sells shocks that lower the bike by 2", presumably tested by methods more intense than I can do, but I have not had an issue.
   If the Tiger was really designed for some off road antics, there's a lot more suspension travel than I'll ever encounter on the road.

Ah, I thought Hagon were the only company doing lowered shocks for the 955's but having seen a couple of their shocks snap I wouldnt recommend. Ive actually still got a Hagon shock with remote preload hanging in me shed (Wire wheel model)
2016 Tiger Sport

January 29, 2020, 07:17:03 PMReply #8 on

Offline Chris Canning

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As Tim mentioned the Hagon does not have the best of reputations because of what he mentioned,as I had said to me some years ago the 955 Tiger was built in the days when Triumph had no idea about suspension(the kind version) and while it was said by a dyed in the wool Ducati man their certainly is an element of truth in it hence no linkage.

As for clearance!! I did this two up with a stock shock the rear caliper did that.


As for the mod 10 out of 10 for ingenuity but blimey your a braver man than me riding on it knowing the pressures the rear shock is under,but all the very best.

January 29, 2020, 07:34:16 PMReply #9 on

Offline Timbox2

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As Tim mentioned the Hagon does not have the best of reputations because of what he mentioned,as I had said to me some years ago the 955 Tiger was built in the days when Triumph had no idea about suspension(the kind version) and while it was said by a dyed in the wool Ducati man their certainly is an element of truth in it hence no linkage.

As for clearance!! I did this two up with a stock shock the rear caliper did that.


As for the mod 10 out of 10 for ingenuity but blimey your a braver man than me riding on it knowing the pressures the rear shock is under,but all the very best.

And my last 955 had that same ding in the silencer from the previous owner with the "Upgraded"  :ImaPoser Hagon
2016 Tiger Sport

January 29, 2020, 08:00:30 PMReply #10 on

Offline Bostedsprocket

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Oh great!!!!my 955 sports a Hagon rear shock...…….got 2 major trips booked this year, now you decide to tell me they are shit and snap :BangHead lol, at least today my metal replacement female fuel couplings arrived in the post, just waiting for the fuel filter and ill fit it all as one job. still crapping myself over lack of euro breakdown cover but that's the gamble with an older bike. 
If its got titts or wheels it'll give ya trouble!!!

January 29, 2020, 09:22:27 PMReply #11 on

Offline Timbox2

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Oh great!!!!my 955 sports a Hagon rear shock...…….got 2 major trips booked this year, now you decide to tell me they are shit and snap :BangHead lol, at least today my metal replacement female fuel couplings arrived in the post, just waiting for the fuel filter and ill fit it all as one job. still crapping myself over lack of euro breakdown cover but that's the gamble with an older bike.

Yours will be fine, probably :rfl

The problem used to be caused by the bronze bush that Hagon used in the lower mount, it would seize to the pivot, so just keep on top of greasing
2016 Tiger Sport

January 29, 2020, 11:06:08 PMReply #12 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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...........  As for clearance!! I did this two up with a stock shock the rear caliper did that.
  As for the mod 10 out of 10 for ingenuity but blimey your a braver man than me riding on it knowing the pressures the rear shock is under,but all the very best.

I don't do two up on this bike, so another plus++
(I have a T-Bird for that)
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

February 28, 2020, 01:44:25 PMReply #13 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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So with about 1100 miles on this mod now (about 75 miles two-up)
NO issues. I'm loving it!
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16

May 22, 2020, 12:09:06 AMReply #14 on

Offline VABird (OP)

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Over 3,000 miles and all is well.
Some rough roads and some 2-up riding.
Overall very happy with the mod.
 :wheel
The ride might be fun, but in the great scheme of things, it's the destination that counts.
John 3:16