The If your bike is more than five years old, you may want to consider refreshing its handling with a bespoke rear shock. The Sport shock from Nitron is an excellent (and not too expensive) place to start.
I bought my VFR800 with 42k on the clock back in 2015. If you have read anything about these legendary bikes, you’ll know that they will easily do over 100k miles without sweating. That’s the engine and gearbox anyway, what about the consumable bits?
The original suspension was looking and feeling a bit on the soggy side so I decided to invest in a new rear shock, and a revamp of the front forks (more on that later).
Given the VFR is a sports tourer (albeit towards the sportier end of the scale), I wasn’t interested in anything too exotic. Having high and low speed compression adjustment is not something I’m be prepared to pay for to bring down my ‘lap times’ by a couple on hundredths on my commute to work.
So I went online and found a deal on a Nitron Sport Shock. The shock is custom made to order from anodised aluminium and has a simple single adjuster mechanism, located at the bottom of the shock unit which increases compression and rebound damping together. It sounds simple, and it is, and works well with the bike.
If you can’t stretch to a new shock, you can always keep an eye on eBay where there are often used shock for sale.
It was easy enough to install, although I was careful to make sure that I removed and greased the dog-bone linkage and bearings before installing. If these seize up they can lead to reduced suspension travel.
The best thing about an aftermarket shock is it is tailored precisely to the rider’s weight. Original Equipment (OE) shocks are set up for a middle weight person, which means if you are lighter or heavier than an average (77kg) person, the suspension is not going to work to its best potential.
So what has it been like over the last 25,000 miles? Well, the rather flat, wooden feeling from the original has gone, replaced by a plush taught derrière, and my confidence to get on the throttle mid turn – especially in the wet – has improved hugely.
Best Quality Service
To keep the shock operating at its best, Nitron recommend that you send the valve body minus spring back to them regularly for a service (oil and seal change) at around £100 + VAT. I did this after 20,000 miles, and what came back looked like a new shock. The spring on the other hand having been subjected to the full brunt of winter was looking pretty rusty. On the plus side this spring is easily swapped for a new one so you can keep your shock looking good for years to come.
The shock spring is available in Nitron blue or in black if you like a lower profile look. If you have £500 to spend on your ten year old bike, don’t automatically look to a new shiny exhaust can, you’re much better off spending it on the suspension. It may not sound good, but it will it will make you a faster rider. Most importantly it will give you loads more confidence mid-turn on the throttle and brakes, which is what every self-respecting rider is looking for.
Demon Tweeks provide a range of shocks to suit all tastes and budgets (contains affiliate link to support the running of the site)