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posts / Suspension replacement for CM185 12/6/2020

A motorcycle with fancy suspension.

The rear suspension on this bike was about what you would expect from shocks that were Good Enough 40 years ago and have not received any kind of maintenance since then. That's a long way of saying those shocks were clapped out and trashed. When I pulled 'em off, the left one was shorter than the right (I'm guessing because of all that time spent on it's kick stand).

Before I go any further, here's some specs for the stock suspension and swingarm on a 1979 Honda CM185T, as measured on my bike when I was looking for replacement shocks:

shock details
overall length 12.5"
body diameter 61.85mm
eye bushing 12mm
eye depth (top) 17mm
eye depth (bottom) 18mm
mounting points ~
diameter 11.85mm
top length - overall 39.5mm
top length - threaded 14mm
bottom length - overall 34mm
bottom length - threaded 12.5mm
swingarm (measured between mounting points)
min extension 232mm ~ 9.125"
max extension 344.5mm ~ 13.5"
total movement 112.5mm ~ 4.43"

I don't think I actually needed all these measurements but I took them down, so here they are.

My main beef with the stock shocks is that they only have 2 inches of travel. That's not really ideal for trail riding, so in my search for replacements I was mainly looking for more travel. The shock I wound up with.

Working Stroke: 68mm (2.67")

Woohoo! .67 inches over stock! But to be honest, they work better than the old shocks, and are surprisingly not too crusty. I could have gotten something way better from Ikon or Hagon, but these 4into1 shocks are as good as I need them to be. I like that they make the bike sit noticeably higher, and they are threaded for preload adjustment (not the usual staircase). Seventy bux, you could say uh, at least there's not too much sticker shock.

A comparison of the bike's stance with different shocks installed.

I don't know, maybe it's sitting an inch, 2 inches higher now? In any case the bike feels more cush. The tires are Cheng Shins I got in 2002, so they still feel sort of squiggly under the bike, but I'll get to replacing them. Meanwhile, this bike is parked in a garage with an SV1000S and a DRZ400SM, but manages to be fun enough in its own way that I still like buzzing around on it.

At this point I just need to finish wiring it and get the paperwork sorted.