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2000 VFR800 Daugherty Motorsports CBR929 Shock Upgrade

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Quite a number of years ago, I wrote up an install thread for a shock I purchased from Jamie at Daugherty Motorsports.  Unfortunately, when the site went down and was subsequently rebuilt, this thread had disappeared.  I know a few people have asked me in the past if I could re-enter the thread and re-post the photos.  Since I had suffered a computer crash of my own and upgraded to a new machine, I had to first locate the photos and then copy them to my new machine, but as usual, LIFE got in the way.

 

For those who have asked me to re-post the thread, "Here ya GO."  I know it took a while and I apologize.  

 

When I originally posted this thread I did so as a "GUIDE" to those, like me, who had never done anything like this before and as a result, I HAVE done a few things that were likely NOT required during the install procedure, but I did so to make MY life easier.  I've had numerous people in the past say things like, "You didn't have to remove _________", or "Do not remove this part as its totally not required".  I was also attempting to chase down an electrical gremlin when I performed this install so as an example I was looking for any tell tale signs of harness tampering and also wanted to check the condition of said harness, connections, and I was thoroughly cleaning the entire area as best as possible.  Hence I removed the fender tray and this seems to have been the largest point of contention.  I'm sure not everyone will agree with the way I did the install, and I'm sure there are other ways, but at the time, there were no other install threads for me to follow and the photos and instructions on the Factory Service manual were helpful, but mentioned nothing about the fact that, lets face it, you're not putting a stock shock back in and it was physically a different size and shape.  Hence I documented the install, and took some photos along the way, and MOST IMPORTANTLY I had the time spent with my son, which above all else, was the best THING about the whole procedure.  

 

The absolute best part of this whole process was to spend some quality time with my son, and that, to me was worth taking the WHOLE back of the bike apart if necessary.  Though there were a LOT of questions and the time spent doing this job was far greater than if I had done it on my own, I would NEVER, EVER have considered not letting him watch and ask as many questions as necessary to satiate his curiosity.  

 

HERE WE GO

 

 

First, a bit of background might be in order.  Having sold my beloved 97 VFR750 about 5 years ago, just before my son was born, I had wanted to some day replace the bike when he got older.  I knew with a new baby in the house that the poor old girl would spend many a lonely day covered up in the garage unable to see the sun.  No way to treat a motorcycle in my opinion.  Since one of the guys that I worked with wanted to purchase the bike, I signed the papers and let her go to a new owner.  Thankfully I got to see the old bike regularly, and the itch to get a new one was always lurking.

About three years ago, I found a 2000 VFR800 sitting in the showroom of one of the car dealerships I do work for (I do Paintless Dent Repair for a living) and my wife said I should buy the bike.  The paint was pitted, the wheels had numerous scratches from a disc lock, the fairings were scratched from a couple of garage mishaps (vertical scratches in the lower cowls which indicated to me that the bike had tipped over on both sides at some point) but the price was too high for the condition of the motorcycle.  The general manager of the dealership had seen my 97 VFR and had said that I would regret giving her up (he was a fellow biker) and knowing I would lust after the 2000 VFR he started asking me when I would take it home.  Every time I walked in to the dealer he would ask if I wanted the VFR and with a price near $6000 at first the cost was too rich for my blood.  Finally, after sitting in the showroom for a little more than a year the manager said, “Bill, make me an offer on the bike, I gotta get her out of here.”  Over time the price had dropped to $3950 and not even thinking he would say yes, I looked at the manager and said “All I can afford to give you is $2000.”  To my amazement, he told me to get her out his showroom and that he was glad the VFR had found a good home.  I signed the papers, handed over the cash, donned my helmet and rode the bike two blocks to my shop.  Since it was in November and likely to snow any day, the first ride would have to wait.  For what seemed like an eternity of cleaning, I spent the winter taking care of the cosmetic issues.  I had the wheels stripped and powder coated, painted the lower cowls to get rid of the scratches and spent about 8 hours wet sanding and polishing the rest of the paint to get rid of what was years of neglect.  The previous owner had left a copy of all the maintenance receipts for the bike with the dealer and after looking through them all, I found that the bike had been very well maintained and all the suggested services had been completed by various Honda Motorcycle dealers, including the valve adjusts.  When the previous owner had traded the bike on a car, he had told the dealer that even though he had kept up on the mechanical work, he was not one to clean the bike.  He neither had the time or inclination to keep her spotless (he did spray her off once in a while he admitted) and nor did he have the skills.  After 61,000 km’s (35,000 miles) of use the bike was showing its age, but it ran like brand new. 

 

When spring finally dawned and the street sweepers had been out I decided to take the old girl (now gleaming like a new motorcycle) for a ride.  With some new rubber, some cosmetic work and a lot of blood, sweat and wax, she was ready for the road.  At least that is what I thought.  To my dismay, I discovered that the back end was sadly in need of some attention.  My first season with the 2000 VFR was good but the riding was rare because of family and the new toddler in the house, and the revelation that I was going to be a dad once again.  I spent a lot of time the next winter trying to decide what to do about the rear shock.  The rear shock on my 97 had been re-built but it never really felt that much better in my opinion and I was not sure if I wanted to go through that process again.  After spending about three months unable to ride my 97 while the shock was missing, and then not noticing a huge difference once I got it back, well, I was not impressed.

A friend told me check out VFR World and I came across the name Jamie Daugherty.  After reading several posts and articles about his suspension tuning abilities, I decided that I would again try getting a shock rebuilt.  The difference was, this time, Jamie, unlike the last guy I used, was going to build me a donor shock from a CBR929 so that I could ride my bike until the new one showed up.  I was so amazed with the difference the shock made to the rideability of the bike that I wanted to do a “HOW TO” write up on the installation.  I know a number of people on this site are aware of Jamie Daugherty and probably equally aware of how to take their bikes completely apart and put them back together. 

 

This article is for the average person like me, who has never attempted a project of this kind and therefore I have included a lot of pictures and a lot of, shall we say, instructions.  My hope is that it will prove useful to at least one other person.  The overall process is not that hard, but it does take some time.  I think the whole process for me took about six hours from start to finish, over a span of two days.  I am quite used to taking things apart when doing my day job, but that is usually limited to door panels and other parts of car interiors.  Having owned about 10 different motorcycles (including an 85 VF1000F, a 97 VFR750F and my current 2000 VFR800) I am also no stranger to regular maintenance like oil and coolant changes.  Generally I leave major mechanical work up to the pros, but I decided to tackle this project on my own since, heh, let’s face it, there are only four bolts to undo RIGHT????

 

 

WELL YOU HAVE KEPT WITH ME THIS LONG SO HERE WE GO, BACK TO THE TOPIC OF THE CBR929 SHOCK UPGRADE.

 

 

First, I have to say thanks to Joey_Dude for his write up on how to do this upgrade, since it was after reading his HOW To that I decided to give this whole project a try.  Not wanting to disconnect the fuel injection hoses from the tank, I decided to see if it could be done without removing the tank. 

After clearing some space around the bike and putting the bike on the center stand, the first things to come off are the seat, passenger grab handles, and the rear cowl.

 

 

 

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Next off is the muffler and the right side foot peg bracket.  I chose to remove the muffler and foot peg bracket at one time in order to make it easier to re-assemble later.  Loosen the muffler strap connector, undo the bolts on the foot peg bracket and twist the whole assembly out and back to remove.  You could probably do it the same way with the stock exhaust but it might be easier to do each separately if you have the stock exhaust.

 


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Now it is time to remove the rear tire and the chain guard.  Don't forget the two plastic screw clips on the back side of the chain guard 

 


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The top bolt for the rear shock assembly is under the two rubber flaps at the rear of the fuel tank.  I removed the two bolts at the front of the tank and the two bolts that secure the tank to the pivot clamp at the rear of the tank.  I then placed a couple of 2x4 pieces on edge under the rear of the tank to support it while I removed the pivot clamp.  This allows you to move the two rubber flaps.  The top one you can push forward and tuck it under the tank edge, and the big lower one that stretches over the battery box area can be removed and set aside.

 


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You should now be able to see the nut that secures the top of the shock bracket to the frame spar, and the bolt that goes through the bracket and the top of the shock assembly. 

 

 

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Since the CBR929 shock has a larger spring and a remote reservoir I thought that removing the fender tray would make the installation of the new shock a lot easier because it gives you  a LOT more room to work with and it also allows a better view of the whole swing arm area.  Removing the fender tray was certainly a bit of a pain to manoeuvre out of the frame but the ease with which the new rear shock went in certainly made it worth the extra effort.  It also gave me the chance to take a closer look at the wiring harness, connectors, fuse blocks, and other areas around the rear suspension that were hard to see before.

 

To remove the rear fender tray, disconnect and remove the battery.  Next, to remove the battery box cover lid there are a couple of fuse blocks attached to the lid.  They are easily removed by inserting a flat head screwdriver underneath and gently twisting to release the push clip underneath.  With the clip released, slide the fuse blocks up toward the top of the lid.  By gently squeezing the sides of the lid you can release the plastic pins that hold the lid in place and you can remove it.  Once the lid is removed you can also undo the 5mm allen head screw that secures the rear brake lines to the under side of the fender tray.

 


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Moving to the rear of the fender tray, remove the lid covering the CDI box.  This should give you enough room to gently remove the CDI box and manoeuvre it out and then place it on top of the seat frame latch.  This is where I left the box until I was finished and it rested there quite securely. Remove the two bolts at the rear of the fender tray that attach it to the seat frame and allow it to drop down a bit.  The fender will probably move down about an inch or so but not much.  You will also need to remove the bolt that secures the rear brake fluid reservoir to the fender tray as well.  The reservoir will just sit there and not move, so not to worry. 

 


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The front of the fender tray has a couple of tabs on it that the main fuse block (left side) and another fuse block on the right side slide on.  By pulling them up they should both come off.

 

 

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Once all the bolts and screws are removed, gently push up on the front of the fender under the battery box to release the plastic clips that go around the round metal frame tube.

 

 

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Now gently squeeze the middle of the fender tray at the bottom and lower it down out of the seat frame.  You will have to pivot the back down a bit while pushing the front up to clear the frame spar under the battery box.  Having an extra pair of hands to help you manoeuvre wires, connectors, and the fender tray out would be a definite asset.  Pay close attention to where and how the wiring harness and connectors are routed around the clips and on the front of the fender tray.  It helps to have a camera for this since a picture will help you get everything back together the right way later.  Getting the fender over the spar at the front of the battery will require a little bit of bending of tabs and some work to get the harness out but with a little perseverance (and possibly some colourful language) the fender tray will come out.   BE CAREFUL OF YOUR LANGUAGE DURING THIS STAGE AS IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, THE SWEAR JAR WAS ENSURING MY SON'S FUTURE EDUCATION WOULD BE FULLY FUNDED BY HIS NEXT BIRTHDAY.  

 

 

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NOW to remove the old rear shock.  Remove the bolt that goes through the top of the shock assembly.  You may have to push down a bit on the wiring harness in order to pull the bolt out all the way since it is a pretty tight fit.

 

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Time for the lower shock mount.  Remove the bolts from the lower shock arm plates.  Note the orientation of the plates when you remove them so that they go back on the same way.

 

 

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With the shock assembly now completely loose, you should be able to pull the top of the shock back toward the rear of the bike, to the side, and out of the swingarm over the chain. 

 

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You can see the difference in the size and shape of the old shock (red) and the CBR929 (blue) upgrade shock from Jamie Daugherty.

 


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This is where removing the fender tray becomes perfectly clear.  Drop the CBR929 shock down in to the hole in the swing arm.   Rotate the shock assembly clockwise about 90 degrees and push the top of the shock forward, behind and in front of the upper shock mounting bracket.  The shock should now be sitting with the reservoir on the front side of the shock toward the front of the bike.  Now pull the shock back and in to the upper shock mount bracket and re-insert the bolt through the bracket and the upper shock mounting hole.

 


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Another good reason to remove the fender tray is so that you can see if you have any clearance issues with the new shock assembly.  When I went to install the shock in the upper shock bracket I discovered that my wiring harness on the left side of the bike was being pinched by the edge of the reservoir on the new shock.  If I had not removed the fender tray I would not have been able to see how badly the harness was being pinched.  A friend of mine who works at a local auto body shop looked at the shock for me and suggested that I cut a notch in the lip of the reservoir so that it would not interfere with the wiring harness.  I also wrapped a couple extra layers around the harness where it passes the shock reservoir lip, just to be sure.

 

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I was also careful to make sure that the edge of the lip where I cut the notch was filed smooth with no sharp edges.  Though this may not be a problem with every bike (my bike is a 2000 VFR by the way), but I thought that the clearance issue I discovered was worth mentioning, just in case someone else runs in to the same problem.  My friend at the body shop used to race motorcycles professionally and I wanted to check with him first before we notched the lip on the reservoir and he assured me that the notch would not affect the shock reservoir.  

Now just reverse the whole procedure and put the bike back together and go for a ride.  And Don't forget to check the factory torque specs in the manual when you put the whole thing back together.

 

THERE ARE A FEW THINGS I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY DURING THIS PARTICULAR BIKE MODIFICATION.

 

1.  When performing ANY task with your 5 year old watching, BE PREPARED for a HUGE barage of questions that request you to explain absolutely EVERYTHING you are doing, WHY, and HOW it will effect the ENTIRE process.  

 

2.  When performing ANY task with your 5 year old watching, BE PREPARED to spend a LOT more time completing said task.

 

3,  When performing ANY task with your 5 year old watching, ENJOY the time spent as it may be your last, as these times will never come again, and you owe it to yourself to spend that quality time with them.

 

4.  In the grand scheme of things, I did not NEED to remove the fender tray but IMHO it provided extra room for my hands, increased the ability to see what I was doing, and it generally made my life EASIER.  Also, I didn't have to notch the edge of the remote reservoir on the CBR929 shock, but the amount of clearance I had between the two made me nervous about possible chafing so I notched it to make ME feel better.  Did it NEED to be done, "No", but did it put my mind at ease, "YES".  Hence the notch.  

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW SHOCK

 

 

My initial impression of the shock upgrade was that it made a world of difference.  I took the bike for about a 50 mile ride after I out the bike back together and could not believe how much better the bike felt.  The handling is now much more precise and the bike feels far more stable.  Even just sitting on the bike feels better since the bike does not sag as much under my weight. 

I would highly recommend this upgrade and certainly recommend Jamie Daugherty’s services to anyone that would like a suspension upgrade for their VFR.

 

 

You can get in touch with Jamie on this site by sending him a Private Message or you can email him at

jamie@daughertymotorsports.com

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Great "how to".

I followed everything except the disassembly of the fender tray since my new shock has pretty much the same dimensions as the original.

hyperprobyte2.jpg

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I have the shock in mine and wow what a pain it was to install compared to every other bike I have worked on.  It was a fantastic upgrade and made it a whole new bike!!  I have the DMr fork set up waiting to go in this coming season. 

Were you able to get the shock in so the adjustments faced the left side of the bike?  I couldn't, which makes adjustments kinda a pain...

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On 1/7/2018 at 1:34 PM, Epyon007 said:

I have the shock in mine and wow what a pain it was to install compared to every other bike I have worked on.  It was a fantastic upgrade and made it a whole new bike!!  I have the DMr fork set up waiting to go in this coming season. 

Were you able to get the shock in so the adjustments faced the left side of the bike?  I couldn't, which makes adjustments kinda a pain...

 

By inserting a long screwdriver between the top of the exhaust heat shield and the frame, I can adjust the upper screw (compression damping IIRC) If you shine a flash light in from the back of the bike toward the shock, you can see the adjuster screw, but it is a tad awkward.  

 

The compression adjustment screw faces the same way as the factory shock and was/is readily adjustable as I recall.  

 

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On 1/3/2018 at 2:37 PM, seth89 said:

Great "how to".

I followed everything except the disassembly of the fender tray since my new shock has pretty much the same dimensions as the original.

hyperprobyte2.jpg

 

 

Glad the thread was helpful.  What kind of shock did you install??  

 

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Glad the thread was helpful.  What kind of shock did you install??  
 
Went with The hyperpro 460.

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Thanks for getting the pics back online. This is a great guide for rear shock swaps, even without the pics. Now it's so much better.

 

I replaced my rear with a Daugherty last year. Might have liked the pics on the fender removal, but it's really  a non-issue once you've done it once. Just pops right off! Knowing what other folks did and that it isn't too difficult  is comforting when starting the work.

 

I faced my reservoir the other way. I adjust from the left side and have no problems getting to anything -- except I NEVER need to touch that adjustment. Jamie got it so close from the git-go I literally don't touch preload. I might go one click less on rebound for rough roads, but it is impossible to get it any better.  Amazing improvement in handling and confidence.

 

I had him revalve my forks and just put them in last weekend. I'm looking forward to some twisties in the coming weeks, but even testing them getting off a freeway hard on the brakes and around local roads is a revelation. The bike feels remarkably stable and still supple.  Far and away the best upgrades I have done.

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Thanks for the write up! Jamie is building his own shock now for the 5th gen. I don't a long time in the phone with him. He's been planning it fire about 4-5 years now, but what he's been doing had been so popular. He finally pulled the plug on the 929 shocks to concentrate on his own shock. Should be available pretty soon. He also is redoing his website, so be patient. He's also working on that too.

 

Hopefully I'll get his new shock soon. I also want the drop in cartridges for the forks.

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7 hours ago, Lint said:

Thanks for the write up! Jamie is building his own shock now for the 5th gen. I don't a long time in the phone with him. He's been planning it fire about 4-5 years now, but what he's been doing had been so popular. He finally pulled the plug on the 929 shocks to concentrate on his own shock. Should be available pretty soon. He also is redoing his website, so be patient. He's also working on that too.

 

Hopefully I'll get his new shock soon. I also want the drop in cartridges for the forks.

The main page of his new site appears to be up, fyi. 

 

Lint I think you and I are on a similar path with our VFR's. Jamie's new rear shock and front cartridges are on my short list also. I had spoken to him a few months ago and decided to wait for his new rear shock offering, hoping it will be available before spring riding hits here in VT. 

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