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Building & Adding Fork Spacers
to improve dampening

By Marc Malagelada Duch
GS500 owner from Girona, Catalunya, Spain

It's a known issue that the GS500 has a *very* soft fork that will bottom easily when braking and also has a spring slap when going over sharp bumps.

Of course you could install a couple of progressive dampening tubes, but that's expensive and near all of us will never drive so fast to require such things.

The cheap trick to improve fork dampening is to insert a spacer into the tube to compress the spring.  This helps slightly stiffen the suspension which helps rideability. 
The spacer should be inserted between parts #2 and #4. (Part #3 is only a seal ring that will remain near the top of the tube) 

Replacing  part #4 (spacer) with a larger tube will work too.

The spacer I used is a piece of nylon. Use any material that will be compact and will not attack or be attacked by fork oil.

I built it from a nylon cylinder, diameter 31mm, length 200mm that I found in a local plastics store. The price of the piece was only 2$US. Finding such parts is not difficult: they are used by many hobbyists.


Here you can see the nylon cylinder I got from "Servei Estació", in Girona, Carrer Sèquia. It's about 2$ the piece (diameter 31mm, 200mm length).

Note: You can use a piece of PVC pipe also!

Use a caliper and a permanent ink pen make the mark.

Cut it with a standard metal saw.

Make sure of cutting it properly.

Use sandpaper to polish and to correct any errors you made cutting the piece. Use 200 to 600 grade sandpaper.
Okay. Two spacers just built and ready to install.
Loosen the upper fork tube pinch bolt. (Allen)
Loosen and remove the top fork cap bolt, using a standard square 1/2 inch wrench.

Make sure the bike is on the center stand: otherwise the spring would be under pressure.

Insert it into the tube (not difficult).

Insert the cap bolt (quite difficult because of the pressure of the spring). 

It's easy to damage bolt's threads be careful!

Repeat the steps for the other fork.

Don't miss to tighten the upper fork tube pinch bolts!

You're done. Now go for a ride and feel the difference!


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Last modified: March 15, 2006