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Product review: Ikon Shock absorbers 76 series basic

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Mailman, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I have been looking for a set of quality shock absorbers for my XS2 for some time now. That bike rides like a buckboard wagon. The original shocks, while being quite nice in appearance , are simply horrible. If I were riding on a rough bumpy road I would have to slow down to keep my teeth from chattering and a sharp dip or bump could literally make me go “ OOF! “ and it would knock the breath out of me.

    I was considering Progressive 14 series and Hagons. I was having difficulty finding some hard data regarding some critical dimensions, primarily diameter of the coil springs and shock body. The reason these dimensions are important for me is clearance with the factory chain guard ( it’s tight ) and the factory shocks are pretty skinny. I also didn’t want to buy shocks with a “ one size fits all spring” , a lot of shocks come with a spring that is aimed at heavier riders and I’d be right back to having a hard ride.

    I wound up buying a set of Ikon 76 series basic shocks. No damping adjustments, not gas charged, just well made hydraulic shocks, that are rebuildable and can be revalved. The only upgrade here is chrome springs, the standard springs are black. It also just worked out that they were fitted with a lighter weight spring that is suited to my weight. I bought these used from an Icon dealer on EBay , a customer had returned them for an upgraded model and I was able to get them at a significant savings.
    In the box are the two shocks, a set of 10mm reducers and a pre load adjuster wrench. I did use the 10mm reducers.
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    Here is a side by side with the Ikon on the left with the factory shock on the right. The coil spring is larger around and the shock body is about 6mm larger in diameter, it is also 5/8” longer center to center of the mounting bolts, than stock. The important thing is the amount of exposed shock body at the bottom, this will give me the clearance I need.
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    When I mounted the drive side shock, it just touched the chain guard, no pressure, just touched. But I didn’t want them to rub against each other so I used a dead blow hammer and massaged a gentle curve into the bottom of the guard. It cannot be seen when mounted and it now totally clears.
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    Time for a test ride!
    I took it out to to an area near me that has little two lane roads with some good curves and the road is rather rough.
    I could tell right away that the ride had improved, the suspension still felt firm, but now much more controlled. I was deliberately aiming for bumps and dips and that spine jarring kick is GONE! It also just generally feels more comfortable riding on rough roads. But here was the surprise for me, the bike now also handles better! Before, it didn’t really like to be pressed hard going through corners, it felt kinda squirmy, I was blaming the retro tires for that, but now it suddenly feels much more stable and confidence inspiring when I carried speed through a corner. I hit some pretty tight curves today on some roads with rough pavement and I intentionally pressed a higher speed than I would’ve before and it now tracks like it’s on rails!
    Color me impressed!
    I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely confident I would see any noticeable difference and the cost for good shocks is not cheap, I always told myself, I’m not racing this bike, what’s the difference? But I now have to say, I’m very happy I popped for them. For me they are totally worth the cost.
    -Bob
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    grizld1, MaxPete, arcticXS and 9 others like this.
  2. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Good write-up Bob!! Curious, did the extra length make it "feel" any taller or did they compress down to normal height once you sat on it?
    And what about the centerstand... any easier now it's sittin' taller?
     
    grizld1, MaxPete, geedubya and 3 others like this.
  3. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I thought it might feel taller, but I don’t notice it. And now that you mention it, it did go up on the center stand easier today. I thought I was just feelin a little stronger! :D

    Something else I didn’t mention, but my steering had been feeling a little loose, so I turned my steering damper a few clicks and snugged it right up.
     
    grizld1, MaxPete, 59Tebo and 4 others like this.
  4. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    That's a Win ! Those Ikons look great too. Enjoy the ride Bob
    :cool:
     
  5. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Thanks Randy, those Triumph shocks you bought will probably handle pretty nice too, I suspect.
     
  6. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    62-goingskinny-370x370.jpg
    Bob, what are you thinkin for up front now? :lmao:
     
    MaxPete, geedubya, Mailman and 5 others like this.
  7. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    Very nicely done, Bob. Especially the part where you beat the chain guard with a hammer! :lmao:
    Be careful pushing that beautiful motorcycle. Both of you are getting too old for that kind of rough housing! :doh:
     
    MaxPete, gggGary, geedubya and 2 others like this.
  8. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Ummm.....nope. :cautious: The front end works surprisingly well as is.

    I didn’t beat on it, I gently massaged it with a 3 pound dead blow hammer. :D

    “Both of you are getting too old for that kind of rough housing!“. Bite your tongue! :sneaky:
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    grizld1, MaxPete, geedubya and 3 others like this.
  9. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Dang you beat me to them. ;)
    Sweet when you roll the dice and win.
    Couldn't have gone to a better home.
    And then you go out and ride the bike, just like... well crap!! :mad:
     
    grizld1, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  10. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Haha! :laugh2: Thanks Gary, I should’ve disclosed this earlier, Gary has been helping me behind the scenes all along. He was the one that alerted me to the sale on EBay. He was a great help, I was spending all my time researching and putting off making a decision. He sent me a message that basically just said here, these will work!
    Thanks Gary, you rock brother! :pimp:
     
    grizld1, MaxPete, geedubya and 3 others like this.
  11. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Inquiring minds;
    When did you last check preload on the steering bearings?
     
    grizld1, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  12. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I tried this morning to sneak a punch into that complicated XS2 steering head, I tapped on it a few times and it wouldn’t budge. I’m gonna review that assembly and take another go at it.
    It hasn’t been done since initial assembly.
     
    grizld1, MaxPete, Jim and 1 other person like this.
  13. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Sorry ole man it's a take it apart deal, ask me how I know, and what a pain it is to replace bearings on a Royal Star Venture.
     
    MaxPete, Jim and Mailman like this.
  14. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Yeah, I was afraid I might have to pull it apart to tighten that bearing. Ugh! That’s a lot to pull for a two minute job.
     
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  15. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    :doh: Ok, I’m thinking I can loosen bolt #9 and nut #14 and then reach a skinny punch in to
    tighten nut #7 to snug up that steering head bearing. Without taking everything off.
    What say ye?
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  16. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    If it were me (there's your disclaimer :rolleyes: ) I'd loosen the stem pinch bolt, top nut on the stem and both fork cap bolts. That way you could use your rubber dead blow to tap the top of the triple up a hair..... do the adjustment. After adjusted and in this order... just snug the stem top nut (don't fully tighten), loosen the lower triple pinch bolts ( Reason being the top triple will sit lower cause you lowered the spanner nut it seats on... forks will need to drop a hair)... now tighten the stem nut and fork cap bolts. This should square up everything. Tighten the 3 pinch bolts and done.
    That's how I plan on checking the SG this winter... 'cept I have 2 extra pinch bolts and an extra spanner nut.
     
    wrenchjohns, MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  17. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Thanks for the input Jim. I won’t get a chance to get back to it for a couple days, but I’ll give it a try!
     
    MaxPete, 59Tebo and Jim like this.
  18. geedubya

    geedubya geedubya Top Contributor


    G'day Bob,

    I have believe it or not a set of Koni rear shocks on my '76 and they are still performing as if new.

    GeeDub
     
    Jim, MaxPete, Mailman and 2 others like this.
  19. willis

    willis xsive compulsive disorder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Those Ikon's were on Ebay for a while. I remembering checking them out a couple of months ago, but I just couldn't find any feedback on them. I think the original owner upgraded to the Dial-A-Ride shocks IIRC. Also was looking into a set of those, but again, limited reviews and input on them was available. I ended up buying a nice set of used modern Triumph shock for pretty cheap instead.
     
    Jim, MaxPete, gggGary and 1 other person like this.
  20. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Konis were very popular amongst BMW airhead riders. Those worked very well. I do really like them and hope to find a suitable set for my 78E
    -R
     
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