DISCUSSIONS > Drifter 1500 only

Canadian 1999 1500 Drifter front suspension

(1/7) > >>

I recently bought this bike and there are some issues that I believe will be solved by new springs and fresh oil in the front shocks. I've ordered the Progressive springs and will buy transmission oil for the oil change. The only local dealer charged me $400 to balance the front wheel and do a diagnostic that told me nothing. Now, that same dealer is saying that the problem may be that the nitrogen in the front shocks has leaked out over time and they need to be re-charged. I can find nothing on this forum and anywhere else that mentions nitrogen in the front shocks - or anywhere else for that matters.

Can someone here enlighten me please?

Thank you.


First off, your dealer is full of crap. Find somebody competent, or better yet, learn to do it yourself. What are the symptoms? From here, I'm going to bet it's an issue with the steering neck bearings. They have been a problem for a long time. The stock bearing races are too soft and they get dents in them that forces the fork to stay straight until you apply a great deal of pressure, and then it suddenly moves. By the way, get your 375 back, 25 is a reasonable price to balance a wheel.

Thanks, Troll. Why am I not surprised? I had complained about the high bill for no results on Friday, and the service agent said that she would take it up with the service manager and the technician. She called me today to say that they decided that it could be fork oil, fork springs, rear tire (They checked the front one.) or low nitrogen. I asked her if she was sure that they mentioned low nitrogen and she assured me that they had. I told her that I had never heard of a Drifter having nitrogen in the shocks.

They have offered me a free hour's assessment to determine what may be wrong. If I go ahead with that, and I don't believe right now that I will, it is scheduled for June 23.

Unfortunately, they are the only Kawasaki dealership in the city.

In 1999, I bought a new Drifter from them and did my own service, what there was of it, for 5 years. Then I sold it - stupid.

So, now I bought this 1999 Drifter with 9500km on it. Looks like new, but is 22 years old. It seems to have been maintained well, but there is this problem. When riding up to about 80kph/50mph, all is well. When riding over 100kph/62mph, all is well. In between those speeds, there is a "bouncing". I wish that I could explain it better. I thought that it could be wheel balance and that's why I took it to the dealer. Clearly, I was wrong. I should have known, as it is not really the kind of vibration that wheel balance causes. It really is more of a bouncing. That said, it's not like the forks are compressing and rebounding, either. I don't imagine that this is much help to you, but it's all that I can come up with.

So, I have ordered the progressive springs and have curb side service for a gallon of automatic transmission fluid. I read here that is a good way to go. When the springs arrive, I'll pull the forks, drain them and use some  new oil to flush them a couple of times before filling them and replacing everything.

If anything that I've said here gives you other ideas, I'll gladly listen. I figure that it can't hurt to do the oil and springs.

What kind/age are the tires? I had a pair of Michelin Commander IIs that had very hard lap seams, and the bouncy feeling was quite evident, especially around town. I'm running Shinkos right now, and even though they aren't as long lasting as the Michelins, they give a better ride and are quite confidence inspiring.
the rear seems to only last about 10,000 miles, the front might go nearer 20,000. Just about the same as the much more expensive Metzelers I used to run.

Tks, Troll. I am now leaning to tires being the problem. I spoke to two dealers and Kaw Canada today, and confirmed that there is no nitrogen in the front shocks.

I explained the symptoms to one of the dealer techs and he doubted that springs and oil were the issue, but agreed that it could not hurt to change them out if only for my peace of mind. Kaw Canada said that it could be an out of round wheel. The dealer tech, like you, leaned to tires. I am not sure, but I'm betting that these are the original tires on this bike. It only has about 10,000km/6000miles on it, but if I am right, they are 22 years old.

Edit: Oh well, back to the drawing board. The seller just got back to me. The tires have fewer than 1000 km on them and are 2 years old. Back to the drawing board.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version