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Modifying the Rear Shocks

Monday 25 December 2006, by Malcolm Herbert

The standard rear shocks on the Honda are a little longer than normal, around 14.5". However, most replacements are 13.4 - 14" long. The bike had already been modified but needed some more work to get the balance of the bike right.

After Gavin rode the TL at the Rhayader Experts it did same that the bike was nose-diving into the rocks, and there was little Gavin could do about it (accept trying to hold on). Taking a side-on look at the bike, the rear-end of the bike was sitting up in the air.

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Existing rear shocks
The rear plates on the swingarm have been welded on to allow shorter shocks to be fitted

The original shocks on the Honda TL125’s are quite long in comparison to most other trials bikes. The previous owner of the bike had welded on a plate on each side of the swingarm to fit a pair of short 13" shocks. After having the bike for a while, in a rare Zen moment on the art of setting up trials bikes, I realised that the rear shocks were basically, rubbish.

Being the thrifty rider, I ordered a pair of "Clubman Trials" from NJB Shocks which were about 14", which I then fitted onto the top of the plates. The new shocks were a lot better, but the bike didn’t look right and the front did seem to be tucking under.

Removed the welded top bolt on the plate and drilled another hole in the plate on each side of the swingarm about 15mm lower. Then fitted a 10mm bolt, with a rubber spacer between the swingarm and the shock; having the bolt not attached to the plate means that it could adjusted depending on the size of the shock.

Next stage is testing, but the bike looks to be more balanced and seems to turn ok.

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