VFR400 Shock Treatment

Sorting my electrical, braking and fuelling problems meant I was free to ride the VFR more than a couple of miles without fear of it breaking.  I knew the rear shock was a little on the soft side, but one spin soon reminded me it was more saggy than Bruce Forsyth’s ball bag. Adjusting the preload did little to help and BJ also confirmed that it was er… shocking. The bike’s got an aftermarket shock made by Hagon so I decided to remove it and send it away for a rebuild.

I borrowed a front wheel chock from Moby and secured the front wheel before lifting the pegs onto some axle stands and removing the rear wheel. Taking the bolt out at the top of the shock was obviously the easy bit, but it got a little more difficult when it came to the bottom bolt clearing the linkage arms.  I was sorted after several minutes of messing around moving the swingarm up and down, trying to work out the best way to access the bottom bolt to free the shock. I soon realised the rear linkage can be moved out of the way and the bolt at the bottom of the shock can be removed once the ‘dog bone’ link has been unbolted from the swingarm because it allows you to move the shock around freely. With the shock unbolted, I allowed myself five minutes to feel smug that things were going fairly smoothly, but that disappeared as soon as I realised getting it clear of the bike wasn’t going be as simple as dropping it out of the bottom like a hefty post-roast dinner dump.

I consulted the Haynes manual and found that the exhaust needs to be removed and if I’m honest, I didn’t really fancy that, so I decided to remove the subframe.  Four bolts later and I was able to move the subframe out of the way enough to pull the shock out of the top; a bit unconventional, but I thought it had to be simpler than the potential hassle of sheared exhaust bolts.

I sent the shock away to manufacturers Hagon and for £99.50 they rebuilt it and I got it back four days later, which is a quick turnaround, plus it’s guaranteed for two years. Fitting was easier than removal, although it did require some more pissing around adjusting the height of the swingarm while supporting the shock and trying to put bolts back in. I haven’t tested it yet because I’m going to be fitting some new fairings from MotoCC, and my tank is also away at Creative FX getting a vinyl wrap to match but I’ll be setting it up after.