Tech Tips: Shock Spring Removal

While the manufactures try there best to build a bike for the masses, it's definitely common to be enough below or above their average weight settings to need a different shock spring. So check out how you can remove and replace your spring for a better ride.

Need some help removing your suspension? Take a peek here - Tech Tips: Suspenion Removal and Installation.

If you need any suspension tools, parts, or springs, check

For any other motorcycle parts, accessories, or gear needs, you can find them at

Transcribed version:

"Hey, this is Michael Lindsay from Vital MX, we're here at Chaparral Motorsports today. And if you're a bit on the light or heavy into the skill, you know motorcycles were not exactly always made with you in mind. So today, we're gonna show you how to remove and change out your rear shock spring. Now, if you wanna know actually how to remove your rear shock, you can check out our 'Suspension Removal And Installation' video. Tools you're gonna need: a hammer, a punch, and any type of rear shock spring compressor. 

So, there is a few ways to get the shock spring off of a shock. If you work in a real nice suspension shop, you're probably used to having this big tower unit with a hydraulic jack that makes it really easy. For the general public, there's a couple more simple ways to go about it. The first that most people would think of is just loosening the preload springs until there's enough room that you can get the shock off. That isn't capable with all shocks, depending upon spring length, thread area on the actual body, you may not actually be able do that. But to start with, we'll show you the most simple route, and we'll show you a couple different ways of how you actually remove the collar around the bottoming cone. So another cool little tip before you do this, if you're somebody that's out there testing different shock spring rates and you're gonna be going back and forth a couple times, if you wanna know what preload you're using on the spring you just used, instead of putting everything together, putting it on the bike, and then checking with the rider, you can actually check it while the spring is still on and everything is tight. So for me personally, I try not to beat up my shocks. So I'm using a [inaudible 00:01:34] doesn't have little soft jaws on it, so I'm actually grabbing directly onto the eyelet. If I had a vice with some nice soft jaws on it, I would pop the eyelet out and actually pinch directly onto the shock, which would not allow this rocking that we have right now.

Go ahead and take our punch and our hammer here and knock our preload rings loose, spin the top ring all the way to the bottom of the threads on the body, give us the most room to work with. So as I mentioned before, there are a few different ways that you'll find that springs are held on. Right now we're working with a Showa shock, so what I typically see with most Showa and WP, is you'll have your bumper cup here and you'll have your ring around it, you'll peel it down, and there's a lock ring here. Sometimes these lock rings are stiff enough, or tight enough, you'll have to use a little pick to get at 'em, but in this case, I'm able to take it off with my finger. Then remove the collar, and then off comes the spring. Just as simple as that. Install is as simple as redoing the steps we just did. Insert your spring, your collar, then your ring lock. The biggest thing to remember is when you do go to install this, when you start putting tension on the spring again and you bring this collar up, just make sure that it doesn't get cocked sideways on the bumper cup or doesn't try to peel up the metal ring. You'll just have to kinda eye it when you're done to make sure it's level all the way around and it doesn't look like it's binding up. 

Now we have a KYB shock to show you guys. It has a little bit different way of getting the lock collar up here off. Instead of popping a ring down and seeing a little metal lock ring, you've actually have a gap here. You have to get enough room that you're able to pull this around the shaft. So we're gonna show you guys how to do that. The first step here, we're gonna go ahead and get the preload rings off again. This shock, I've actually got a little bit of a quick release ring here, so I'm only dealing with the bottom ring right now. Same thing running the preload ring all the way to the bottom of the threads here, or top if you think of the shock how it's actually supposed to be facing. So as you can see, we have a collar here that wraps all the way around, and we have a collar with a gap in it. The idea behind this is you should be able to compress this down and get this collar around the shaft. Now you have to be able to move it down a decent amount because the bottom of the shaft has a lock nut on it for the clevis. So one of the first things we gotta do here is push the bumper cone down outta the way, which sometimes can be a little sticky, if it's got dirt and grime in it as well. And now we've freed this up. 

So we're right about the end here and we don't have quite enough room to be able to compress the shock down far enough to get this collar out. So to assist us, we're gonna use a Race Tech spring compressor lever arm here. Now, you're actually gonna hook this up to the shock to compress the spring down. Now since we have our shock in a vice, if you try to do it the direction it's sitting in the vice, you're gonna run into problems with the shock wobbling in and out. So good place to start is actually twist the clevis 90 degrees so you're you're able to push against a little more solidly in the vice. So now we're gonna go install the shock compressor lever arm here. Take the bottom off, hook it around the shaft here. We're down two coils currently. And then we're gonna go up to the clevis. Go ahead and just put a bolt though here. If you're dealing with a lotta tension, there is a lock nut to go on the back side of this I would use so it doesn't pop out and spray across the room and pinch a finger, or something really bad happens. We're not dealing with much tension, so I'm not gonna use it currently. Now we've got the...this on the shaft, we're gonna go and use the locking pin here. As I said, we only need a little bit extra to be able to get this off. So this is pretty simple one-handed, compressed, and out comes the ring. Now we're free to remove shock compressor...and remove the collar and spring. 

And now the install process is about as simple as it was before. Go ahead and take everything off. The only thing you really have to watch for is dealing with these collars, making sure they're all are set in correctly, they're not pinched on each other, so you don't have anything bind up. Take the spring compressor again. Lastly, we're gonna go ahead and compress this down, install the ring back in. About the hardest thing is just kinda getting your fingers in a good position where you can help hold this all straight, but make sure you don't get your fingers in where you can get them pinched. And now that we have the shock spring set back on, we're gonna go and tighten down the preload rings, we're gonna get the shock back on the bike. And remember to check out for more tech tips."

Credit: Joe Carlino
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