550 suspension and tyres set up

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Posts: 64
Joined: 26 Apr 2022, 07:44
Location: Norwich, UK

550 suspension and tyres set up

Post by Jen-etc »


I’ve had a search on the forum and most of the answers I find are for the 750 or 1100 so I’m not sure if the 550 is the same. Apologies if I’m repeating questions;

Front Forks:
So I’m coming to do the fork seals for the first time on my 550 and I’m struggling to know what to do for the best.

I’ve seen lots of comments about changing the forks out on the 550 to improve handling, but I’m also finding lots of people saying it can mess things up more.
Due to time and budget constraints I think for now I’m just going to change the seals and oil and maybe look to change coils /forks further down the line.

Two questions: for a standard set up, which fork oil is best? I’m pretty clueless if I’m honest so was just looking to use 10w but if another is better I’m all ears!
(Sub question; do I need anything other than new oil and dust seals to do this service? I keep getting half way through a job and then discovering there’s washers and other seals I didn’t know also needed replacing!)
Second question - anyone changed the front coils or forks from standard and have any recommendations? I’ll look into it for next time I need to service the forks.

Rear shocks:
Kinda same as above really, I confess I haven’t looked to much into the rears for servicing etc yet, but is there anything I should be doing/baring in mind with these?
Has anyone changed from standard? Are the original ones likely to need replacing in the near future?

It seems the tyre size is a super weird one and I’m struggling to find much in the standard zephyr sizes.
For a while now I’ve run 50/50 tyres on my other bike, as I’ve been using it for occasional flat track racing (long story!) and it’s a bit of a ‘go anywhere do anything’ sort of bike (even though it’s an ER5) plus I like the look of them. However as much as the aesthetics appeal in putting similar on the zephyr, I have no intention of racing it and I will be doing about 90% of my riding on the road, so really a road tyre is the only best option I feel.
However any I find in the given sizing look really modern and I’d love to find something a bit more classic looking.

Any suggestions?

Any help greatly appreciated on these before I make any costly mistakes!

Posts: 71
Joined: 11 Sep 2017, 10:03
Location: Merseyside

Re: 550 suspension and tyres set up

Post by andye »

Hi Jen
I've got a 750 so can only give generic answers.

Rear suspension can be rebuilt, I had mine done by Brooks Suspension. Big improvement.
You can also buy Yss for about the same price as a rebuild, depends on what you want.

For road tyres, Always had good results with Bridgestone BT45 tyres on narrower wheels, they've been replaced by BT46 now but still should be good.

For the Fork seals, my local Bike Dealer charged about £20 to fit the seals, I took the legs in.
You'll need the Fork seals & dust seals plus a plastic pipe to push them on with & something to extract them.
Have a look on Youtube there is bound to be a video.
But if you can get it done for £20 locally I would.

Posts: 160
Joined: 05 Sep 2017, 00:43

Re: 550 suspension and tyres set up

Post by hugojose »

Fork oil is 10W20....fork oil that is....the Manual says. Remember you have to check the level.

I do my seals with a fork seal driver which makes it easier, but it is a little expensive. (you might use something homemade)

You can switch to progessive springs, but then have to change the spacer on top. I did not cut mine, but made them out of PVC pipe. You do not have to do this. It is something that could be done, but is a little more involved....and the stock oil level changes also.

A really good improvement is installing front shields to preserve the seals, like newer bikes. I installed some removable ones from Triumph long time ago.

Watch videos about doing this before trying anything. Getting the bottom bolts out could be a little tricker. An impact gun may help.

On the rear you can switch to about anything else. On the 750 the shocks from ZRX1100/1200 is a bolt-on proposition, but I doubt the 550 would take that. They are same Kayabas and not really better...Just more rigid. If your shocks re fine, I'd simply keep them...they are good as is.

It is better to keep the stock tire sizes as is.
Posts: 64
Joined: 26 Apr 2022, 07:44
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: 550 suspension and tyres set up

Post by Jen-etc »

Brilliant, thanks to you both for your responses.

£20 is well worth it to take it in somewhere, I'll call my local garage and ask.

And thanks for the tyre recommendations too. I'll look those up.

Thanks again!
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Posts: 122
Joined: 09 Aug 2017, 13:52
Location: Cwmbran, Wales

Re: 550 suspension and tyres set up

Post by ZoneAdmin »

Hi Jen

Have you seen the info on Gazzz Garage regarding Zephyr shocks repair? https://www.gazzz-garage.com/2016/06/30 ... ck-part-1/ and https://www.gazzz-garage.com/2016/07/12 ... ck-part-2/

There is a lot of great information on this website. The guy is based in Ukraine so is not updating his site at the moment. I hope he is safe.

Current bikes: Zephyr 750 C4, Zephyr 750 C3
Previous bikes: Kawasaki Z1000 A2, Kawasaki KH400 A4, Kawasaki KH250 B1
Posts: 64
Joined: 26 Apr 2022, 07:44
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: 550 suspension and tyres set up

Post by Jen-etc »

Ooh I hadn’t seen about the forks, but I’d found his site when working out how to do my seat. I’d only just started to dive into the other content, so I’ll have a read, thanks! I too keep thinking of him and hoping he is safe and well.
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