XR-650L Spherical Shock Bearings

12 replies to this topic
  • woodsrat

Posted January 07, 2007 - 03:08 PM


I rarely come over here as I spend way too much time on the XR/CRF 50 and Pitbike sites but I was doing some maintenance on my XR-650L (a. k. a. the Woods Wing) including replacement of the spherical bearings on the upper link and the shock. As others have found in this forum Honda does not offer the spherical bearing that goes in the upper end of the shock separately. A call to Pivot Works, where I got the "shock bearing kit," confirms this and other calls to various shock service companies say that Showa does not offer these bearings. One company said that Showa might sell you these bearings if you bought 200 of them(!!!).:confused: The irony is that the XR-650L shop manual gives you complete instructions on the R & R of this bearing!!!

Has anyone come up with an acceptable replacement for this spherical bearing? Could it be replaced with a solid bronze bushing since the lower spherical bearing should allow for any movement necessary assuming that the rest of the linkage is in good condition? Also, why couldn't a person modify the top of the shock to accept the spherical bearing that goes in the link? They're the same O. D., only wider and the only thing that would hold you back would be the collars which could be made on a lathe.

Why in the fudge doesn't Honda offer these, anyway????:lol:

  • cleonard

Posted January 07, 2007 - 05:57 PM


There was another guy asking this same question a few months ago. I don't remember the outcome, but I think that he did find one. Do some searches and see if you can find it.

I'm pretty sure that Honda and Pivot works do sell one for the XR600. Since many part are shared between the 650L and the 600, perhaps this is the same too. Those bearings always have some play, so if it's only a mm of play, it might not be too bad. Get some of the Honda moly paste and lube that bearing if it's not too bad.

  • bcone

Posted January 07, 2007 - 06:16 PM


In reference to the bronze bushing, the lowering link for my XRL came with brass bushings not needle bearings, when I asked the maker replied "you ever see a needle bearing on the bottom end of a piston rod?" Just a thought, not sure if this bearing is the same but given the lack of motion, with regular lube it might be fine. Good luck finding your part. Motion industries would be another place to try.

  • woodsrat

Posted January 07, 2007 - 08:59 PM


As mentioned I called Pivot Works and they said it's one of the few kits that doesn't come with the upper shock bearing. The gentleman I spoke with said one of their staff happens to own a 650L and hadn't found an upper bearing yet. According to them the only way to fix the problem is to replace the shock body. It's not available either, at least on the parts fiche.

I'm going to call Honda Monday and see what their service reps have to say.

Excellent point about using bushings vs. a needle bearing. I'm certainly not an engineer but it makes sense!!

Fortunately the replaceable bottom bearing had the most play and the top is still pretty good--I'll lube it up and see how it does. It lasted 35,000+ miles of mostly road use so I can't complain much.

Thanks to everyone for any and all advice on this subject.:lol:

As an aside my 650L has been lowered 3" via a 3/4" spacer in the shock and a 3" spacer in the forks. I've been using an Eibach 2 1/2" I. D. x 8" spring but I'm changing to a 6" with a spacer as it's the only way to get the spring rate I need for two-up-and-loaded riding.

  • motomonte

Posted January 08, 2007 - 02:35 AM


Woodrat can you tell me more about how those fork spacers work.I can get 1-1 1/2" by raising the fork tubes but 3" is not recommended that way.Thanks.

  • woodsrat

Posted January 08, 2007 - 10:23 AM


Installation of the lowering spacers requires disassembly of the forks to install them. You'll also have to fabricate the spacers. Unfortunately I don't remember the dimensions of the parts but they're not difficult to make out of aluminum assuming that you have a lathe. You'll also have to shorten the fork springs but don't arbitrarily cut off 3"--cut them to fit inside of the fork tubes at full extension. I didn't reuse the stock fork boots, instead using the wipers that came with the SRC fork brace and the plastic protectors that came with the kit.

The same goes for the rear shock. I found that every 1/4" of shock movement equals about 1" at the swingarm so I made a spacer out of aluminum. I had a local suspension shop install this spacer. The 8" Eibach springs are 2 1/2" on their I. D. and to keep them from moving around too much on the spring adjuster on the shock I turned collars to fit on the top and bottom. I'm 160 lbs. ready-to-ride so try 900-1000 lbs. on the spring rate if you're close in weight to me. Eibach offers up to 1200 lbs. rate in an 8inch long spring.

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  • motomonte

Posted January 09, 2007 - 02:39 AM


thanks for the info woodsrat

  • evomx971

Posted January 09, 2007 - 11:37 AM


I'm the one with the past post on getting the upper bearing.

See: http://www.thumperta...ad.php?t=372659

Interesting that Pivot Works is saying they don't have it. The Pivot Works kit I had ordered through Dennis Kirk didn't have the upper bearing, the guy I talked to at Pivot Works was very helpful and said if I'd send him my old one, he'd find one that matched. He ended up writing me back before I could send it and said they'd updated that kit and I must have gotten an old stock from Dennis Kirk. All newer kits should have the upper bearing. He sent the bearing I needed free of charge. Unfortunately I did not write down the number of the bearing when I got it or all you'd have to do is tell them the number since they obviously have them. I also didn't keep any of the emails for the guys name.

I'll have the shock out in the next month or so and if I can read the number on the bearing, I'll post it so future people that need it can find it.

I'd say give them a call back and see if they'll research a little more. In the least, you can offer to send them your old one and they'll find the match.

  • woodsrat

Posted January 11, 2007 - 09:25 AM


Thanks very much for this information--I'm going to email this thread to Pivot Works and see what they say.

Damn, but I love Thumper Talk!!!

  • woodsrat

Posted January 12, 2007 - 09:17 AM


After emailing the two threads to Pivot Works concerning the upper spherical bearing and not receiving a call back I called them this morning and spoke with "Mike" who said they have never offered this bearing, with or without the kit, for the XR-650L. When I asked him about evomx971's getting one for his '94 he denied this could have happened and said he would have a record in his "history" showing he was able to get it as well as the fact that it would now be offered with the kits.:lol:

Given the fact that the kits are all $39.95 I asked him why the kit for the XR-650L isn't $19.95 (since it's only half a kit) he said that other kits are more expensive than others and this is their way of "averaging it out." Looks like we "L" owners are the ones who are going to take it up the tail!!!

Bottom line--the parts that are available (the lower spherical bearing and seals that go in the upper linkage) from Pivot Works in their PWSHK-H23-006 Shock Bearing Kit are all available from Honda. The upper spherical bearing that goes in the "eye" of the shock is not available from Honda--and according to Mike at Pivot Works from them, either.

Am I unhappy? Damn right I am...:confused:

  • bcone

Posted January 12, 2007 - 11:53 AM


OK Woodsrat. This might be a long shot but here goes...:lol:
I bought my lowering link from Perfomance-design.net
The guy there was pretty helpful and he was the one who made the comment about the bushings on the lower end of a piston rod (or the lack of a needle bearing). It seems that the upper bearing would not have more motion than that of the lower linkage connecting the shock to the frame (?)

You might try giving him a call 334-693-9203 and see if he will do a run and sell them off his website. There seem to be a few of us BRP riders who are facing this who would be buying them. Just a thought (I have so few I just gotta share):confused: Hope this helps.

  • woodsrat

Posted January 15, 2007 - 04:02 PM


Again thanks to everyone who's replied to this thread.

evomx971 sent me a copy of the email communications he had with Pivot Works regarding him obtaining the upper spherical bearing which had not been included in this kit. I will be sending copies of this along with my letters to Pivot Works, Tucker-Rocky and the local T-R rep.

With any luck hopefully I can get the upper bearing as well. I'll let you know how it all comes out.

  • woodsrat

Posted January 29, 2007 - 09:28 AM


SUCCESS!!!! After contacting both Tucker-Rocky and their local rep he made a call to Mike at Pivot Works, who did some further research and found that they had made a running change to the XR-650L kits and they now include both bearings in their kit!!! According to Mike when I called him all the available information he had on hand showed the kit still didn't come with the upper bearing. Apparently the change was made last year and he wasn't aware of it.

The new bottom line--the Pivot Works shock bearing kits are now complete with both bearings and if you buy one that doesn't have both of them in it call them to get the top one as only the "old" kits are supposed to only have one bearing in them.

A big thanks goes to evomx971 for emailing me his email record of his communications with Pivot Works and Rick Dorfmeyer, my local T-R rep, for calling Pivot Works and getting this problem solved.:ride:

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