Ducati suspension upgrade, part 1

The Ducati front forks, good as they are, are a compromise. The sag, rebound and compression dampening are set for a rider of average weight and allow no adjustments. Well, you CAN adjust them by replacing the springs, and changing to lighter or heavier fork fluid and/or altering the fluid levels. Not optimum for me as I would much rather ride than pull the front end apart because changes are needed. Never fear, there is an answer. Ducati will happily sell you fully adjustable forks for your 695 and the price tag will exceed $1200. WOW, that’s a lot. But there is another solution to the suspension upgrade question – use fully adjustable forks from a different bike.

There are two possibilities here – adjustable forks from a different Ducati or adjustable forks from a different brand of bike. Both will work but you may age significantly while waiting to find a set of Ducati forks. The best answer is to source fully adjustable forks from a different brand of bike entirely. Suzuki forks are made by Showa, just like the Ducati forks. And even better, forks from the 2002-2006 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 will fit the Ducati triple trees perfectly. Other than the forks, calipers and an axle, all that is necessary to have fully adjustable forks on your 695 is a set of spacers for the axle (the Ducati wheel is a little narrower than the Suzuki wheel) and spacers to center the brake rotors in the Suzuki calipers. The Suzuki calipers are radial-mount calipers and the banjo bolt from the Ducati brake line will bolt right up to it – just like it was made to go there.

Look on ebay for forks, calipers and an axle – they are there all the time. Expect to spend around $400 for forks, calipers, and an axle. If you have access to a lathe, you can make the required spacers, otherwise post a question on the ducatimonsterforum.org and someone will be able to point you in the right direction.

Once you have the forks, calipers, an axle, and the spacers you are ready to begin. I would expect the swap to take a half-day or so. It should be a good project for a rainy weekend day. You will need to bleed the front brakes, so be sure you have fresh brake fluid on hand. While you’re at it you may as well replace the rear brake and clutch fluid too.

You need:

  • 2002-2006 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 forks (50mm top/54mm bottom diameter)
  • calipers for the forks
  • an axle for the forks
  • spacers to accomodate the narrower Ducati wheel and to center the rotors in the calipers
  • a fender adapter to mount the Ducati fender on the Suzuki forks
  • brake fluid, a single 10mm banjo bolt, 4 copper sealing washers

Let’s get the parts together and then move on to the swap itself.

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