Sharing my impressions of C90 into C50 final drive mod. - Suzuki Volusia Forums : Intruder Volusia and Boulevard Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Sharing my impressions of C90 into C50 final drive mod.

I've had this mod installed for about 500km now. This post is only going to echo much that's already been said on the subject, but I'll chip in my two cents worth of feedback for the benefit of anybody contemplating a conversion but hasn't done it yet and may be wondering what to expect.

Why I did it in the first place? Lots of open highway and relatively few hills in my area left me feeling that my C50 was about one gear short of a full box at the top end. Problem solved. C90 gearing is worth near-as-dammit one full gear more. Quieter, smoother, less vibration in handlebars and mirrors at cruise. And cruise faster than before if you want, with little apparent effort. Gotta be a reduction in engine wear, too, I figure.

Sluggishness with the higher gearing? Sometimes mentioned, but this is actually a misconception. Sure, the acceleration in 5th gear is less lively than before, but remember this is now a whole gear higher like having 6th so it's to be expected. Kick down to 4th, you're about almost exactly where "old" 5th used to be in the gear range, and turn up the wick; you've lost nothing! all the former zip is still there.

The maybe unexpected fringe benefit of the drive mod is how much more useful the lower gears become as well. 4th comes up as only about 4% lower than "old" 5th and as such becomes an excellent gear for overtaking slower traffic on long roads, plenty of poke but no feeling of urgency to change up straight after. First gear becomes smoother an less inclined to jerk and snatch. There seems to be smoother progression through the gears and each gear seems to fit a situation more aptly.
My previous riding style with stock drive seemed to be; start in 1st/click up to 5th in no time flat/ stay there til next time I stop. Now I feel like I've got a practical five speed gearbox and I can work it to my best advantage. Engine braking is a little smoother and I can confidently go well down in gears at corners without so much backlash or risk of lockup if the road's slippery.

Some have mentioned a little more clutch feathering to get moving from standstill, but honestly I've found the difference generally so little as to be almost un-noticeable, and only mildly apparent even starting with a trailer.
Hill starts may tell a different story but I can't comment as I don't have a lot of 'em around here.

I sometimes tow a trailer, moderate size and weight old school steel construction, and the higher top gear handles this no problem, steady cruise 110km/hr - 68mph actual (not Suzi speedo-error indicated) is quite comfortable and unstressed on a reasonably flat highway.

Fuel economy? A very open question! Depends on riding style and use. I've not undertaken any stringent tests on this. When I first got the new drive up and running, I tended to give the bike some stick to try it out and see if anything broke before I got too far from home, and also dragged my trailer around a bit to check how it handled it. After the first couple of tank top-ups it appeared that I was getting very similar figures with the trailer on as I used to get with the trailer off. I did not refine that into a specific figure but I think that counts as an improvement. It certainly did not get worse!

Worth the cost? (variable) In most cases I think more than likely yes. Unless you ride your bike only very little and local short haul. Some, like me, have done the mod when our stock drives have chewed out the rear coupling and we had to buy parts and do work anyway, in which case the difference between stock and mod refitment might be as little as 100-150 bucks or so, well worth it if you do it that way.

This conversion works very well on the VL800, so well one could wonder why Suzuki hasn't offered something same or similar at least as an OEM alternative option, bearing in mind this is a cruiser and tourer?

And I'm left with an odd thought, don't know if anybody else has pondered this, but if C90 gearing works so well on a C50, why is a C90 so relatively undergeared? With bags more hp and torque than a VL800, you'd think it would have much longer legs. I confess I've never ridden a C90 so I don't know how they feel.

Cheers all.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 09:30 PM
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To cool I was just entertaining doing this , had wondered if it would be worth it ! Thanks for the report.. My mind is made up,another reason to drop more money in the bike i'll never recover !
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BullyVarder View Post
This conversion works very well on the VL800, so well one could wonder why Suzuki hasn't offered something same or similar at least as an OEM alternative option, bearing in mind this is a cruiser and tourer?

And I'm left with an odd thought, don't know if anybody else has pondered this, but if C90 gearing works so well on a C50, why is a C90 so relatively undergeared? With bags more hp and torque than a VL800, you'd think it would have much longer legs. I confess I've never ridden a C90 so I don't know how they feel.
Thanks for sharing your impressions Bullyvarder!

IMHO- Suzuki (like all the other brands) didn't intend for the C50 to be your "last" bike. They want to sell you 2 bikes, not 1, so they build in a few inadequacies to make you want to move up. The inadequacies need to be subtle because they don't want to turn you off the brand. However, it seems that the C50/VL800 really only lacks gearing... it fairs very well in other respects. What Suzuki didn't expect was someone figuring out how to fix that one major inadequacy (DJ Drive)! And they really don't care, but you gotta love back-yard engineering! Honda owners (and probably others) have overcome the same problem with sprocket swaps which are a lot cheaper than our swap, but we have the better drive. Regardless, the C50/VL800 is still a mid-size cruiser but with the drive swap, it can hang in there pretty well with the big-boyz.

AS for the C90, I suspect that the gear ratios in the transmission play a big part in it's performance design (power bands), not just the rear drive ratio. I've driven an M109R a few times and legs seemed a little longer than my C50 -DJ but the real difference is the incredible power in each gear.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:12 PM
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To cool I was just entertaining doing this , had wondered if it would be worth it ! Thanks for the report.. My mind is made up,another reason to drop more money in the bike i'll never recover !
Thats the beauty of the DJ drive, when you sell your bike you can pull the drive out and sell it for nearly as much as you invested in it. Cant do that with any other mod that I know of!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:35 PM
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You know Bully, we are a world away but only a breath apart...I still owe you that conversation...

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 10:15 PM
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Gidday Bully I am also in Queensland & looking to stretch the legs on my C50 with the DJ mod & looking for any info on wether you did the shaft mod youself or a company name that did the work for you. there is a lot of info on the net but not much from this side of the world. I am on the gold coast. Thanks
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 12:08 AM
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Bully, good post, would also be interested in your reply for this end of the world.

Also Bully, Fitz and other Australian Boulevard riders (and others from elsewhere!) I invite you to join Ozboulevards.com - that's a great local forum

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 04:18 AM
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AfterDarker Thanks for that I'll have a look @ that Ozbully site. I'v had the bike for some time (2006) but have started to do the gold coast brisbane run 2 or 3 times a week & find myself trying to kick another gear out of the box @ 110km. that got me looking for a souloution, D Hillis has already done so that makes life easyer but still have to source the parts here & get the shaft done.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 07:59 AM
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Fitz, hopefully the boys on the OzBoulevards site will have some good advice, there are a lot of Queenslanders on the site, especially active during state of origin, groan

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
AfterDarker Thanks for that I'll have a look @ that Ozbully site. I'v had the bike for some time (2006) but have started to do the gold coast brisbane run 2 or 3 times a week & find myself trying to kick another gear out of the box @ 110km. that got me looking for a souloution, D Hillis has already done so that makes life easyer but still have to source the parts here & get the shaft done.
I have 3 drives available - Shafts done.. Shipping MAY be an issue- Not sure..
But the kits are ready to go!

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