The Yamaha R1/R6 shock conversion has become a quite popular item of late. Here are the materials and steps required to do your own conversion and upgrade your suspension to one that in gas charged and fully adjustable. There is also a substantial cost savings over what some European shops charge. For under $100 you can have the same thing, if not better.
The correct R1/R6 shock to look are the model years up to '05 and must have the vertically aligned gas cylinder. Shocks with the horizontal cylinder will fit but will not clear the side panels. When choosing a spring, please note that a 184lb. spring is sufficient for the average sized person and will still give you the flexibility of stiffening the suspension when needed (like riding two up). The larger rated springs are for those that are obviously larger, racing, or for those that tend to ride far back on the seat.
Please make sure you use appropriate safety gear. Time approx. 1 hour. Difficulty 2 (out of 5).
R1/R6 Yamaha shock (years: up to '05). Usually found on eBay for $20-$40.
Ratcheting tie-downs (as alternative to spring compressor)
Metric sockets, especially longer ones for removing old bushings, and wrenches
Long bolt, nut, and washers (see pics)
R1 shock with swing-arm attached. Not all shocks will come with the swing-arm.
Shock is now seperated from swing-arm.
Using two sockets, 13mm and 16mm, plus a long bolt, nut, and washers to remove the old bushings. Works best with longer sockets.
Place in vise and start to tighten bolt. Bushing will start to slide out as the two sockets are forced into one another.
Another shot of the bushing almost out. Once the bushing is removed, flip the shock over and repeat on the other end. The bushings are a different size and will require different sized sockets.
Using a spring compressor (or ratchet method), compress the spring just enough to remove the spring collar.
The compressor from Harbor Freight will require some modification as shown.
Cranking down on the compressor.
Spring compressed and collar removed. You can now start to carefully unwind the compressor to remove the spring.
Comparing the Yamaha spring and the new spring. The Yamaha spring is rated at 400lbs and could potentially break the shock mounts if used. It's not a bad idea to have the new spring powder-coated.
The spring compressor may or may not work for you when installing the new spring. As an alternative, you can simply use a ratcheting type tie-down to compress the spring enough so the spring collar can be installed.
With the spring compressed, insert the spring collar and release the tie-down very slowly and carefully.
The spring collar is now in place and your shock is ready to be mounted.
New hard urethane bushings from Greg Clauss.
Add a dab of grease and the new bushings will fit without any trouble.
Repeat for both ends. Your new adjustable gas-charged shock is ready to go.
Install with gas cylinder at the top or bottom - doesn't matter. You may need to add spacers to gain enough clearnance between the shock and fender.