The Yamaha Zuma YW50 2-stroke scooter has always brought me a lot of joy and has been the subject of a lot of upgrades, some for performance and some that I thought were funny. But one thing I’ve never been able to solve was a reasonably priced option to upgrade the rear shock and one that actually works.
Freaking scooters are awesome! There’s just something awesome about riding a small bike at its limit, you feel like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible II. Full flat out on a stock Zuma 50cc 2-stroke is like 32 miles an hour. I can go faster on my road bicycle. Hell, I can go faster on my mountain bike! I even choose tires not based on what provides the best grip or most longevity but based on how much sound they make when you lock the rear tire and slide to a stop. It’s like being eight years old again on your BMX bike!
So, one thing I’ve never really been able to solve on this is the anemic rear shock. It basically has no rebound damping and spring is really way too soft, and way way too soft if you ever carry a passenger or two, or three.
A few weeks ago I damaged my front fender so I got on eBay and people are selling used Zuma fenders for $60. That ain’t right. But then I learned that a brand new Front Fender is, I’m not kidding, $8.00. But then at the bottom of the page, they had a “you may also be interested in” this NCY rear shock for about $100. And it’s not even Chinese. It claims to actually be made in Taiwan. So why not?
Look, you can change the ride height and it has the “ability to adjust for spring elasticity” I’m pretty sure that means you can adjust the preload.
When you compare the two shocks side-by-side, you’ll notice a few key differences. One is the NCY shock is a fair bit longer than the OEM shock, even with the ride-height set to it’s lowest position. You’ll also notice that the OEM spring is a shorter straight-rate spring. The coils are really close together, which is part of why the spring feels so soft. The NCY shock is longer and progressively wound. As the coils get further apart the spring rate, basically gets stiffer.
It’s only two bolts to remove and replace, but you do need to remove the side panel, which means you have to remove the rear rack too. Put the panels back on and
So, does it work? Uh yeah, It actually really works a peach! I mean, we’re talking about scooter suspension, so it’s not like the expectation is really all that high, but still. The progressive spring works just as I thought it would. The initial bump absorption is really plush, but when you start going faster, or when you have a passenger the shock is way less likely to bottom out. I even took some preload out of the shock after a few minutes of riding which just reinforces my opinion. Seriously, for the super reasonable price tag, this is a worthwhile upgrade.