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Front and rear suspension upgrades.

Old 10-04-2010, 07:42 PM
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Front and rear suspension upgrades.

Hi everyone. I am new here and have been doing alot of reading of some very good threads here. I do have to say I have learned quite a bit. I purchased a used '98 superhawk about 6 years ago, and have been slowly fixing it up. I am at a point where I want to pick up the pace a bit and tackle the suspension.
From what I have read the preferred front end mod is 954rr tripples with 1000rr forks, brakes, rotors, and wheels.
I havnt really found a preferred solution for the rear suspension. I have seen some posts about SSS mods and RC51 swingarm mods.
I have seen penske and ohlins rear shocks.

Am I correct on the 1000rr front end mod as being my best route?

As for the rear what is the best way to go as far as performance that would compliment the front end upgrade? Will I gain enough performance from replacing the swingarm to make it worthwhile, or is it more of a cool factor?
Of the available shocks, what should I be looking for? Is the penske as good as the ohlins? I seem to have seen that a I might be able to use a penske that came off of a different bike which would really make finding a suitable used one easier. Of the ohlins rear shocks, am I limited to one specifically made for the SH, or can one from another bike be used?
I weigh approx 220 lbs.

I really appreciate your guidance and expertise.

Cheers
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:07 PM
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Because of the ease of finding all the bits needed the 1000rr front end is the best choice at this time.

As for the swingarm, it does need to either be braced or swapped, whichever you like the best or are the most comfortable doing.

For the rear shock, you have 3 options. A modified F4 or 900 shock done by our own Jamie or the Penske or Ohlins route. You ask if a Penske is as good as a Ohlins, well us mere mortals doubtfully could tell the difference. The Penske is a modular design which means yes you can take a shock for a different bike and by changing a few parts have it set up for a SH. The Ohlins is bike specific, so if you want to go that route, you would need one made for a SH.
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

What is the preferred rear swingarm mod then? I am looking for performance over eyecandy. I dont know that I really want to change the geometry of the bike that much, as far as using a longer swingarm. I am very mechanically inclined, but I do not currently have the tooling to do any major welding and fabrication. I figure I am going to need to get the rear swingarm figured out before I waste any time and money on a rear shock.
In all honesty, I know I am a noob compared to the superhawk gurus on this site. I sure appreciate your comments and insight. All thoughts and suggestions on which direction I should take with the rear end to compliment the 1000rr front end are much appreciated.

Cheers
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:41 PM
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Getting a good shock is neither a waste of time or money.

The advantages of stiffening up the rear swingarm will only be gained for the very aggressive rider who has already done the shock mod..
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by trident00 View Post
Thanks for the reply.

What is the preferred rear swingarm mod then? I am looking for performance over eyecandy. I dont know that I really want to change the geometry of the bike that much, as far as using a longer swingarm. I am very mechanically inclined, but I do not currently have the tooling to do any major welding and fabrication.
Not really sure what you are asking here. There is no real set answer for a "preferred" swingarm mod but any mod will require either welding or parts fabrication. So if you are unable to do either then you either need to find a swingarm that has already been braced or not do this mod.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:41 PM
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I am in full agreement that a good shock is not a waste of time or money, but what I was trying to say was that if I am not sure what swingarm I am going to use, I might be better off holding off until the swingarm is in place in case it makes more sense to go with a non stock length etc.

As far as a preferred rear end mod, I was just asking what people found to be the best overall solution. I have used the search function and have read through quite a few of the different scenarios. It seems that the rc51 mod may be the least involved as far as welding and fabrication. I am wondering at this point which of the rear ends will accomodate the 1000rr rear wheel, since I would figure that I will be using a 1000rr front wheel with the 1000rr front end.

Thanks
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:45 PM
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The least involved is mounting the brace from a 900rr on to the stock swingarm.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:00 PM
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Anything with a 25mm axle would hold the CBR 1000RR rear wheel... The SP2 is prettier, more blingy and easier... It's also longer than stock... The SP1 is less pretty and requires new bearings but it's shorter, closer to stock...

And I'm not aware of any other swingarm swap that is a performance upgrade... A VFR SSS is more a cosmetics job...
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:30 PM
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This is all great information and great advice but ignores one important aspect of the riding experience. The rider's body weight in gear, the conditions of his/her local roads, their style of riding. When Nemish did my front end all those questions had to be answered before he would even quote the build. Yeah the Superhawk moves around a bit but if you're 165 vs 225, the bike behaves quite differently even under race conditions. I like a bike that's a little gooey. Roads aren't perfect - even tracks. I believe flex is good because nothing about the road is linear when it comes to topography. Overly rigid bikes are just as much a handful as the stock Superhawk with a 225+ rider. My .02
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:49 PM
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Well, I'd like to say that I'm going to diet and get down to 165 lbs, but I will honestly say I doubt that will happen. When I was much younger and was riding highly modified Yamaha RD's I could sling them around fairly well at about 175 lbs. I'd say realistically I need to build for my current weight. I do not honestly feel this bike will be stiffer and tighter than many current sport bikes even with all these mods we are discussing. I do understand wholeheartedly what your saying, and indeed the ride is going to be significantly different than stock. I anticipate a learning curve as the bike and I get to know each other again. I am past my roadracing days, but do still enjoy the twisties.


Thanks Tweety for your input. I have enjoyed reading about your RC51 sp2 modification, as well as all the other helpful information you have shared. I guess I will be looking for a RC51 sp2 swingarm now.

If anyone knows of someone in the Tampa Florida area who does good aluminum welding and fabrication I would appreciate a heads up.

Cheers
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:08 PM
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hi trident,welcome to superhawk forum,what is your location,im in largo,fl
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:11 PM
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I'm thinking about doing the 900rr swingarm brace. What year 900 is being used?

I know there are a few generations. And according to pics on ebay (I haven't compared actual part numbers yet) the swingarms do differ slightly through the years. Is there any differences in the brace though?
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:15 PM
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Saige I am North of Tampa up around Brooksville.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:20 PM
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thats cool,not to far,more and more people are getting superhawks around here.
i was thinking about doing a single sided swing arm,but not to sure,i might just brace mine.
are you ever down this way in largo,we have bike night every wed,and on the 12th there is a function at hooters on gandy near 9st on the st.pete side.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:37 PM
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I am sure I could find my way there. I have a buddy in St. Pete thats one heck of a rider. Hoping to get him to blow the dust of his bike and do some riding this fall. Might be able to arrange to all get together for some riding.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:42 PM
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that would be cool,there some places down here that just maybe you could find some parts you want.i got tues and wed off every week for the next month.sometimes after work on saturdays i go riding between clearwater beach and ybor city.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:45 PM
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Sounds cool. I have to get to bed. Got to be to work early tomorrow. Hope to catch up to you and do some riding. Saturdays are usually good for me unless I am scuba diving.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:47 PM
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ok,im sure we will catch up,c-ya
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:54 AM
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Sorry to pop in a bit late....

Forks - Going with an inverted set of forks is great, but there are plently of perils with doing this. If you select the right combination of parts it's not too difficult, but that does not mean it won't take some work. There are always twists and turns along the way that need to be addressed. Don't forget that the springs may or may not be correct, not to mention the valving. Plan on spending anywhere from $500-800 (probably the upper end) for a fork swap such as this.

Because of the above factors, I'd suggest starting with upgrades to the stock VTR forks. I can setup forks with valving and springs for under $300. What a difference that makes! The headaches involved are minimum, that's a big deal for many people. About the biggest problem is getting the forks off and shipping them out. Not usually a big deal.

Shock - As mentioned, the stock VTR swingarm is the way to go. If you want some bling you can have a welder attach a 900RR brace to the swingarm. There are some members who have swapped over swingarms from other bikes. This takes quite a bit of effort and fabrication to make work. Upgrading the shock is really about the best thing you can do. Good rubber and a well setup shock will net you plenty from the rear end.

Overall my advice would be to start simple and worry about stuff like swingarm and fork swaps for later on.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
Sorry to pop in a bit late....

Forks - Going with an inverted set of forks is great, but there are plently of perils with doing this. If you select the right combination of parts it's not too difficult, but that does not mean it won't take some work. There are always twists and turns along the way that need to be addressed. Don't forget that the springs may or may not be correct, not to mention the valving. Plan on spending anywhere from $500-800 (probably the upper end) for a fork swap such as this.

Because of the above factors, I'd suggest starting with upgrades to the stock VTR forks. I can setup forks with valving and springs for under $300. What a difference that makes! The headaches involved are minimum, that's a big deal for many people. About the biggest problem is getting the forks off and shipping them out. Not usually a big deal.

Shock - As mentioned, the stock VTR swingarm is the way to go. If you want some bling you can have a welder attach a 900RR brace to the swingarm. There are some members who have swapped over swingarms from other bikes. This takes quite a bit of effort and fabrication to make work. Upgrading the shock is really about the best thing you can do. Good rubber and a well setup shock will net you plenty from the rear end.

Overall my advice would be to start simple and worry about stuff like swingarm and fork swaps for later on.
Good stuff Jamie.... the only thing to add is that if and when you rework your stock front forks, don't forget a fork brace. They do help out quite a bit
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:22 AM
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All good stuff Jamie. Plan on winter project.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:44 AM
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Though I will add that bracing the swingarm is more than just "bling". It is a very worth while mod if you ride the bike hard. You do need to upgrade the shock to take advantage of this mod but the stock set up does have a lot of flex in it.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mboe794 View Post
I'm thinking about doing the 900rr swingarm brace. What year 900 is being used?

I know there are a few generations. And according to pics on ebay (I haven't compared actual part numbers yet) the swingarms do differ slightly through the years. Is there any differences in the brace though?

Anybody??
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:25 PM
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MBOE I am not the rear swingarm guru by any means, and thats why I started this thread. I am researching it alot at the moment. I took the time to search through quite a few threads on the 900rr brace earlier and just now trying to get you an answer. I am unable to answer you exactly, since none of the threads I saw gave the model years. I would say do like I did and use the search for "900rr brace". You will get alot of posts with great pictures etc. Then do what I do and cruize ebay and see the 900rr swingarms. I didnt find it too hard to picture if the brace part looked the same as the ones in the mods. I hope this helps and someone with more knowledge than me chimes in with the info you seek.
Take care.

Cheers
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:36 PM
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Thanks for poping in Jamie. I am thankful for your input. It is obvious to me and anyone else who has read the threads here, that you are held in high regard.

Is the f4i shock modified by you really the best way to go, or are there any other shocks that I should look for that you could also modify and fit to my bike that would be better? IE, would I rather look for a used foxx, penske, or ohlins and have you modify them?
I trust your opinion. I just hate shelling out say $300 and for $500 could have had something that would have been much better, if that makes sense. My other hangup is buying something new for $1200 when I could get something used that would work just as good for $500.

Thanks everyone for the continued patience and valuable information.

Cheers
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by trident00 View Post
My other hangup is buying something new for $1200 when I could get something used that would work just as good for $500.
Don't get me wrong as I really do enjoy riding my Superhawk. It's just the bike just doesn't rate $1,200 suspension components. Spend a few $$ wisely and use the money you save for a bit of track time and instruction. I'm betting you won't regret it.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:51 PM
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Dan I have alot of track time under my belt already. I used to roadrace 2 stroke bikes. I admit its been a lot of years, but as they say you never forget how to ride a bike. I also dont think you ever forget how a well setup bike feels around a corner. As far as wether a superhawk is worthy of spending alot of money on is subjective. There are alot of folks on this board that have spent a ton of money on their bikes. I kind of wonder why as well. I know for what many have spent they could be riding rc51's, r1's, etc. I understand it though in that I like my bike overall, its paid for, and I can invest in it a bit at a time. Overall is it worth doing the mods on a bike that wont sell for what I have into it.......probably not. Can you put a price on the experience and knowledge gained from a project like this...probably not.
Please dont take me wrong because I do know what your saying and its sound advice. It is exactly the rreason I would rather go used and reworked as opposed to shelling out the bucks on a new ohlins unit.

Cheers

Last edited by trident00; 10-06-2010 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:00 PM
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I believe the brace I used came off of a '95 though I think anything up to '99 can be used, Just buy one on e-bay:
Here's one for $20.....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/CBR-9...item2a0a6b3ec8

and another for a bit more:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/93-95...item20b41e9307

Then cut the brace and brake locating bracket off and have it welded to the stock swing arm. I have pics of mine in the build thread I posted, if you can't find it, send me a PM and I get the link for you.

As for the shock I think, if it is just going to be on the street and some track days from time to time, one of Jamies set ups would be just fine.

Personally I was going to pick up a Penske but the got the deal of the century on an Ohlins so I am a bit spoiled.

So it really depends on what you truly are going to use the bike for. That is why it is so hard to get a cut and fast answer to your questions.

Then there is also riding style to take into account but that is for a different discussion.

Hope this helps a bit.

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by trident00 View Post
Thanks for poping in Jamie. I am thankful for your input. It is obvious to me and anyone else who has read the threads here, that you are held in high regard.

Is the f4i shock modified by you really the best way to go, or are there any other shocks that I should look for that you could also modify and fit to my bike that would be better? IE, would I rather look for a used fox, penske, or ohlins and have you modify them?
I trust your opinion. I just hate shelling out say $300 and for $500 could have had something that would have been much better, if that makes sense. My other hangup is buying something new for $1200 when I could get something used that would work just as good for $500.

Well, converting a CBR shock to fit is one of the most cost-effective way to upgrade the rear suspension. For $460 I can build a shock that performs as well as a Fox or base Penske/Ohlins (from my experiences). Folks are often amazed at how well they perform. I know first hand because a setup like this is what I run on my own bike!

If you need help deciding which way to go just let me know. I'm sure that I can get you fixed up with something that meets your needs and budget.
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:50 PM
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Point well made. With your track experience I'd imagine you have a good idea what you are after. I was actually thinking to myself as I wrote my initial comments "hello, pot calling kettle" as I've already dumped more into my bike than I should. I guess I was trying to help someone I assumed was a novice from thinking they were going to end up with an RC51, etc. My mistake for not asking first.

That said, I did install one of Jamie's CBR shocks and have been very pleased with it though I've only used it on the street.
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