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Edumacate me! Suspension on a budget.

Old 07-29-2012, 10:16 PM
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Edumacate me! Suspension on a budget.

What would you do?

220lbs rider on stock SH.

New to mechanics, stock suspension upgrade on a budget,

What would you do?
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:20 AM
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what kind of a budget do you have to work with.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:22 AM
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Front springs and fork oil change 1st, rear shock spacer (above the top shock mount) 2nd.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:34 AM
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The amount of the budget does make a difference.

Though the quick list would be:

Fork springs & valves
Fork brace
Have Jamie build you a rear shock.

With your weight the front end is the most important.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:47 AM
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Here is the EXTREME budget way to do it. (racer between races style). Open the fork tops one at a time and add a couple ounces of 30wt fork oil to each, this will help it dampen more through the stroke.

Then cut 15mm spacers out of pvc pipe, cut them in half and use them to add preload. (back off the adjusters all the way to install).

This transformed my bike until I was able to buy some springs (sonic are the best priced) and gold valves.

You can do all this with the forks still on the bike & then use the preload adjusters to adjust stiffness.

(the spacers go under the dimpled washers and above the springs)
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:01 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. As far as budget, I have just started looking into this and researching. The price I saw on the Ohlins rear shock made this seem like it would be a very pricey job to do a complete set up. I have never really looked into suspension before so I thought I would gather ideas first. I was wondering if this could be done for under $500 or if the job would be over $1000. If I could pull this off for under a few hundred it may be something to throw on the list as future projects.

I'm not looking for any type of race set up, just something more geared to my weight and height (6'4")

Last edited by eersfanpilot; 07-30-2012 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Forgot the budget
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:36 PM
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Go to www.daughertymotorsports.com , Jamie can fix you front and rear for @ $600 total and it would be a significant performance upgrade over stock. If you want to do the fork springs only it would be closer to $400 and still gets you a new rear shock.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:37 PM
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ok,with that being said
sonic springs for your weight,80 to 90.
can get racetech springs for good price if you look on amazon.com,got mine for 90 shipped brand new.
racetech compression valve,or could buy a set off of jamie daughtery for a little cheaper.
can be anywhere from 100 to 140.if you go with racetech,check on amazon.com,again the cheapest,i saved 30 on mine.
new fork oil,13 to 20 at the most.
new fork seals,30 or so from allballs bearings.
new head bearings,30 to 40
this is just for the front end,a good rear shock at the cheapest with jamie is around 300.

so with your budget,you can get your front end right the first time and still have money out of that 500.
list
springs
compression valve
fork oil
fork seals
head bearings
fork bushings=maybe
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:59 PM
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The setup I mentioned is about right for the street for you. I am 200lbs and it is perfect, but I have preload adj to spare. It can be done until you do other stuff. It will transform how your bike rides
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HRCA#1 View Post
Go to www.daughertymotorsports.com , Jamie can fix you front and rear for @ 600 total and it would be a significant performance upgrade over stock. If you want to do the fork springs only it would be closer to $400 and still gets you a new rear shock.

^^ +1. Up your total budget $100 and go with Jamie to get front and rear. I did springs first, and then I finally ordered up a shock from Jamie. Night and day difference over what my bike used to be with the shock alone. Jamie will spring it for your weight, and will set it up for your riding style.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:32 PM
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Oh yeah, beyond my "right now" method, Jamie is awesome to deal with. He hooked me up with a shock. I highly recommend him and have used several suspension guys in 12yrs of racing.
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:14 PM
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If you have any problems setting the stuff up just shoot me a PM & I can help you out with it
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:09 PM
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Thanks everyone! Smokinjoe, I may take your advice and experiment with that to start just to get a feel for how it will change things then decide how much more I want to go down this road.

8541Hawk. Thanks man. Now that you are in my area we should get a ride together sometime. I would love to have you ride my SH and give it a good look over.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:44 AM
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Cool Save yourself

Originally Posted by eersfanpilot View Post
Thanks everyone! Smokinjoe, I may take your advice and experiment with that to start just to get a feel for how it will change things then decide how much more I want to go down this road.

8541Hawk. Thanks man. Now that you are in my area we should get a ride together sometime. I would love to have you ride my SH and give it a good look over.
For God's sake don't start to hang out with 8541Hawk! He will infect you with OCMD and there is no cure. It starts innocently enough you just start feeling something is not right and the next thing you know you're pulling off your carbs!!!
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by HRCA#1 View Post
For God's sake don't start to hang out with 8541Hawk! He will infect you with OCMD and there is no cure. It starts innocently enough you just start feeling something is not right and the next thing you know you're pulling off your carbs!!!
Well... Pulling the carbs of is just the first stages of the disease... It's when you start looking at various other bikes and going "Hmm... That part looks like it might fit on my bike...", that you should be worried... That's a clear sign of the final and terminal stage of the disease...
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:10 AM
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:12 AM
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as a 240 rider with a newly acquired 98 Superhawk, I read the advice that the first mod recommended to the Hawks for larger riders is to the suspension. In this thread it seems fairly straightforward to replace the front springs and oil first if on budget and then the rears, and that the basic suspension upgrade to support my weight should be around 600 dollars. That would be great except I thought I read somewhere else on this forum that the springs can not be changed out independently from other changes that need to be done to the shocks? Sorry I can not be more precise to what was said in that thead, but it made sense. I guess my question is can a simple spring change out to support my weight be done to the hawk or are there other modifications to the shocks and costs not accounted for in the 600 dollar cost mentioned in this thread?

Thanks
Scott
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:25 AM
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In my post I mentioned the even cheaper way to add preload to the springs. The stock shock is sprung to stiff but for you thats less of an issue. The fork will bottom and sag & thats your first target. Some heavier oil would also help damping. Check out my post. (add 3/4in heavy oil and 15mm spacers from pvc)
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Dudimusmaximus View Post
as a 240 rider with a newly acquired 98 Superhawk, I read the advice that the first mod recommended to the Hawks for larger riders is to the suspension. In this thread it seems fairly straightforward to replace the front springs and oil first if on budget and then the rears, and that the basic suspension upgrade to support my weight should be around 600 dollars. That would be great except I thought I read somewhere else on this forum that the springs can not be changed out independently from other changes that need to be done to the shocks? Sorry I can not be more precise to what was said in that thead, but it made sense. I guess my question is can a simple spring change out to support my weight be done to the hawk or are there other modifications to the shocks and costs not accounted for in the 600 dollar cost mentioned in this thread?

Thanks
Scott

Well, theres the cheap way, which is to simply swap the springs, or add spacers and thicker oil like suggested...

That means the springs will not sag down as much, but you aren't getting the correct damping for the stroke, which means the spring act similar to a pogo stick... It's not too noticable if you just add a spacer, or a slightly heavier spring, and a small amount of heavier oil, or a slight increase in oilweight of the total oil, will slow down the oilflow and help...

But if you go to heavy with the oil, or in your case, add correct springs for 240, then you are way, way out from what the shims and valves inside are meant to cope with, and you will get the full "pogo effect"... And going to heavy weight oil, can produce "oil lock", ie the oil cannot move fast enough to keep up with the fork movement... That's usually very painfull, as the fork basically locks solid for a millisecond, which is quite enough to fling you at the scenery as the fork isn't moving any way at all, like a solid metal pipe...

But having Jamie Daugherty, or Hawkrider or any reputable suspension shop fix the front fork for you means that they swap the spring, and swap the shims and valves to match the new spring... Ie factored into that budget of $600 as far as I know... That way you get the correct suspension, with correct spring AND damping...
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
Well, theres the cheap way, which is to simply swap the springs, or add spacers and thicker oil like suggested...

That means the springs will not sag down as much, but you aren't getting the correct damping for the stroke, which means the spring act similar to a pogo stick... It's not too noticable if you just add a spacer, or a slightly heavier spring, and a small amount of heavier oil, or a slight increase in oilweight of the total oil, will slow down the oilflow and help...

But if you go to heavy with the oil, or in your case, add correct springs for 240, then you are way, way out from what the shims and valves inside are meant to cope with, and you will get the full "pogo effect"... And going to heavy weight oil, can produce "oil lock", ie the oil cannot move fast enough to keep up with the fork movement... That's usually very painfull, as the fork basically locks solid for a millisecond, which is quite enough to fling you at the scenery as the fork isn't moving any way at all, like a solid metal pipe...

But having Jamie Daugherty, or Hawkrider or any reputable suspension shop fix the front fork for you means that they swap the spring, and swap the shims and valves to match the new spring... Ie factored into that budget of $600 as far as I know... That way you get the correct suspension, with correct spring AND damping...
I do agree with all of this.

The best thing you can ever do to the bike is get the suspension set up correctly.

IMHO it doesn't matter how good you are, how much power you have or how good your brakes are, if the tires are not on the road.

So not a place to go cheap. It can be done on a budget but it does need to be done if you ever want the bike to work correctly.

I would say contact the members listed in Tweety's post and also ask Jamie about either re-working the stock shock or one of his shock conversions. Then the bike will actually work.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:34 AM
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Tweety,Thanks for the response, that put it all together for me...I had heard someone say around $1800 to do the suspension correctly for this bike considering my size and now it makes sense with you explanation in hand (to avoid the "pogo stick effect"). I have really enjoyed this bike so far and can imagine the effect with the suspension done right.
Thanks
Scott
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:58 PM
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FWIW, the fork needs it much more than the shock. @ 240 the shock will be too soft but it is still worthwhile to do the fork. Consider how many sport bikes are ridden by people of all different sizes with no changes to the suspension.

As mentioned earlier, if you're going to go to the trouble of taking the fork off, send it to Jamie Daugherty. He'll get it dialed for a marginally higher price then just the parts would cost you. Never heard anything but glowing reviews about his work and hope to send him some fork legs this winter myself.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:24 AM
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Thanks for the kind words guys!

Doing suspension on a budget is a real challenge, especially for a bike like the SuperHawk. You really need to break it down to the fundamental problems first. Any good suspension setup requires the correct spring rates to be used. For the VTR the fork springs are much worse than the shock spring, but in the end both would need changed. Springs are not very expensive by themselves and can make an improvement on an otherwise stock suspension. The downside is upgraded springs will exaggerate the VTR's biggest problem - the valving. A rule that I like to remind people of is that springs just hold up the weight, but it's the damping that generates the handling performance of the motorcycle.

If you need some additional details on how to approach getting your bike setup properly please feel free to shoot me a call or email. I'll be happy to help in any way I can!
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
A rule that I like to remind people of is that springs just hold up the weight, but it's the damping that generates the handling performance of the motorcycle.

If you need some additional details on how to approach getting your bike setup properly please feel free to shoot me a call or email. I'll be happy to help in any way I can!
If I read you right Jamie, I could start with a valving kit, and improve my front end ? Just as a starter, I'm 5'10'', 160-165....if this is any help.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack Flash View Post
If I read you right Jamie, I could start with a valving kit, and improve my front end ? Just as a starter, I'm 5'10'', 160-165....if this is any help.

That's the catch-22: the springs aren't the biggest problem but they are needed for the valving to work properly. Just keep in mind that if you change just the springs it shouldn't be where you STOP but rather where you START. The ultimate goal should be a setup that includes both springs and valving upgrades.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
That's the catch-22: the springs aren't the biggest problem but they are needed for the valving to work properly. Just keep in mind that if you change just the springs it shouldn't be where you STOP but rather where you START. The ultimate goal should be a setup that includes both springs and valving upgrades.
I am reading and following with great interest. I am also 165-175 and am on a stock 2002 VTR. I plan on getting Jamie to do the work but for now I have a few other challenges that require money. I want to set this suspension up as well as it can be done until I spring for the upgrade. From what I've read, the shock spring may be too stiff for the front. So the idea is to soften the shock spring and push up the damping while stiffening the front and setting the damping to near all the way? Add a little 30wt oil to the forks and a spacer for preload. I, too need a little help setting up my bike for a month or two 'til I can go for he upgrade.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by twist View Post
I am reading and following with great interest. I am also 165-175 and am on a stock 2002 VTR. I plan on getting Jamie to do the work but for now I have a few other challenges that require money. I want to set this suspension up as well as it can be done until I spring for the upgrade. From what I've read, the shock spring may be too stiff for the front. So the idea is to soften the shock spring and push up the damping while stiffening the front and setting the damping to near all the way? Add a little 30wt oil to the forks and a spacer for preload. I, too need a little help setting up my bike for a month or two 'til I can go for he upgrade.

I wouldn't soften the rear spring - just because it's not matched to the front doesn't mean it's too heavy. The stock spring on the VTR shock is good for about a 150-185lb rider weight with the correct preload.

The valving on both ends has the same fundamental problem - too much high speed and too little low speed damping. The excessive high speed damping generates the harsh feeling and lack of traction. Too little low speed doesn't give the rider enough feedback and creates an overall lack of control. Adding some thick fluid in the forks is a band-aid at best. In reality you are trading a slight improvement in one area while making another area even worse. In this case the 30w fluid would give you a bit (not much, really) more low speed but would make the excessive high speed even more excessive. You are really better off running lighter fluid and cranking the external adjustment all of the way in. I suggest Honda Pro Oils 5w fluid. That's about the best $10 upgrade you can make to the front, but don't expect a miracle!
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
I wouldn't soften the rear spring - just because it's not matched to the front doesn't mean it's too heavy. The stock spring on the VTR shock is good for about a 150-185lb rider weight with the correct preload.

The valving on both ends has the same fundamental problem - too much high speed and too little low speed damping. The excessive high speed damping generates the harsh feeling and lack of traction. Too little low speed doesn't give the rider enough feedback and creates an overall lack of control. Adding some thick fluid in the forks is a band-aid at best. In reality you are trading a slight improvement in one area while making another area even worse. In this case the 30w fluid would give you a bit (not much, really) more low speed but would make the excessive high speed even more excessive. You are really better off running lighter fluid and cranking the external adjustment all of the way in. I suggest Honda Pro Oils 5w fluid. That's about the best $10 upgrade you can make to the front, but don't expect a miracle!
Jamie, thanks for the reply! No, I don't expect a miracle. I am thinking that while I get used to the bike I won't be pushing it too hard so stock suspension should suffice until I get a few things taken care of. I would prefer to have you do the work on the forks but you are a long way from Cal. What are the chances of a local shop doing the job right with your parts? You have a reccomendation for local mechanic? Thanks again for the quick response and for the awesome shift lever.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:05 PM
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You might want to try Dan Kyle or Lindemann Engineering. Both are in CA but I think they will cost you more than Jamie even including shipping both ways. Cost of living in CA vs Indiana and overhead costs etc.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by HRCA#1 View Post
You might want to try Dan Kyle or Lindemann Engineering. Both are in CA but I think they will cost you more than Jamie even including shipping both ways. Cost of living in CA vs Indiana and overhead costs etc.
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