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Improving Stock Suspension (Front)

Old 07-29-2007, 07:59 AM
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Improving Stock Suspension (Front)

I'm doing a track day at Cresson, TX on August 20th. Just ordered Pilot Powers, and a Race Tech Gold fork kit. Still deciding on Vesrah or EBC pads for the front...Spiegler stainless lines already installed.

The Question: I'm 163 lbs., probably an easy 175 with leathers etc. Should I also replace the fork springs...and if so, what would be best setup(s)? I think the bike is setup for 180 pounders stock.

Rear Shock: I can't afford to replace it, so where should i set it? I know that I'm kind of trying to polish a turd as far as suspension goes, but I can't afford a new shock and front end swap, yet. I will let the track day determine how far I fall off the deep end...

Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:24 AM
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YES YES YES to the fork springs! Go to the racetech site and figure out which ones are right for you, at 175 I THINK it's the .85's, but don't quote me on that. Fork Springs will make a world of difference on this bike. If you got the gold kit already then you have to remove the forks and drain the oil if I'm not mistaken. Go ahead and get good oil, also from racetech, when you do all this work. You will thank youself everyday for doing it.

As far as the rear shock, Greg knows more than I do, but I think you can shim it and make a noticable difference. Just make sure it is set up right for the way you want it.

I can't give an opnion on the brake pads as I haven't tried either of those brands. They are both decent companies though so I would guess you'd be good either way.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:40 AM
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Thanks Drew. I'll check the website and get the specs dialed in.

Next question...how tough is it to actually change oil/springs, and install the Race Tech kit? Seems like doing all at once is the way to go. I'm somewhat mechanically inclined, however I'm not a watch repairman and those kits look like giant watch parts to me. I really need to learn how to do this myself but don't want to open up a can of worms I can't close. Also seems like a tough job to have someone bail me out on if I have to go running with my tail between my legs

If I'm armed with a service manual and the Race Tech instructions, and patience...should I be OK, or will I also need to invest in a bunch of custom tools?

Keep 'em coming...
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:00 AM
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Well, you'll definitely need a torque wrench. It would also be smart to use an impact hammer (air, electric doesn't matter) for removing the allen screw in the bottom of the fork tube, which means you'd also need a long allen socket set. This can be important because you don't want to strip that screw, and it's in there pretty tight. If you watch the Racetech video, he'll tell ya.

Also, a couple other tough things involve getting through the instructions. One, is that it might take a second to figure out where to drill your relief hole (which reminds me, you'll need a 1.3mm drill bit). Two, is that picking the right shim stack isn't always easy, in addition to the fact that figuring out which shim is which can be tough, if not impossible, without a caliper (which can be had at Harbor Freight Tools for like 5 or 10 bucks when it's on sale). And three, which screwed me up once, is that getting the shims all lined up is tough when it comes to torquing the bolt back on. The first one went fine for me, but the second one I had to take apart because I couldn't get [one of the washers from the original shim stack, I think] to go around the step on the gold valve. If it went back in like that, the shims would have been preloaded incorrectly, and the valve wouldn't have worked right.

Anyway, if you can borrow those tools, and get yourself a wide open work area with little dust and good light, where you can clean everything well and spread out everything you need to be working on, you should be okay. I'd recommend giving yourself extra time, and posting up on here if you get hung up. Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Scoober. I've got all the tools you mentioned. Still sounds a litltle hairy but I think I'll go for it in a couple weeks when I get the parts/have the time to focus.
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Old 07-29-2007, 02:19 PM
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Send straight to Racetech?

Anybody ever send their stuff into RaceTech? I emailed them on cost, turnaround etc.
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Old 07-29-2007, 04:08 PM
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My turnaround time is 1 day if you want me to install them. I'll charge you $75 if you provide oil, springs, and GV kit.

It's not that hard to do, but it's wayyyyy easier if you've done it before. I can do a fork in about an hour, maybe 45 minutes. Figure an entire afternoon if you've never done it before.

FWIW, if you have time to cancel the order for the Gold Valves I can do a better job with modified stock parts and a new shim stack. I'll still need the springs but I prefer to use my own oil because that's what I valve for. This option will be $225.

I've massaged forks for nuhawk and Stumpy on the forum. If you have any questions about quality of work you can probably ask them. PM me if interested.
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:19 PM
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Yoda? work on MY bike? Sweet!

PM on the way....
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:40 PM
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Let Greg do it his way for $75.... that's a deal... you will be glad you did !

I did mine w/o ever having done forks before.
Had to go back in 3 times before I finally got it all just right...DOH !
Did get a fork education tho
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:04 PM
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Yep, Greg and I have been emailing back and forth and that is the plan. Just trying to work out minutia on what to order and find out the status on the Gold kit I ordered. Actually, Greg asked me about the roads we ride around here. Being a Dallasite, how would you describe local roads?
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:19 PM
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+1

Of course shipping both ways is involved but $75 is a really great deal for doing it. I've shipped forks from Texas to the east coast for about $35 or so.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:42 AM
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Yep let him do it he will help you set it up and all I can say is why did I wait so long to get my forks done its like a trackday after its done you go man that was the best cash I ever spent. well have to start work just got done with a quick drive to work nothing like hitting 100 - 125 mph on the way to work to wake you up better than java.


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Old 07-30-2007, 07:49 AM
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Even though the Race Tech site mentions ordering a certain spring rate for your body weight I ordered a rate much less than recommended and I'm glad I did. Much better than stock and not as harsh as what it would be with a stiffer spring.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cscrawford View Post
Yep, Greg and I have been emailing back and forth and that is the plan. Just trying to work out minutia on what to order and find out the status on the Gold kit I ordered. Actually, Greg asked me about the roads we ride around here. Being a Dallasite, how would you describe local roads?
We ride the country roads to the north east of Dallas.
Also ones to the SW of Dallas. Both about an hour out of town
They're OK with a few twisties, little traffic, and on occasional law enforcement officer t you have to watch for.

Best roads in this part of the country are in the Texas Hill Country (SSW of DFW) and SE Oklahoma/SW Arkansas. Both several hours away
That's why I like riding the tracks more than country roads around here...it's safer & more turns!
Here's some Hill country roads & a tour map





Arkansas/Oklahoma




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Old 07-30-2007, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 3D02 View Post
Even though the Race Tech site mentions ordering a certain spring rate for your body weight I ordered a rate much less than recommended and I'm glad I did. Much better than stock and not as harsh as what it would be with a stiffer spring.
If you're gonna ride it on the track get the race tech recommended springs.
I put the street recommendation in mine & was fine with it.
Does your body weight always remain the same?
Mine varies 10-20 lbs from year to year.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:41 AM
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I just talked with Racetech and told the guy I was 164 in the buff but 185 with my gear. He said go with the .95 for 185...even though they recommend w/out gear on their sight??? So...he firmly (no pun intended) recommended .95 on the springs. the setting for 164 pounds was .85. I think I may go with a .90. Greg is going to polish up the tubes so hopefully lowering stiction will get them moving a little easier.

I've ridden NW Arkansas but need to hit the local stuff. I figured you had to drive an hour...to find the good stuff.
I'm with you on the track. Where I live I've seen drunk illegals literally airborne blasting through an intersection perpendicular to me. My street has a 30mph limit. They're going over 70...airborne, right through the stop sign. Just like in the movies!
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 3D02 View Post
Even though the Race Tech site mentions ordering a certain spring rate for your body weight I ordered a rate much less than recommended and I'm glad I did. Much better than stock and not as harsh as what it would be with a stiffer spring.
Spring rate has little to do with harshness. Valving on the compression damping circuit determines harshness and should be varied depending on spring rate. Spring rate determines if you will have the correct amount of sag or not.
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:20 PM
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Greg, what can he do about the rear without buying an expensive shock?
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:10 PM
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Other than spend a month in Iraq with the Army (shameless poke atcha, bro) he can set it up the best he can to match the front. After the front is done he'll be begging his wife/girlfriend to spend the money on the shock.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:12 PM
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That makes sense. I guess with a front end off a different bike you have all that adjustability externally on the fork? So Greg, if you were me would you go .85, .90, or .95 for the springs? I need to order a set tomorrow.

As far as a rear shock. No ladies to cramp the budget, just reality. I'm hoping because I'm close to stock weight recommendation it will work as well for me as it possibly can as a stocker. I don't even want to know what a nice Penske/Ohlins runs (well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to know.

Cure diabetes and I'll sign up for a tour. Cure diabetes and get me in an Apache and you can have my bike, too.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:55 PM
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.90

Do you always ride fully geared up? I don't. I know my leathers weigh like 15#. You're also doing most of your riding on the street, yes? You'll need more sag (less preload) on the springs on the street than on the track. The stiffer the spring, the less INTERNAL preload you will have in order to get correct sag numbers. Yet, the guideline is to have about 10mm internal preload on these forks.
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:27 AM
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Is this thread still open?

Greg, are you still offering up your services? If not, does anyone know anyboy in Minnesota who does suspension work. I would like to do the suspension this year as my upgrade.
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Old 02-15-2008, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cscrawford View Post

As far as a rear shock. No ladies to cramp the budget, just reality. I'm hoping because I'm close to stock weight recommendation it will work as well for me as it possibly can as a stocker. I don't even want to know what a nice Penske/Ohlins runs (well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to know..
With tax $800-$1100 for a nice three way adjustable. It is super pricey (considering you can buy a used SH for $2500) but well worth the money for the ride you get out of it.

Lots of people will say that you don't need to mess with the Superhawks suspension.
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DocPigskin17 View Post
Greg, are you still offering up your services? If not, does anyone know anyboy in Minnesota who does suspension work. I would like to do the suspension this year as my upgrade.
Yep! Sure am. PM me and we'll get something worked out.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:03 PM
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Ok, kind of thread jacking, and I apologize... this is more of a rant.

Wow, that's kinda cool to go for a ride through the country side... I live in CA and it's pretty cool, but what I wouldn't give to go for a ride somewhere back east during a nice spring day... that'd be cool...

Sorry about that, let's get back to the topic...

KG


Originally Posted by CNI Dawg View Post
We ride the country roads to the north east of Dallas.
Also ones to the SW of Dallas. Both about an hour out of town
They're OK with a few twisties, little traffic, and on occasional law enforcement officer t you have to watch for.

Best roads in this part of the country are in the Texas Hill Country (SSW of DFW) and SE Oklahoma/SW Arkansas. Both several hours away
That's why I like riding the tracks more than country roads around here...it's safer & more turns!
Here's some Hill country roads & a tour map





Arkansas/Oklahoma




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Old 02-15-2008, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CNI Dawg View Post
Let Greg do it his way for $75.... that's a deal... you will be glad you did !

Wow, so I shouldn't have been charging $50 all this time? Man, maybe I should raise my prices!

Last edited by JamieDaugherty; 02-15-2008 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 02-16-2008, 09:07 AM
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Jamie,

$75 for installing gold valves is pretty reasonable. That's only about 1 hour of work charged for about 2 hours actual.
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Old 02-16-2008, 09:45 AM
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Had my '99 front suspension redone with racetec gold kit at www.piperperformance.com in NRH, Texas for around $200.00. Wow!!!! what a difference. not sure which ports and springs he got, gut dang! He said the stock inards from Honda are a joke (as will you when you ride one that's been done). Had him do my ape cct's and some minor stuff too. Good mech...
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Old 02-16-2008, 10:53 AM
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The stock shimstack and springs are a joke. The valves themselves can be made to work very well.
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Old 02-16-2008, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Hawkrider View Post
Jamie,

$75 for installing gold valves is pretty reasonable. That's only about 1 hour of work charged for about 2 hours actual.
Hey, I'm not ******* you at all. I'm just wondering if I should bump it up a little. A person needs to have some self-respect you know!
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