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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-26-2018, 05:26 PM   #411
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Default Re: Shiny's adventure with dirtbikes

Nailed it Full faith in the front tire, finally.

Pleasantly surprised at myself with this, but I gotta go back in to that shock and make a big change. I know what I want now. It's all a learning process. Pics later, but for now wifey wants me to put my toys away and take her out. I hope she's in the mood to talk suspension....
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-26-2018, 06:51 PM   #412
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Default Re: Shiny's adventure with dirtbikes

My Mrs wants to talk bikes about as much as I want to talk about her job.

Striving to remain dynamic in an ever-evolving environment and shit like that.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-26-2018, 11:32 PM   #413
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Alright, so all the stuff I did before was to increase oil flow. Went out for a test ride and things were obviously better. I have three particular areas where the front end harshness really deflects the bike around, so I was focusing my tests there. Jolts through the bars were greatly reduced, but there was still some deflection. I had reduced from 12 shims down to 6 and then down to 4. I was going to take out 2 more shims and see how that felt. But when I got the cartridge out I noticed the oil flow upstream of the parts I just modified.

Here's the cartridge. Notice the o-ring that seals it to the cartridge tube. That gives you an idea of how much room you have for oil to flow between the cartridge tube and the retainer of the cartridge itself. Not much at all.



View from the top where the oil flow is coming from.



I wasn't seeing a huge improvement from my last efforts because there was a restriction upstream. Well, at least that was the idea. I really am just taking shots in the dark on this stuff. But the plan was hatched for even more oil flow. If you gut the stock shim stack and run the external clicker wide open and see no appreciable difference, I think it's safe to assume the fork is hydrolocking elsewhere.

Started slimming down the retainer since it was the obstruction. It's only job is to guide the shims when the top plate unloads from the shims, so there's basically zero force here. Wasn't scared to trim it down. This shows ehre I initially filed the corners down to give an idea of the amount of material removed.



Probably hard to visualize, but trimming the retainer down left the original spring exposed. The spring just lets the top plate float away from the shim stack when the fork is going the other direction. Not a super critical piece, so I made new springs from a big box of random springs I bought years ago. Stock on the right, new on the left.



Difference.





Slapped everything back together and set the external compression adjustment wide open. I also am only running 2 shims at this point ( 0.005" thickness). Stock fork springs and oil level at 116mm. Oil is BelRay 5w which is 17.1 [email protected] Honda calls for "Fork Oil 5", which is 17 [email protected] Close enough fer me.

I achieved what I wanted, for the most part. There's still some high speed harshness, but I really think I'm asking for the impossible at this point. When I say high speed I'm talking about hitting 8" logs at speed in 3rd gear. That's really asking alot from any fork. But lowspeed stuff is fooking brilliant now. When I say I achieved what I wanted, I mean I actually got the compression base damping soft enough that it's borderline TOO soft, which means I can now use the external clickers to fine tune

My three tests areas:

Hillclimb- One fairly steep hill about 60-70 degrees, but only about 30' tall. There's an exposed root about 3/4 way up that runs at a sharp angle ( about 20 degrees) to the tires. Before, hitting that root would always cause the bike to deflect and veer off-course. Only way around it was to wheelie over it and let the back end deal with it. Wheelies are pretty risky at that angle, but now the front tire absorbs the root. You can feel it slightly, but the bars don't move. Win.

Switchbacks over rocks- Slight uphill s-curves littered with baseball to cantaloupe sized rocks. Always beat me to death and had the bike darting around like mad. Terrified to stand through this area since the bike could pitch any direction at any time, often jerking the pegs out from under my feet. Now the bike tracks right over with no deflection. So smooth I'm running 1 gear higher and not even standing. And the shock is still awful. Cadillac.

Downhill roots- Easy to imagine: long downhill with lots of exposed roots. Front tire always wanted to deflect on the roots and it felt like the bike would jack-knife around and kill you. Flying down that hill under brakes ( more pressure on front tire) with total confidence now.

General cornering is awesome. I have full faith in the front tire for the first time. The front is sticking so well I found myself losing the back several times. I can feel the forks compress and load in to the corner, but they don't jerk back and cause the tire to push like before. If they find a root or bump midcorner, they deal with and don't kick back.

Jumps and fast whoops? Hell if I know. I don't do mx, I do single track. But hauling ass through pastures at 60mph is rock solid and worry free. Even landing wheelies is more composed. No more accidentally setting the front down too hard and having the bike start shaking it's head or bouncing off-course.

I think I felt the forks bottom twice, but the shock is so bad it's hard to say 100%. I can't believe how much feedback I'm getting from the fork while I can feel the ass end pinballing around since the rear tire never can absorb hits correctly. I quickly found myself just drifitng the rear around corners, sitting way up on the tank and just guiding the bike with the bars. Sorry for the novel, but I'm over the moon with this bike once again.

Rear shock is currently apart and awaiting surgery when I get in tomorrow evening. I love this stuff!
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-27-2018, 08:31 AM   #414
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Default Re: Shiny's adventure with dirtbikes

If the bottoming becomes a problem you can try increasing the oil level a bit.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-27-2018, 10:51 AM   #415
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Default Re: Shiny's adventure with dirtbikes

Not really sure if it was bottoming or not. It wasn't slamming bottom like the KLR used to do. I was running harder than ever before and was actually too excited to really analyze everything. The comfort is there finally and I can fine tune the rest later. I really need to get the shock sorted first, though.

Chatting a bit with a guy on another forum that has a XR4 in Iceland. He posted some pretty promising shim stacks he is running in his shock. I think I'll follow his lead for my next adjustment. His stacks look logical to me.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-27-2018, 03:42 PM   #416
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Default Re: Shiny's adventure with dirtbikes

This is very interesting! Aside from the usual service items and adding shims to springs, I've not delved into forks. My clickers are maxed out so now I'm thinking of meddling.

Striving to remain dynamic in an ever-evolving environment and shit like that.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-27-2018, 11:25 PM   #417
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Originally Posted by RS_Raz View Post
This is very interesting! Aside from the usual service items and adding shims to springs, I've not delved into forks. My clickers are maxed out so now I'm thinking of meddling.
Which way are you maxed? Full in or full out? What's the bike doing that you don't like? Are you still running offroad internal for the street? I bet you fork dive like mad under any decent amount of front brake lol.

Go for it, buddy. With what all you've done with your engine porting and carb work, suspension will be a breeze. The only tricky bits are certain aspects of particular components. Like the Showa shock on my XR has a peened over shaft to retain the nut on. If oyu remove the peening incorrectly you can ruin the shock. But there are also repair nuts if you do get carried away ($10 for a nut, but not so bad considering).

It's all common sense once you get inside. It's the most rewarding thing I've stumbled in to for a long time. I honestly looking forward to building my CB and my XL just so I can tune the suspension on them. Only costs some time and a little fluid. If you clean things well enough you can typically reuse your fluid in between adjustments anyway. No point in wasting 2hr oil fluids.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-27-2018, 11:34 PM   #418
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Default Re: Shiny's adventure with dirtbikes

This is cool as shit. I've never seen anyone go after their suspension like this, everybody just replaces stuff with other stuff.

I'd rep ya if it'd let me, guess I gotta spread it around a bit

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-28-2018, 12:24 AM   #419
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Progression of the rear shock tuning. I won't type out a bunch of shims sizes. It's not really important and it's tedious for no reason. Visual comparisons are all we needs.

Here's the nonsense Showa and Racetech started me out with. Stock on the right, RT on the left. Comp up front, rebound in back.



The RT setup was an improvement, but still too harsh under low speed compression and high speed rebound still bucked badly. RT had 12 shims in the first comp stage and I reduced that to 8. helped, but could be better. Left the rebound alone for now.

That's still a ton of metal to have to bend before fluid starts flowing.


Been talking with a guy who sent me these pics.

Insane difference in valving between year models. This explains why some guys will complain about harshness while other guys call them crazy.



The same fella also showed me his current compression setup.




Sounds like we have similar riding styles/ terrain. He said he considered his bike plush and was happy with it, but also admitted his external compression clicker is full open and figures he could have possibly gone with less comp damping. I decided to follow this lead, but with a twist. I copied his comp stack to the letter, but I split the first stage in to two stages. Instead of 6 shims like his first stage I split it in to 4 and 2, ending up with 3 stages. Ran a thin belt ( 1 shim) between stage 1 and 2 and thicker belt (2 shims) between stages 2 and 3. My logic was that I don't jump and don't need that much high sped comp damping. I want plushness and compliance foremost, high speed stuff can hang out in the shadows incase I do something stupid.

Looked like this.



On the rebound stack I loaded that sucker for bear. I'm done with conservative adjustments. I don't care if I go too far. I can always readjust and big changes make it easy to read what's happening. I did 3 stages on the rebound, too. I only have the rebound buck on high speed hits and didn't want to bike to suffer everywhere else. Slitting it in to stages helps it be more adaptive to the speed I'm wanting to run at that time. At least thaat's the idea...

Rebound damping like you mean it.



I'm very happy with this compression stack. Very plush now with no low speed harshness at all. I was riding over ditches in middle of 3rd gear and they felt like little ripples. rocks and roots are all but disappearing now. Any branch under 3-4" in diameter can hardly be felt when riding over it at any speed. I'm thrilled!

I'm still feeling some high speed rebound bucking, which is so damn annoying. It's improved, but only slightly. The linkage on these bikes is really unique and folds over itself in funny ways. I'm wondering how much is just inherent to the linkage design? I was running with the rebound clicker full open, so I'll play with external settings tomorrow and see what develops.

Interesting rabbit trail. Racetech suggested to run 10mm preload on the rear spring. Didn't say anything about a particular sag dimension, just 10mm preload. Decided to try it for poops and hahas and it gave me 105mm of laden sag, which is right where I was running it before, so that should not have affected fork rake any. Interesting part is the bike started shaking it's head a few times today. Not sure what's happening. Charge hard in to a corner, on the front brake and feel the forks load ( but not dive hard) and maintain steady throttle through the turn. Coming out of the turn I starting hammering on the throttle and the bike starts shaking it's head while I am straightening up. I tightened the steering damper a fair amount and it nearly cured it, but you can still feel some slight bar wobble exiting hard under throttle. I'm also trusting the front much more than ever before, which has me really getting up on the tank and loading the front in to corners. I couldn't do this before because the rebound was so always bucking, so I tried to keep weight rearward to keep the rear down.

I don't know if the forks are compressing and not rebounding quick enough, causing the rake to steepen and headshake- or- if I'm just on the throttle harder than normal and the front tire is floating. Might trying tightening up the comp clickers on the fork and loosening up the rebound to see what happens. But I'm going in to and out of corners so much harder, and sitting on the bike differently, that I'm dealing with new variables now.

I doubt y'all are interested in all this rambling. This suspension work is so much fun, but on top of the it's amazing how light it makes the bike feel. Thinking about spending a bunch of money on lightening a bike or making more power? Don't. Tune your suspension and you'll find power you never felt before.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 08-28-2018, 12:33 AM   #420
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Originally Posted by mcantar View Post
This is cool as shit. I've never seen anyone go after their suspension like this, everybody just replaces stuff with other stuff.

I'd rep ya if it'd let me, guess I gotta spread it around a bit
That's high praise coming from a man that's built the things you have. Thanks!

Replacing stuff gets expensive and only give you what you want if you get lucky, or spend enough. Fiddling with stuff is free and you can eventually get to where you want to be
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