Suspension Experts? - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Suspension Experts?

Alright, bear with me here, this is far from objective.
A few months ago, I get a zx10. Its great. The bike can do no wrong. Just point and twist the throttle. Bumps dont matter, well there was one bump that mattered, only 1 in my 100 miles weekend ride. First time on i got both tires scrubbed to the edge.
So I take it to track, and wreck it. Look at everything.. Suspension doesnt seem to be damaged. Forks look streight.
So I fix it.. Takes a little time. Then I realize I got learn how to ride all over again. Some how my body got stuck in making all the mistakes it didnt earlier.
So I go on the quest of relearning, but its harder. The bike just doesnt inspire confidence. I thought it was a mental thing, untill two friends in a row told me its "Stiffer than morning wood"
Ok lets go after the settings (they were still on default, since I'm 150lbs) Ended up backing the forks 7 clicks. 5 on rebound. Could use more. The rear is backed off half a turn from full soft. Its better, but small bumps in corners still upset the chassis, mainly from the rear wheel. So WTF?
Did I used to go faster just by courage alone. Did it always upset, and I just didnt back off? Or could the wreck damage the suspension so it cannot react as fast? I'm confused.
I dont know if this has anything to do with it or not. I look at the forks the other day, and see that ring of oil and dirt around the lower legs. Like they are just barely starting to leak. Or maybe picked up oil elsewhere. So I wipe it all off, and with the front brake down, compress the forks pretty good. Lo and behold, there is a barely visible ring of oil on the lower tube, where the seal changed direction... You can barely tell, its just a tad darker than the already dark tubes.
I plan on rebuilding the forks, and shock this winter. I can check everything then. What should I look for? any of this sound familuar?

Is it all in my head?

Vash is offline  
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Well its not all in my head. Borrowed a budies 600RR. he has it set very very wierd. Preload to the max, and compression and rebound pretty soft. That and he weighs like 130.. even tho the settings were stiff as hell, the bike didnt budge as mine does. It just bounced about, where as mine kind of bucks, at lower frequency but greater amplitude. Either way I was immidiatly going faster on his bike, not being familuar with it, than I was on mine.

Of course the fact that throttle control means a great deal less on a 600 had something to do with it.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 04:10 PM
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Should have gotten a 600 Vash, 1k to much for you.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 07:51 PM
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Hi jrog24-

Have you seen some of Vash's riding pictures that he has posted from track days? He knows how to ride a 1000cc motorcycle plenty well, I'm thinking we need to concentrate on the original suspension questions...

~ Blue Jays ~
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 08:01 PM
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Originally posted by jrog24
Should have gotten a 600 Vash, 1k to much for you.
Ya dude, i dont think i've ever seen vash post a question, hes the one i rely on to answer mine :S
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 09:14 PM
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One thing you probably know is that oil rings on the fork legs tells you one or both fork seals are shot. After that prang on the circuit one can pretty well suspect it.

Not that it is going to solve all your problems, still one answer.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 09:26 PM
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Hi All-

Fork oil could also have soaked the brakepads and dramatically reduced their effectiveness.

~ Blue Jays ~
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 12:01 AM
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But I bet Vash will admit he may want to trade in his liter for a middleweight.

Don't you have warranty Vash, wouldn't the dealer do a free check up for you?
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 01:13 AM
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What up, V? Let's start at the beginning...Kawasaki suspension is overly stiff, with not enough low-speed damping, too much high-speed damping, and woefully inadequate rebound. Always have been. They just changed suspension suppliers from KYB to Showa, which should help future buyers, but doesn't do anything for us...

Change the fork oil, and replace the seals. As far as the rear shock goes, if you're going to take the time to remove it, you should replace it with a quality piece.

Check out
for ZX10 tech............
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally posted by jrog24
Should have gotten a 600 Vash, 1k to much for you.
Actually, yes you are right. A liter is a raging beast, that I constantly have to fight to control. And while my throttle hand is getting pretty good, It still takes a considerably ammount of attention to keep the rear tire from sliding out in a corner. Thats what I loved in a 600, is that I have more of my attention to spend on the road, since you can be as ham fisted with the gas as you want. That and the front wheel doesnt try to kiss the sky on every corner exit... Plus they are so much fun to hunt thru the tranny for power. If I could I'd trade my bike for an RR right now. But I cant, so I'm just going to have to wait and buy one...

My suspension is showa. What really puzzles me, is that I did not notice any of those problem prior to my wreck. I dont know if they didnt exist then, or if I simply didnt care, becouse I felt invincible (and coming from a much worse suspended bike).
Do you think the fork oil could have gotten contaminated due to the (possibly) leaking seal? Or is it that the damage seal created more stiction (is that a word?)? As for replacing the rear shock, I'll consider it, but it will most likely be out of my price range, as I'm starting to realize the buity of dampers. A decent shock will run about $1k right?

Z fanatic:
I dont trust the dealer farther than I can spit. They got some highschool kids working in the shop. I'd much rather do my own work, learn all about suspensions. After all, how hard can it be? (Famous last words)

The leak is real small. If the forks were not coated in that black stuff (silicon nitrate?) and were just silver, I wouldnt not have seen it. The ring is not even left every time I bounce the forks, just sometime, and its really really light. There is never a full drop of liquid. The pads are fine, and the bike stops very very well.

There are a number of things that could've coused the to go. The "prang", being bottomed out in my truck for several days, my recent fascination with wheelies, and a few BP ones that didnt come down all that smoothly. Who knows. I dont mind replacing the seals, But could they have anything to do with my suspension feeling stiffer?

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