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Advice needed on fork springs setup
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Yo quiero Trackday!
 
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Advice needed on fork springs setup - October 31, 2011, 09:15 AM

Looking for advice/recommendations/opinions on replacing the fork springs for my actual weight, valve kit, and oil. Seems that those that have done it, recommend it; however I dont want to change things just because I got an urge to change things.

Some info on me and the bike, I started doing trackdays this year, and plan on doing between 4-8 trackdays in 2012 at the begginer level by NESBA standards. I also commute on the bike, and ride on weekends, seems like I ride 8K miles a year or so.

The bike is sort of a Frankenstein, its a F4I with 600RR inverted forks, and a 1000RR rear shock/spring; because of this, I am not sure whats the actual weight of the bike, which makes things harder to estimate proper spring rates.

Race Tech recomends the following for the bike weight + my body weight:
Front Springs .900 kg/mm
Rear Spring 13.875kg/mm

What I currently have on the bike:
Front Springs 1.000 kg/mm (might be .759 kg/mm)
Rear Spring 14 kg/mm

Seems to me that I should be ok with the rear spring, but what about the front, is .100 kg/mm (or .141) really worth it? I am sure replacing the oil on the fork is a good idea, but what about a valve kit?

I adjusted the suspension to my body weight, with help/info that I found online, but I am sure that an expert will be able to fine tune it even more given that I dont have any experience on it, and I was just following online info.

so in your opnion/experience, is it worth investing money on springs and a valve kit?
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October 31, 2011, 09:29 AM

If you can get the sag set properly with your current springs, I wouldn't be bothered by a spring that is a little heavy in the front. Where are you at with your preload in the front? Are you somewhere in the middle of the range, or near the end of adjustment?

Valving can make a huge difference, but the stock damping is adequate up to a pretty good intermediate to advanced pace. There is no doubt that it is much nicer to ride on higher quality damping components though. Your call if you want to spend the money. Many times you will get that investment back in reduced tire wear and general satisfaction in the ride quality compared to stock. After being spoiled with Ohlins and Penske shocks and the perfect tire wear they gave me, I personally wouldn't have a track/race bike without good aftermarket suspension.

The other real advantage to a aftermarket shock is fade and consistency. A stock shock often just gets hot and fades over the course of a session/race, versus a quality shock maintaining it's damping.

That said, I have seen plenty of guys go pretty damn well on stock stuff. They were usually lighter (less than 175) guys though...


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Last edited by Todd; October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM..
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October 31, 2011, 10:18 AM

You have to get the spring right before valving. Right now it is set to stiff and to try to adjust the valving would not be good. Get the right springs in and then see if you can adjust the stock settings. I tend to run my bikes loose a bit so I can feel it move. Check your sag and play with the settings a bit. Turn just one setting at a time and turn it 5 clicks. If it makes the bike handle worse go 10 clicks the other way. You will learn what each setting does to the handling and how to better the bike to suit you and the track.


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October 31, 2011, 10:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd View Post
If you can get the sag set properly with your current springs, I wouldn't be bothered by a spring that is a little heavy in the front. Where are you at with your preload in the front? Are you somewhere in the middle of the range, or near the end of adjustment?

Valving can make a huge difference, but the stock damping is adequate up to a pretty good intermediate to advanced pace. There is no doubt that it is much nicer to ride on higher quality damping components though. Your call if you want to spend the money. Many times you will get that investment back in reduced tire wear and general satisfaction in the ride quality compared to stock. After being spoiled with Ohlins and Penske shocks and the perfect tire wear they gave me, I personally wouldn't have a track/race bike without good aftermarket suspension.
The sag is somewhere in the middle, on the front and the rear is very close to its "softer/min" limit. I like the idea of wearing tires evenly, but at 3.5 trackdays in 2011, my tires look pretty good/new.

Trust me, I would love to spend the cash and see what happens, but I dont want to fall under the mentality that it will be better just because, when in reality it might be smarter to invest in track time. The tire wear sounds like a good selling point, aside from the mental satisfaction, but at this point, I am barely using my tires after 3.5 trackdays. I hear people up here mention that they go through tires after 4 trackdays, but thats not the case with me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge131 View Post
You have to get the spring right before valving. Right now it is set to stiff and to try to adjust the valving would not be good. Get the right springs in and then see if you can adjust the stock settings. I tend to run my bikes loose a bit so I can feel it move. Check your sag and play with the settings a bit. Turn just one setting at a time and turn it 5 clicks. If it makes the bike handle worse go 10 clicks the other way. You will learn what each setting does to the handling and how to better the bike to suit you and the track.
I am leaning towards leaving it as it is, and playing with the settings at the track, just for my own learning process. I am afraid that I am too new to the track to feel any difference in how the suspensions will react when making changes to it. I don't know, I might be wrong tho...

Thanks for your advice Todd & dodge131, I got some personal mental debate to settle lol!
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November 1, 2011, 11:05 AM

My $0.02:
Play with your bike as is for now, but def get some help with setting it up. Wander up to R&R or MHK or hook up with some experienced folks at the track. I see a lot of dudes ride the snot out of stockers on the track. Old bikes too. If and when you play with it at the track just make sure to write down your starting settings and don't make more than 1 adjustment at a time.
Take it as you will, but my biggest reason is that if you do really get serious about track time most likely you will get a different bike sooner or later. Unless you have the $ and want to, why toss money (springs/ valves, etc) at a bike that you may get rid of in a year or two. If you plan on keeping this one then go for it. Just keep in mind that guting the internals can cost around $1000 for front and rear, and that is if you bring in the components off the bike.


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November 1, 2011, 02:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Evil Twin View Post
My $0.02:
Play with your bike as is for now, but def get some help with setting it up. Wander up to R&R or MHK or hook up with some experienced folks at the track. I see a lot of dudes ride the snot out of stockers on the track. Old bikes too. If and when you play with it at the track just make sure to write down your starting settings and don't make more than 1 adjustment at a time.
Take it as you will, but my biggest reason is that if you do really get serious about track time most likely you will get a different bike sooner or later. Unless you have the $ and want to, why toss money (springs/ valves, etc) at a bike that you may get rid of in a year or two. If you plan on keeping this one then go for it. Just keep in mind that guting the internals can cost around $1000 for front and rear, and that is if you bring in the components off the bike.
Appreciate your .02 cents

I agree with you 100%. In fact, up to 5 months ago, my plan was to upgrade the bike this winter. Plan was to wait for the winter specials, and upgrade. Thats now out of the questions for two reasons, one of them because I still can beat the F4i some more, and learn from it at the track.

The other thing that I realized by what others recommended on this post is that I need to learn/better understand my suspension, and what to look for when upgrading its components. Honestly, if anybody was to ask me "How is the suspension behaving?", I wouldnt be able to answer that question.

Plan is to have a suspension person take a look at it, go over my settings, and see how far off I set it up. From there, I would test/adjust during my 2012 track days.
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November 1, 2011, 03:27 PM

Chris up at Manassas Honda/Kawasaki did mine over the summer. He lives and breaths suspension. Call 'em up and ride up there one day. Takes about 30-45 minutes and it'll give you a place to start.


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November 1, 2011, 03:36 PM

I rode on stock suspension components with just stiffer springs up front for a while. Just last year I went for a complete cartridge kit and penske rear shock. Honestly it was a welcome move for me since my suspension was getting beat up with my 300lbs ass with gear but I was able to get considerably faster on the stock stuff before needing to make the move. If anything just get your suspension components looked over/serviced and ride on until you feel you're outriding the suspension.

Go see Rick at RnR and get your suspension set. He did my springs and adjustments on the regular and I was able to improve each time until I was fast enough to outride the stockers.


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