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Race Tech's Suspension Bible Review
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100% Kawasaki Biased
 
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Race Tech's Suspension Bible Review - January 30, 2013, 08:49 AM

For those of you that donít know me, I have a í09 KX450F that I mainly ride up at Taskerís Gap and a few other local places around the area. Admittedly, I am a bit of a dweeb for motorcycles and understanding why they are as awesome as they are, but I also like going fast and turning my own wrenches whenever I can. When I first bought the bike, I thought it would be perfect for me. Tons of power (like my 10R), almost always on the podium in its time and it even has FI! Turns out I am not as fast as a professional racer (YET! go figureÖ) and I mainly ride in rocky conditions at relatively lower speeds (compared with MX racing). Iím more at home ripping down trails than I am jumping triples on an MX track.

My bike was geared to go way too fast and was dampened way too firm for the type of riding I was doing (even with the low speed compression adjuster all the way out on the forks and shock). I put the biggest rear sprocket I could on the back and the smallest countershaft sprocket on the front. This helped my rock crawling ability and helped keep me from stalling all the time or frying the clutch through the rock gardens. Now I needed to do something about the suspension, which was deflecting like crazy on the rocks and I would almost never use more than 2/3 of the available travel (with the correct springs for my weight). It took a toll on my upper body and my hands, too.

I was told by a number of people on this forum, many of whom I ride with regularly, to pick up the
Race Tech's Suspension Bible Race Tech's Suspension Bible
Race Tech's Suspension Bible Race Tech's Suspension Bible
$23 from Amazon. Iíve finally read through almost the entire book and I have to say that it has blown my mind over and over again. Concepts that I was subconsciously aware of are now fully understood, and even though I have rebuilt a number of forks over the years, I now know exactly what is going on inside of them (not just how to replace the oil, springs, bushings and seals). Other great topics are covered in the book, too. Things like actual traction vs. rider perceived traction, countershaft sprocket placement and its impact on suspension geometry, anti squat forces from acceleration and how that can be used to help stiffen up the rear shock on a hard landing or to add force off of the face of a jump (dirt bike). Very interesting stuff that makes a lot of sense when you think about it, but I would not have thought about it detail unless I had a trusted source to discuss it with (BTW Ė Paul Thede and Lee Parks are the authors of the book Ė You may of heard of Lee if you have read
Total Control Total Control
Total ControlTotal Control
, one of the first books I read when I got my first street bike).

The bottom line is purchasing this book was one of the best investments I have made in years and it has made me appreciate my hobby/passion/sport even more than I did before I read it. I highly recommend you pick up a copy and read it yourself.


You can live in your car, but you can't race your house.

'07 ZX-10R - 156 RWHP/182 MPH
'09 KX450F - VCHSS 29F
'85 ZL-900 Eliminator
'01 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'06 636 (Sold)
'99 ZX-6R (Sold)
'94 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'99 YZ-250 (Sold)
'73 CL 450 (Sold)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Jpc...eature=related
http://videos.streetfire.net/video/H...bud_408656.htmfeature=related

The difference between men and boys is that boys make excuses and men make changes.

Last edited by Thomas; January 30, 2013 at 08:53 AM..
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January 30, 2013, 09:16 AM

Yep, I got about halfway through it before I got sidetracked. I gotta find it and finish it. Definitely worth the investment.


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February 19, 2013, 05:50 PM

Thank you!

I am just starting Total Control, the book about suspension is on its way.

You guys have any other good read to recommend?


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February 19, 2013, 07:14 PM

Twist of the Wrist 1 & 2 for roadracing. 1 is more theory, 2 is more high speed application IIRC.

Dirt - videos - Dirtwise by Shane Watts. I also liked Offroad by Nathan Woods. I'm not as much of a fan of Gary Semics as I've had more than 1 of his DVD's not play correctly. I think seeing it in dirtbike videos helps. Maybe even watching the arenacross / supercross on TV. It really shows me how far I have to go in regards to riding whoops correctly.


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February 20, 2013, 06:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudDawg View Post
Twist of the Wrist 1 & 2 for roadracing. 1 is more theory, 2 is more high speed application IIRC.
I saw the movie of II. Is the book much better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudDawg View Post
Dirt - videos - Dirtwise by Shane Watts. I also liked Offroad by Nathan Woods. I'm not as much of a fan of Gary Semics as I've had more than 1 of his DVD's not play correctly. I think seeing it in dirtbike videos helps. Maybe even watching the arenacross / supercross on TV. It really shows me how far I have to go in regards to riding whoops correctly.
For off-road I just randomly ordered "Pro Motocross & Off-Road Riding Techniques" by Donnie Bales. What do you think?

When I watch off road stuff, like "Moto the movie", I'm having a great time but I think I really need to read more about theory stuff. When I ride off road, to be honest, I just go with the flow and I'm VERY shy because I don't really know what to do.


09 Yamaha Fazer 600 "Black Mamba" *** Totaled ***
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03 Honda CRF 150 F ***Sold***
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February 20, 2013, 06:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwanda91 View Post
I saw the movie of II. Is the book much better?



For off-road I just randomly ordered "Pro Motocross & Off-Road Riding Techniques" by Donnie Bales. What do you think?

When I watch off road stuff, like "Moto the movie", I'm having a great time but I think I really need to read more about theory stuff. When I ride off road, to be honest, I just go with the flow and I'm VERY shy because I don't really know what to do.
The Twist or the Wrist movies kinda....sucked. Books were better. Book 2 was more focused on the application of the basics. That would be a good place to work on skills.

I have the "Moto" movies. Mediocre, no skills. For watching some fun riding, Common Ground. For skills, Dirtwise. Try picking up the first Dirtwise video. That should help you start figuring out the basics of dirt riding. I keep going back to that because once you have the basics, you will be able to tackle a lot more difficult terrain easily, ride faster, and wreck less. I may not be the fastest guy around, but rarely do I run into something I can't overcome. (Submerging a bike in a mud bog notwithstanding.)

Mud


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February 20, 2013, 08:01 AM

What the book and some friends showed me how to do... can't wait to get it out to the trails and I love that I know how to change it whenever I want.





You can live in your car, but you can't race your house.

'07 ZX-10R - 156 RWHP/182 MPH
'09 KX450F - VCHSS 29F
'85 ZL-900 Eliminator
'01 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'06 636 (Sold)
'99 ZX-6R (Sold)
'94 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'99 YZ-250 (Sold)
'73 CL 450 (Sold)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Jpc...eature=related
http://videos.streetfire.net/video/H...bud_408656.htmfeature=related

The difference between men and boys is that boys make excuses and men make changes.
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February 20, 2013, 08:36 AM

I may just check out that book. I generally don't have much interest in getting into the internal bits but I probably should. Something looks strangely familiar in your 2nd pic.

I think I've got that Donnie Bales book.
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February 20, 2013, 12:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
What the book and some friends showed me how to do... can't wait to get it out to the trails and I love that I know how to change it whenever I want.



That bench looks familiar


KTMs and Yamahas
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February 20, 2013, 01:11 PM

lol - shut your mouths. The person that helped wishes to remain nameless.

And Kirk - Nice work. Want to help me build a deck?


You can live in your car, but you can't race your house.

'07 ZX-10R - 156 RWHP/182 MPH
'09 KX450F - VCHSS 29F
'85 ZL-900 Eliminator
'01 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'06 636 (Sold)
'99 ZX-6R (Sold)
'94 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'99 YZ-250 (Sold)
'73 CL 450 (Sold)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Jpc...eature=related
http://videos.streetfire.net/video/H...bud_408656.htmfeature=related

The difference between men and boys is that boys make excuses and men make changes.
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February 20, 2013, 02:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudDawg View Post
The Twist or the Wrist movies kinda....sucked. Books were better. Book 2 was more focused on the application of the basics. That would be a good place to work on skills.

I have the "Moto" movies. Mediocre, no skills. For watching some fun riding, Common Ground. For skills, Dirtwise. Try picking up the first Dirtwise video. That should help you start figuring out the basics of dirt riding. I keep going back to that because once you have the basics, you will be able to tackle a lot more difficult terrain easily, ride faster, and wreck less. I may not be the fastest guy around, but rarely do I run into something I can't overcome. (Submerging a bike in a mud bog notwithstanding.)

Mud
LOL yeah I thought Keith Code was corny as hell but it was still quite informative. I'll give his books a try. I remember having a completely new prospective on riding after seeing the movie. I watched it the night before a ride to WV and good lord, I even amazed my mentor taking corners way faster and smoother. Reading put words on what I feel on the bike and helps me how to handle those feelings.

Why you didn't like "moto" movies? I thought it was beautiful with nube's eyes! Aren't you beeing snob because you're an off road expert? Or is shit really??

I'll look for these videos you talked about, I'm very curious. I want to be a fucking beast!!!

*** cast is off in two weeks ***


09 Yamaha Fazer 600 "Black Mamba" *** Totaled ***
07 Yamaha TT-R 230 ***Sold***
03 Honda CRF 150 F ***Sold***
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February 20, 2013, 02:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwanda91 View Post
LOL yeah I thought Keith Code was corny as hell but it was still quite informative. I'll give his books a try. I remember having a completely new prospective on riding after seeing the movie. I watched it the night before a ride to WV and good lord, I even amazed my mentor taking corners way faster and smoother. Reading put words on what I feel on the bike and helps me how to handle those feelings.

Why you didn't like "moto" movies? I thought it was beautiful with nube's eyes! Aren't you beeing snob because you're an off road expert? Or is shit really??

I'll look for these videos you talked about, I'm very curious. I want to be a fucking beast!!!

*** cast is off in two weeks ***
Just a word of caution. I am definitely a snob about street riding. If you are feeling the need for speed, take a track day. Significantly safer. The rule of thumb for roadracing was that very soon after making a riding breakthrough and "finding" more speed....the rider crashed because their reflexes and ability to handle problems hadn't caught up yet. Been there, donated several bikes over the years learning to get fast on pavement. You have been warned. Please be careful.

Being a better educated rider means you are more confident, less likely to freeze up, and can handle whatever gets thrown at you. Dirtriding is huge in that respect in my opinion. The Moto movies are nice enough looking. But I wasn't learning anything. Even 1-2 things on a new instructional video can be huge. For that I watch Common Ground. I just enjoyed the different types of riding. And yes, I have moto 1-3. Plus several other riding movies. What else would I do when it's mid-winter and crappy out?

Or I could go downstairs and work on my bikes. Crap. I really need to do that this week.


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February 20, 2013, 02:42 PM

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And Kirk - Nice work. Want to help me build a deck?
Thanks! My own deck is actually slowly rotting off the back of my house. I like to do woodworking, not so much carpentry.
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February 20, 2013, 02:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudDawg View Post
Just a word of caution. I am definitely a snob about street riding. If you are feeling the need for speed, take a track day. Significantly safer. The rule of thumb for roadracing was that very soon after making a riding breakthrough and "finding" more speed....the rider crashed because their reflexes and ability to handle problems hadn't caught up yet. Been there, donated several bikes over the years learning to get fast on pavement. You have been warned. Please be careful.

Being a better educated rider means you are more confident, less likely to freeze up, and can handle whatever gets thrown at you. Dirtriding is huge in that respect in my opinion. The Moto movies are nice enough looking. But I wasn't learning anything. Even 1-2 things on a new instructional video can be huge. For that I watch Common Ground. I just enjoyed the different types of riding. And yes, I have moto 1-3. Plus several other riding movies. What else would I do when it's mid-winter and crappy out?

Or I could go downstairs and work on my bikes. Crap. I really need to do that this week.
Thank you! Yes I'm a hooligan in my head and in my heart no doubt, but I live life too.

I did 6 track days or so last year until I had a fairly serious accident on the road. I was hurt for while and my dear bike was totaled. Crazy shit...

I'm about to get a R6 I think, with still my cast on most likely. That's why I wanna read the good stuff while I'm disabled, so my bike and I will be ready when my ankle is! I've been waiting pretty much waiting for my next track day since my last track day I even already paid for my TPM membership with no bike yet.

I want to be able to work on the R6 for the track essentially, but commuting too because I think driving is freacking lame (except when it's cold and it rains). That's why I need to find out more about that suspension business.


09 Yamaha Fazer 600 "Black Mamba" *** Totaled ***
07 Yamaha TT-R 230 ***Sold***
03 Honda CRF 150 F ***Sold***
06 Yamaha R6 (50th Anniversary Edition) ***Stolen***
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February 20, 2013, 03:00 PM

Synopses (a ton more detail in the book)

Set your sag - if the sag is out of range change your springs.

Set your clickers - if your clickers run out of range change your valving.

Still not happy and want a different dampening curve? - Change springs/Valving/Valving type.


You can live in your car, but you can't race your house.

'07 ZX-10R - 156 RWHP/182 MPH
'09 KX450F - VCHSS 29F
'85 ZL-900 Eliminator
'01 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'06 636 (Sold)
'99 ZX-6R (Sold)
'94 Ninja 250 (Sold)
'99 YZ-250 (Sold)
'73 CL 450 (Sold)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Jpc...eature=related
http://videos.streetfire.net/video/H...bud_408656.htmfeature=related

The difference between men and boys is that boys make excuses and men make changes.

Last edited by Thomas; February 21, 2013 at 07:31 AM..
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