RaceTech Suspension Suggestions - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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RaceTech Suspension Suggestions

Went to RaceTech's web page today to calculate some spring rates and came up with some odd suggestions for my weight.

According to them, .78kg is stock fork and 16.7kg is stock shock. I believe that's consistant with info I've read. I'm 165 without riding gear (as RaceTech asks for). I currently sag my 08V at 45mm front and 40mm back with ZERO preload fork or shock. That's not even 1/3 of travel where rider sag should be. I know I could be using more travel, as even under aggressive load, my fork zip tie is not close to bottoming. Also, I have the not light weight National Cycle windscreen and the Happy Trails hard pannier mounts. My bike is heavier front and back than stock.

So, the Race Tech spring calculator recommends .892kg fork and 17.1kg shock. I gotta wonder what they are thinking. That sag will put me even further out of mid stroke.

My riding impression is the shock is oversprung and underdamped and the fork is harsh on high speed compression damping.

Anybody else have RaceTech components? Are they up to something I haven't come to realize? Just curious before I call them.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 05:58 PM
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I think it was a cycle world long term test where they said they took their bike to a suspension expert and he dialed out all preload and damping for an improved ride. I tried this. I gave a more comfortable ride and it was better at slow speeds on a bumpy road or off pavement but caused the bike to wallow during and even slightly aggressive turns on pavement and at higher speeds. I returned it to stock for the improved on pavement handling, it feels a lot more planted on pavement now, although now it is a bit harsh at least in the rear. I think I will now try less preload in the rear and maybe front but leave damping where it is. Any reduction in preload in the front will increase brake dive.

I'm not a suspension expert but I don't think you need a full 1/3 sag (with rider in full gear and luggage) on suspension with this much travel, just enough to prevent constant topping out of the suspension.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 11:53 PM
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Went to RaceTech's web page today to calculate some spring rates and came up with some odd suggestions for my weight.

According to them, .78kg is stock fork and 16.7kg is stock shock. I believe that's consistant with info I've read. I'm 165 without riding gear (as RaceTech asks for). I currently sag my 08V at 45mm front and 40mm back with ZERO preload fork or shock. That's not even 1/3 of travel where rider sag should be. I know I could be using more travel, as even under aggressive load, my fork zip tie is not close to bottoming. Also, I have the not light weight National Cycle windscreen and the Happy Trails hard pannier mounts. My bike is heavier front and back than stock.

So, the Race Tech spring calculator recommends .892kg fork and 17.1kg shock. I gotta wonder what they are thinking. That sag will put me even further out of mid stroke.

My riding impression is the shock is oversprung and underdamped and the fork is harsh on high speed compression damping.

Anybody else have RaceTech components? Are they up to something I haven't come to realize? Just curious before I call them.
BOTH my R1 shocks have 13.8kg/mm springs from RaceTech (Eibach springs) and work great for me. I'm 170# 'soaking-wet'.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 02:19 AM
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Just sharing, had my stock forks dialed to close to 1/3 sag while the rear shock is at 2nd highest preload with stock rebound. The bike is confidently firm and steady in corners. I am 187lb dry.

I find current setup is sufficient for my use, so i wonder how much better it could get when i slap in the r1 shock next.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 08:13 AM
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The springs I've received from RT have always tended to be on the stiff side. I thought about new fork springs for the Versys but decided to try an oil change to 5w and larger air gap first. At 165 lbs also, I am happy with the results. You may want to try that first. You can always go back in later with diff springs or a fork shim mod if this was not sufficient.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 03:58 PM
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...I find current setup is sufficient for my use, so i wonder how much better it could get when i slap in the r1 shock next.
I BELIEVE you'll find a BIG difference, and LOVE it! I sure do.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Hmmmm. I know I grow less tolerant as I get older. I think I also have a knack for getting the wrong people at the wrong time. Maybe I should never call a retail customer service oriented business on Fridays at 4:15. Maybe I shouldn't expect knowledgable people responding to my technical questions regarding the area of expertise they profess. It irritates me when I know more than the company I'm calling. It irritates me when the people on the other end can't even look up answers to my questions in a simple database or offer to get back in a reasonable timeframe with informed answers.

So, I talked to a RaceTech rep in the Spring Rate Dept. Asked if she had notes regarding why RaceTech suggests stiffer springs on a long travel suspension bike when I'm barely sagging the bike as is. She transferred me to a Technician. I asked him the same question. Why stiffer springs when I'm already running ZERO preload. His reponse was, "Ya, I think I'd just stay with what's in there." No special suggestions regarding my bike. No reason why they suggest stiffer. WTF?

I own and have read the Paul Theade/RaceTech Suspension Bible. You'd think it would be required reading for the employees as well. I've also read a dozen or more other "bibles" regarding bike set up. Its not an exact science, and is open to interpretation, but some things are consistent.

So, that was more of a rant. Sorry.

My current thoughts? Like a tennis racket sweet spot is in the center, motorcycle suspension is happy when it can work in mid stroke. To get it there, you start with the correct springs for the load you put on the bike. Then, you valve the damping. For my 165 weight, I'd like to have a bit more sag front and back. Stock travel150mm forks/145mm rear. I'm thinking sag at 50mm forks/45mm shock. What's the use of having long travel suspension if you can't/don't use it? No reason the Versys shouldn't handle like a lower budget Multistrada or Super Duke ST.

Some softer high speed compression damping in the forks will help smooth out the front end. I might just experiment with that first since I have a decent selection of valving shims from other projects.

I saw the R1 shock comment. I like the idea. I called a couple of my road racing buddies who race R1's. One of them had a 2007 shock he sold me for $45.00. That's easily revalvable too. So if you have an R1 shock and weigh 165-170lbs, could you tell me your sag and the springs you are running?

I like RaceTech components, I just wish I could talk to knowledgable people. I have another tuner I might call for his opinion.

(Soon to come in the Performance Section, dyno numbers.)
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 10:50 AM
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Not knowing anything about motorcycle suspension, I installed HyperPro progressive springs front and rear, and did the revalve in the right fork, as described in this Forum. I started this to lower the bike (30mm) beyond Speedy's lowering block, but the springs greatly improved the ride, and reduced front dive by at least 50%. I used HyperPro's recommended sag of 50 mm, front and rear. I am 200 lb with 20 lb of riding gear. I later tried the HyperPro racing shock with high/low speed compression damping, etc and the ride improved even more.

Like I said, I know almost nothing about suspension, but the HyperPro changes, using their recommended settings, is working very well for me on my 09 V.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Nice Scotty.

That 50mm sag puts you in that 1/3 range that allows the suspension to access the mid range of its stroke, like I theorize. I have no doubt the shock improves the ride. The only shock worse than the stock Versys shock is the stock ER/EX650 shock. I'm anxious to try the R1 shock once I decide what spring to run. I installed it last night and the stock R1 spring was way too soft, even for my 170+/-. I didn't even bother to measure it compressed so much.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 12:55 PM
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Both my R1 shocks have Eibach 13.8 kg/mm springs. I'm 170.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Fasteddie. If its not too much extra, could I bother you for your sag numbers ft/rr and preload ft/rr.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 07:41 AM
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I have found the stock rear spring to be just right for my weight (199.9 lbs) with nothing else on the bike. I can have little sag and a stiff ride or lots of sag and a softer ride. With more sag and less damping, the rear tends to bounce when I am riding harder.

Generally the rear preload is set at #3 from the bottom and rebound around 8. If I want to wick it up and have more fun on the bike, I move up a notch on the spring and 2 clicks on the rebound. No more bounce or wollowing in the curves.

I can set it so it beats the crap out of me with 10mm race sag on the top preload notch and #3 on the rebound. OR I can set preload all the way down with damping on 10 and ride along like my BMW and not feel the expansion joints. Then the rear can get into an uncontrolled bounce. The front acts similar.

I am one of the odd ones that likes the stock suspension. I can adjust to my riding style of the day.

Each notch on the rear spring changes the race sag by about 10mm
Factory recommended rebound is about right front and rear.

After that, Season to taste
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input David. Having stock suspension that works entirely to your liking is great. I've only owned a couple bikes that I have been happy with. A modern GSXR750 and my current CRF250R (valved just a little) come to mind. The others I was pretty young and had less basis for comparison. Suspension can be somewhat subjective based on riding style, ability, and purpose. Perhaps Kawi hit its target with you.

Your comment on "Race Sag" is funny. 10mm? You must be trying to jump a row of busses?

On race bikes we switched from the old school range of 30mmFT & 25/20mmRr to 35/40mmFt & 30/35mmRr. Current suspension is set up to perform best when using its full range of travel unlike the ancient damper rod crap. We often remove the bottom out cone off the cartridge to get that extra bit. Its still ultimately about the rider's taste, but you usually won't find a stiff set up anymore unless you look at the really really light 650 twins or smaller racers.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 11:39 AM
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fast eddie, im 190 lb, what would be the proper spring rate to get for me and some two up riding. and what year shock would be best to get?

Last edited by kojack; 06-04-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 01:30 PM
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fast eddie, im 190 lb, what would be the proper spring rate to get for me and some two up riding. and what year shock would be best to get?
Kojack - before I did anything to replace my shock I read ALL posts in this:
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ead.php?t=4958
then I bought the '08 R1 shock that had already been modded with 13.8kg/mm spring by one of the "Gurus". Once it was installed (GREAT improvement!) I then changed my fork oil to ATF as I've done in virtually every bike I've owned (as I outlined in "Changing the fork oil" http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ad.php?t=18069) with WalMart ATF. Invader said that it has about 7.7 viscosity, and gave my front SERIOUSLY better performance.

Then, for my '09 in BC, I "E-bayed" another '08 shock, sent it to RaceTech for another Eibach 13.8kg/mm spring, finished the necessary mods to 'open up' both 10mm holes to 12mm, and installed it with all damping set as per the R1 shock's instructions, preload at the lowest setting. Works great, and I'm just waiting to get to a US WalMart for some of the same ATF to do my forks, as I did NOT see the same ATF here in BC. If you go to the RaceTech site (or phone, and talk with a techie) they will be able to tell what rate would work best for you.



PM me if you want to chat some more about this.

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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 02:30 PM
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Retro,

If this helps give you a reference - I just put an R1 shock('08, stock spring, highest pleload setting) on my Versys. Sag is 54 mm, with me on it, full gear, and a seat bag that lives on the back(say about 10 lbs.) I weigh 140, with no gear.
I like your idea of being in the sweet spot of the stroke. I just did a weekend ride(about 600 miles, probably 40 lbs of lubggage) that included some crappy rough roads. The rear did not bottom, and the harsh ride from the stock shock is gone. I'm thinking, though, I'll have to get a stiffer spring, mainly 'cause I'll have an occasional passenger. Not sure how to figure out that needed spring rate though.

Eric
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 05:51 PM
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Thanks Fasteddie. If its not too much extra, could I bother you for your sag numbers ft/rr and preload ft/rr.
Best I could do with my wife helping me (she's not very big, so could not hold it steady while someone else measured the sag with me seated, feet on the 'pegs), but we came up with REAR sag of 45mm. I'm pretty sure that that figure is VERY close.

Unladen sag was fairly easy to measure - I 'bungeed' a straight-edge under the seat, equal both sides, then held the bike as upright and perpendicular as I could so she could measure the height at BOTH ends of the straight-edge and then averaged the two numbers.

Laden was a bit harder: same drill but tried it with me on the bike which was on the side-stand, feet on the 'pegs, but still there's weight on the side-stand so this figure I disregarded. Then I observed the shadow below the side-stand pad as I put more weight onto the seat, and figured that IF I put all my 170# (PLUS riding gear, of course - I was ATGATT for this!) onto the seat then JUST held it from tipping by touching my toes gently, we could have a usable figure.

Did that, measured both sides again then averaged the two numbers, subtracted them from the unladen and came up with the 45mm I quoted, and that's with the shock at NO preload.

Did NOT measure front sag yet, as I'll wait for a big buddy or two to help; and after I change-over the forks to WalMart ATF as I did on my AZ Versys.


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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 05:56 PM
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Retro,

If this helps give you a reference - I just put an R1 shock('08, stock spring, highest pleload setting) on my Versys. Sag is 54 mm, with me on it, full gear, and a seat bag that lives on the back(say about 10 lbs.) I weigh 140, with no gear.
I like your idea of being in the sweet spot of the stroke. I just did a weekend ride(about 600 miles, probably 40 lbs of lubggage) that included some crappy rough roads. The rear did not bottom, and the harsh ride from the stock shock is gone. I'm thinking, though, I'll have to get a stiffer spring, mainly 'cause I'll have an occasional passenger. Not sure how to figure out that needed spring rate though. Eric
EASY, Eric - call RaceTech and ask a techie. They'll be glad to help.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the stock R1 spring is too soft because in the R1 it's a "linkage" set up.

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-04-2012, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Eric and Fasteddie. Thank you for your responses and input. I'm sure getting fine details like this benefits more readers than just me, based on the number of hits this thread already has. We're building more online database.

Eric, I'm sure you'd benefit from a heavier rate spring, and then some valving. That's a lot of sag for maxed out preload. Just a note, I'm not bashing RaceTech. I like their products and will continue to use them barring some really nasty customer service catastrophy. I'm sure if you sent them your R1 shock, it would come back with an improved setup.

Fasteddie. Thanks for the detail. Thanks for the link to the R1 shock thread. That's a lot of work that went down. The bushings being drilled was obvious when I mocked up the R1 shock from my racing mate. I just pushed in some bolts to hold it in place to see how it mounted up. The spring rate being too soft was evident in my mock up. I wasn't surprised as its for a linkage setup, as you stated.

I'm a little surprised you are getting 45mm on the 13.8 shock spring with no preload, but we don't know what the fork preload is set at. Even so, I'm thinking that's pretty darn close. You and I are almost the same weight so that 13.8 spring is looking like a target. I saw at the end of that R1 thread somebody found out Roadstar springs are in that neighborhood. I may see if the local Yamaha dealer has some springs on hand I can go through.

Just a note. You can still measure fork sag regardless of what oil is in it. The oil only affects damping speed. Sag is indepentent of oil viscosity.

Thanks again. Keep it coming at your convenience. I'm looking forward to eventually posting results after all the input I've received.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 06:22 PM
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...Eric, I'm sure you'd benefit from a heavier rate spring, and then some valving. That's a lot of sag for maxed out preload. Just a note, I'm not bashing RaceTech. I like their products and will continue to use them barring some really nasty customer service catastrophy. I'm sure if you sent them your R1 shock, it would come back with an improved setup.

...Fasteddie. Thanks for the detail. Thanks for the link to the R1 shock thread. That's a lot of work that went down. The bushings being drilled was obvious when I mocked up the R1 shock from my racing mate. I just pushed in some bolts to hold it in place to see how it mounted up. The spring rate being too soft was evident in my mock up. I wasn't surprised as its for a linkage setup, as you stated....

...Just a note. You can still measure fork sag regardless of what oil is in it. The oil only affects damping speed. Sag is indepentent of oil viscosity...
In answer to para 1 above - I ONLY used RaceTech for the spring, NO revalving done to mine, nor do I feel the need.

Para 2 - what I have NOT mentioned is the "solution" I came up with to the drilling-out-the-bushings question, here in BC. My first R1 shock (from UAV online) was already done in the US. The one for my BC Versys spent several months going to places I thought could open them up, and finding they couldn't. The hardened bushing is the easily removeable one in the end away from the reservoir that becomes the TOP one on our Vs. I thought about how I was going to do it, then realized that, BECAUSE THE YAMAHA R1 USES A LINKAGE ON THE SHOCK, perhaps a hardened bushing would NOT be a requirement in a straight mounted shock.

I then went to a machine shop and brought the hardened bushing and told them to make me TWO (in case they had a high wear rate not being hardened) the same size but with a 12mm hole, in the hardest steel they could machine. They used pretty hard steel, 4140 I believe, so I set up my drill press to open up the other bushing which is mild steel. I started with the closest bit that wouldn't fit thru the 10mm hole, then went up 1/64" at a time with LOTS of oil till I had a hole of pretty close to 12mm (31/64" I believe, which is about 12.3mm). Then I "chucked" the 12mm bolt into the drill press and used it as a lathe to turn down the 'waist' till it would go thru the hole.


Para 3 - the reason I haven't measured front sag YET, is my need to 'corral' a couple of buds to hold the bike upright with me on it, and measure the sag. Couldn't do that with my 112# wife....

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