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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
All... I'm looking for some advice on what to do.

Long story short:
I bought my bike new in 2010. Put 7k miles on it, but never really enjoyed the stiffness of the bike on the street. I started tracking in 2013 and decided it's not a street bike anymore. I love the bike but I have the huge issue being unable to quickly transition it side to side. It's a huge amount of effort lean in from straight up and down, and more to flick it over to the other side from lean.


My first thought was:
Change suspension on the bike. This in theory would help the transition problem and make it softer on the street. But then I started thinking, I don't really want a soft suspension if I plan to get more serious with tracking.... and hopefully into racing in the future.

My second thought was:
Sell it. I put the bike back to stock, put all my parts on the shelf. Changed all the fluids and put it on stands, and then put the bike up for sale in Jan. It's been on forums, facebook, craigslist, etc since then and I haven't gotten a single serious bite.

My third thought was:
Just buy a new model 6R outright, put all my parts on this bike and then use it as a street and track bike. This is possible, but isn't really feasible since I want to keep money in my savings.

My fourth thought was:
Trade my bike for another. I thought someone out there would want to trade their bike for mine. I was looking for some kind of "sport" street bike like the Ninja 650/1000 or Yamaha FZ series, but all these seem to be beat up.

My fifth thought was:
Just go ahead and trade it in now for a new 6R. This would solve the stiffness problem and the bike flicks over easier than mine. The difference will be about the same as buying new suspension for my current 6R and I'd get the added bonus of TC and a prettier bike, as well as one I could ride on the street.


....and now the last few days I've been thinking about going down the suspension route again. Throw something new on there, make it a dedicated track bike, call it done. I can worry about getting a street bike at a later point.



What isn't changing is that my bike is 6 years old and it's just sitting there collecting dust. I'm going to take a big hit on the value of the bike at this point, and realistically it's not likely to sell private party since nobody cares about Kawasaki ...so I guess this is where I have to suck it up and pay to play.

Please, give me serious objective advice. There's a lot of money to spend either way. What am I not thinking of? What did I miss? What am I being stupid or stubborn about?


Edit-
I should mention that I'm still recovering from my ACL reconstruction surgery in April. I won't be track riding this year.
 

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Since you have already thrown some go fast parts at it, I say continue down that path and make it a dedicated track bike. If you want something for the street, get a cheap beater.

Not sure what your issues are about throwing the bike from side to side but I think some practice, better technique, and some suspension work should remedy that.
 

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I think if you've already invested in it might as well keep going, but honestly it kinda sounds like you're over the bike so it's a tough call.
 

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Not all your options have the same outcome. If you want a street bike, then your best route is different than if you want a track bike.

I think that's your first call, then it's much easier to figure out the most economical route forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Since you have already thrown some go fast parts at it, I say continue down that path and make it a dedicated track bike. If you want something for the street, get a cheap beater.

Not sure what your issues are about throwing the bike from side to side but I think some practice, better technique, and some suspension work should remedy that.

I don't really know either as I've never had this problem on another bike. It's just that on MY bike, it takes so much effort to lean the bike. The faster I go, the harder it is. I keep my arms as level as I can, I weight the inside peg while leaning in, but it's still insane how much strength I have to use. I've tried different tire pressures, shimming the shock, different settings on the revalved damper, nothing matters. It's extremely difficult to move the bike underneath me.


I think if you've already invested in it might as well keep going, but honestly it kinda sounds like you're over the bike so it's a tough call.

All my parts will bolt right up to a new 6R as well. This is why I'd like to stick with a 6R from 09-16, they're practically the same bike.



Not all your options have the same outcome. If you want a street bike, then your best route is different than if you want a track bike.

I think that's your first call, then it's much easier to figure out the most economical route forward.

I want to be able to ride both ... on the street comfortably and on the track confidently. I have no preference (other than my wallet) if this is two bikes, or one for both.
 

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Talk to a respected Motorcycle tuner/ suspension guy.

I've used Kenny at MRP (Home page) He's not the closest guy to me, but he is well respected.

There is probably someone near you who could do the same for you. Talk to some of the racers on here and maybe at track days, who could help you best.

Tell them what you are looking for, It might be something as simple as changing tires and revalving/springing your suspension.
 

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Change the tires and mess with shock height to begin with. Have a good rider take it for a ride and see if it is just you. Have a good racer adjust the bike the way he would if he was racing it. Then try those settings. Come to Cali and I will ride it and adjust it for you. I will make it go.
 

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Let me say, your post is incredibly confusing. Do you want a track bike? a street bike? both? I'd love to give you whatever advice/opinions I have but it's unclear what your end goal is. Also, in what way is it difficult to lean or 'flick' from one side to the other? Is there a physical limitation or is the bike behaving in a way that is making it tough?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Talk to a respected Motorcycle tuner/ suspension guy.

I've used Kenny at MRP (Home page) He's not the closest guy to me, but he is well respected.

There is probably someone near you who could do the same for you. Talk to some of the racers on here and maybe at track days, who could help you best.

Tell them what you are looking for, It might be something as simple as changing tires and revalving/springing your suspension.

Jerry - you just volunteered to ride my bike :D:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Let me say, your post is incredibly confusing. Do you want a track bike? a street bike? both? I'd love to give you whatever advice/opinions I have but it's unclear what your end goal is. Also, in what way is it difficult to lean or 'flick' from one side to the other? Is there a physical limitation or is the bike behaving in a way that is making it tough?

Last sentence from previous post :

I want to be able to ride both ... on the street comfortably and on the track confidently. I have no preference (other than my wallet) if this is two bikes, or one for both.


The bike is physically hard to maneuver. Like I said, I've never had this problem with other bikes -- just mine. I've had the suspension settings tweaked for me at the track, but the suspension is still stock.


I'm not trying to be combative - but did that answer your questions?
 

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Last sentence from previous post :

I want to be able to ride both ... on the street comfortably and on the track confidently. I have no preference (other than my wallet) if this is two bikes, or one for both.


The bike is physically hard to maneuver. Like I said, I've never had this problem with other bikes -- just mine. I've had the suspension settings tweaked for me at the track, but the suspension is still stock.


I'm not trying to be combative - but did that answer your questions?
To a degree. It is my personal opinion, especially if you want to eventually race, that you have separate bikes for the track and street if it is financially feasible for you.

As for the bike's maneuverability, you said you bought it new, correct? If it isn't too personal, what is your weight? You may need to get the suspension re-sprung for your weight. Also, what sort of tires do you run? How many highway miles, as opposed to track miles, are you putting on those tires? Do you notice the middle of them 'flattened' at all? A bike can be difficult to turn on because the center is worn down, from highway miles, causing a sort of 'shelf' on either side of the tire.
 

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Since you have already thrown some go fast parts at it, I say continue down that path and make it a dedicated track bike. If you want something for the street, get a cheap beater.
This is the approach I'd go with if it were me, Sandman. I think the way to go is set the current bike up more like a race bike and get a different bike for more comfy street bike - particularly a reliable, but not necessarily super nice or clean one...that's just what I'd do tho :O
 

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If it's difficult to turn in, it's not set up correctly.You'll be amazed at how much better it will feel, when it's working as designed.

These are pretty quick turning bikes, when they are appropriately configured. Chassis angle is a big, big part of how they work. If the rear is squatting, the fork is effectively raked out, which slows the steering. Tire profile(s), inflation pressures, tire wear all play into it as well.

Spend the money to get the suspension set up.... if that takes a new spring on the rear shock, that's a lot less money than a new bike. Even a replacement Ohlins rear, set up for your weight and riding style, is still going to cost you less than you would lose on the sale of your bike. Don't forget the fork... they work together, after all.

New tires, dialed in suspension, and then learn where and how to sit on the thing.... different bike.

0.02
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To a degree. It is my personal opinion, especially if you want to eventually race, that you have separate bikes for the track and street if it is financially feasible for you.

As for the bike's maneuverability, you said you bought it new, correct? If it isn't too personal, what is your weight? You may need to get the suspension re-sprung for your weight. Also, what sort of tires do you run? How many highway miles, as opposed to track miles, are you putting on those tires? Do you notice the middle of them 'flattened' at all? A bike can be difficult to turn on because the center is worn down, from highway miles, causing a sort of 'shelf' on either side of the tire.

Yes, bought new with 2 miles on it. I'm 5'7 and 145, very active and pretty fit. Yes, I do think I'm too lite for the shock spring, but (in my easily incorrect rationale) that shouldn't affect how demanding the side to side transition is. It takes about the same amount of strength as a 75% bodyweight bench press does - exhausting by the end of the session.

Remember man, I'm not some dumb squid :D: I'm very competent with bikes and I help out a lot of people, yet this issue I'm having has confused the crap out of me. That's why I shimmed the shock.

I've run Q3's only on my spare wheels at the track so 0 street miles; no squaring. I'm a lower intermediate "pace" at most. I've never had issues with my tires or traction.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If it's difficult to turn in, it's not set up correctly.You'll be amazed at how much better it will feel, when it's working as designed.

These are pretty quick turning bikes, when they are appropriately configured. Chassis angle is a big, big part of how they work. If the rear is squatting, the fork is effectively raked out, which slows the steering. Tire profile(s), inflation pressures, tire wear all play into it as well.

Spend the money to get the suspension set up.... if that takes a new spring on the rear shock, that's a lot less money than a new bike. Even a replacement Ohlins rear, set up for your weight and riding style, is still going to cost you less than you would lose on the sale of your bike. Don't forget the fork... they work together, after all.

New tires, dialed in suspension, and then learn where and how to sit on the thing.... different bike.

0.02

I agree that the geometry could be off. That's the one thing I've yet to do is to have the geometry measured and set. The suspension settings themselves have been adjusted for track riding and for "me", but the actual geometry is as it was from the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
First thing I did with my '09 was raise the rear height a few mm, rather than drop the forks in the clamps. Really makes a difference.....
I've tried that. It helps at lower speed or when I'm just tooling around on the street. But on the track at speed, diving into a turn at 80 mph it just doesn't respond as fast.
 

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Yes, bought new with 2 miles on it. I'm 5'7 and 145, very active and pretty fit. Yes, I do think I'm too lite for the shock spring, but (in my easily incorrect rationale) that shouldn't affect how demanding the side to side transition is. It takes about the same amount of strength as a 75% bodyweight bench press does - exhausting by the end of the session.

Remember man, I'm not some dumb squid :D: I'm very competent with bikes and I help out a lot of people, yet this issue I'm having has confused the crap out of me. That's why I shimmed the shock.

I've run Q3's only on my spare wheels at the track so 0 street miles; no squaring. I'm a lower intermediate "pace" at most. I've never had issues with my tires or traction.
I can't remember your riding style or knowledge because, sadly, I have been away from the forums for a while and am finally actively back after one hell of an off-and-on hiatus. :cheers

I definitely think you need to get that resprung, but I can't say for certain how much of a contributing factor it is to your issue. I know, for myself personally, it would be a pretty big deal to have no rear shock travel when braking into a corner but I also brake fairly late. It would definitely help you, I just can't say by how much.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I can't remember your riding style or knowledge because, sadly, I have been away from the forums for a while and am finally actively back after one hell of an off-and-on hiatus. :cheers

I definitely think you need to get that resprung, but I can't say for certain how much of a contributing factor it is to your issue. I know, for myself personally, it would be a pretty big deal to have no rear shock travel when braking into a corner but I also brake fairly late. It would definitely help you, I just can't say by how much.

Exactly .... I don't know either. I do know that however that I'm nowhere close to the end of my suspension travel :O
 

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Ok so first question I would ask is what is your rider and free sag on the bike? At 145 you should be right in the range for the stock springs. Although, I understand the '09 bikes where sprung rather stiff. In any event, at 145 I wouldn't expect you to have to exert that much effort to initiate a turn. If anything, it should be turning in and changing directions too fast since your not compressing the rear shock that much.

Since you have already shimmed the rear shock, there area couple of things I would try. First, I would remove the steering damper. Just a test to see what if any part it is playing in your issue. I know you said it's been reworked but your bike shouldn't be that difficult to turn.

Second, I would try some different tires. I've got Q3's on my bike now and they are not exactly the easiest tires to get transitioned from side to side. Try some Michelin tires. They generally have a more pointy profile. Dunlop and Bridgestone tend to have a more rounded profile.

Third, I would get the bike up on a lift under the engine or something. Get the front wheel off the ground so the forks are free to turn. Then remove the steering damper and see how tight the steering stem bearings are adjusted. Maybe that they where misadjusted on the assembly line? It should be very little resistance to turn the bars side to side.
 
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