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Discussion Starter #1
Looking to upgrade forks for next year. Riding intermediate track pace. Fairly happy with the stock re-sprung forks but some a traditional traction and front end feel/ confidence would always be nice.

I spoke with GP suspension and another suspension provider and they didn't recommend re-valving as it is not doesn't make much of an improvement over the stock damping for 13+ zx6r's.

I have a Penske triple shock and have looked into either the AK20 or GP25 cartridge kits. Any recommendations?
I do like that the AK20's are modular so they can be installed to a future bike and it's also the least expensive option. Both products seem solid but some feedback and suggestions would be much appreciated.

Local suspension guy is Dave Moss and he works on any brand.
 

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AK20 or Ohlins or K-Tech.
 

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Or you can just save your money because your lap times won't get better regardless of which cartridges you go with :p
 

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JD, are you happy you upgraded the rear suspension first instead of the front or do you feel you should have done it the other way?

I'm in a similar situation, intermediate pace looking to continue getting faster...trying to decide which component I should focus on first. Right now I'm just running re-sprung front and rear stock suspension, with an additional adjustment nut for rear ride height. Haven't necessarily had any issues yet, but I'm guessing as I get faster one piece or the other will reach it's limits.
 

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JD, are you happy you upgraded the rear suspension first instead of the front or do you feel you should have done it the other way?

I'm in a similar situation, intermediate pace looking to continue getting faster...trying to decide which component I should focus on first. Right now I'm just running re-sprung front and rear stock suspension, with an additional adjustment nut for rear ride height. Haven't necessarily had any issues yet, but I'm guessing as I get faster one piece or the other will reach it's limits.
There are expert racers and top of advance group guys who run stock suspensions, on shittier bikes than a new gen ZX6R. You won't reach the limits of those parts anytime soon. It's all in your head. I used to think the same. Spent like $2k on suspensions, offset triples, switched to slicks. Guess how my lap times changed....hint: insignifcant.
 

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There are expert racers and top of advance group guys who run stock suspensions, on shittier bikes than a new gen ZX6R. You won't reach the limits of those parts anytime soon. It's all in your head. I used to think the same. Spent like $2k on suspensions, offset triples, switched to slicks. Guess how my lap times changed....hint: insignifcant.
Thanks for the input dude. Really hard finding tons of concrete information for this bike sometimes. I'd rather not spend the money if not necessary, daddy needs a new suit for next year. I have heard good things on the fork...seems to be some different opinions on the rear shock.


Interesting you didn't improve lap times with that much work done, must go to show the level that the new gen suspension is at.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There are expert racers and top of advance group guys who run stock suspensions, on shittier bikes than a new gen ZX6R. You won't reach the limits of those parts anytime soon. It's all in your head. I used to think the same. Spent like $2k on suspensions, offset triples, switched to slicks. Guess how my lap times changed....hint: insignifcant.


Racer logic,

"Don't spend money on exhaust and other accessories. You should spend it on suspension."

Also, "Why are you spending money on suspension? You don't need it!"

:laugh

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I am aware that the stock components are good, but I want something better. Having had poorly setup suspension for the past year to finally getting it tuned was a night and day difference.

My penske holds on at every exit and wont slip, even with heavy throttle, and tire wear is amazing compared to the stock unit. After having ridden a bike with full aftermarket suspension it clearly makes an improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Suspension tuner didn't show for some TD's and I hadn't been able to figure out some issues but finally had it improved last week at Buttonwillow. The front kept raising a bit too fast making mid-corner stability whack. On the plus side it really made me concentrate on throttle input's to keep it stable. lol. I'm thinking I took a lot of weight off the bike after converting it from street to track only.

Front sag is 25mm with 1/2 turn preload. I'm currently changing the spring rate down to 9.5N and hope to see an improvement.
 

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Racer logic,

"Don't spend money on exhaust and other accessories. You should spend it on suspension."

Also, "Why are you spending money on suspension? You don't need it!"

:laugh

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Maybe that's some people's logic, not mine though. I do agree that you should have your suspensions setup well, even if they're stock, but I don't find it necessary to spend a ton of money on aftermarket ones right away. Especially if your pace is slower. Some of the people that use that logic that you should spend money on suspensions seem to think that everyone is an expert racer, but that's not the case. Back at my home track, the lap record for little bikes was set by a guy on a ninja 300 with a modified shock off his GSXR600, and bone stock forks. And that's a 300...suspensions on that bike suck to begin with, so the fact that he did all of that with stock forks is really impressive. On top of that he also doesn't have a QS on it.

The way I've looked at it is if someone else can ride my bike and go several seconds faster than me, then it's not the bike and it's not worth spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on suspensions or other parts. The suspensions on modern 600s or 1000s are very good out of the box. Just need to tweak them to suit your needs, they have all the adjustability available. When you start riding at the top end of advance group and you're within 5 seconds of the lap record for 600s, then you can start thinking about upgrading suspensions because you're probably close to outriding them. But if you're in the Intermediate group, that's not the case.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maybe that's some people's logic, not mine though. I do agree that you should have your suspensions setup well, even if they're stock, but I don't find it necessary to spend a ton of money on aftermarket ones right away. Especially if your pace is slower. Some of the people that use that logic that you should spend money on suspensions seem to think that everyone is an expert racer, but that's not the case. Back at my home track, the lap record for little bikes was set by a guy on a ninja 300 with a modified shock off his GSXR600, and bone stock forks. And that's a 300...suspensions on that bike suck to begin with, so the fact that he did all of that with stock forks is really impressive. On top of that he also doesn't have a QS on it.

The way I've looked at it is if someone else can ride my bike and go several seconds faster than me, then it's not the bike and it's not worth spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on suspensions or other parts. The suspensions on modern 600s or 1000s are very good out of the box. Just need to tweak them to suit your needs, they have all the adjustability available. When you start riding at the top end of advance group and you're within 5 seconds of the lap record for 600s, then you can start thinking about upgrading suspensions because you're probably close to outriding them. But if you're in the Intermediate group, that's not the case.
I see what you're saying. Thanks. Did you have an aftermarket shock and inserts for your zx6r or R3? Were you riding top of advanced? Just curious.
 

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I see what you're saying. Thanks. Did you have an aftermarket shock and inserts for your zx6r or R3? Were you riding top of advanced? Just curious.
On the ZX6R I did because the bike came with them, otherwise I probably wouldn't have. On the R3 I have a Penske shock, and in the forks just a damper rod kit and different springs (not a full cartridge, no adjustability at all). But keep in mind on little bikes the stock suspensions suck ass. For those bikes I would recommend getting suspensions pretty much right after you get out of the novice group. Stock feels like driving an old Buick lol

And yes, on the ZX6R I was riding towards the top of advance group...at least with my local organization. I was about 3 seconds off the fastest guys at the time. Still wouldn't have wasted $1500+ on the Ohlins shock and cartridges had the bike not come with those on.
 

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While I can't comment on the quality of the stock suspension in a zx6r, I do have a few thoughts to throw into the mix:

1. Cartridges require maintenance more often than standard suspension. I recall the Ohlins NIX 30 forks need service every 10 hours of use, where the old school R&T forks that I have can go 20 hours. With the amount of track time I am getting, that is the difference between twice a year and once a year for service.

2. On the other hand, especially if you have a good trackside suspension tuner, you will always benefit from using better equipment. So the argument that you have to be riding at a certain pace to get value out of better equipment is debatable. I disagree that you need to be at the fast end of the advanced group to see a difference.

3. On the other other hand, $1500 buys a lot of track time that you could use to improve. One of the guys at the pointy end of Amateur Open in CVMA was on an R6 with stock suspension, regularly beating guys on well built 1000s. His strategy was to spend his money on coaching.

4. I was talking with a local suspension tuner who was saying that the K-Tech stuff just wasn't quite as developed as the Ohlin's stuff (Kyle Wyman's BrotoGP interview backs this up). However, the same guy had good things to say about GP carts. I rode an MV with the GP carts and thought they were fantastic. Long story short, most of these brands are good, but Ohlins just has more development and it is easier to find someone who knows how to set them up.

I know saying this stuff does little more than cloud the waters further, but I just thought I would throw my $0.02 in the mix.
 

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All the aftermarket cartridges are far superior in every way to the oem generic trash thrown at bikes.

quality control is far better, tolerances are way tighter and the polish and assembly is superior.

comparing an oem cartridge to an aftermarket one is like comparing what your suspension works like at all the max settings to what it works like on all the minimum settings........... it is night and day difference!

Can you make oe parts work better, yes....

Can you ever make them work as good as aftermarket, not for the same amount of money you can't


AK20's for the win!
cheaper than the others, more readily available, easier to service and clean (DDS requires some disassembly just to bleed, may be a bike specific issue?) and I have had the same set of AK20's in my bike for damn near 75,000 miles and they still work fantastic! (I change the oil on them annually is it)

I have seen locals here drop 2-3 seconds off lap times with suspension upgrades....... So saying it doesn't or won't improve lap times is really a vague general statement (and I am sure for some people it doesn't...... just like some people don't get faster or better form attending trackdays and getting "instruction")

I liken the correct suspension and function of high quality products as to aiding in your confidence and making your tires work less hard so you then can push them further to improve times.......
 

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Discussion Starter #14
While I can't comment on the quality of the stock suspension in a zx6r, I do have a few thoughts to throw into the mix:

1. Cartridges require maintenance more often than standard suspension. I recall the Ohlins NIX 30 forks need service every 10 hours of use, where the old school R&T forks that I have can go 20 hours. With the amount of track time I am getting, that is the difference between twice a year and once a year for service.

2. On the other hand, especially if you have a good trackside suspension tuner, you will always benefit from using better equipment. So the argument that you have to be riding at a certain pace to get value out of better equipment is debatable. I disagree that you need to be at the fast end of the advanced group to see a difference.

3. On the other other hand, $1500 buys a lot of track time that you could use to improve. One of the guys at the pointy end of Amateur Open in CVMA was on an R6 with stock suspension, regularly beating guys on well built 1000s. His strategy was to spend his money on coaching.

4. I was talking with a local suspension tuner who was saying that the K-Tech stuff just wasn't quite as developed as the Ohlin's stuff (Kyle Wyman's BrotoGP interview backs this up). However, the same guy had good things to say about GP carts. I rode an MV with the GP carts and thought they were fantastic. Long story short, most of these brands are good, but Ohlins just has more development and it is easier to find someone who knows how to set them up.

I know saying this stuff does little more than cloud the waters further, but I just thought I would throw my $0.02 in the mix.
Appreciate the input. I heard that podcast as well. The only reason I wouldn't want to get ohlins is because I already have a Penske and it's much cheaper to buy ohlins as a set than cartridges only. Good to hear good things about GP suspension. I've had some coaching form Pridgemore CLASS and plan to do some more but it is by no means "cheaper" than a fork upgrade. CA superbike school is $2750 for two days!

I understand that it's not "necessary" to upgrade suspension to be fast, but it's not a coincidence that all Racers recommend the same things: track time, tires, suspension, coaching. (not necessarily in that order)

All the aftermarket cartridges are far superior in every way to the oem generic trash thrown at bikes.

quality control is far better, tolerances are way tighter and the polish and assembly is superior.

comparing an oem cartridge to an aftermarket one is like comparing what your suspension works like at all the max settings to what it works like on all the minimum settings........... it is night and day difference!

Can you make oe parts work better, yes....

Can you ever make them work as good as aftermarket, not for the same amount of money you can't


AK20's for the win!
cheaper than the others, more readily available, easier to service and clean (DDS requires some disassembly just to bleed, may be a bike specific issue?) and I have had the same set of AK20's in my bike for damn near 75,000 miles and they still work fantastic! (I change the oil on them annually is it)

I have seen locals here drop 2-3 seconds off lap times with suspension upgrades....... So saying it doesn't or won't improve lap times is really a vague general statement (and I am sure for some people it doesn't...... just like some people don't get faster or better form attending trackdays and getting "instruction")

I liken the correct suspension and function of high quality products as to aiding in your confidence and making your tires work less hard so you then can push them further to improve times.......
This is the feedback I was looking for. Thank you. I'm not trying to validate a purchase, I simply want to know how much of a quality product it is and which one would be a better option. I also like their modular approach to transfer to future bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
JD, are you happy you upgraded the rear suspension first instead of the front or do you feel you should have done it the other way?

I'm in a similar situation, intermediate pace looking to continue getting faster...trying to decide which component I should focus on first. Right now I'm just running re-sprung front and rear stock suspension, with an additional adjustment nut for rear ride height. Haven't necessarily had any issues yet, but I'm guessing as I get faster one piece or the other will reach it's limits.
I was really happy with my shock upgrade. I immediately noticed reduced tire wear, more feel and increased stability. It also made front's deficiencies noticeable which is kind of nice because it made me concentrate on what input errors I was making. Changing the spring rate of the forks helped with the bottoming out of the stock suspension (soft at 9.0N) and don't have anything to complain about, but I would like cartridges sometime in the next year as I've noticed an improvement with traction and more "confidence" to push with any suspension upgrades made so far, plus it's bling to look at while chilling at home. :bling. I'd rather look at my bike than watch TV. :laugh.

Most tuners recommend changing one thing/ setting a time to see how it helps. I saw a shock around here for 450$ which is really cheap so might be worth a try. (link here: https://www.zx6r.com/classifieds/110702-jri-shock-great-shape-fits-09-16-zx6r-500-a.html) If it's not in your weight range you just have to swap out the spring. I have a 525 and 575 if you need it.
 

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If your dead set on upgrading. I would go for the GP 25mm kit. From what I remember reading its a exact copy of Ohlins popular 25mm kit that they don't make anymore that they bought the rights to it I can remember correctly. Ohlins then came out with the 30mm kit that they took somethings internally to make it cheaper to make. From some of the fast guys I know don't like the feedback of the 30mm kit ohlins has now and go for the GP 25mm kit. My friends from TSE in Wisconsin push that and Penske. I also have the GP cat front /Penske rear and it's a nice combo. My buddy Tony has the Gas cart set up but he is stupid fast and says he notices the difference but then again. He is up there fighting for podiums. I would spend the money but I like wasting money on cool things even though I don't really need em just because I enjoy modding stuff so why not.
 

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I was really happy with my shock upgrade. I immediately noticed reduced tire wear, more feel and increased stability. It also made front's deficiencies noticeable which is kind of nice because it made me concentrate on what input errors I was making. Changing the spring rate of the forks helped with the bottoming out of the stock suspension (soft at 9.0N) and don't have anything to complain about, but I would like cartridges sometime in the next year as I've noticed an improvement with traction and more "confidence" to push with any suspension upgrades made so far, plus it's bling to look at while chilling at home. :bling. I'd rather look at my bike than watch TV. :laugh.

Most tuners recommend changing one thing/ setting a time to see how it helps. I saw a shock around here for 450$ which is really cheap so might be worth a try. (link here: https://www.zx6r.com/classifieds/110702-jri-shock-great-shape-fits-09-16-zx6r-500-a.html) If it's not in your weight range you just have to swap out the spring. I have a 525 and 575 if you need it.
Nice find man! Might have to PM him and see what's up.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I forgot about race tech cartridges. Any positive experiences with them (G2-R 25mm CARTRIDGE KITS)? Like the AK-20's, they are also modular and able to be installed on multiple bikes.



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Getting in my new springs today. Can't wait for my next TD. Glad that Buttonwillow just added a day in December! :D
 

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Lots of...."interesting" responses on just this thread alone. Here's trends that I've seen over the years across a few hundred different riders and bikes...

- People don't take the time to set up their bike properly in the first place

- People compare unserviced, old, and incorrectly setup OEM suspension and slap on new stuff then say "Errr mah gawd the stock stuff is trash!"

- People tend to throw money at the bike instead of fixing the problems (themselves) first

- Typically on the internet, those that talk about the "night and day" differences that aftermarket suspension does compared to OEM are not even fast enough to truly extract the advantage of said aftermarket suspension

First thing that came to mind when I saw you talking about the front "coming up" mid corner is probably because you're not trail braking enough.

Getting bumped to Advanced at the local track day org is a big deal for sure and I don't want to undermine that. But I hate to admit, the real learning begins once you get to that group. Once you are at that point, generally speaking, it's an indicator that you're a consistent rider with a decent set of skills under their belt.

Up until that point, assuming someone has a serviceable bike with suspension tuned for them, that money is FAR BETTER spent on a riding school to improve the loose nut behind the bars.
 
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