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Discussion Starter #21
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.
Wow. You're completely right. I stopped trail braking as much after having a low side. Greatly appreciate the advice. Going to get my current stuff sorted out and refreshed. I'll get cartridges once I actually need them. :bigthumb:
 

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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.


Item 1) GP Suspension are very, very good, I'd have no hesitation using them. With that said, I had Traxxion Dynamics set up my Penske 8987 triple adjustable shock for two different R1s and was also very happy with their work. I go with GP, because they are on the West Coast, as am I.

Item 2) Now, as to shocks, all OEM with the exception of the R series Triumph Daytona, and top tier Apilia Ducati, MV Agusta are for the most part shite (sans a few Sp. Ed. R1s w/Öhlins). And some might argue, the CBR1000RR SP. But since 2009, reviewers have been lauding the GSX-R 1000 with Showa Big Piston Forks as having fabulous front ends. And the latest incarnation of the ZX-6R with Showa Big Piston Forks have been generally greeted with kind words.

Item 3) Thus, I'd make the initial plunge with a new rear shock: Öhlins, Penske, or K-Tech are all gonna see any rider show credible improvements pretty much out of the gate.

So, from my personal experience, unless you're vying for national ranking in the professional spectrum, I'd have to think long and hard about new forks. But most would see a marked improvement with a fork rebuild. I'd be inclined to go with either GP or Traxxion & save a bit of your own money. And if you are a national top shelf rider, it's not your money any way, and you'll have a small army of suspension specialists who will build up and tear down both ends until you're setting on pole.

Or, if you have really deep pockets, and like sticking chi-chi stickers on your bike, then go for what ever colour of suspension you like best.

At the end of the day you could have the shock and forks of of Marc Marquez's RC213V and do no better than you did with 30K mile suspension, if it is not properly setup. Setup is the keystone.
 

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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.
Exactly!

Wow. You're completely right. I stopped trail braking as much after having a low side. Greatly appreciate the advice. Going to get my current stuff sorted out and refreshed. I'll get cartridges once I actually need them. :bigthumb:
Lol that was easy...I pretty much said the same thing as Otto Man but in different ways and now you're all like "great input, I'll do that!" :laugh
 

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Wow. You're completely right. I stopped trail braking as much after having a low side. Greatly appreciate the advice. Going to get my current stuff sorted out and refreshed. I'll get cartridges once I actually need them. :bigthumb:
More food for thought...

Consider the contact patch a front tire has with no weight on it. What happens when you load that tire? More rubber on the ground.

Would you rather go through a corner with a bigger or smaller contact patch on the front tire?

You have a brand new track rider that manages to tuck the front. The advanced guys are carrying way more corner speed than that guy, but the novice guy crashes? The brand new novice rider does all his braking straight up and down because he's been told for years that you should never use the brakes in the corner. So he comes in super hot, hard on the brakes, then completely lets off the brakes as he tips the bike in...

What if...so many people are tucking the front on their bike because the front end isn't loaded enough?

Spend the few hundred bucks to get the suspension you have serviced and set up for you. Spend that money you would have spent on aftermarket shit and go do YCRS....and that money you have spent on the school transfers to every bike you'll ever ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
More food for thought...

Consider the contact patch a front tire has with no weight on it. What happens when you load that tire? More rubber on the ground.

Would you rather go through a corner with a bigger or smaller contact patch on the front tire?

You have a brand new track rider that manages to tuck the front. The advanced guys are carrying way more corner speed than that guy, but the novice guy crashes? The brand new novice rider does all his braking straight up and down because he's been told for years that you should never use the brakes in the corner. So he comes in super hot, hard on the brakes, then completely lets off the brakes as he tips the bike in...

What if...so many people are tucking the front on their bike because the front end isn't loaded enough?

Spend the few hundred bucks to get the suspension you have serviced and set up for you. Spend that money you would have spent on aftermarket shit and go do YCRS....and that money you have spent on the school transfers to every bike you'll ever ride.
I'm going to work on trail braking my next TD. Ken Hill had some coaching on some local TD's where he covered trail braking technique which was the exact opposite of what most "instructors "had said to me up to that point :roll:. He showed us how hard and late it really can be done. I have to admit I didn't follow through with it. :coocoo
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Exactly!



Lol that was easy...I pretty much said the same thing as Otto Man but in different ways and now you're all like "great input, I'll do that!" :laugh
What?! No you didn't! :laugh. You didn't articulate it as clearly as @Otto Man.

Guess this one goes to me too.

 

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What?! No you didn't! :laugh. You didn't articulate it as clearly as @Otto Man.

Guess this one goes to me too.
Puurrrrty sure I did. I suggested not to waste much money on aftermarket parts and just get the stock ones setup well and focus on your skills cuz GP, or Ohlins, or K-tech or whatever else is not gonna just make you faster all of a sudden.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Puurrrrty sure I did. I suggested not to waste much money on aftermarket parts and just get the stock ones setup well and focus on your skills cuz GP, or Ohlins, or K-tech or whatever else is not gonna just make you faster all of a sudden.
I already knew that... the main question was about brand quality. I just couldn't understand why my suspension kept "jumping" mid-corner and lacked stability which made me think it was suspension related until the only major riding changes I made were that I stopped trail braking.
 

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I already knew that... the main question was about brand quality. I just couldn't understand why my suspension kept "jumping" mid-corner and lacked stability which made me think it was suspension related until the only major riding changes I made were that I stopped trail braking.
I remember my first crash at the track, where I tucked the front end cuz I went into the turn a little too hot for my comfort and I was trail-braking but sort of panicked so I didn't really let off the brake lever as I was leaning more, plus it was a colder morning and I was on cold street tires. After that I was afraid to trail-brake for the first few track days I did after the crash. Sure enough I was going quite a bit slower than I had before the crash and I didn't get back to that same pace I had before the crash until I started regaining confidence to trail-brake again.
 
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Discussion Starter #30
I remember my first crash at the track, where I tucked the front end cuz I went into the turn a little too hot for my comfort and I was trail-braking but sort of panicked so I didn't really let off the brake lever as I was leaning more, plus it was a colder morning and I was on cold street tires. After that I was afraid to trail-brake for the first few track days I did after the crash. Sure enough I was going quite a bit slower than I had before the crash and I didn't get back to that same pace I had before the crash until I started regaining confidence to trail-brake again.
That's exactly what happened. Cold morning and first lap out, let go of the brake lever a bit too abrupt and the front went away. Since then my approach was to finish my braking before the apex and use maintenance throttle throughout the corner for the most part (depending on the corner). Anyway, obviously it makes sense as to why the front feels so different now, because I'm messing it up! :roll:
 

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That's exactly what happened. Cold morning and first lap out, let go of the brake lever a bit too abrupt and the front went away. Since then my approach was to finish my braking before the apex and use maintenance throttle throughout the corner for the most part (depending on the corner). Anyway, obviously it makes sense as to why the front feels so different now, because I'm messing it up! :roll:
You control fork rebound with the front brake. If you don't believe me, try this out.

Come to a dead stop from a decent speed (30 MPH or more). Using the front brakes only, apply them, and hold them until you've completely stopped - then completely let off the brake. Do that a few times to get a feel for what the bike is doing.

Now do it again, but slowly release the front brake. Note how your gradual release of the brake is slowing the rebound of the forks.

Mind = blown

(This is how I had a pretty good idea that you weren't trail braking, knowing you're in I group and talking about the front end rebounding on you)

(Hint: Go to YCRS already :) )
 

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You control fork rebound with the front brake. If you don't believe me, try this out.

Come to a dead stop from a decent speed (30 MPH or more). Using the front brakes only, apply them, and hold them until you've completely stopped - then completely let off the brake. Do that a few times to get a feel for what the bike is doing.

Now do it again, but slowly release the front brake. Note how your gradual release of the brake is slowing the rebound of the forks.

Mind = blown

(This is how I had a pretty good idea that you weren't trail braking, knowing you're in I group and talking about the front end rebounding on you)

(Hint: Go to YCRS already :) )
^^This is good stuff, and oh so true! I remember a specific case on my ZX6R at Road America going into T5 (slowest turn on track at the end of the 2nd straightaway, braking from about 150 mph to 35ish), for some stupid reason that I can't remember I had a bit of an oh-shit moment and decided to suddenly let off the brakes completely as I was already halfway leaned over for the turn. Guess what happened...fast rebound back up, lightened up the front end, got a little wobbly mid-turn, but luckily didn't crash. I was amazed that I hadn't crashed to be honest, and I think the thing that saved me was the sticky Pirelli front!

I know that wasn't the only time I did that, but I remember that one well cuz it was pretty scary lol Very important to use the front brake effectively to control the way the forks are behaving. Of course that shouldn't mean that you can skip out on setting up the suspensions well, but when a guy on shitty bone stock forks on a ninja 300 which are like noodles is going lap record pace (for that class), you know a LOT of the work is being done by the right hand, not by fancy aftermarket parts ;)
 
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I thought this was a pretty informative video by Dave Moss. Basically comparing two methods of settling the chassis and increasing the front contact patch in turns. Each method, " brake-turn-gas(trail braking) vs Brake-gas-turn" is useful depending on the type of corner.


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More food for thought...

Consider the contact patch a front tire has with no weight on it. What happens when you load that tire? More rubber on the ground.

Would you rather go through a corner with a bigger or smaller contact patch on the front tire?

You have a brand new track rider that manages to tuck the front. The advanced guys are carrying way more corner speed than that guy, but the novice guy crashes? The brand new novice rider does all his braking straight up and down because he's been told for years that you should never use the brakes in the corner. So he comes in super hot, hard on the brakes, then completely lets off the brakes as he tips the bike in...

What if...so many people are tucking the front on their bike because the front end isn't loaded enough?

Spend the few hundred bucks to get the suspension you have serviced and set up for you. Spend that money you would have spent on aftermarket shit and go do YCRS....and that money you have spent on the school transfers to every bike you'll ever ride.


I once had the opportunity to chat with *Troy Corser at Laguna Seca several years ago about this very same thing. He also pointed out that unless on billiard table smooth corners (which only [email protected] race tracks), that he always kept the front brake lever slightly compressed (trail braking) because aside from putting a fatter contact patch on the tarmac, it also took up extra suspension compression/rebound cycles, which only makes the handling worse. This in turn results in getting pushed off line, and/or having the rear end trying to swap with the front end; which in and of itself will result in crashing.

I've been using this tip, and you know what? It really, really works!



*Troy Corser is an Australian who is retired from racing. He won the Australian Superbike Championship; the USA AMA Superbike Championship; and two World Superbike Championships.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Good thing I ordered some fork seals as I found my left fork to be leaking. Respring working out better than I expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
My compression and rebound are only 1 out so it's lacking damping. I didn't have time to install a lighter spring or the revalve this month so I'll do it in the next couple of weeks.
 

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I had my suspension adjusted by Dave Moss right now. Heading out for the afternoon session in a bit.
That's awesome JD, he is a great guy and an even better suspension tuner. I like the way he actually teaches you about suspension as he is tuning your bike. I should have brought a notebook with me when he worked with me during a round this season.

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