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post #1 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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RaceTech Suspension Mod: Step-by-step w/ Pics

I completed my front end RachTech modification this past weekend (04/22/2007 – 2004 Yamaha FZ6). In preparation for the mod I had to do a lot of searching in different places for the information I needed, so I figured I’d put everything I learned into one comprehensive thread…

The mod is not very hard but the thought of modifying something as important as your front suspension can be intimidating for the uninitiated…so hopefully this helps.

The Mod, step by step (what I did, not necessarily what you should do) –

You need to elevate your front wheel. I put my bike on the center stand and placed some weight in my rear top case (see picture) so that the front wheel was lifted off the ground. I also but a can with a towel on top (see picture) under the headers for stability.

Remove the brakes, front fender and front wheel. I supported the heavy brakes using a Coca-Cola crate so that they were not hanging by the brake lines (see picture). Loosen the clamps holding the forks in place and slide them out (cut/clip the zip ties). Be sure to loosen the fork caps before you loosen and remove the forks from the bike for obvious reasons. Don't totally remove the caps until the forks are removed, or you will spill old fork oil everywhere.

Once you remove the fork caps, the spacer (metal tubing) will pop out a couple inches (with only minimal force so don’t be worried). Pull those out along with the stock washer and springs. Dump out the oil into a container. You should compress/extend the shocks a few times while upside down to get all the grey quickcrete-looking oil out.

Next, cut your spacers using the RaceTech provided pipe and decide how many if any RaceTech provided washers you’re going to use. The length of your spacers and the amount of washers you use will impact your initial sag and suspension characteristics. You’ll have to figure this out on your own but 7 3/8” and one washer on top [EDIT - I've cut them down to ~6.75" for sag of ~30mm w/ gear on] gave me what I wanted (I’m 170lb. with no gear, do the occasional track day and ride two-up every now and then).

The hardest part was getting the spacers cut completely straight and equal to each other. I had to do a fair amount of filing by hand. In hindsight, a large handheld tubing cutter (mine was too small) or a handheld hacksaw (I used a large electric one) is probably the best way to go.

The service manual will tell you exactly how much oil to dump in (I went with 0.467L of 15wt per fork). Once you have the oil in, put the fork springs in, then the stock washer, next the RaceTech spacers you cut, finally any RaceTech washer(s), and finally screw on the cap most of the way.

Slide the forks back in the clamps and tighten the top clamps just enough to keep the forks from dropping, install fender, wheel and then brakes. Now that the forks are tied together by the wheel and the fork clamps you can finish tightening the fork caps and set the forks exactly where you want them in the clamps (I dropped my front end about 20mm or so). I used locktite on everything except the front axle and the fork caps.

Cost/Tools –

(1) $18 (shipped) or so for the 15wt Belray oil (FZ6 Dude hooked me up on the cheap). You can use whatever brand or weight you want (stock is 5wt).

(2) $95 for RaceTech springs, 0.95 kg/mm (stock are 0.80kg/mm). Again, you can use whatever spring you want. The RaceTech website has a calculator that generates a recommended spring for your weight and riding style. Race Tech Inc.

(3) Various metric ratchets, adjustable wrench, locktite, container with ml measurements, tool for the front wheel axle, various allen keys, large tube cutter or hack saw, file, and a measuring tape. A torque wrench should be used but is not required.

Spring Size -

I’ve seem some discussion about how the RaceTech springs are shorter than the stock springs. Well, if you look at the stock springs you will notice that a good portion of the springs looks like completely compacted coil that allows for no movement.(see picture).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tour Guide
as far as the stock springs having different distances in the coils. they are what are called variable rate vs. the racer techs being a fixed rate. there is a lot of controversy which is better. but most racers run the fixed rate due to setting up the susension for a certian weight person. also the variable rates give you a smoother ride. most bikes come with variable rate springs.
Results –

Night and Day….

In short, I feel much more planted in turns. The bike does not wallow like it used to and reacts much better to mid-corner adjustments (it is impossible to overstate the importance of this). And then there are the much needed braking related improvements! I feel much more confident getting on the brakes hard. The excessive dive is gone and you simply do not notice the front end struggling so much as you ease off the brakes. I also had a chance to ride two-up….much smoother…my passenger was happy.

When I first sat on the bike I noticed the front end felt noticeably higher due to the reduction in sag. This bothered me at first but I quickly forgot it and can be adjusted several ways. I need to do some more testing but may end up dropping the front slight farther…not sure yet.

In any event, I have not been this excited about my bike since I first bought it. I can’t wait to hit the track next month!
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Last edited by DefyInertia; 01-22-2008 at 09:45 PM.
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post #2 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 10:09 AM
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I did this same mod, with the same .95 springs a couple of years ago, with the only difference being the spacer length. My spacers (8 7/8") gave me 3/4"-7/8" sag. Although I have lost about 20 pounds since then I have not changed the spacer length. I'm wondering what the sag amount is for your setup as you made the spacers 1 1/2" shorter.

BTW, this is a great tech write-up!

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post #3 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 10:51 AM
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Great post!
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post #4 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 03:35 PM
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DefyInertia, this is printed and ready for reference when I decide to do mine as well. I've been wanting to do this very mod with the same stuff you've researched. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write this up and include pics! I just need to find more money. I want the Scorpion EXO-1000 helmet first though.

I'm curious to see what adjustments you make going forward.

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post #5 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-25-2007, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fz6innh
I'm curious to see what adjustments you make going forward.
Besides possibly dropping the front end more, probably none, as these are not adjustable. You need the cartridge emulators for that. And still would require taking apart and rebuilding the forks to adjust! Then u may as well get the R6 forks.

Defy, GREAT post!!! This should be stickied.

I'm going to do it as well, but I'm still debating as with my weight, RaceTech recommends the .85 kg springs, which is only .05 more than stock springs. Do you think it would be worth doing, or would I get enough improvement out of just replacing stock with 15wt oil (I already bought that anyway).

Just unsure of other improved characteristics I might get, like lack of sag, with the 0.85 racetech vs 0.80 stock.
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post #6 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-25-2007, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rg-one
Besides possibly dropping the front end more, probably none, as these are not adjustable. You need the cartridge emulators for that. And still would require taking apart and rebuilding the forks to adjust! Then u may as well get the R6 forks.
Dropping the front end changes the geometry of the bike. Popping off the fork caps and adding/removing washers and/or cutting the spacers will change (read: adjust) the sag and suspension characteristics.

As far as I understand, the adjustments that he R6 forks provide and the emulators provide are small adjustments used to fine tune / dial in your suspension. The R6 forks are .88kg (I think) so I would have had to add some new springs to those too if I went that route.

It was a cost/benefit thing for me. When the time comes that I need better suspension/brakes for the track, I'll get a track only bike. But that is just me and my situation. I'm going to fine tune the suspension - to the extent that my setup allows - this weekend and will report back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rg-one
I'm going to do it as well, but I'm still debating as with my weight, RaceTech recommends the .85 kg springs, which is only .05 more than stock springs. Do you think it would be worth doing, or would I get enough improvement out of just replacing stock with 15wt oil (I already bought that anyway).

Just unsure of other improved characteristics I might get, like lack of sag, with the 0.85 racetech vs 0.80 stock.
You must be light! If I were you I would change the oil (the hard part...the part that requires taking the forks off) and see how it feels. If you're still lacking something, then you can just change out the springs from the top without taking everything apart again.


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post #7 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-25-2007, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rg-one
Besides possibly dropping the front end more, probably none, as these are not adjustable. You need the cartridge emulators for that. And still would require taking apart and rebuilding the forks to adjust! Then u may as well get the R6 forks.

Defy, GREAT post!!! This should be stickied.

I'm going to do it as well, but I'm still debating as with my weight, RaceTech recommends the .85 kg springs, which is only .05 more than stock springs. Do you think it would be worth doing, or would I get enough improvement out of just replacing stock with 15wt oil (I already bought that anyway).

Just unsure of other improved characteristics I might get, like lack of sag, with the 0.85 racetech vs 0.80 stock.
I have the emulators and 15wt oil in my forks. I kept the stock springs because I'm pretty light.

It makes a huge difference in the handling of the bike. I was never totally happy with the forks since it was new and they seemed to get more squishy and wallowy as time went on. After going to emulators and getting them fine tuned the bike handles awesome.

To adjust the emulators all you need to do is remove the caps, spacers and springs, then fish the emulators out with a parts grabber. Racetech only discusses fine tuning in units of 'full turns' but I went to quarter-turn adjustments and found the perfect setting. Pulling the emulators to adjust isn't that bad but certainly not as easy as externally adjustable forks.

Racetech suggests 2 turns for street riding. I started at 3 which was great on smooth roads but harsh on rough ones. Then I went to 2 which felt like stock. 2.75 turns was the ticket. If I get to do a track day I'll go back to 3.

Nice writeup, Mr. Inertia!

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Last edited by pelon717; 04-25-2007 at 03:48 PM.
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post #8 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 07:37 AM
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Great write up DefyInertia, I added it to the User Mod section of the sticky'd Aftermarket Mods thread, and the How To section of the sticky'd FZ6 Topics Worth Linking


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post #9 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 08:00 PM
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Thanks Defy and Pelon, great info and very helpful! Glad this got stickied too.

I'm taking her in for new tapered steering head bearings (don't feel comfortable doing that one yet) and will probably have them just do this too all at once. Not quite sure what setup I'll go with, but I might just try doing the 15wt oil for the time being if I can easily do the new springs/emulators without removing the forks later.

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post #10 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 04:07 PM
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You will need to remove the fork tubes to install the emulators. The damping rods get new holes drilled in them. Once the mod is done, the emulators can be tuned without removing the fork tubes.

As the cars roar into Pennsylvania, the cradle of liberty, it seems apparent that our citizens are staying off the streets, which may make scoring particularly difficult, even with this year's rule changes. To recap those revisions: women are still worth 10 points more than men in all age brackets, but teenagers now rack up 40 points, and toddlers under 12 now rate a big 70 points. The big score: anyone, any sex, over 75 years old has been upped to 100 points.



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post #11 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 04:07 PM
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ahdn't heard back - but i see your project worked well - great post. just imagine how fast i am with mrs. tour guide now! i actually felt the bigger improvement 2-up. as far as the stock springs having different distances in the coils. they are what are called variable rate vs. the racer techs being a fixed rate. there is a lot of controversy which is better. but most racers run the fixed rate due to setting up the susension for a certian weight person. also the variable rates give you a smoother ride. most bikes come with variable rate springs. you mentioned the lock tite which is a must but just wanted to make sure you put a torque wrench on everything ??? and yes you are exactly right it is a great improvement - any more and you might as well move up to a full sportbike with comp. and rebound dampening adjustments. if you haven't dropped the tubes in the tripple trees , drop them @ 25mm and you will enjoy it even more.
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post #12 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 04:12 PM
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i meant to mention an old trick to find your spacer length for your correct weight. use some pvc pipe - it's cheaper for trial and error until you cut the steel tube. also what did you wind up with for your static sag. i would guess @ 28 and down to 24 when you lean over??????
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post #13 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 10:12 PM
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pelon, what weight fork oil did you use? I just installed cart fork emulators and my rebound seems slow, I used 15w I am thinking about going to a lighter oil weight, also what oil level did you go with
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post #14 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moldmaker
I did this same mod, with the same .95 springs a couple of years ago, with the only difference being the spacer length. My spacers (8 7/8") gave me 3/4"-7/8" sag. Although I have lost about 20 pounds since then I have not changed the spacer length. I'm wondering what the sag amount is for your setup as you made the spacers 1 1/2" shorter.

BTW, this is a great tech write-up!
I get 19/20mm (about 3/4" to 7/8") with my gear on, but I wear a lot of gear. I don't know how much sag I was gettin upfront with the stock setup, does anyone?

How much do you weigh and how much sag are you getting NOW with those ~9" spacers!?!?!?

I believe RaceTech notes the extremes at 5mm to 35mm of sag.


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post #15 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 10:38 PM
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i checked my stock springs before doing the racetechs and with my 190lb. self it was @ 25mm. but don't be confused with that cause the spring rate is the key.
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