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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well guys, just broke the bike out of storage about a month ago and managed to pop another 1000 miles on it between snowstorms. I've been riding since the tail end of last summer accumulating 5000+ miles on my bike, most of which were through the large number of wild twisty canyons in the area. I feel comfortable enough on my bike to ride confidently and aggressively enough to feel safe in a world of text messaging drivers.

I started reading some articles about my bike and realized the suspension kind of sucks for hard cornering (which happens to be my favorite kind :boink ) I just started messing with my preload today in between laps around the neighborhood trying to make suspension a little more suited for my riding style/ weight. I went from the highest preload setting on the rear shock to the lowest and I can't really feel a huge difference, even over bumps.

I think I'm ready to start putting some aftermarket parts on my bike as I want to customize it a little and increase it's performance. I've worked out about 1000$ to dump into bike gizmos and I really could care less about acceleration or top speed, I want to increase the good stuff, smooth predictable characteristics at high lean angles. Last summer they built a really nice track nearby "Miller motorsports park" and I was lucky enough to meet a guy by chance that has a garage down there and is willing to let me play on the track a bit this spring, I wanted to know where my money would be best spent? (which parts, bang for the buck, increased your cornering ability the most?)

I don't know a ton about motorcycles mechanics but I love wrenching on stuff and I'll take the time to figure it out and do it right I just need a good push in a direction to start. Thanks guys.


P.S (Yeah I know, "YOULL KILL YOURSELF AND TRASH YOUR BIKE IF YOU TAKE IT ON THE TRACK, THINK THIS ONE THROUGH PLEASE")
-no thanks, I'm not racing I'm just having fun and would like to learn how to corner hard in a safer environment than the local canyons
 

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Ice-is-Scary said:
I started reading some articles about my bike and realized the suspension kind of sucks for hard cornering (which happens to be my favorite kind :boink ) I just started messing with my preload today in between laps around the neighborhood trying to make suspension a little more suited for my riding style/ weight. I went from the highest preload setting on the rear shock to the lowest and I can't really feel a huge difference, even over bumps.

thats because you dont understand what preload is for. its for setting sag to keep the shock in the proper operating range so that when you have input you dont bottom out, flatten the pitch of the swing arm and perhaps put too much tension on the chain. the oil in that shock is what makes hitting bumps feel different (aka dampening).
this is some good reading to start
http://www.feelthetrack.com/tuning_guide.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
When my roomy gets home (I just finally talked him into getting a bike a few days ago and he's loving it, and dropping his bike everywhere, luckily I convinced him that buying used for his first bike is the only way to go, even though I went brand new, I have very good balance and a ton of experience on other machines) I'm going to measure my rider and static sag, man I wish I had a garage it's about to rain.


Sorry guys, one more question. Would upgrading my suspension, also improve braking power and efficency? I wouldn't mind having both upgraded suspension AND braking but remeber I'm on a limited budget of around 1000$ at the moment. I'm looking bang for the buck.
 

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If you don't weigh over about 175, the stock sv suspension should be OK at least for a while. If you front now dives under heavy braking, adjusting the preload and maybe new, stiffer springs might help. If the front doesn't dive, the only effect of suspension on braking will be to improve the tire contact with the road.
 

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Gap runner
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I'm on a limited budget of around 1000$ at the moment. I'm looking bang for the buck.
Dude, I upgraded the suspension on my SV for about $300 total. Get a 2003 to 2005 Gixer 750 shock cheap off EBay and swap it out. That should take care of the rear. Then order a set of RaceTech springs for your weight and a set of RaceTech cartridge Emulators for the front. After that, take some time to get the static sag set up correctly and play with the compression and rebound settings on the shock to see what suits you.

You will be amazed at the difference, but only if you can ride well enough to know the difference.

If you want some decent pricing on the front end stuff, I can steer you in the right direction through my suspension guy! (No, it's NOT me!)
 

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Thanks for the link Ped!
Some good stuff on that site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey I was just browsing Ebay for GSXR rears and most of em are 30-50$, are these a pain in the ass to install? and would you recommend getting different customized springs while the shock is still off the bike
 

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andyM said:
Track time and tires.
+1. If you can't tell the difference in suspension settings through the entire range then you're probably not pushing the bike that hard. No worries though, because running the track is both addicting and expensive. You won't have a problem blowing $1k there.
 

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dsfiss said:
+1. If you can't tell the difference in suspension settings through the entire range then you're probably not pushing the bike that hard.
I don't agree with that. Budget bike suspenders do not change much no matter how much you play with them.
1K should get you some good kit for the suspension. Look to the sv forums. Perhaps you could get a gsxr front end with the better brakes and all.
 

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Tires are the most important part of your bike. The suspension is just there to tie the bike to the tires.

That being said, if you ride on the street just put gas in your bike and enjoy it. The suspension isn't going to make much of a deal--possibly you would adjust the preload for more comfort.

Now if you take your bike to the track then you'll need different suspension. Most importantly you'll need the correct spring...people often fiddle with the damping settings thinking it will make a great deal of handling difference but neglect the spring. You can go faster on a proper spring for your weight/style even if you have no damping at all, but you simply cannot go fast if you have the preload jacked all the way up. However, changing the spring on a bike is neither fast nor easy but fiddling with those knobs is. Don't get sucked into that type of thinking.

Bottom line: ignore your suspension if you're riding on the street; pay very careful attention on what spring you need to buy if you're going on the track; use the lightest damping rates you can get away with.
 

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ApriliaSL said:
I don't agree with that. Budget bike suspenders do not change much no matter how much you play with them.
1K should get you some good kit for the suspension. Look to the sv forums. Perhaps you could get a gsxr front end with the better brakes and all.
Then I retract my reasoning. While it's easy for me to tell the difference in preload when I ride my gf's stock sv650, it still makes for a subjective statement. I still feel inclined however to suggest tires and track days (at least one) though. Much of my jerkiness on the sv or my monster is simply attributed to poor throttle control, despite the fact that neither stock setup is well suited for my weight (215 lb).
 

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malvolio said:
your riding will benefit from a skills upgrade more than it will from a suspension upgrade. spend the money on track school.

the preload on my rear shock made little difference. i swapped the shock out with a 636 (similar upgrade to the gsxr shock). that made a huge difference. its all in the dampening. get the sag set, then play with the other settings.

the main reason for me doing this is i kept scraping the dang pegs everytime i leaned it over and got back on the throttle. that really kept me from advancing my skills. no I wasn't on a track :twofinger . but now i can lean over enough and not worry about the pegs hitting, track or not. so in my case the suspension upgrade was crucial to street or track riding.

first trackday is scheduled for this summer, and it has made me think so much less about carving up the mountains, even though i still do it :boink
 

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Before you spend ANY money, have the bike setup by someone who knows what they are dong I think that that costs $40-$100 or so. They can get your sag set properly and help with rebound/compression damping settings if you have them, and let you know if the bike is 'out of whack' and needs changed somehow.

Before you start throwing money at a problem, you have to know WHAT problem you are trying to fix. It sounds like you don't know if there is a problem - how can you fix it?
 

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Before you start throwing money at a problem, you have to know WHAT problem you are trying to fix.
Not a bad staement at all, except the fact that an SV 650 suspension sucks stock! That IS a problem!
 

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I'd buy gold valves, fork oil and new springs for the front first. Also, I tried a Gixxer shock on one of my bikes and hated it, you really will notice a huge difference with a penske or Ohlins, although this requires a little bit more cash. Anyways, gold valves, fork oil and springs first. That will keep you under budget and give you decent bang for buck.
 

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dampening makes a HUGE difference, even to the beginner. generic rear shocks that are non-adjustable in the dampening department are too fast to re-bound. when you start riding hard on not perfect road this can cause major traction issues. if your forks are out bad enough they will make big difference in confidance too. you shouldnt need fork springs or oil unless you have to go to extremes with the preload to set the sag right. as well with the compression/rebound. in fact i hear alot of fast racers like to use as thin of oil as possible so that its less likely to be very slightly affected by ambient temps.
if you have to crank the preload all the way and you still have a static sag of more than say 35mm then you will need heavier springs, and vice versa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow guys, thanks for all the response, some say if I'm not riding on the track a lot I shouldn't worry about it, but at the same time I ride fairly aggressively through the canyons and when I take a very hard corner my bike bounces a lot, I used to think it was me rolling on and off the throttle being unsure of my line but it really is the bike doing weird shit, I think. I weigh 160 pounds or so ( i lose weight in the winter due to ski competition ) so I'd like to set my bike up for 170lbs or so since I'll be training again.

I've read multiple articles that had a 200lb+ guy saying the stock springs were so heavy he couldnt get it to sag more than 10-15mm at any preload. I was literally jumping up and down on my pegs boucing my suspension yesterday and I honestly couldnt tell a big different between preload settings. Are adjustments on street suspension a lot more miniscule than dirt suspensions? I come from a dirt background and I could tell big differences in even just preload settings of offroad suspensions.
 
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