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Old 01-29-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
maxgs
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Suspension service with Ohlins USA

During the off season, I knew I had to have my suspension serviced. Patrick (Motorcycles Unlimited) does all my suspension work so normally I would have had him service it. After a couple of conversations, Patrick and I agreed that maybe this time Ohlins USA would be a better option because I wanted to explore options for custom springs and valving. So, a few week back I sent my suspension into Ohlins. It was my first time sending the suspension in, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought a few other folks might benefit from my experience.

To start the process, I called Ohlins and asked them what, if anything, I needed to do before sending them the suspension. I talked to them about my riding style, my gargantuan size, and how I like to use the bike... pure track. They asked to have me set the bike at 40mm of sag on the forks, 30 mm of sag on the shock and then send everything in. I went to Patrick (Motorcycles Unlimited) and had him work with me to set the sags then I brought the bike back home and removed the shock and forks, with supervision from TiaTool.

I had gone to Gander Mountain a little earlier and bought a gun case to use for shipping. I believe I about about $40.00 for it. I filled out the service request form, packed it in with the suspension and sent it off UPS ground. With the insurance, shipping was over $100.00.

A few days later, Ohlins called and let me know my suspension had arrived. They said there was about a week and a half of backlog, so they'd call me back when my suspension reached the top of the queue.

Two weeks later the tech working on my suspension called. He talked to me about what he'd found thus far and then we re-visited how I use the bike and my size. Interestingly, the fork oil was 130 mm on one side and 210 mm on the other. I had noticed that the compression adjuster on the left work had oil in it... obviously it had a helluva leak. It was a little curious that at no point on the track were my forks ever oily. We talked about the amount of preload that was necessary to get the desired sags front and rear. He first mentioned that the shock had WAY TO MUCH preload. I was already running the biggest spring available, so we decided to go with a custom spring and perches from a new shock line. He also wanted to change the valving at the rear to slow the rebound.

The wasn't as concerned about the front. However, after telling him how often I bottom the front, we decided to go with custom front springs as well. Again I was already using the biggest springs Ohlins makes. He also wanted to stick with the 130 mm oil level.

Lastly, he wanted to talk about my lower fork tubes. He mentioned that they had scratches through the black coating, enough that he could feel it with his fingernail. He said he was a little reluctant to build forks only to potentially have them leak. Polishing out the scratches was not an option due to the coating. I had notice the couple of scratches at the track and then again when I pulled the forks. He offered a set of fork tubes they had from a race bike for a really cheap price... $50.00. Then he mentioned they had some rock chips, which didn't sound good to me. I asked him about new fork tubes from Suzuki and he said they'd be expensive.. $500+. Suzuki doesn't sell just the lower tubes, they sell the lower tube and assembly for the front wheel. I decide to call Patrick before making a decision.

I called Patrick and he checked on the lower fork tubes. His cost was a big number and I learned that the price estimate Brad (the Ohlins tech) had given me was PER SIDE. Patrick offered to ship the lowers anywhere I needed, and provided a really competitive price. However, Brad told me that Ohlins would sell them at cost... no markup... when refreshing a suspension.

I called Brad back and, sure enough, his cost was low. I went ahead and had Ohlins take care of everything so I'd have just one bill.

About a week later, Ohlins called and said my suspension was done. They went through all the prices and I ended up getting a good deal. Fork cap extensions for at least 20% less than I would have paid through an aftermarket shop, fork lowers at cost with a really low shipping rate, and no charge for the springs. Turns out that when Ohlins does a suspension, they try to exchange springs whenever possible... so they take yours, and provide the new springs at no additional cost. Of course those "new" springs probably came off another racers bike. They keep your springs and then re-use them for another racer. If I wanted my old springs back, I would be charged for the new springs. Having no use for the smaller springs, I took the deal.

The suspension is coming back with a setup sheet that will provide the spring rate as well as valving, and recommendations for bump, rebound, and geometry. Gixxer's are notorious for having issues at the back of the bike, so they are also sending a spacer for the rear shock.

So the suspension is on the way home and I can't wait to get it re-installed and set up. I'm hoping to be on the track 2/6 for a day of testing and tuning.

I couldn't have had a better experience with Ohlins USA thus far. I hope some of you will find this information useful.

-Curt
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:48 PM   #2
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Great review , Curt
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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Very good Curt
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:24 PM   #4
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Very good Curt
How are you liking the street fighter?

-Curt
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:04 PM   #5
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Cool Curt keep us informed, I am thinking of sending my Ohlins forks and shock off my new toy, to them, maybe even the ohlins damper too
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:14 PM   #6
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Bad write up Curt-
...especially since I just installed Ohlins rear shock and front internals on my GSXR

But how many seasons did you ride on yours until you sent it in?
Or approx how many trackdays if you can be more accurate?
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:41 PM   #7
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Bad write up Curt-
...especially since I just installed Ohlins rear shock and front internals on my GSXR

But how many seasons did you ride on yours until you sent it in?
Or approx how many trackdays if you can be more accurate?
One season since the last service. Lots of track days, between 40 and 50 I would guess.

It's something that needs to be done every season at least. As much as we ride in Houston, twice a year might even make sense.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:44 PM   #8
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Btw, fork service is 250 and shock is 75 plus parts. And then he outrageous shipping costs... Mine was 150.00 for shipping.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for the write up! I've been looking into some Ohlins stuff for my bike.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:17 PM   #10
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curt did you get to test the suspension on 2/6
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:45 PM   #11
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that's awesome curt. see you at the msrh
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:41 AM   #12
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