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Old 12-01-2007, 10:49 PM   #1
maxgs
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Need help with '08 GSXR-1000 Suspension

Folks, I'm still very new to my '08 gixxer 1000 and to tracking the bike. Brandon @ Motorcycles Unlimited did the setup for my bike a couple of weeks ago understanding that I was new to the track and that I would be mixing street and track riding. Since then I've been on the track four times. Today one of the MSR members (and an ex-motorcycle road racer) noticed that my front end was diving pretty badly. He put a tie wrap on it and, sure enough, I was bottoming out the front shocks.

Rory was there and took a look. He suggested increasing slow bump (compression) 3 clicks on the bottom of the forks; I did this by rotating it clockwise. I went back out and was still right near the end of the shock travel, albeit a little better. When I came back he made another suggestion that I increase the preload.

When Brandon set up my bike he set the preload such that it was out 5 positions. I'm more than willing to take the preload to 3, but I am interested in the opinions of experienced racer/wrenches before I make another change. Should I move the slow bump back out 3 positions and change the preload or just go ahead and adjust the preload from 5 to 3?

Another person said I shouldn't even bother with the preload; rather I should get new front springs. Increasing the preload would reduce overall shock travel. Intuitively, the engineer in me doesn't agree but I'm too new to be relying on intuition.

BTW, I'm a very big guy... 6'6" and about 290; I suspect that contributes to the bottoming out issue.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:27 PM   #2
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You are a big guy and these bikes as new are set up for the average sized rider. You really should consider having the bike sprung for your weight.

Something else you might consider is where your weight is when you are on the brakes. Are you using your legs and torso to keep your weight back in the center of the bike or are you pushing yourself back with your arms and transferring all of that weight directly into your forks?

Good luck with your track days and finding the set up that suits you.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:34 PM   #3
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^^^^^^^^^^^

Agree with the above post. At your weight its gonna be the springs. Racetech has a calculator on their website that will get you in the ballpark on your spring weight.

That shock is gonna need some help as well.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:45 PM   #4
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I'm not as tall as you, you have me by 4"- and you outweigh me by about 40- but I hear ya here, I have the same issues.

I endurance race, and the guys I race with are much smaller than me. I have to run on soft suspensions all the time, and actually prefer it. Most smooth riders will ride softer suspensions than the guys who go in dive-bombing the corners.

Firstly, a stock suspension can be just fine, but it's really built for some Japanese guy who weighs at max 140 lbs.

Here's the gem- if you aren't having any issues, don't eff with the bike. If you're happy with the bike, you're not tossing it down the track, and aren't having any issues on the track... why would you change anything?

Now, here's some info from an old racer who pays someone else to tune his suspension:
You have some adjustments that you can "play" with, and don't get spooked by them. Compression and preload will work with your current issue (if it's really a problem). Increasing the compression (firmer) and increasing your preload will help with dive. Sometimes, big adjustments are necessary so you can find your happy medium. I'd go considerably firmer on the compression, and if you have five lines showing on preload, I'd increase it to 2 showing. You may have to slow rebound when you increase preload.

After making big adjustments, do some tuning laps- slow at first to get a feel for the changes. If you don't like what your feeling, your getting some untoward effects, or your gut says "this feels scary", go back in to the pits and back off what you changed (if you go firmer, back off a bit softer).

Some of those sessions will get you back in to the groove eventually.

Personally though, I don't care what "XX" person says my bike looks like- heck, some of that may just be the rider and not the bike. Basically, if you're not having a problem, don't change anything.

Any new person (even big guys like me and you) can ride just fine on stock suspension. It's when you get a bunch of seat time at the track behind you that upgrading your suspension bits will benefit you most. There is no doubt that starting out on a good suspension will be juuuust fine, and may even make you even more comfortable. But is it necessary? No.

For the record, I bottom out my suspension too, and I've spent untold thousands over the last few years to get it built/ rebuilt/ rebuilt again just for me. A problem is when it's happening and causing issues- but you'll bottom out every once in a while when you're braking hard. Not saying it's good, it just happens.

I'd take the bike to Andy at Metric Motorcycles in the Heights, or Patrick at Motorcycles Unlimited for the straight skinny. If you go to Andy, be prepared for a brutal, off the cuff, straight up truth session He won't hold back!

Now, you won't go wrong with new springs, Racetech mods/ valving on the front, and an Ohlins Triple out back. You'll know what good suspension is after those mods fo sho.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:43 AM   #5
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Thanks for the detailed response, Tom.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:46 AM   #6
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Curt,
The suspension setup Brandon did was a good baseline setup for your weight and riding parameters at the time; street / track use and the level at that time of your skill level.

As your skill increases and the focus of your use changes than your setup will change as well.

Because you've now been to the track 4 times in the last few weeks, your skill level has increased and you're now inputting different loads to your suspension then before.

You are also asking more of your suspension by being more track focused.

As Tom already stated, IF your bike is giving you issues, you can either try adjusting the suspension yourself or ask your tuner (us) and he can suggest some changes.
We're always happy to help out, even if we're not there give us a call and we can make some suggestions.

FWIW, if you're starting to go to the track a lot, you may want to bring it by for us to change your setup some, as well as offer some suggestions on modifications to better perform for your size.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:52 AM   #7
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Thanks Patrick; you guys have been a tremendous help already. I'll be by this week. Also want to talk about another set of wheels and more appropriate tires. I'm headed back to the track this morning; I'm going to try focus on keeping my weight more appropriately distributed and see how that changes things. I think I'm still putting too much weight on the clipons during braking.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxgs View Post
Thanks Patrick; you guys have been a tremendous help already. I'll be by this week. Also want to talk about another set of wheels and more appropriate tires. I'm headed back to the track this morning; I'm going to try focus on keeping my weight more appropriately distributed and see how that changes things. I think I'm still putting too much weight on the clipons during braking.
Curt, if you haven't already, I'd bet you could benefit from one-on-one lessons with a good instructor. I haven't seen Larry's instruction, but there seems to be good feedback on him at the Mercedes track in Angleton. Sounds like you have a membership there too, so Larry could be a natural choice for you to get some instruction from.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:35 PM   #9
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Curt,
I'd caution changing things on your bike, if your not having any issues. If your feeling good and confident, then just ride it. If your having issues, then certainly call your tuner and ask questions. I'd stick with one person and that way you can build a relationship. They know what your talking about when you explain things, and you understand them when they explain resolutions. Someone will always be pointing to things and saying things and trying to point you in different directions. Trust YOUR feelings; your riding the bike and you know what feels good.

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Old 12-02-2007, 06:23 PM   #10
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:20 PM   #11
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Definitely talk to Larry, the course is awesome and the instruction will help you in many ways, including tweaking that suspension setup.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:24 PM   #12
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If they set it up for combo street and track, it is probably a little soft for the track. Prob want to go back and "firm" it up a bit. I run mine soft for the street and those mid corner bumps don't make me swap lanes.

And don't worry too much what someone else thinks about your ride, set it up for YOU.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:35 PM   #13
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I just know I have been working w/ Patrick for years and he has never failed me. Remember the tires and the set-up (suspension) work in concert. I also know Patrick has years of training & experience with many different brands of products.

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Old 12-02-2007, 08:42 PM   #14
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Well, I was back at MSR Houston today and I changed the preload from 5 to 2... still bottoming out the shocks and with the increased corner entry speed in both diamonds edge and the entry to 17 (running reverse again), now I'm feeling the chatter from the shock bottoming out. Time to visit a suspension guy... just too damned heavy for the bike's stock springs.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:23 PM   #15
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As you compress the spring (add preload) the spring becomes more harsh and allows less travel. With the proper rated springs, you still have all of the intended travel, but it is conrolled more much more smoothly. The rebound circuit in the forks will soon not be enough as well, thus the need for better valving.

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Old 12-02-2007, 09:57 PM   #16
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I'd use patrick to set up my suspension. Jim Cambora does good work but has a long turn around time.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Well, I was back at MSR Houston today and I changed the preload from 5 to 2... still bottoming out the shocks and with the increased corner entry speed in both diamonds edge and the entry to 17 (running reverse again), now I'm feeling the chatter from the shock bottoming out. Time to visit a suspension guy... just too damned heavy for the bike's stock springs.
You might also consider the quality of your front fork oil, what weight you use, and how long it has been since change. FWIW
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
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You might also consider the quality of your front fork oil, what weight you use, and how long it has been since change. FWIW
its a brand new 08 gix1k.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:32 PM   #19
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its a brand new 08 gix1k.

With 5 track days on it.......Hmmmm with the loads its taking I am betting that fluid is Water quality.
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:39 PM   #20
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Maybe a heavier weight fork oil (not much) would help the high speed damping and compression.
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