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Suspension Feedback!


Guest IgnativsElvis
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Guest IgnativsElvis

Iride an 01'gsxr600 and I love it! I bought it used from a friend who races. I am starting to believe that one of the things that would be helpful for me to learn is how to read suspension feedback. I'm 5'11"--6'0" and about 165 pounds and I haven't touched the suspension. following an awesome instructor around thill in some corners when I hit small dips in the road it felt like my tires would push outward. verysmoothly I might add. I was on 208gpa's. my tires had balls of rubberon the edges, something I've gotten used to but there were also little lines of rubber. It looked a little like if you run a knife flat down a peice of cheese. This was well after I had my knee down and felt it come pretty close to the fairing. The stock suspension settings feel great and this was the first thing I've noticed that might suggest I need to adjust the suspension. I'm comeing to your school in feb. at infineon and will be raceing with ccs and maybe afm from then on. I've read that the best pros are very adept at explaining their experiences to their mechanics. well I've been working on remembering experiences like in soft science, but I would really like to have better knowledge on what to look for. thanks alot for any advice!

 

p.s. if any of you instructors look in the b.a.r.f. racers section and see my threads inder the same username any advice would be apreaciated.

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IgnativsElvis,

 

I think it's great that your interested in your suspension and looking for more awareness on what your bike is doing. Some never care to look, and never really figure out what is going on. To me suspension is a fine art and science - but that doesn't mean you have to be a scientist to figure it out.

 

Anyway, tire wear for sure is one way to gauge what your suspension is doing. Dave Moss has a few DVDs that are available, and in those DVDs he goes over some basic suspension, but also on tire wear. I had to watch those a few times to fully get it, but it's good data. Another way to gauge is by feel. What is the bike doing under different conditions, like braking, acceleration, turn in, etc.

 

The first step is to set the bike up for your weight. (Side note: your about my size, I'm 5"10 - 155lbs) This is also known as setting sag. The Dave Moss DVDs go over that, as well as our Twist II DVD - which I preferred, although watching both were helpful. Once you get that done, ride it and pay attention to what it does. The key here is to log everything. What you set sag to, what track you were on, what it did on the brakes, acceleration, over the bumps and how stable it was right after turn in. Then you make adjustments from there. I also pick the one thing I want to fix first - like it turn in. Then I make a small adjustment and see if it gets better. If not I keep going with that adjustment. If it gets worse, then I go the other way.

 

I could keep writing about this, but let's keep it simple. Get the DVDs or someone who is well educated on SAG and set your sag and test/log what occurs. Coming to the school will for sure help, as we'll cover some drills that will help you get better feedback.

 

Cheers,

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Good suggestion from Pete.

 

One thing that we address first is riding technique at the school, so you can get the bike to be 100% consistent, and you are not overpowering any aspect of the suspension with your riding--easily done.

 

Great you are coming in Feb, you will get the key riding basics in those 2 days, that will really help with your ability to get a consistent result from the bike.

 

Best,

Cobie

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I learned at my first track day the importance of good suspension set-up. In fact, it was Dave who did it - and what a difference!! I don't remember who here gave this http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6516891 link, but it is awesome. How to tell when you're off-throttle, which he actually told me when I had him set me bike up... he could tell which turns I was off-throttle. blink.gif

 

I consider Dave is too suspension, as Keith is too cornering; both has spent many years researching and teaching, and both are passionate about their crafts. If I could add one thing to Pete's response, it would be: Check your spring rates. RaceTech has a nice search tool. I say this because my '08 zx10 had the correct fork springs for my weight but the shock's was more suitable for my itty-bitty wifey. After getting the correct spring for my shock, dialing it in was much easier and more centered in the stroke (something I believe that is covered in the Twist 2 DVD as well -if memory serves correctly). I created an excel sheet to help me with my settings (http://www.4shared.com/document/yGsRJ383/StockSuspensionSettings.html). I copied the service manual settings and descriptions so I could start 'playing' with various settings - but could track and if needed, return to a particular setting (you have to look at all 3 tabs). Feel free to download and modify for your bike's specs. I put this up on the zx10 forum too, and got a few thumbs up. I've actually posted many simialr excel sheets for peopl to use... I really love excel. Anyway, hope the links or spreadsheet can help.

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For my 2p... figuring out what the suspension is doing is a tricky job so don't be surprised if you have to work at it to amke some progress. As Pete says, alter only 1 thing at a time (once you have your basic setup correct - spring weights and sag for starters) and keep notes on how it feels. It can be confusing - softening the front will make the back feel hard, too much rebound damping feels harsh over the bumps, but so does too much compression (in a different way, though), etc. At some track dyas here in the UK we have suspension guys you can hire to help you turn your mumblings into adjustments, this is one way to go.

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