Highway stability - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

 
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Highway stability

So I've been lusting after the V-strom for some time now. I first saw one in the summer of 2005, and have wanted one ever since. I didn't want something ridiculously fast, and being 6'4" I needed something tall.
Last summer I was finally in the place financially to take the MSF course, buy gear, and buy the bike of my dreams. I was really excited after I bought it; took it to parking lots to practice my low speed maneuvers, started riding around town to get my confidence up, then decided to take my first highway trip. I rode from my apartment in Redondo Beach, to my home away from home in Palm Springs and back. I was terrified. I was getting blown all around on the freeway, my helmet was shaking every which way, my shoulders were so sore by the end of the trip that I couldn't turn my head to do a lane check, and I had to stay in the right lane to try to go slow enough to feel comfortable. Needless to say, I was very discouraged. I didn't know if it was just the way all bikes were and that I just didn't know what to expect out of riding, or if there was a way to make riding more comfortable.
Thankfully I cam across this site, and started reading about how other people had very similar problems to mine. Fast forward to today, and I've added a fork brace, raised the forks in the clamps, added a givi windshield, mirror extenders, and gen-mar one up and one back bar risers. It is now a completely different bike! Freeway riding is 1000x better, and so much more enjoyable! Yesterday I took a ride up PCH to Oxnard, then took the 101 to Hollywood, rode around the city for a while, then took the 10 to the 405 and back home. It was pleasant and enjoyable. I now have no qualms about taking freeway/extended trips. I wish I had done this stuff sooner, as I was too scared to ride it up to this point.
Next purchase will be an aftermarket seat. Then I'll probably feel good enough to go across the country on it.
Thanks to everyone here for all of the advice!
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 12:49 PM
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I'm glad you got it worked out. And I give you personal props for doing the research and trying the usual remedies before asking for help!

Just curious, did you try one mod at a time? I haven't tried raising the forks yet, but I might. The laws of geometry would suggest that lowering the front end should tend to make the bike less stable, due to decreased rake and trail, but maybe that is more than offset by distributing the weight more forward. Can you comment on your experience with just that change?
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 12:54 PM
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I've been riding 40 years and I still get that way riding a new bike, I just purchase a 2007 BMW R1200GS Adventure and it took probably 100 miles to feel somewhat comfortable on the bike. If your helmet is moving around on your head then either your helmet is too big, or you have what most V-Strom riders get, helmet buffing. I won't go into it here, use the "Search Button", I'm sure it will keep you busy for a day or so. You have also got to learn to ride with your hands loose on the handle grips, squeezing the grips will cause much discomfort in riding. One last thing is I try to run just a little faster then the traffic is moving, this will keep other vehicles from passing you all the time, but ride with caution to your surrounding.

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post #4 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by dtalk View Post
The laws of geometry would suggest that lowering the front end should tend to make the bike less stable, due to decreased rake and trail, but maybe that is more than offset by distributing the weight more forward. Can you comment on your experience with just that change?
The static weight distribution change from lowering the front is almost non existent. Put the bike on a pair of bathroom scales if you don't believe it. I believe the large effect is due to aerodynamics. I think high speeds at stock geometry settings make the fairing act as a lifting body and lowering the angle of attack helps keep the front end planted.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtalk View Post
...
Just curious, did you try one mod at a time? I haven't tried raising the forks yet, but I might. The laws of geometry would suggest that lowering the front end should tend to make the bike less stable, due to decreased rake and trail, but maybe that is more than offset by distributing the weight more forward. Can you comment on your experience with just that change?
I think by now you have read a dozen threads that suggest that rasing the forks/lowering the fornt of the bike makes a big difference in highway stability.

I raised my forks/lowered the front of the bike about half an inch long before I added a fork brace or did other mods. This one change alone essentially cured any issues I had with stability on the highway. Later when I added a fork brace the bike's suspension worked much better and the bike felt more solid, but I think there was no significant change in highway stability. It was already quite good. There are a lot of good reasons to get a fork brace, but if the problem is highway stability then simply raisiing the forks/lowering the front of the bike will make a huge difference and may be all that is needed.

..Tom

ps: if I recall correctly, rake and trail on the Stroms is more than most street bikes.

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtalk View Post
I'm glad you got it worked out. And I give you personal props for doing the research and trying the usual remedies before asking for help!

Just curious, did you try one mod at a time? I haven't tried raising the forks yet, but I might. The laws of geometry would suggest that lowering the front end should tend to make the bike less stable, due to decreased rake and trail, but maybe that is more than offset by distributing the weight more forward. Can you comment on your experience with just that change?
I did most of the mods within a week, so unfortunately I cannot comment on individual changes. I did take it on a quick ride after the fork brace, but before raising the forks, and it seems to feel more stable after raising the forks. But after everything doing everything I've done, it's just a much better bike on the freeway.
Trainman, what I meant was that my helmet and head were shaking together. It still buffets a little bit, but is much better with the windshield, mirror extenders, and risers.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 04:36 PM
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I believe the large effect is due to aerodynamics.
I don't think I've seen that discussed in this context before, but yeah, that wouldn't surprise me. There is definitely a strong updraft around the head at high speed.

When you had your tank-slapper incident, what position were your forks in?
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
The static weight distribution change from lowering the front is almost non existent. Put the bike on a pair of bathroom scales if you don't believe it. I believe the large effect is due to aerodynamics. I think high speeds at stock geometry settings make the fairing act as a lifting body and lowering the angle of attack helps keep the front end planted.
I agree that on an unloaded bike there will be little difference in weight on the tires, but when you factor in that the rider will lean forward more and put more weight on the handle bars there will be more weight on the front. Without calculating the Center of Gravity or weighing the bike with with a rider on it is hard to determine the effect. The change in angle of attach by lowering the front is pretty small too, a few millimeters over a fairly long wheel base.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 09:41 PM
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Without calculating the Center of Gravity or weighing the bike with with a rider on it is hard to determine the effect.
I'll get back to you with empirical data; I'm still trying to get the bike up on the bathroom scales ... :biggrinjester:
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