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After some research, I finally decided to upgrade my '03 'Strom's fork springs with Progressive Suspension's new progressive rate fork springs and replace the fork oil with far more viscous Bardahl Synthetic 15w used for racing bikes. For reference, I'm 6' even and 210 lbs.

Below are my impressions after an impromptu 500+ mile trek through twisting country roads including a round trip through a remote 90+ mile stretch of the recently opened North Cascades Highway. Imagine 90+ miles of bone-dry, mostly lacquer smooth pavement, with hundreds of 25-45 mile curves, and two 5000' mountain passes thrown in for interest. The road just opened after a highly publicized early winter closure from a landslide so there was literally no traffic (six cars passed in 90 miles) and was blessed by a complete absence of speed tax collectors along a 70 mile stretch...YeeeeHaaaww! :wink: This is as close to motorcycle heaven as you'll find anywhere on earth.

The verdict: Improvements in comfort and handling far exceeded my expectations.

That annoying fork dive is history! Ridding myself of that alone was worth the price of the mod. Fork dive during hard braking and extremely hard cornering on downhill curves is damped and minimal without feeling harsh.

Ride quality has a sine-wave-like quality to it. Vibration through the grips is reduced. The unpleasant, hard-edged, teeth-jarring shock transmitted through the handlebars from steel freeway expansion joints and a host of other pavement imperfections is reduced to the near equivalent of background noise. Oddly enough, this "plush /no mush" ride quality doesn't sacrifice one bit of road feel. For those of you who remember audio cassettes, it's like having Dolby noise reduction on your front fork.

Handling? Dang! NOTHING seems to upset the front end now. Insane twisties with rapidly changing elevations, decreasing radius turns, hard cornering on rough pavement, and choppy forest service gravel roads were carved up and eaten for breakfast without any loss of composure. Throughout it all, the front tire remains firmly planted, resulting in significantly improved directional stability and control.

If you're interested in far more competent and sporty handling and are willing to put up with improvements in ride and comfort, this is one of the most cost-effective ($200 w/labor) mods you can make. I have no doubt my next 'Strom won't leave the dealership without it.
 
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Most excellent! I, too, can tell the front end needs major work to get the full potential of the bike....along with a new exhaust system and power commander. :wink:

Thanks for a great report! That just confirms my thought to make the front end priority 1.
 
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Hey Woofy,
I finally got around to installing my springs, and putting new Spectro 10W oil in. My difference doesn't seem as drastic as yours, but it is much better none the less. I've only been riding the interstate back and forth all week (about 900 miles) and just today I got to ride part of one of my favorite twisty roads, and it did handle that much better too. I need to tweak the preload some more, and it'll be just about perfect.

Jerry
Hemet, CA
 
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Discussion Starter #6
JerryB said:
Hey Woofy,
I finally got around to installing my springs, and putting new Spectro 10W oil in. My difference doesn't seem as drastic as yours, but it is much better none the less. I've only been riding the interstate back and forth all week (about 900 miles) and just today I got to ride part of one of my favorite twisty roads, and it did handle that much better too. I need to tweak the preload some more, and it'll be just about perfect.

Jerry
Hemet, CA
Hey Jerry!

Glad to hear you're liking the new fork springs. Part of my gripe with the the stock front end was that it was so horribly underdamped. Since damping is dependent upon the viscosity of the fork oil, the slight change from the stock 8W to 10W didn't seem like it would be sufficient for the increase in damping I desired. If you still find the front end abruptly dives under braking, try switching to the heavier juice.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Hi,

Just a little qns here.
Noticed that some of you might have chnaged the fork oil and springs, but what is the actuall capacity of fork oil needed?

Rgds.
 
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Exodus79 said:
Hi,

Just a little qns here.
Noticed that some of you might have chnaged the fork oil and springs, but what is the actuall capacity of fork oil needed?

Rgds.
From looking at the service order, it looks like it took 1 quart or less to change out the oil from the stock 8W to 15W. I insisted on Bardahl Synthetic Racing Fork Oil. It tends to break down a lot slower and doesn't get as "skanky" smelling over time as others.
 
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