Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada
Race Tech springs and Gold Valves
Well, I got my bike back today with all new suspension bearings, head bearings (tapered), and the new springs and Race Tech Gold compression valve installed. Haven't had a chance to fully explore the new suspension yet, but first impressions:
Picking the bike up off the sidestand was a strange experience - I was used to bike settling down a good couple of inches just under its own weight (I suspect the stock springs were probably sacked out after 60k+ km). The next strange experience was the first time I hit the brakes - I had gotten used to massive dive. No more. Definitely not as "plush" (ie soft) as it used to be, but I'm sure the handling will be much better.
Before I go out for a good backroad scratch I'm going to drop the triple clamps back down the forks 12 mm or so, just to sharpen up the geometry a bit. I might end up taking a little preload out of the forks, which is easy enough to do.
I don't know why I didn't do this upgrade a long time ago. Along with my Elka shock it's practically like having a new bike - actually better in some ways because no new bike is going to have springing customized to my weight and preferences. I don't know why manufacturers keep shipping bikes with such soft fork springs, particularly.
I ended up getting them to source RaceTech's recommended US1 oil. And the shop owner ended up only charging me for 10 hours of shop time, which was considerably less than what they actually used to do everything (swingarm and suspension linkage bearings, new clutch slave seal, new steering head bearings, and the fork work, as well as dialing in a few more turns of baseline preload on my shock). It pays to have a long term relationship with a shop owner who is also a pro mechanic (builds winning drag bike engines). Of course, I could have done a lot of this myself, but I just didn't feel like it. If and when I decide to buy a new bike, and it's a Suzi or Kawi, like maybe the often-discussed new and improved DL800, I know where I'll be going. Of course, I've put more money in his pocket in parts and labour over the last 6 years than he'd probably have made off of a couple of new bikes, anyway.