Doing a baseline suspension set up... - Kawasaki ZX-10R.net
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Doing a baseline suspension set up...

I've owned my bike for one season. it's an 05 with really low miles. I got to know the bike pretty well last season on the twisties (what I mainly ride)

I've never messed with the suspension on a bike...never played with it.

Now that I'm progressing this bike and bettering my self as a rider, I've decided to start looking into the suspension and setting it up for me.

First thing I've done is I went and looked up what the service manual recommends the settings be at to start out with. The manual said the suggested settings were for a typical 150 pound rider, which is about what I weigh before gear. So I went ahead and checked the settings to see where they were at and to set them per the service manual for a baseline. After doing this I found out that the suspension was mainly set up on the soft side. The original owner did mainly longer rides so I figured he set it for comfort and not better handling.

Do you guys think this is a good idea? I'm new to this so I figured this would be a good starting point lol

BTW my 05 now has an 08 swing arm and 05 636 dogbone setup. I haven't gotten to ride it yet but I'm looking forward to seeing how differently things may or may not be.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 03:36 PM
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Shop-manual suspension settings were out to lunch on the '04 (too harsh). With your changes to the linkage and swingarm, you are going to have to do this from square one.

Have you done your rider-aboard static sag measurements and set-up yet? For a street bike, as a starting point, front sag should be near 35mm, rear around 30mm. Change the preload settings at each end in order to achieve this (or come as close as possible).

Don't go ANY further unless the bike has new (or very close to new) tires with the pressures set to where they should be (not necessarily what the book says). Going any further with adjustments using worn tires will have you chasing your tail.

Now, with the suspension at an appropriate position in its travel (sag) and with good tires, go ride, and find a smooth reasonably-constant-radius corner, preferably a set of them, ideally this should be done on the race track. When cornering at a moderate pace, how does the steering feel mid-corner? I always aim for as neutral as possible. "Neutral" means the bike doesn't want to stand up and fight your input, and it also doesn't want to fall in and wash out. It should feel as if you could take your hands off the bars and would continue at the same lean angle.

If it resists your input and wants to stand up and go straight, the bike needs to be pitched forward to steepen the steering head angle and reduce the trail (most common situation). If it feels unstable like it wants to fall in and wash out the front, it's the other way.

If the bike wants to be pitched forward, you can either lower the front ride height (slide forks up in the triple clamps so that more of the fork projects above the upper clamp) a couple millimeters at a time, or raise rear ride height by inserting washers between the upper clevis of the shock and the frame. Which one you choose depends on whether you want to lower or raise the whole bike ... which affects the swingarm pivot height (and together with that, the swingarm down angle) in addition to affecting the cornering clearance. For the moment, take your pick, but it's easier to do the forks first. Just understand that raising or lowering the whole bike affects the swingarm pivot height and that affects grip coming out of corners. You may have to come back to re-visit this decision later, and that's OK.

Once you have the sag and ride height in the ball park then arrange for a zip-tie tightly secured to one fork leg and to the shock rod to find out how much travel you are using in compression. As you ride harder, it will use more travel. Approaching bottom-out (and the sag is in the correct range)? You need higher spring rates. I fought this with my race bike (not ZX10R) all last year after changing wheels and using different tires.

You will notice that we have not touched on the "clickers" yet even though that's the first thing many riders think of. Suspension travel first, then geometry, then spring rates, then damping. And they affect each other, so having to go back and re-visit something is completely normal and happens all the time. But if the fundamental geometry (ride height, swingarm pivot height, steering angle and trail) is wrong, no amount of playing with the clickers will fix it - that's why you have to get the other stuff right first.

This is only scratching the surface and there are plenty of books to read. Andrew Trevitt's book on sportbike suspension set-up is a good one. So is the Race Tech "suspension bible".


Helibars, MRA screen, Ohlins damper, reversed shift pattern, sorted suspension, braided lines, Michelin Pilot Power, all else stock 'coz it's fast enough!
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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This tip/info you shared gofaster is exactly what I'm looking for! Thank you.

I should have said this earlier adding to my info. My tires are in good condition just bought last year. I did put a 55 series tire instead of a 50. I liked the 55 much better on a previous bike then the 50 so I did the same with this bike. So far I'm just as pleased.

How do I check and or measure sag? what is sag? is sag literally where the bike "sits" while my body and weight is on the bike?
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 04:43 PM
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Helibars, MRA screen, Ohlins damper, reversed shift pattern, sorted suspension, braided lines, Michelin Pilot Power, all else stock 'coz it's fast enough!
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Great info, thanks a lot gofaster
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 07:10 PM
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Great Tips GoFAST! I have been reading ssuspension tips for years and never heard it put so simply and so accuratly! really great write up! I'm going pass this on to a couple of my biddies ;)

Thanks for posting
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