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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

This is more a genearal ride impression question so I thought it more appropo here than in the suspension & tech area.

I'm a track virgin (hence my ignoriance of this topic) but have been riding for about 15 years on various sport bikes. I currently commute on my 4th gen. I'm 180lbs without gear and often ride with 10-20lbs in a backpack.

I'm curious about how a bike with stock suspension but track settings would perform on the street. I'm interested in modifying my bike with the standard things like shimming the rear shock (raising the rear seems to be popular on the 4th gens), setting sag and fiddling with the fork and shock settings (stiffer) etc. I wouldn't be trying to set up my own suspension but would head to one of the local track focussed shops in my area for a set-up.

I'd like a more lively handling bike but I wonder if it'd make it too uncomfortable for city use or worse, dangerous on bumpy roads.

Can you guys provide some insight?

Cheers!:eek:ccasion1
 

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It depends on how stiff you set it up and what you're comfortable dealing with. I've had my gen 4 set up for A group track pace and can ride it just fine on the street. It's a bit harsh over bumps, but I back off on the street anyway. If I decided to rail a couple twisties once the suspension and pavement is warmed up she tracks well and gives me good grip and feedback. I even switched from Pirelli superbike PROS to Q3's and didn't change the settings. This is all because I was lazy and didn't want to write down the settings and worry about switching back and forth.

The better advice is to set sag for your weight, then adjust rebound and compression for the conditions, ie street or track.
 

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saw ass over pot holes and uneven changes in surface.

fix = lift ass off seat, if vibration from foot pegs then add sole inserts to boots!

10 hour ride in 1 day from Sydney NSW to Brisbane QLD (1000km) on track suspension was fine :wink: and back 3 weeks later :badteeth:
 

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What Animal said. My 10 is set up for the track. I have no issues at all on the street.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks fellas. Your insight is reassuring and I think I'll go ahead with at least the basic sag setting etc and get advice from the pro at the shop for further adjustments.

I've been reading up on the subject of suspension settings and another dimension that I''ve come across is proper settings for wet weather. I live in a particularly wet climate and I ride rain or shine. Heck, I'd even ridden my old R1 (very slowly) in snow/slush.

I read that wet weather usually dictates softer settings. Would I be compromising my safety if I have stiff settings? Has anybody ever done a track day in the rain?

Cheers
 

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I fell off on a track-day in the rain! Does that count? :badteeth:

Seriously, as I did most of my track days in England, riding in the rain was inevitable! I never bothered changing suspension setup when going from dry to wet, I just took it easier. Apart from the aforementioned case where I was chasing a buddy around the track and fell off! :badteeth:
 

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No way could I ride my track setup on the street, it would knock my teeth out.

It really depends on your track pace and what components your running. If your changing springs and adjusting the clickers you should be ok and can always adjust it for whichever type of riding your doing. Just make sure to take some notes.
 

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What the op is speaking of is the wrong terminology. In a sense what he meant to say is would setting my bike up to gain performance on the street affect the over all ride negatively ?

Like others have said it totally depends on what your doing. You're not setting youre bike up for the track because you're not going to the track. Every track requires different setting, preference, pace oriented, tire oriented, power etc. There are so many variables to say "track" setup is to vague. But when said most would assume generally stiffer adjustments. Whoever you take your bike to can only properly set your sag which will only improve your bikes handling positively in all circumstances; Be it performance or cruising. All the other rebound/compression/ride height/spring rate are pretty preference based and dependent on you're bikes setup you're riding style, and track/road conditions.

As for wet weather riding, as long as you have good tires its all on you. If you cant feel what the tires are telling you, then you shouldn't be out in weather anyways. No matter how stiff something is you can feel it and adapt accordingly when you're an experienced rider. Now that doesn't mean one should just hop on their track bike in a rain storm that's setup for warm weather smooth track conditions because their capable of it. There is no certain setup or numbers that universally work for everyone, you have to find what works for you. Watch some Dave moss videos on youtube, you can learn a lot. Small adjustments make huge differences, don't be shy to experiment. Have fun, learn, enjoy.
 

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There is also no single thing called a "track suspension" or a "track set-up". A considerable portion of that set-up is rider preference, and that varies from one person to another ... sometimes by quite a lot, and often different from one track to the next.

dricked apparently likes a stiff setup. I like it as compliant as I can get away with.
 

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Just got done taking my 10 to this guys shop last Friday, and hit him up with the 14 on Saturday at the track. From what everyone I asked for a month about him, they all said he knows what he's doing on suspension. So I went for it.

First thing he does is make sure your aware of "track" pressure and "road" pressure in tires and brands of tires. Then he sets sag correctly (about 1.25"), with you on off bike and his helper lifting up suspension to get it all right (both of mine needed spring taken out of it because I am 140 lb. Then he adjust compression and rebound, with him pushing down on back and seeing how fast it reacts and goes down. He does same on front. I was standing there literally seeing a difference in it all in what he was adjusting. He set it a little on the firmer side for if I want to do a track day with both bikes. All I gotta say is it made a hell of a difference. Suspension set-up correctly is a must. If you don't have a clue, get some help from a reputable person.
 

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There is also no single thing called a "track suspension" or a "track set-up". A considerable portion of that set-up is rider preference, and that varies from one person to another ... sometimes by quite a lot, and often different from one track to the next.

dricked apparently likes a stiff setup. I like it as compliant as I can get away with.
I don't actually but I do what I gotta do. It feels good at speed, riding thorough the pits every little bump feels like a 4" deep pot hole.

If I were riding on the street I'd make some sacrifices and run a softer setup to keep my teeth and kidneys intact.
 

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It doesn't.

Picked my gen 4 up last week, the geezer had it on the track when it was used last, I didn't think to check the settings when I left.. nearly broke my bones on the way home. Preload on 0. Put every thing to stock.. perfect.
 

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I run the same settings on the street and the track. But, I ride back roads pretty hard and don't really do much straight road cruising.
 

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We have to distinguish between a race setup and a track day setup. Once I figured out my track day setup for my GSX-R 750 (an eminently raceable and great track day bike) I just left it as it was for the street. Then again I am so light that I can get away with that, many of the roads I ride are in crap condition, but some are very smooth and fast. Likewise for the track I usually ride, it's a great mix of shitty, bumpy, tight turns and some pretty fast banked stuff. I also ride dirt-bike style, standing on the pegs as needed and quite often.

I'm not racing and my setup would not be remotely usable at anything like a real production race pace.

It's going to take a few track days, maybe a few track years, to get it reasonably sorted, so like a few guys already said, get it set up using the baseline recommendations for sag and shock/fork damping and get your tire pressures set correctly and go from there. You may find that this setup can be maintained for your street riding.
 

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I race with the same setup as track and street. But I'm no Marc Marquez either. I couldn't tell you what feels good or bad (unless it's REALLY bad, or unless getting some funky tire wear). I just ride whatever shit I have under me. :) I'm sure my buddy Eric would just be shaking his head reading this. He tries to help but I'm beyond help. :)
 

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Obviously I run full Ohlins suspension and have on every bike I own or have tested for almost 2 decades now. I have zero issues using a track only set-up for a street ride when required. I may give up a little bit of comfort in exchange for some quicker handling, but overall the same set-up I use to run 9 or 10 seconds off the lap record at any given track is more than capable of being put to use on the street.

Granted when you start consistently running 5 or 6 seconds off the race pace lap records then your suspension ends up being exponentially stiffer usually in terms of valving while spring rates may actually go down in many cases due to the higher damping rates. The closer you are to the lap record pace the stiffer everything gets. I rode a factory level 600SS at Barber about 6 years ago that was fresh off the end of the season championship run. That rider had it set up so stiff that there was no dynamic sag. None. The bike literally didn't move when I sat on it, it didn't move when I jumped up and down on the pegs. It also didn't move when I was creeping around Barber at 1:42's feeling like I was riding on wooden 2X4's. I was terrified of it until I dipped into the 1:38's and then it started to work with me a bit. 1:34's and it was feeling great! 1:32's and I was king of the world!!! I didn't have the talent or the time to go faster than that, but it was clear the bikes set-up unconventional by the standards us regular joes use for trackday and club racing was getting better and better every second I dropped.

My point is: Good suspension properly set-up will allow most average riders that are 15-20 seconds off any given race pace to easily transition between track & street settings with zero changes to the suspension and very little comfort issues and again what you give up comfort you typically gain back in handling prowess. It is just not that big of a change either way when the suspension is correctly sprung and properly valved to start with.

Crappy suspension and make no mistake OEM suspension is crap, strictly built to a price point is never going to be correct for street or track riding period. I don't care what you weigh it is not built for you. OEM suspension is built to haul two people around on one bike and is never properly sprung or damped. Sure some guys can make due with it and turn some impressive times, but the real truth is the guys with the quality aftermarket suspension regardless of whether they are set-up for near record lap times or street riding in the canyons are going to have a more compliant, more capable ride that offers a greater margin of safety and a larger margin of error. Doesn't matter if they are a novice rider with their first bike or Troy Bayliss. When the bike is doing what it is supposed to do underneath you then you have more time to concentrate on body position, throttle management, proper lines etc instead of worrying about what the bike is going to do on the ripples in the braking zone of turn 5 or how the front end is going to land after cresting turn 12 and putting it down crossed up.
 

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At my home track on my 600s I am usually around 2 seconds off the fastest lap of the weekend which I believe is usually around 3 or 4 seconds from the track record, but it's a very small track (fastest laps usually a little above or below 1:08). That's on bone stock suspension with stock spring rates, and I'm an old fat man. :) Scrape lower fairings a lot, should probably at least get stiffer springs. Maybe that's why I don't mind it on the street so much. I'm probably running much softer suspension on the track than most (read under sprung).
 
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