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Go Back   FZ1OA Message Board > FZ1 & Fazer Owners Association > Tires, Brakes, Suspension & Steering > Gen 1 Tires, Brakes, Suspension & Steering

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Old 02-20-2005, 10:48 PM   #1
RavenRider
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$14.50 Suspension Upgrade(Now with Pictures )(Reports from the first 4 to try it)

OK,guys. $14.50 suspension upgrade for both ends.

This is going to sound nuts as all get out but it's working way too good to keep it to myself.

I wanted to make my suspension better before my trip to SoCal to meet up with Todd,Bill,SoCalrider,TrueBlue,Cruzer,etc.
Problems with cash flow caused creative alternative thinking and problem solving.

I made replacement dog bones myself out of aluminum flat stock.
1/4"T X 1.25"W X 6.625L. Hole locations are 5.38 apart on center.
I always use a pilot drill to locate the holes,I then used a 15/32" drill to finish to size.
Bike on center stand,unbolt factory dogs,lube suspension bearings while your there,install new bones.

Up front.
Remove forks as per Pat's page. Drain and flush for oil change as normal.
Now don't be scared off now.
After removing the springs,wipe them off to work with.
Using a paint marker, mark 1" up on the tight wound end of the fork spring to cute. Clamp springs in soft jaws of a vise to cut.
Using a cut off wheel grinder I cut (shortened) the springs one inch.
This will stiffen the spring.
I used a Mapp Gas torch to heat (bright red in color) the spring across from the cut and then bent it down to just touch the next coil.
I used a bench grinder to make them the same length as close as possible and to flatten the end as best I could where I just made the cut.
Measured the stock preload spacers that mount above the springs at 2.602".
Picked up two 3/8" pipe nipples just over 3.75" long and ground the ends flat and 3.602" long to make up for the 1" removed from the spring.
Filled the forks with new 5wt as normal but filled them NOT to the factory 5.51" from the top of the compressed tube,but filled them to 4.75" from the top. I used a bent piece of coat hanger with a yellow tape marker to facilitate measuring of the oil fill level.
This will cause the air to compress earlier in the down stroke (under compression) of the forks.
Re-assemble as normal.
I raised the forks in the triple clamps 1/4" to help turn in and to get the rear tire to clear the floor when on the center stand.

Settings.????

I set the front to the Sport Bike Mag suggested setting,except for the spring preload backed out to two full rings showing due to the shorter stiffer springs.

I set the rear to the Mag setting as well,except the rear preload I set to 5 back from maximum. The shorter dog bones raise the effective spring rate about 20%, thus the lower preload.

Results.????? Improvement???????

After 1000 miles of seat time,both freeway droning and canyon scratching, I couldn't be happier. Taught but not harsh over bumps, landings from wheelies is much smoother and front dive under braking is improved.
Dives into low speed corners much better and very planted on high speed sweepers even at 140 when healed over.

Check with Cord (Bmblbee,Phoenix) or Bill A,Temecula SoCal. as they have both ridden it while on my trip out west last week.

Total investment. Aluminum flat stock 2pcs for $ 4.50
2 - 3/8" pipe nipples for spacers $ 1.50
1 jug of 2.5 wt. fork oil $ 8.50 (Note: changed to 2.5wt after further testing.)
Total Cost $14.50

I know there'll be some flack,bring it on.
But the results were way better than anticipated for an on the cheap fix.
If your already to do a suspension upgrade and looking at springs and such, you won't be out much if you try it and don't like it.
Any questions,feel free to pm.
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Last edited by RavenRider; 12-21-2005 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:02 AM   #2
The Ripper!
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The front end will loose some travel but it sounds like a great el-cheapo tune up. I might give it a shot just for the hell of it. I plan buying new springs so if I don't like it then no big deal.
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:13 AM   #3
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Ripper,

I don't think I lost any travel up front.

The one inch shorter spring with longer spacer retains the stock ride hight.

There is a suspension stop built in to the front forks,if I'm looking at the shop manual correctly. I compressed the front of the bike by loading on my trailer with ratchet straps,to check wheel travel,and it seems to measure out the same as stock.

The space between the coils left on the shortend spring is far more than required to avoid coil bind on compression.

The added oil just seems to bring in the air spring effect sooner when under hard braking.

If you do try it,I'd really like to hear how it works for you,as mine is the only one I've done so far.
Though I have at least three more ready to do after the guys just sat on mine and tried it in my garage.
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:32 AM   #4
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I am NOT especially mechanical, so I have no opinion regarding the technical aspect of Raven rider's upgrade. But it sure rides nice. I'm going to do it to my FZ1 (but i need to buy or borrow a couple of tools first). Compared to my stock FZ1, Raven rider's:

...is smoother over bumps in the road.
...leans with less effort.
...feels more planted and solid in corners.
...offers better control while breaking because there is less front end dip.
...handles bumps in corners MUCH better.
Overall, I just feel more confident with his suspension. The bike feels solid, planted, and very responsive.

The Downside:
it's scary to do (for me, anyway) - "undoing" it would be more expensive
it requires a little more effort to get the front wheel off the ground.

Other thoughts:
The riding posture is a little more aggressive, with a little more weight on the arms...which I prefer. It's really barely noticeable, but if you're sensitive to it, might be something to think about.

For what its worth, i recommend this mod. For dollars invested, I can't think of a better suspension upgrade.

Good job, Raven rider!
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:33 AM   #5
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I will be getting my bike ready for the season next month. I will try it then and then resurrect this thread to let you know.
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:45 PM   #6
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Hey Glenn,

What am I missing in the Front Fork picture? If I understand what you did, if shortened your fork springs to stiffen the front suspension, then add a lighter weight fork oil back in, aren't you just softening it back up again?

Jeff
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:10 PM   #7
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Nope.

The weight of the oil does not effect the ride hight or the spring rate.

It effects the speed at which the oil can pass through the valving used to do the dampening.

By stiffening up the front springs the way I did, (shortening the tight wound end,the softest part of the progressive spring),then adding to the spacer length,the ride hight stays the same but a bit more firm.

Going to a thinner oil allows the oil to move more quickly through the valving,thus the suspension is more complient over highway stuff and can give a better feel when leaned over.

The extra oil (as specified above) causes the air space left in the top of the forks to become compressed under heavy braking or when coming down from a good wheelie,thus giving an air shock effect to the front.

To tell you the truth,I've played with front forks over the years on every single bike I've ever owned.Dirt,street,mx,road racer.
I talked it over first with my buddy Lew that owns and operates Roy's Repair,near Moto Priemo. He and I used to race together and against one another years ago at BIR and RoadAmerica.

Of all of the ones I've done,and I've had good success before,this one works about the best.

If you haven't sent out your forks you should stop over and see how this feels. I don't know how to discribe the total difference.

I've ridden three other FZ1's on my trip out to SoCal and Phoenix and the guys came off mine amazed at how well it felt and how planted the front was in a corner,and still better than stock over typical freeway stuff.

I'm about ll this close to taking another inch out and going to 2.5 wt. oil just to give it a try,but I'm so damn happy with it the way it is I hate to mess with it.

Give me a call and come on over.We'll be working on Igor's new one tonight.Jet kit goes in.
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:33 PM   #8
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Glenn,

Have you thought about fabbing and selling a few of your custom dog bones? I know a guy that wants to buy one!
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:19 PM   #9
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Hey Bill,

One won't work,you have to install them in a set of two.

Who's the guy????

If it's you, I can make up a set for you and send them off. If for anyone else I'll have to have cost of materials,twenty an hour shop time and shipping. Probably $20 for aluminum and nearer $30 - $35 for SS.

I'll need your new address.

Send me a pm with it.

I might pull my aluminum ones for an inspection for ware. I gave them the once over today with out removal and they seem just fine,but I'll have a better look at them before making you a set.
Or I'll just go to SS and be done with it. The SS is about twice the weight so if the aluminum ones show no signs of ware that's what I'll use.
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:28 PM   #10
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I love these types of modifications where you get big improvements for not a lot of money.
One thing I'm wondering, why not use aluminum or PVC for spacers?
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:54 PM   #11
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Probably could if I could find the right size.

The stock ones are a thin wall alloy but not true SS as a magnet will pick them,maybe low content nickel SS.

I didn't have a lot of time to mess around so I went with what the local hardware had on hand.

I think PVC may be too soft a material to take the compression loading of the fork springs for an extended period of time,and would they're being exposed to the fork oil affect the PVC.

I think I'll look for some small diameter tubing I can cut to length.

The pipe nipples I used are only an ounce or so more weight and it is sprung weight.

I'm going to the machine shop tomorrow to have a couple frame slider brackets made and to pick up some stock for the dog bones and I'll see what they have on hand for tubing.
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Old 02-23-2005, 03:54 AM   #12
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The SV650 riders like to use PVC spacers to bring up their preload on the non-adjustable forks. I never heard of any complaints during my SV tenior.
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:22 AM   #13
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Cool,I'll have a look at it. Your probably right about the PVC spacers. I'll have to try and find something in 3/8" I.D.

I think anything larger would get mucked up by the retaining nut.

I'd like to get either thin wall SS or maybe aluminum.
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Old 02-24-2005, 05:40 AM   #14
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Dogbones

I'm setting up to make about ten sets in steel, which will then be powdercoated black. Mine are aluminum, too (Glenn said he decided to use it after he read about mine), but I'd feel safer making them out of steel for others.

Glenn's bike does ride nicely. I've done Racetechs in mine, and the bikes definitely feel different, but for the money you can't touch the Ravenride mod.
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Old 02-24-2005, 02:00 PM   #15
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Cord,

I pulled my aluminum's to check them after getting 1000 miles on them on the trip out.

No signs of wear or any other type of damage. looked just the way they did when I installed them.

So,I'm sticking with the aluminum.

I sure am glad I took your lead on making them up.

I can hardly believe the difference.

I also think the shorter bones help the shock mechanically handle the rebound and compression dampening action as well as raising the effective spring rate.

Thank's for the idea. Though I think they've been very popular in Europe for some time now.

That day I rolled with you was actually the first time I was able to really put them through any real testing.

Felt great in the low speed stuff,but that right hand sweeper at about 140 showing on the clock and like on rails really convinced me as to how well they really work.
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Old 02-24-2005, 03:23 PM   #16
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RavenRider,
Would electrical conduit work for those spacers? Available in both plastic and steel/aluminum type material. I cant think of any other type of tubing, I am sure copper would not do the trick, a bit on the soft side. Enquiring minds...
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:18 PM   #17
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CaliDreamin

I looked at that also.

The ID of the original spacers is near a perfect 3/8".

After looking at a bunch of tubing,including thick wall nylon,I gave up on it and desided to just stick with the 3/8" pipe nipples.
Sound off,but the 3/8" ID is over 3/8" and fits over the damper rod pefect.

Near perfect length and easy to get for $1.29 each. Plenty strong,the lock nut fits perfect against it and it's a non moving part of the suspension system.

I just cleaned up the ends to make them flat and remove any burrs left from the theading process and in they go.

The price of the tubing was more per spacer than the pipe nipples so to stay on the cheap and easy I'll stay with them.
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Last edited by RavenRider; 03-26-2005 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:03 PM   #18
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Glenn,


...just a friendly request to PLEASE take some PICs when you do Igor's bike, if you can.

Thanks, my brother.
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by RavenRider
CaliDreamin

I looked at that also.

The ID of the original spacers is near a perfect 3/8".

After looking at a bunch of tubing,including thick wall nylon,I gave up on it and desided to just stick with the 3/8 inch pipe nipples.

Near perfect length and easy to get for $1.29 each. Plenty strong,the lock nut fits perfect against it and it's a non moving part of the suspension system.

I just cleaned up the ends to make them flat and remove any burrs left from the theading process and in they go.

The price of the tubing was more per spacer than the pipe nipples so to stay on the cheap and easy I'll stay with them.
RavenRider... great job I must say, and I'm gonna try it too (once I've finished constructions at my house), but there's one thing I don't understand.. what do you mean by 'pipe nipples'? I'm dutch so please be patient
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Old 02-25-2005, 01:14 AM   #20
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Nipple is just a term for a length of pipe threaded/grooved on both ends that's installed between couplers or other fittings.
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