My upgrading philosophy on any vehicle has always been suspension first
then the engine. There's no point of "more power" if you can't
get it to ground and control it. After purchasing my 03 FZ1 I felt there
was room for improvement, so, I set off to improve my FZ's suspension.
After researching all of my options regarding spring upgrades I decided
to ask my wife for a set front and rear springs from Hyperpro for Xmas.
Please let me explain why I went this direction. I wanted to try something
different and Hypers "constant rising rate" spring, is just that, different.
The HyperPro Spring Design
The Hyperpro design is a constant rising rate spring. Unlike linear rate springs, the Hyper design is one in which the distance between each coil gets closer and closer together. This offers many advantages over a linear rate spring. A constant rising rate spring , (a progressively wound spring), while in it's uncompressed state requires less force in order to compress it. This offers the user a smoother ride while traveling over bumps and ripples in road surfaces. As more force is applied, the coils of the spring begin to contact each other. This in effect stiffens the spring offering more control and improved traction during aggressive riding. I would best describe the results as having the benefits of a "stiff" spring with a softer edge at the beginning of fork travel. In essence, the HyperPro spring offers a smoother ride without compromising performance and spring stiffness during aggressive riding. Another benefit of the progressively wound spring design is that they do not "chatter". Since a progressively wound spring has no set frequency, chatter is a thing of the past. This will be a welcomed feature for people who push the FZ1 very aggressively and can also help the everyday rider deal with the road surface imperfections with ease.
It was brought to my attention that every spring kit is custom made for a specific brand/model of bike. Unlike a linear rate spring that can be fitted to many different bikes, the Hyper spring for an FZ1 can not be put into, lets say, a Honda. The benefits are obvious, each spring is designed to match the characteristics of each machine. I could fill a page or two describing their technology but I'll let them explain in it detail. If you would like to read more about how the HyperPro rising rate spring functions, I would suggest you hop over to their web page where you can get all the juicy information.
HyperPro springs web page is:http://hyperprousa.com/springs.shtml
I mentioned to tech support that I didn't see the FZ1 01+ in the listing
on their web site. They told me they are working on a new site which will
include a listing of all models available. The good news is they have
them for our bike (the FZ1 2001-2003). Here is the pricing information
and model numbers I gathered.
to have a qualified shop install them. Total install time was about 2 hours,
this included double checking everything. The mechanic (known as Smokin
Joe) was friendly enough to allow me in the shop to take notes and pictures
of the process. Everything went in smooth and trouble free. We called Steve
Larson at Hyperpro to double check the setup regarding static sag, spring
rate, compression,and rebound.
Install Notes #1: The manual says the fork tubes should be raised 8 mm through the triple clamp. I understand why they state this. It's to transfer more weight to the front for quicker turning response. I'm not one to change the geometry of a bike, but I gave it a try. I took the FZ out on the highway for a test run. Yes, it made the bike a tad more responsive but at the expense of it being more touchy at very high speeds. I decided to lower the forks back to the stock height, which does not effect how the springs function. You'll have to decide based on your riding style whether or not to raise them or keep it stock. Either way, the springs operate flawlessly in both configurations.
Install notes #2: Changing out the fork springs was a breeze, however, the rear is a different story... The shop didn't have a rear shock spring compression tool. You have to compress the rear spring in order to pull out the retention plate and then remove the spring off the shock. After scratching our heads I suggested that we try several heavy duty clamp type tie down straps to compress the spring and that did the trick. Now, when you removed the straps, take care not to let the stock spring go "ZING" across the shop and hit someone. This was achieved by placing rope through the spring and anchoring it to the shop bench before releasing the straps.
It In: We used the settings stated in the manual as a baseline. After
a test ride, I decided a few changes needed to be made, listed in the
In the chart below.
Note: The 2003 FZ1 compression settings for the forks only go to 21 clicks open, not up to 25, and the rear only to 12 , not up to 13. I brought this to the attention of HyperPro tech support and they told me it was a printing error and was being corrected. So, on compression settings, do not go beyond 21 clicks open on the fronts and 12 on the rear.
Road Tests On New Suspension
1. High Speed Turns: I find the FZ can enter and negotiate turns at higher speeds. Here's why. While braking before I enter a turn, the "stock" springs would allow the FZ to "dive" forward. The effect of "diving" transfers weight to the front and unloads the rear (causing rear traction problems). With the Hyperpro springs, this effect is reduced considerably which is better for rear traction. The result is I can apply more throttle inside and exiting the turn because I have better rear traction and it's harder to break it loose. Don't get me wrong, you can break loose if you push it too hard, but my overall entry and exit speeds are higher because of the positive effect of my FZ not suffering from such severe weight transfer during hard breaking. While inside the apex, I experienced less "squat" at higher "G" loads. Also, because the front has not compressed to the point of bottoming out, the front end has more suspension play to soak up bumps while in the turn (better for front end traction). I was really surprised and delighted by these results. Truth be told, if your gonna bite it, it's usually while negotiating turns at high speeds, and the improvement over "stock" was obvious.
2. Hard Straight Line Acceleration Test: From a dead stop I hit full throttle. The rear does not suffer from squatting as much as it did with the stock rear spring. When I closed throttle, the bike did not display sudden weight transfers (the dreaded Seesaw effect).
3. High Speed Test:I took the FZ to a stretch of desolate road that is straight for at least 20 miles and varies in surface conditions. Parts of the road are new pavement while other areas were pretty shoddy and rippled (damaged due to large truck use). After bringing the FZ up to max speed, the new suspension performed flawlessly. No wobbles, shudders, nothing.... As I approached the rough areas my A$$ puckered in anticipation of something bad happening. Nothing... The new suspension soaked up the ripples and bumps with no problem and I did not suffer from "teeth chatter". What impressed me was the speed in which the springs were able to rebound after hitting bumps at triple digit speeds. Now I'm not going to lie and tell you I didn't feel them, but the initial shock from bumps were greatly reduced over the stock suspension. In one instance, I hit an area where the pavement was missing, about 3" deep, (I turned around to check afterward) and though I felt a slight bump, I did not loose control and the bike maintained it's line.
4. Is My Mind Playing Tricks Test: After you spend the money and time installing a new part, your brain may play games to justify your purchase. I allowed several people to try the FZ to make sure I was not crazy and the new suspension was really doing what I thought it was. Here are a few of their remarks...
"Terry had good reason to rave about the Hyper-Pro Spring Kit...$229 gets you both front forks and rear shock replacement springs and..the dif between his bike and mine handling wise was...well..."Freaking Night and Day"
"with the hyper-pro spring kit his FZ had me feeling like I was taking curves on rails...like a new amusement park ride. Zero Squat....Zero Dive...and gobbling up road imperfections as smoothly and as unfelt as "PacMan"
Hyper-Pro Equipped FZ made my FZ feel like a '87 Caddy with wore
out springs & shocks. And...all my "Spring Pre-Loads" are set
My Final Thoughts
I have to admit that I'm very happy I decided to try out the Hyper springs. My bike feels solid and the level of control has been raised to a whole new level. The new springs soak up the bumps very well and offer a superior level of stiffness during my aggressive riding days. Can it get any better? Yes, just a tad. If you want the perfect set up, I would suggest the following. Install the Hyperpro springs, and have your valve's upgraded on your forks and rear shock by a quality suspension tuner. Many folks on this Forum have raved about the tuners at "California Suspension Works". I feel that by combining their expertise and valve upgrades and the Hyperpro springs, you would will have ultimate suspension setup. For now, I'm going to leave things alone, one day when I take the forks off, I will send them out west for new valves. Now, if Hyperpro offers a "full" rear shock for our FZ's in the future, I'll be the first in line to purchase one. Hey honey, (my wife), do you need any suggestions for my birthday? Ouch, she just gave me "that look", LOL....
My Personal Bio
I'm a 204 LB rider wearing all the gear. R&D engineers may consider me the "nightmare subject" because of the extreme changes in my riding style (there is nothing "average" about me). I may take a slow casual ride to the store or be very aggressive and push my bike to it's limit. I embrace new and unorthodox technologies because some of the best performance gains I've achieved in the past and the present were from products that pushed engineering "outside the box". I'm very anal about things working right (at least I've been told that) and have followed one rule, never settle for anything. If it doesn't work, it's off the bike. This pretty much applies to everything in my life. I'm brutally honest and will speak what's on my mind but I'll go the extra mile for a friend or fellow rider. I'm not a pro-racer, vendor, nor do I work for any company who's products I review. After I install any product on my bike I write a review for the two following reasons.
(1) To provide
information to fellow riders on what I think is good or bad and give
details on why.
Please take care and be well.
[Have a safe and trouble free ride]
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Last Updated: 01-29-2003