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wordsmith

GT suspension improvements

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On 9/6/2019 at 9:28 PM, wordsmith said:

GT suspension upgrade - September 4th 2019  


I'll have to be briefer than usual, for my supposedly-fixed PC is still sulking.

The work took Joe - owner of Ride Dynamics and suspension guru par excellence - some three and half hours of steady work, with no coffee or smoko breaks and no time-wasting Facebook chat.

As I had said before, his workshop is neat, clean, tidy, a place for everything and everything in its place, including the multitude of specialist tools required for this work.  I couldn't imagine an amateur like me working with cheap hand-tools in a home garage being successful. 

We again confirmed what I was looking for, we chatted briefly about my riding weight, whether pillion and/ or luggage is routinely carried, etc., and hi ho, hi ho!, it was off to work.   After I swore on a stack of Bibles that I wouldn't get in his way or want to chat constantly, Joe allowed me to stand by - not too close! - to observe and take pix.   It was a very interesting experience as calm, methodical work proceeded.

As the various parts emerged from the front fork legs Joe explained the function of the various bits - springs, pistons controlling oil-flow, and so on.   To my novice eyes, the new K-tech components looked as if they'd just come from a high-end Swiss watch manufacturer, beautifully finished as they were.

The rear shock was a more straightforward swap, and although I was surprised at the weight of the new Razor R shock with remote adjuster, the OE shock was much heavier.   The new unit has adjustable length, so about 10 or 12mm (half-an-inch) was wound out, lowering the bike's rear by that much after I said that I like to be able to fully flat-foot at rest, which is barely achievable with the OE unit.

Sag - which I had always believed to be what happens to a woman's breasts and a man's belly as they age (the latter has happened to me!) - was precisely measured with a cunning device as small incremental changes were made until the desired settings were reached.   Joe reckons that it's rare for an owner to need to return to him for further tweaking, but of course it's there as required.   After he had a short test-ride to check everything, it was my turn to ride home, with my thoughts already given after that short and brief 33km ride.

Yesterday's 181km outing along very familiar roads was intended to give me more time to evaluate things on terrain of widely-varying surfaces and conditions.   There is a distinct improvement in ride quality, best explained that the sharp reactions to road surface irregularities were ironed-out and a more compliant and composed and comfortable ride eventuated.   A very good example of what this means was quickly apparent, as I found that I was no longer constantly being bumped-up off the seat and inched forward until my gonads were crushed against the rear of tank: I was 'planted' more  firmly in the chosen spot.   Of course, larger irregularities in the road-surface - and there are plenty where I went - were still felt, and I don't want to try to convince members that this was a magic-carpet ride, but certainly it was a pleasing outcome for me.

Memories of subjective impressions are such that it would be fruitless for me to try to compare the new GT ride with that of my later BMW Boxer twins, which are much heavier bikes and with high-end OE components, including BMW's incomparable Telever front-end, but I am happy.

I now intend to take that planned ~1000km circuit some time in the next week or two (but not at next week's end, for it will be Friday the thirteenth!), by which time a couple of shorter outings will have put a few hundred kilometres on the new suspension and allowed everything to have bedded-down.

A very good question at this point might be - "was it worth the $2100 spent on the K-tech upgrade?".    I'm fortunate enough to have spare disposable income, so while not quite a no-brainer the matter of cost was not a great concern.   But others may prefer to take a different lower-cost approach, maybe getting specialists like Ride Dynamics to make changes to the OE components by simply changing oils, shims, springs, whatever, and tinkering with the adjustability of the ex-factory suspension.

The jury is still out as far as I'm concerned on whether or not I'll want/ need to buy a new BAGSTER seat to replace the GT's OE seat, which although light-years ahead of Gen1 seats is still only 'just' for me.   A new BAGSTER seat would cost $450 -$550 depending on specification, but from past experience I know that it would be the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.   I'll make that call after the 1000km outing in a few weeks time, but in any case they are not yet available.

Finally, big thanks to captainscarlet who introduced me on this Forum to K-tech and the whole shebang.   Pix follow...

P1050777.JPG a place for everything...

P1050779.JPG new Razor-R rear shock

P1050780.JPG work under way...

P1050781.JPG new (red) and old OE shocks.   

P1050782.JPG spotless workshop..

P1050783.JPG draining oil from fork legs..

P1050784.JPG OE (right) and new oil-flow pistons 

P1050785.JPG fork off...

P1050786.JPG new K-tech oil-flow control pistons

P1050787.JPG beautifully machined...

P1050788.JPG new rear shock installed

P1050790.JPG sag-o-meter

P1050791.JPG job done!

Edited 2 minutes ago by wordsmith

 

Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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Im wondering why your posts have that white background? Are you using the light theme of this forum, or are you copying from word and pasting into the forum?  Im on dark theme and your posts are all white. Ive tried to duplicate it and can't. 

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Cut-and-paste from WORD.


Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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Posted (edited)

I don't understand the concern.   I will usually type in directly for shorter less well-considered comments, but use WORD - both here and elsewhere - when the submission is to be lengthy and needs careful composition.   Do others have any problems with this?   But thank you for your offer of help...

Edited by wordsmith

Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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Posted (edited)

SERVICE ABOVE AND BEYOND 

In an earlier post on this subject I stated that I didn't want to try to convince others here that my GT's K-Tech suspension upgrade gave a magic carpet ride.   It was indeed a decided improvement over OE, but after my 1000+km circuit of a few weekends ago, over very widely-varying road surface conditions, I did feel - inexperienced in these matters as I am - that there may have been more to gain.

So today, back to Joe Salter at Ride Dynamics.   I had gathered my thoughts, which in summary were that the rear shock seemed still to allow a little more harshness through than I'd have expected, and the front felt as if it was 'pitter-pattering' or 'chattering' over some very slight but closely-spaced corrugations - all very subtle, but still there.

Joe explained his intentions, and set-to.   Working methodically as usual and without taking any breaks for a ciggie, a cuppa, or lengthy 'phone calls, off came the front fork legs for him to replace the 9.0 springs with slightly less-stiff 8.5 springs, which I mistakenly thought he'd installed first time out.   This also entailed shortening the plastic sleeves inside the fork leg to accommodate the now-longer springs.   This took about an hour of steady work. 

Joe then turned his attention to the rear shock.   Accessibility is not a strong point of the GT's rear suspension, but having the proper tools helps, and it was not long before two turns were taken out of the preload (increasing sag, for you sag-obsessives, by about 4-5mm): 7 clicks taken off the compression: and two clicks off the rebound.

All-up, about and hour-and-a-half's work - and in my ignorance I'd though that few turns of a couple of screws would have fixed it!   How wrong can you be! 

But wait, there's more!   After taking the bike for a short ride to check everything out, Joe returned, saying that he was going to change the springs in the front fork again: it seems that he detected some noise and surmised that the new springs may have been rubbing against the inside of each fork leg.   If so, and if he'd left it at that it's more than likely I'd never have noticed it - or if I did wouldn't have had a clue as to what it was.   Top marks, Joe.   

Off came the fork legs again, no need to shorten the plastic sleeves, and a fresh pair of springs was quickly fitted.  On measuring the new/ discarded springs it was found that they were over-size in diameter by a mere 0.75mm, a tiny amount but enough to cause some concern to Joe.   Another test-ride, and he came back and gave a 'thumbs-up' signal on returning.  

The entire job had taken about two hours of steady work, and of course I thanked Joe profusely, for he had also tightened the drive-chain that had developed far too much slack since new.   "That's alright", he said, "you've paid for the job and I just want you to be happy".   And indeed I am.   

The ride home was Nirvana, and I cannot think that the suspension could be any better, suiting me to a tee.   The front fork is fully settled with no signs of 'chattering', while the rear is now well-planted with no unwanted residual harshness.   There's a total absence of 'pogo-sticking' or wallowing, and minor undulations in the road-surface are completely ironed-out.   Time to go for another 1000km test-ride I think!

The new BAGSTER seat, now being made for me, will complete my comfort on this most excellent bike, and happiness will reign supreme.   

Finally, I cannot recommend too highly the work and skills of Joe Salter at Ride Dynamics.   I have no shares in his business, but I wish I did!

Pic below - at rear - the 'old' 9.0 spring taken out: front - the new 8.5  to be installed.   Red shock is not mine!  

P1050948.JPG

P1050949.JPG

Edited by wordsmith
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Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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Another great report as usual.  It's always heartening when a business has great follow up service like this and doesn't just take your money and send you on your way never wishing to see you again.

Two thumbs up for Ride Dynamics 👍👍.

Glad you've found your 'sweet spot'.

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10 hours ago, wordsmith said:

 The ride home was Nirvana, and I cannot think that the suspension could be any better, suiting me to a tee.   The front fork is fully settled with no signs of 'chattering', while the rear is now well-planted with no unwanted residual harshness.   There's a total absence of 'pogo-sticking' or wallowing, and minor undulations in the road-surface are completely ironed-out.   Time to go for another 1000km test-ride I think!

I can’t think of a better endorsement for a suspension upgrade. Thank you!

A plush, comfortable ride is only half of the possible improvement, if you were a more aggressive rider, you would immediately notice the ability to attack corners with much more control, speed and confidence. Custom tailored suspension  will absolutely help you to be a faster and smoother rider. 

Enjoy your personalized ride, along with your new seat, you will be set!

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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2 hours ago, betoney said:

A plush, comfortable ride is only half of the possible improvement, if you were a more aggressive rider, you would immediately notice the ability to attack corners with much more control, speed and confidence. Custom tailored suspension  will absolutely help you to be a faster and smoother rider. 

Thank you, betoney.   I understand where you are coming from with these comments, but to be entirely truthful I have no interest whatsoever in being a 'more aggressive rider', 'attacking corners', etc.   I don't exactly potter along as it is - why, only last week I got into fifth gear on a long downhill run, and later saw triple digits - 250 - on the display screen: it was 2.50pm.

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Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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I have, of course, been reflecting on this suspension upgrade, with its K-Tech components.   Of course, they are vital to the exercise, but even more so is the skill, expertise, and all-round experience of the guy doing the work, Joe Salter in this case.

It certainly hasn't been work that I could even dream about attempting myself, having neither the skills and knowledge, nor the vast array of specialised tools that the pros have at their fingertips.

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Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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THE FINAL WORDS...

As a last step in evaluating my GT’s K-Tech suspension upgrade from early September, and the more recent re-working of the front-end and tweaking of the shock to get it just right, I took the roads more travelled on today’s outing, deliberately seeking out a number of highways and byways I knew to be pretty ordinary.  

For my fellow Queensland Traceristas, I rode the Cunningham Hwy from Cunningham’s Gap to Warwick, thence to Gatton via a very rural albeit interesting and mildly challenging C class road.   To and from, mainly smooth Motorway…every conceivable road-surface was there… 

In a nutshell, the suspension performed admirably, and I now intend very firmly to leave well enough alone.   I could not be more satisfied, and now only await my new seat to complete the transformation.  

P1050958.JPG

Edited by wordsmith
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Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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@wordsmith - well done.  I must admit I thought by earlier forecasts that Sunday weather was going to be unkind but as it turns out - beautiful after the rain.  Hope you had a good ride.

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Thanks, dazz.   It was indeed a beaut day - 24 deg C as I rode towards home.   My only regret is that I haven't a stock Tracer or GT to ride back-to-back with my own bike:   If I could, I think I'd be even more impressed and happy with the outcome! 

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Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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