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Jayzonk

Picking up a 2020 Tracer GT Tomorrow

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From what I have observed with others, riders will often feel that they can improve the handling of their bike by changing the suspension, so i am talking about using the suspension as a tool for helping you corner your bike.  If they feel there is too much compression in the forks when turning in, they opt for stiffer springs.  The more appropriate modification is to modulate brake pressure better, so that there is less of a surge pressure when applying, so that the brake pressure comes on enough to turn the bike, but not on so strong that the forks completely dive.  Think of braking pressure as being comprised of 100 points.  You should only be going into a turn with 5 out of those 100 points of braking.  If you start the braking within those first five points, you are less apt to over-compress the forks.  

So my point is, many riders will think they need to change their suspension to stop fork dive, when what they really need to do is work on modulating brake pressure. 

As for suspension modifications for soaking up bumps, or just having too much compression in the rear, I haven't experienced any issues at all so far, but I need to cover some more ground.  

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A couple of thoughts on this @Jayzonk.

Some riders are much heavier than the OEM suspension was designed for, so they adjust the preload to set sag and then find the forks have no range left for bump absorption. In other words, the springs need to be changed for heavier riders.

I agree to some degree, with your comment about braking. Ideally the force applied on braking for a corner settles the suspension and the leaves plenty of movement “spare”  for bump control. But, as you ride faster you use up the fork travel when braking harder and also my point about heavier riders above applies here too.

The final point is about damping control. The OEM forks and shock do not control damping to the same degree of excellence as upgraded components. Even if you are lucky enough to have a rider weight suited to the original springs, you’ll find that lack of damping control makes for a more miserable experience.

When you get springs and damping correct for your weight and riding style you end up simply riding well and not needing to worry about the % braking force as the suspension handles your inputs without fuss. 

I rode my 2015 with standard suspension for several years and found I could ride around the problems quite effectively, but when I upgraded I stopped having to do that as the drawbacks had been removed. I admit that the suspension has improved a lot since the early models, but upgrades will still help with  the newer models.

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Red 2015 Tracer, UK spec (well, it was until I started messing with it...

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BBB, appreciate the new knowledge on upper limits to the suspension,  but I disagree with your comments about higher speeds requiring more fork travel when braking.   This does not apply when cornering at speed on a motorcycle,  as your speed into the corner, with proper trail braking,  is not going to drop so low that you need all of that fork travel.  Applying the  brakes properly means that you've applied them enough to get compression and a contact patch on the road with the tire before you make the turn, and there's no way you would ever be bottoming out if you're doing it correctly.  

The scenario you describe is one where you are going from high speed to full force braking to make a rapid stop.  I would expect significant compression in that case but I fail to see how it would be an issue. 

As for insufficient damping because the rider weight is too high for the initial suspension, I guess I would expect some customization.  I don't know what size range of riders was considered, but I'm sure it can be adjusted for a range of 120lbs to 250lbs.  I don't see this ad a measure of inadequacy though; rather I see it as working effectively for a reasonable range of people sizes. 

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@Jayzonk - didn't realize you are in London, ON! I'm in Cambridge - and I actually talked to Inglis Cycle the other day. The BMW dealership where I rode the R1200RS was Wolf in London.

I am actually considering a Triumph Sprint GT - never owned a Triumph before but love triples. I wonder how it would compare to my old Tracer...

Cheers,

Rob 

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2 hours ago, Jayzonk said:

This does not apply when cornering at speed on a motorcycle,  as your speed into the corner, with proper trail braking,  is not going to drop so low that you need all of that fork travel.  Applying the  brakes properly means that you've applied them enough to get compression and a contact patch on the road with the tire before you make the turn, and there's no way you would ever be bottoming out if you're doing it correctly.  

I agree with you on trail braking. It has many benefits, including keeping the bike more level and stable. But, the majority of your braking is going to come from the front, simply due to the centre of gravity moving forward. Which of course is why the front has two rotors, more caliper pistons and bigger pads. Inevitably the bike will compress the forks. 

If I put a cable tie around the front forks, just below the fork seal and ride with my fun hat on, that cable tie  has moved to almost the bottom of the available travel, leaving a little bit  of margin for any unexpected extra compression from road undulation. That's not doing stoppies, that's just braking before the corner and getting the bike settled before committing to a lean angle. And the the upgraded damping that I have gives me smooth compression and then smooth rebound, keeping the bike predictable in terms of handling. In contrast the OEM damping gave lots of fork dive and then pogo-stick rebound.

I've never bottomed out a fork by the way, even with extreme braking. I think the ABS would trigger at that point.

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Red 2015 Tracer, UK spec (well, it was until I started messing with it...

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9 hours ago, rlambke19 said:

@Jayzonk - didn't realize you are in London, ON! I'm in Cambridge - and I actually talked to Inglis Cycle the other day. The BMW dealership where I rode the R1200RS was Wolf in London.

I am actually considering a Triumph Sprint GT - never owned a Triumph before but love triples. I wonder how it would compare to my old Tracer...

Cheers,

Rob 

Hey Rob, I haven't ridden one but I had that 1050 triple in my Speed Triple.   Mine was a 2013 so it was a 5-speed but that 1050 GT is a 6-speed. Geared as a six speech, I'm sure it's a great ride. The seating position is pretty relaxed but it won't be nearly as relaxed as the Tracer. I didn't realize they brought the GT to Canada. I thought they only brought the St which is similar but not quite as punchy in the engine. 

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19 hours ago, betoney said:

I'm not sure what you are actually meaning to say with the comment that you will get frustrated with upgraded suspension and return to stock? 🤷‍♀️

 

19 hours ago, betoney said:

I'm not sure what you are actually meaning to say with the comment that you will get frustrated with upgraded suspension and return to stock? 🤷‍♀️

 Well, I meant that people often change out their suspension for something more rigid, then they find that their front end starts getting skitterish, so they soften it up, just to find that they are getting more fork dive.  After two changes, they end up reverting back to the stock setup.  

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Went for a really good two-hour familiarization ride today.  I really like the Tracer, better than any other bike I've had.  It's light, flickable, smooth, sporty, and comfortable.  

I went on a usual route for me down secondary highways in the countryside.  My route is just a series of curved sections on various roads that I've pieced together over the last ten years.  The Tracer really inspires confidence in the riding, and I found myself on my normal spirited pace, and even faster, despite the heavy wind.  On my first section, I was hit with a heavy windblast just as I turned into my first curve, blowing on the low side.  Despite being blown off line a bit (it was a heavy gust), I was able to lean in a little more and get back online.  I think the easy lean-in on the Tracer helped, despite the fact that I rolled back the throttle a bit as well.  

On another section of road, I was going into a fast left hand sweeper.  Once through the apex, there was a combine not far ahead that I couldn't see before the apex.  Needless to say, this was a brake test opportunity, and I thought the brakes were spot on - really good lever feel, and really good balance between the front and the rear.  I didn't notice significant fork dive, but hey, I was surprised by the combine a little too much to notice.  

My right hand mirror came loose halfway through the trip.  I stopped and tried to tighten down the locknut, but I couldn't finger tighten it enough to make it hold, so I drove with it pointing inward for the rest of the trip.  I was going to take it off, but the handguard is also mounted through the same bolt.  I retightened it at home.  I can't imagine it will be an issue.  

As for wind protection, the torso and legs are well protected, and I don't want to comment on the wind around my head until I've had a normal day of riding.  Needless to say, things are fine at 60-65 mph.  

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Welcome, have enjoyed reading your comments about going from a BMW to the Tracer as well about the suspension and handling.  I went from a BMW F800GT to my 2020 Tracer GT in early September.  It is an interesting story which you can read in my introduction. The F800GT is very different from the 1200GS and was easy enough for me to balance - had lots of experience on long trips almost always stay at KOAs and riding a street bike on gravel streets at 5MPH is challenging for a former sport bike rider!  Thought the Tracer GT would be harder to balance but surprise it is easier!  Even fully loaded!  I have found the suspension to be good enough and certainly not undersprung.  I actually had more of a feeling of almost too much preload.  However I rode into the dealer on a fully loaded BMW F800GT and rode out on a fully loaded Tracer GT - pretty back to back comparison.  LOL I was so nervous about dropping it but is so easy to ride!  Started off wandering around Sioux Falls looking for gas and then missed a turn on my route.  Lots of stop and go and slower speed stuff but the Tracer is a great ride.  Lovely engine - makes great and proper engine sounds - someone likened the F800 engine to a tin can full of bolts being shaken.  My BMW was a solid bike but didn't stir my soul.  The Tracer does!  On the 1,400 mile trip home my only complaint was the windscreen.  Opposite end of the spectrum from the Madstad on the BMW (it was on it when I bought it).  500 miles from Grand Island to Springfield MO via Salina KS in 96F heat was a tough ride.  The wind blast continually hitting me was the hardest part - the Tracer GT doesn't put off engine heat onto the rider like my BMW did.  Since I got home have fiddled with the suspension a bit by raising the forks 7mm and actually dropping the preload to 1 click below standard and the compression and rebound 1 click below (softer) as well.  That seems to work very nicely for me - I'm 5' 10" and 175 pounds without gear.   I changed the rear to a Michelin Road 5 with 3,800 miles that I already had and a Michelin Pilot Power 5 front.  Happy with that choice so far.  Have replaced the windscreen with an MRA Touring and then added a spoiler so that it is very similar to the MRA Vario - if hindsight should have gone with the Vario.

In June hit a short stretch of construction in South Dakota, all pavement was gone and it was a dirt roadbed.  One short spot was just like deep sand - really thought I was going down but somehow managed to not!  Defiantly the hardest 30 to 40 feet Ive ever ridden!   

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I too once owned a BMW F800 GT.   In so many respects it was the ideal bike for me, coming off a long series of Roadsters and GSs and looking for something a little lower and lighter.   I liked the concept of the chain-free belt-drive, the quality, the appearance - but hated the asthmatic weak engine, sounding and performing like a sewing machine - plus I got fed-up with constantly having my left lower leg done medium rare!   After my few Tracers and then a GT I felt more than once that an ideal machine may be a CP3 engine in an everything-else F800 GT!

Edited by wordsmith

Wordsmith - a 1939 model.   Previously owned a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black.   Now enjoying a 2020 Yamaha MT-09 SP.   Happily living near the sea in Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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4 minutes ago, wordsmith said:

I too once owned a BMW F800 GT.   In so many respects it was the ideal bike for me, coming off a long series of Roasters and GSs and looking for something a little lower and lighter.   I liked the concept of the chain-free belt-drive, the quality, the appearance - but hated the asthmatic weak engine, sounding and performing like a sewing machine - plus I got fed-up with constantly having my left lower leg done medium rare!   After my few Tracers and then a GT I felt more than once that an ideal machine may be a CP3 engine in an everything-else F800 GT!

I totally agree, F800GT was a good bike with a not good engine.  LOL my last all day ride was 93F and the heat felt as bad as it ever had.  A good trip bike but I had almost quit shorter rides as it wasn't so much fun.  My Tracer GT is a bike that puts a big smile on my face every time I ride it.  

Edited by PhotoAl
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I had the Tracer Goo GT 😄 out for about six hours,  mainly on secondary highways north of London yesterday, clocking 400km.  7

As for suspension, it's still working extremely well in the curves.  I may increase the compression damping one small turn (to decrease the compression) after some more testing, because I noticed a small amount of compression in the forks with fairly aggressive upshifting when starting from low speeds or a stop.  I also noticed that it doesn't happen when you quickshift, so it seems like it's actually from the engine braking between manual shifts.   It's very slight, and I don't really need to adjust it but will try it, just for the sake of experience.  I .ay also add a small increment of rebound damping in the rear - the bike soaked up everything really well but thought I would see if some rebound damping would take care of the one big hit that crosses my path on the way to work, without throwing off the ride quality. 

Edited by Jayzonk
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Congrats on the new goo GT!  I love mine (new to me FJ-09)more every time I go out. Winter is going to be hell!

It REALLY does look like goo.😂

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Yes...a friend pointed that out to me.  Who in their right mind lowers the 9 below the level of the other numbers anyway??  

The seat is unbelievably comfy.  The GS had a good seat but the Tracer's is as good or better, easily.  

Oh, one thing I don't particularly like is the small thumbwheel on the right side of the handlebar.  It's just a little too far for me to easily reach while trying to maintain constant throttle, so it looks like I will be pulling over to turn on the heated grips.  The cruise control...will have to reach.

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Hi, i am also in possession of a brand new 2020 gt and am so far loving it. Love the cruise control and general  comfort having come from a 765 rs striple. I have my 600 mile service next week. So far i have done the usual rad cover and protection bits, purchased an R&G tail tidy but strangely i think i actually prefer the original so its coming off! would love to attend any meet ups in the Kent area and would love to go on some multi day tours.

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