SP2 Front End Feel - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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SP2 Front End Feel

I switch between riding my 03 GSXR750 and my 05 RC51. My RC has stock forks (serviced two years ago, but not heavily ridden) with an Ohlins Rear and a Scott's Stearing Dampener, and the sag was set about two years back, too.

I have found that my Suzuki has much more front end feel, while my RC feels more loose and slightly disconnected in comparison. On another level, I feel like I am riding lower or inside the GSXR, while I feel like I ride on top of the RC -- if that makes any sense.

Are there any suggestions to improving my steering/front end feel? Should I crank down the dampener?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 02:03 PM
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Unless you want to get your bike wet, you shouldn't use a dampener.
If you want to dampen the rotation of the front end around the steering stem, use a damper.

The feeling of sitting "inside" the gsxr and connected to it are a byproduct of suzuki placing their seats lower, tanks and clip ons higher on their sportbikes than other manufacturers. They do this for little girls and short guys.

For the front end feel, that is something a little harder to quantify. You can upgrade the forks with cartridges and springs for your wieght if you already haven't done so.



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 02:30 PM
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Are the springs set for your weight? Do you ever run out of suspension travel on the forks? With those addressed getting the sag set again is a good idea and then you'll need to work on the hydraulics. This is always an objective task as everyone wants a different feel. I am fortunate in that my local suspension guy is very knowledgeable and is willing to make adjustments during our spirited rides based on my feedback. Of course this isn't at track speeds but the settings work pretty well there as well. Keep in mind fork oil weight and volume also play a large role in the front end feel.

I have to qualify that I have a lot to learn in suspension setup, but have been fortunate to absorb knowledge and experience from veteran track-dayers and club racers.

Last edited by dasrider; 02-09-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 08:20 PM
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Before a suspension seller comes on here to differ, I should say I'm not an expert on suspension but do have some experience with car suspension setups for racing, etc. so some of this can be used to understand how suspension works and setup should be.

Your Ohlins damper will improve things, but geometry's possibly still set to conservative OEM levels. A steering damper is IMHO not needed at this or even more aggresive settings, although some will probably disagree. So steering damper is perhaps a matter best left to choice. Try taking it off...

You can quicken the steering by raising the rear and dropping front a little (The fork design on RC's is pretty good according to the suspension engineers who re-sprung & revalved my forks, in combination with making a matched race-spec rear shock set up for fast road use for it). Matching spring rates front & rear so the different components work in harmony is important for stability, especially at speed. Firmer springs will feel harder at slow speeds, but give better absorption when faster. Damping shouldn't be too high (common misconception that damping will harden the suspension, when primarily excessive damping makes the shock lazier & slower!).
To get the best out of your bike, have the suspension properly sorted by a company that specialises in making modifications for road racers. To this end, it's probably best to go somewhere like the UK where they have experience with preparation for Manx & IOM racing, where there are proper bumpy roads and lots of corners. They can apply this knowledge gained from experience with your less extreme riding needs and make suspension to match - you!
I've been very happy both times I've done this to bikes. It transformed a VFR into a very fun machine to ride fast and has made my SP2 more comfortable in ride, yet safer than OEM.
The only downside is more weight transfer to the front of my RC as my rear became quite a lot higher than before and the front dropped after the work they did, but I wouldn't go back to a standard rear shock & forks with Moriwaki link as I had before.

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.

Last edited by The Stig; 02-09-2012 at 08:24 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Old Guys Rule View Post
Are there any suggestions to improving my steering/front end feel? Should I crank down the dampener?
Don't crank it down, if you mean tighter response. Take it off and see how the bike feels without it. Maybe this is simple stuff, but when in doubt, get back to stock and see what it acts and feels like.
I've run my scotts for most of the time with my RC51, but rode it the first few months with out it. Same about the PC, exhaust, seat, pretty much any upgrade. That's really the only way I can measure if it's effetive or not.

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 11:05 AM
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I'm no suspension expert either, but proper callibration is the key, no matter what you do for improvements or additions. It's also possible that there are some (even one) components htat have suffered the results of time and use. My SP is low mileage and I'm 210# but it's solid as Gibralter and that's how it should be. As Jon mentioned get it back to stock config and go from there. If there are upgrades that are required due to worn pieces or you just want to make it better, lots of choices once you do your homework

Duct tape can't fix stupid...but it sure helps muffle the sound
'03 SP2, '09 GL1800
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.

Overall, the front on my bike feels a little disconnected from what I feel. I think I'm going to have the forks sorted out to make sure they match my weight. They don't bottom out, but there's more travel than on my GSXR and on which I can feel the front tire more.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 05:50 PM
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Remember forks should ideally not just match your weight, but work in harmony with your shock - so the front & rear both absorb bumps with the same level of movement and avoid pitching as much as possible (ideal setting). So you might want to have your shock dyno'd and set accordingly by the people who re-work your forks... possibly to include re-springing. They should also give initial settings and information on how to adjust your suspension.

Suspension travel doesn't necessarily increase to improve feel. Factors like front & rear ride heights also affect feel, by reducing castor (known as rake on a bike) you will quicken the steering and get more feel. Steering dampers reduce feel of steering because they absorb small forces of motion (& reduce steering response at slower speeds depending on level of damping set).
When suspension springs are replaced it can mean shorter ones go in.
Not all suspension specialists are as experienced as others.
The quality of the work you end up with is dependent on where you go...

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.
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