Budget suspension rebuild - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Budget suspension rebuild

I just finished my first track day on my 03 RC51. During the tech inspection it was highly suggested that I rebuild the suspension.
I'm not becoming a club racer or looking to make this a track bike, per se. It's an occasional rider with some track days. I state this, because I'm not looking to spend thousands on this.
What is involved in the fork rebuild; valves & springs? Is it DIY? I've replaced fork seals, but never done this. And what about the rear shock?
Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 05:30 PM
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Many (I mean many) members of this forum opt for good aftermarket suspension upgrades, which will set you back over $1500. If you search the forum you'll find where some have rebuilt the original in good detail which is an improvement, even if debatable by some. You decide what your cost point and skill level to do this is. Bottom line, the stock components are a good base to rebuilt/upgrade but you need to be equipped and handy mechanically. Good luck...

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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 06:26 PM
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basically any decent rear shock is ~$600+, and any fork rework worth having is ~$600 and that wont be Ohlins.

Believe me ive played around with different units, its pretty much just worth it to call Mike (LDH) @ Kyle Racing and have it handled, the amount of data, settings, etc. it makes worth it to have it just "set it and forget it" setup. Ohlins stuff also holds it's value incredibly well, even more-so for the RC51 where suspension is desirable. Mike has setup data for damn near every weight range because he's done hundreds of these bikes.

I use to play around with shims, Racetech front ends, Penskes etc. it just took me more time and bloody knuckles just to have a "pretty good" setup. If i consider my own labor at even $15/hr, the time/effort I spent doing all this sh*t, time away from riding, riding without "confidence", I pretty much had "already bought" Ohlins.

Now, only Mike does my suspension i dont let anyone else touch it. It's right, the first time.


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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 08:21 PM
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I'll chime in just because I have alot of track time on the RC and have been through it with stock and "budget" upgraded suspension. I'm old school and was used to a vastly inferior suspension setup on my racebikes in my younger years.....back when all we had were "progressive" fork springs on the front and fox shocks on the rear. high dollar rear units were available, but I was a club racer. Anyway, currently I have revalved and resprung front forks from an SP2(I have an SP1) and a revalved penske double clicker on the rear. From where I came this thing feels absolutely incredible, which isn't saying much lol. This is about the lowest type of budget upgrade I would do, and if I were to do it all over from scratch(took about 6 years of picking up this and that used and having things rebuilt) I would do it right with likely an ohlins unit although there are other high quality options out there. You see the prices of things, so I can't add much there other than if you pickup used take off parts, have them rebuilt and revalved by a reputable suspension tech in your area. Very little personal experience with Kyle, but I have heard nothing but extremely good things of them since I got into my RC which was 2005 I believe. That says alot! My RC is track only now really as I picked up an FZ10 a bit ago, so I keep it on track settings all the time now although it is tagged I don't ride it on the street.
One last thing, modern bikes like the FZ really gave me another eye opening experience..much like going from my old 87 vfr750 with a fox shock, racetech valved cbr600f2 front forks to the RC, then to when the RC was transformed with proper setup. Point being new generations improve by leaps and bounds! That being said, I doubt I'll ever get rid of the RC, as it's a great track bike and I have alot of spares! Best of luck in your journey, and keep getting your beast on the track where she belongs as much as you can!
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 08:24 PM
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BTW, I wouldn't really recommend doing the forks yourself unless you are familiar with upside down forks at the least, and have a very good understanding of how they work.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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The cost of the Ohlins Nix 30mm cartridge is more than I paid for the bike & about a third of what I've got in it. I think that's my biggest hangup; the tangible ROI. I hear what everyone is saying about then being the best, right now, I'm not comfortable with the Ohlins cost.
I was given contact info for 812 Suspension Design. They're about 90 minutes north of me, and work almost all the club racer's bikes at the track I went to. I'll give them a call, but please, everyone, feel free to give decent options that cost less than Ohlins.

Thanks again for all the info.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 07:22 AM
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Kyle racing also does a 20mm rework option for $710.00 that includes shipping back to you. Many people have chosen that option with great results, and also a very fast turnaround time back to you. Not much can be done with the rear shock, best to replace with a used aftermarket shock. Check eBay there was a used Ohlins for around $600.00 don't know of sold yet. Hord power also offers a fork rebuild kit for around $425 using your old springs or $525 with new springs. He is also very knowledgeable on the RC. Can check out his website for options. Hope this helps.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by thomasusmc View Post
The cost of the Ohlins Nix 30mm cartridge is more than I paid for the bike & about a third of what I've got in it. I think that's my biggest hangup; the tangible ROI. I hear what everyone is saying about then being the best, right now, I'm not comfortable with the Ohlins cost.
I was given contact info for 812 Suspension Design. They're about 90 minutes north of me, and work almost all the club racer's bikes at the track I went to. I'll give them a call, but please, everyone, feel free to give decent options that cost less than Ohlins.

Thanks again for all the info.
I am assuming in any option you would be pulling your own forks/shock? otherwise shop install will def be more than any Ohlins option.

yea i was referring to the $710 option for Ohlins, the 30mm NIX kit is for full-on racing or a VERY experienced street rider.

The $710 fork option is pretty damn good, i know a bunch of guys that have em. The price of a rear shock is essentially fixed at north of $600 anyways and If you buy both Ohlins from KyleUSA it just saves hassle and known setup data is readily available. I think a brand new ohlins is ~$950 from Mike.

I can surely understand everyone has a budget, but what any shop will charge you for a complete fork revalve/respring/rebuild AND a name-brand rear shock+install labor.....your gonna be maybe a few hundred bucks from Ohlins anyways.

Id keep an eye out for a used Ohlins, (figure its like ~$200 for a rebuild/refresh, if it needs it). Then send off forks and shock to Mike at one time.

Ohlins stuff also holds its value better than anything so residual value, if you decide to sell the bike is optimal.

There is the super basic...
swap weight of fluid and switch out springs (pretty much any decent dealership should be able to do this) and then hope to god you find a suitable rear shock in your weight range plug n play. A shop shouldnt charge "extra" for this service as the springs/fluid are usually drop in, in place of the OEM stuff. So the cost of a complete fork rebuild, usually about $100 per fork where im from (off the bike already). +$120 for suitable springs, $20 fluid, $45 in good fork seals, bushings, consumables.

Then there is valving...most popular/cost effective. (~$710 Ohlins option from Mike)
in my experience the other companies charge ~$525 (RaceTech, Ktech etc.)

Then there is full-on
Ohlins 30mm NIX, Matris cartridge kit, AK Gas forks, Ohlins R&T FG43....
these are like ~$2000+

rear shock cost NEW is pretty much fixed for the RC51. Ohlins is $950, everyone else is ~$650 or more (Penske, Ktech, etc)
You can redo the OEM shock, but its pretty much a boat anchor and unless you have fabrication skills forget about it.

I know im probably biased but I have owned more combinations of forks/shocks and RC51 configurations than anyone I know. Your paying for setup data and time one way or another. If it aint in cash, its in sweat pulling your shock off for an adjustment or trying to figure out what magical knobs do what on the shock/forks, or time lost riding.

fuck all that. buy once, cry once.

Call Mike.

My close "2nd" is GMD Computrack (RaceTech) and have them sit and do all your setting with you on the bike, they setup geometry too. This is prob the same or more expensive than Ohlins as you have to be in the shop on the bike.

Again, im not trying to force ya or anything its just my experience that after all this penny pinching, i ended up spending it later on to fix mistakes.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate everyone's input on this.
After a long conversation with the owner of 812 Suspension, I'm going to go to him. He uses the RaceTech rebuild kit, valves and springs for the forks. Also said he believes I'll only need a new spring on the rear.
If I take everything off it's $460, parts and labor. If he takes everything off it's another $175 and he'll help me get everything dialed in, while wearing full kit, when I pick it up.
It's about a week turn around either way.
Again, thanks for the input. Ohlins is in my mind once this child support stops....in 7 years....
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 01:08 PM
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you don't need only a spring on the rear
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