Suspension of Disbelief - Part 1

I seem to come to a stage when playing with my SR. I usually get some kind of half-baked idea in my head and become a little obsessed before deciding bike parts are more important than rent money and blow half a paycheck on some bizarre SR part from Japan that I might never use .

For a while now I've been unhappy with the SR's suspension.* I was going for rides and feeling unsatisfied with the way the bike felt going around corners, and riding some friend's bikes only reaffirmed that there was something a bit odd with mine.

Sometimes, when going into corners hot It felt like the rear had no traction when exiting - it felt very light and as if it wasn't gripping all that well.

I had some Ikon Shocks , which are adjustable for height and have four rebound settings. I'd played with the height and the rebound, but still couldn't get the rear to feel like it was actually part of the same bike I was riding.

In typical form, I decided to throw money at the problem without even thinking about it. I did some searching on Yahoo Japan auctions and with the aid of a friend in Japan through the SR500 forum I ordered some of these...

Gucci Ohlins , over $600AUD by the time they were landed here, but still a damn sight cheaper than the $1200 or so they are new.

My thinking was that the Ikons I had on the rear were part of the problem. Interestingly, my SR doesn't seem to have any static sag at the rear. That couldn't help. I'd also emailed Ikon about getting some softer springs on the rear so I can have some static sag. I've no doubt that the shocks are fine for a stock SR, but there's so little weight left at the rear there's nothing holding it down.

I thought by getting the Ohlins, and chucking money at the problem in my usual way, I'd have the issue solved. I was going to be wrong.

Not long after ordering them I was going for a ride with two mates when I noticed something.

Going UPHILL on the Black Spur the bike felt great. Stable, and the rear felt fantastic going around corners.

Going DOWNHILL on the Reefton Spur the bike was diving excessively when I'd dab the brakes (Or grab, it's a scary bit of road for a while) and when getting on the noise out of corners I'd find the rear very light.

So... these things must all be related. What I think is happening is my front forks are too soft. When I get on the brakes the bike's weight bias shifts forwards which lifts all the weight off the rear. When getting on the gas again the weight is still all the way over the front of the bike, and the rear isn't planted at all. That's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.

So now it's the long process of researching , what the options are I have. I'm doing some hunting around for information on preload, rebound and all that kind of stuff.

This time I won't just throw money at the problem. But have a think, a search for information and decide what to do then.

And then throw money at it.

*Standard amount of 16w oil in the front forks, Ikon progressive springs. At the rear I have a 7610 Ikon shock. I've also got a Daytona fork brace and steering damper. I run BT45's on the standard 18" rims with low 30lbs tyre pressure in each. I also have an aluminium box section swingarm.


  1. Interesting. I look forward to hearing how you go with your front fork fiddling.

    I'm tempted by the Ohlins myself...are you keeping yours?!


  2. Hey Mark, I'm going to have a play with the front end and then decide what to do with the rear. The Ikons would probably be fine for my purposes but I'll wait and see what happens. I'll let you know what happens to them.

  3. Thanks Marlon,
    I better get over to the forum and introduce myself properly now.