Suspension of Disbelief - Part IV

Things have been pretty quiet here lately as I've been so busy with other stuff I'd rather give my cat oral than have to work on the bike. But things are settling down on the home front and it's time to get to it. Working on the bike, that is.

The Ohlins Springs arrived and I headed around a mate's house with some 15w oil to swap them over. I don't have a centre stand anymore, so we hoisted it up on a dirtbike lift, which was actually much sturdier than it looks.

(Note to self - must set aside some cash for a Harley-style lift from the guys at Anderson. )

As you can see, the front wheel all came off easily enough, and the fork top caps were really easy to get out, not like the first time I tried. I'd spotted these two little holes on the inside of the forks a while ago, and assumed that a few twists of an allen key would bring them out and drain the oil.

So we turned and turned and nothing happened. We started thinking that we've either got a bolt with the finest, longest thread known to motorbiking or we were just turning the bastard in it's place. It was the latter. A quick search on google and it looks like it's attached to the bloody damping rods, which have to be held in place with a 2 foot long hex key while undoing the bottom. Not the most practical idea. There's a description on how to do a fork oil swapover on a similarily stupid bike, the FZR. There's two good descriptions here and here.

So, it was getting late in the day and we decided that as the whole forks probably had to come out, and it was getting late in the day, we'd just plonk the Ohlins forks back in and ride it for a week and go pull the whole forks next weekend and do the fork seals then too.

Anyway, here's the Ohlins springs (bottom) compared to the Ikons. Interestingly the Ohlins are linear-wound. Now, I know 99% of spring upgrades that people do will be progressive-wound and there's great arguements for both. Now many people will be saying that the progressive springs are the way to go but in all honesty you can shove it up your arse. So there.

Look how tightly wound the buggers are. The Ohlins are also a bit shorter, by around 1cm.

First impressions of the springs... absolutely f'n brilliant. Handles beautifully now, very firm and the front holds the road brilliantly. The front and the rear feel exactly as I'd hoped - perfectly matched up in compression, although the rebound was a bit "how's your father" due to the fork oil being a bit low. But I have to say that suspension set up is now very, very promising.

But it wasn't all beer and blowjobs, a few things did spring to mind on my way home. The first being the cartridge emulators from Racetek, and whether or not they'll be worth the extra cash $170USD now the Aussie dollar has taken a dump. And the girl there who responded to my email didn't answer any of my questions regarding shipping except for "Get in soon, we have three in stock and they might not be here tomorrow!".


Another bit of food for thought are those preload top caps. I might drag a friend, kicking and screaming, to a carpark or something to measure the sag of the bike and if they're actually needed. And the last thing is a bad shudder I feel through the front end when coming to a stop. Methinks it's the front disc warped. So while it's all off, I might as well hunt around for a new disc. More on that in a day or two's time when I've tracked one down...

Also, a set of thanks to co-worker and retired Baja motocross superstar B.J. who helped me out with the tools, the time and the childish photos.

More on Rotors next time kids!

- Marlon


My SR...

I've discovered the magic of backdating blogs, and I've gone all the way back to 2006, when I purchased the SR. There's a couple of pics of the bike and I'm starting to put together a service history to track when I've changed the oil, brake pads etc.


I'm probably going to put a "Links" section in here as well, mainly to Japanese aftermarket parts suppliers but also some local guys too.


Just a quick ride...

I've decided I'm going to start updating the blog with rides I've been on. There's people here that do much more interesting rides and write about it much more eloquently than me, but it'll help for me to remember certain roads around Victoria. I've found that in the past couple of years I've lived here and been riding motorbikes I've mainly followed friends when heading out. This means I have a terrible knowledge of the roads around the state, although I've plodded through many of them, usually following Matt.

On Saturday I actually had to google how to get out of the Melbourne CBD.

On Sunday I headed out to Broadford to watch the Motocross. In a carefully considered plan to fit in I'd bought large skater shoes and bleached my hair. However, all this was in vain as the whole event wass called off due to the death of Andrew McFarlane. The former world #2 overcooked a jump in the practice round and landed head first, with 100 kilo's of Austrian alloy and plastic following him into the deck.

With that, and the death of Judd Greedy last year, one has to think about how dangerous motorcycling racing still is. Even though we've come a long way from the crepe-paper racing suits and brass helmets it's still a dangerous past time.

Anyway, after taking a moment to soak up the depressing atmosphere at the track I headed out to Strath creek and went a longish way back.

As I was in a rush to get out there, I headed straight up the Hume Highway. Yes, I googled the best way to reach the Hume from Richmond.

As seems to happen after a long break in riding my tight cornering was terrible. I would approach a well surfaced corner that had good visibility and knock back too many gears, slow down too much and be cautious on the gas on the way out. Must find a stretch of these roads and spend a day just going up and down to get the skills and confidence back. After that it was open 100kmph sweepers for a while with virtually no traffic and Victoria's finest already busy booking people.

Anyway, onto the bike! The rear suspension is feeling quite good under different road surfaces. The front was shit as always, but it's only a few days 'till the Ohlins arrive and that can be fixed.

If you're looking for a proper blog with information about riding and the day tours around Victoria (sometimes on an SR!) it's worthwhile checking out my mate's blog Contemplative Motorcycling. It's an excellent read.

New springs should be delivered by this weekend. I'll find a way to chock up the bike and put them in on the weekend, and I'll be able to take it out next monday. Wahoo!