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

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