954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG) - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-25-2006, 8:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Ok, First this is long. Sorry. I've already threadjacked a couple of times, now it's time for my bike to have it's own thread, and maybe either I can get my bike set-up, or this will help someone down the road.

Background: Bought the bike used, set up for a 200-225lb rider per the description. I'm at 200, I'm guessing that the previous owner was 225.

The bike sits on its kickstand at twice the angle of any other bike in a parking lot of 50 bikes. This is due to ride height because I can not stand flat-footed on this baby, but can on virtually every other bike made, including 929's. (I should also mention that it has a Sargent seat, and that I've heard they are taller or more padded than stock, but that doesn't explain the kickstand)

This problem can be attributed to:
  1. Preload too stiff, the bike had zero difference between fully extended (rear wheel off the ground) and static unloaded. Also less than 2mm rear sag from just sitting, not pushing down after sitting on or bouncing.
  2. Pirelli Diablo tires, which I've heard are taller than most. I can not vouch for this one way or the other, this is my first set of Pirellis.
  3. Penske rear shock, I'm told, is longer than the factory unit. I cannot adjust it any shorter to get within factory height range, I've looked at it and it's as short as it will go.
So I've talked with the experts, IMO, about preload spacers, rear shock adjustment, etc. and have arrived at the conclusion that since I don't have a stock 954 to take measurements on, I should try to set up the sag properly. Using SportRider's L1,L2,L3 formula, and Dan Kyle's recommended "street" sag setting, I took another swing at it today.

These are the adjustments made, 03/25/06:

Front (measurements are from bottom of fork seal to top of lower fork end)

124mm fully extended (Pitbull triple tree stand), unloaded
93mm static w/rider after pulling the forks up and letting them settle
77mm static w/rider after pushing the forks down and letting them rise
equalling 85mm average
39mm difference between fully extended and avg. loaded w/rider(street recommended sag is 36-38mm, but I decided to err slightly on the soft side)

Rear (measurements from left lower part of pass. peg to spot on swingarm marked with electrical tape)

133mm fully extended
105mm average
28mm difference between fully extended and avg loaded w/rider (street recommended sag is 28mm)

It should be noted that before adjustments, the front forks had 122mm of fork exposed between bottom of fork seal and top of fork bottom, and at the end of the "tuning" there was only 113.5mm showing.

Results:
Well, the bike actually feels normal when sitting on it with my weight. It actually compresses a little bit. It's much softer now with 28mm instead of 2mm rear sag. I can lift the rear and actually watch the suspension move instead of just lifting the rear tire into the air without the swingarm pivoting. The front has much more movement when rocking the bike while holding the front brake. Still sits twice as high on the kickstand though.

5 mile test ride:
Bike felt ok, maybe a little soft when turning sharply side to side. One weird thing... I hit an 80mph sweeper and twisted the throttle. Next thing I know, I'm crossing the yellow line, running wide, totally unexpected for a curve that I've went faster than 90mph through. After 20k miles on 929's I can say that has never happened to me. Admittedly, I've only went that fast through that curve a few times, and I'm not overly familiar with all the dips in that road, so it's possible that I hit a dip and it pushed me wide, but I thought "proper suspension" was supposed to take care of that. What really bugs me about it is that it was totally unexpected and pretty much zapped my confidence until I got it back to the garage. I'm fairly worried about the next ride if on throttle is going to push me wide.

I have not tried stiffening the rear compression or softening the rear rebound per SR's recommendations to stop a wide running bike, but they also mention that if the bike is riding higher in the front than in the rear, that it will push.

I should note also that I called Traxxion Dynamics last week and they told me the baseline to start adjustments from (after sag) for their set-up was 1.5-2 turns out from full in on compression and rebound. I checked the bike, and they were set at that default.

I have not had a chance to bug Penske about their baseline set-up starting point.

In summary, I've ridden stock-suspended 929's that handled better and instilled more confidence for street riding. The settings are bad so far, but I'm going to attempt to get it better and do some more learning.

Thoughts and suggestions are welcome. I will post all tuning results from this point forward in this thread. Thanks for reading.


...in my pants
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-01-2006, 8:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

As some of you may have kept up with in my other post, I have trimmed the front preload spacer in the forks, dropping the front 1/2". What follows is the ride-report...

Test ride after re-setting the sag revealed bike is extremely quick on turn in, plenty stable with the damper at 120mph. Still feels very weird though. Probably from logging 20k miles on stock-suspended 929's vs less than 1k miles on my 954. Still have that feeling that I don't know what the bike is going to do. I purposely closed the throttle during a right hander, and the bike definitely squirmed a little, but did not feel like it wanted to stand up. On the other side, I purposely fed the throttle through the right handers, and could go quickly from 65mph to 85mph in one curve without it pushing wide.

Hopefully I can go for a ride tomorrow and try to tweak the compression / rebound and see what the adjustments feel like. My friend showed me a decent test road today, that has plenty of marked 35mph curves, so I ought to be able to get a decent feel for the street set-up.

...in my pants
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 10:27 AM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

I have a Penske on mine also, and it leans way over on the side stand. I'll probably lengthen it after I get my forks done.
Max can tell you exactly what to do

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Last edited by Uncle Jesse; 04-05-2006 at 4:34 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Thanks for the info, I was beginning to think mine was the only one on earth that looked like it was going to drag a footpeg while on the kickstand.

As far as traxxion goes, they've been some help. Just from a performance dollar standpoint, I'll probably send them to Kyle for a rebuild. IMO, he's the Honda expert for sure.

I'd like to get this bike to GMD for "sweet numbers" and check that out. Then maybe take it to a trackday or three and see how good it can be.

The next test I think will be a ride south to my old stomping grounds and take it for a blast on some very well-known (to me) roads. Then I will be able to directly compare it to what I'm used to. Right now I have a new bike configuration, and new roads to ride, so I'm definitely having trouble finding the handling pro's and con's.

...in my pants
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 1:18 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

a diablo front tire is quite a bit taller than most other front tires. This does raise the front a bit and would make it harder to turn. Are diablo tires new to you? This should be fine on a 929/954 however because they already have very little trail. But still, it would slow it down compared to what you are used to.

If you have compensated for the tires... Then:

Is it running wide while on the throttle? Will it not complete the turn or is it when you pick up the throttle? Is this the 8981 penske or the 8987? (double or triple?) 1.5-2 from full hard seems like a lot of compression damping on the rear. I'd back it off and give that a try too.

A 929/954 should be one of the sharpest handling bikes ever to come out of a honda factory... Almost R6 like. It should be able to finish turns and pretty much go telepathically where you want it to go.

Sounds like you have some stiction. Are the forks stock valved still? Just re-sprung?

more information is needed...
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 1:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccwilli3
a diablo front tire is quite a bit taller than most other front tires. This does raise the front a bit and would make it harder to turn. Are diablo tires new to you? This should be fine on a 929/954 however because they already have very little trail. But still, it would slow it down compared to what you are used to.

If you have compensated for the tires... Then:

Is it running wide while on the throttle? Will it not complete the turn or is it when you pick up the throttle? Is this the 8981 penske or the 8987? (double or triple?) 1.5-2 from full hard seems like a lot of compression damping on the rear. I'd back it off and give that a try too.

A 929/954 should be one of the sharpest handling bikes ever to come out of a honda factory... Almost R6 like. It should be able to finish turns and pretty much go telepathically where you want it to go.

Sounds like you have some stiction. Are the forks stock valved still? Just re-sprung?

more information is needed...
Compensated for the tires how?

Yes it ran wide on the throttle, no longer does since dropping it 1/2". It's an 8981 and I'll try backing off the rear comp. Do you know what baseline is for the 8981?

It is very sharp handling now, sharper than I remember my 929's being. My 929's had telepathic feel, all you had to do was think where you wanted to go and the bike followed. Not so with my 954 now. I have to make an effort to make the bike go where I want it to, and I have to really think about countersteer and body position.

Stiction, not too sure about. The work was performed by the previous owner. Traxxion charged $700+ for the fork work (don't recall exactly, have to check the receipt), so I'd hate to imagine that's just a spring change.

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post #7 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 1:42 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetallicCarrot
Compensated for the tires how?

Yes it ran wide on the throttle, no longer does since dropping it 1/2". It's an 8981 and I'll try backing off the rear comp. Do you know what baseline is for the 8981?

It is very sharp handling now, sharper than I remember my 929's being. My 929's had telepathic feel, all you had to do was think where you wanted to go and the bike followed. Not so with my 954 now. I have to make an effort to make the bike go where I want it to, and I have to really think about countersteer and body position.

Stiction, not too sure about. The work was performed by the previous owner. Traxxion charged $700+ for the fork work (don't recall exactly, have to check the receipt), so I'd hate to imagine that's just a spring change.
Could be just a spring and oil. That's what they charged me and although I thought it included revalving, when Dan took the forks apart, it was totally stock (other than not cutting the spacers correctly).
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 1:43 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Personally; I wouldn't have trimmed 1/2" off the front... This is a bike already suffering from cornering clearance and by causing the front to run lower, it just got lessened.

I think you might just be getting used to a bike that possibly is sprung right for you. The stock 929/954 forks have such weak front springs that when braking and turning in, its already compressed so much that it just rolls right over. You're on a bike now that doesn't do this.

I'd back off compression some but since you have lowered the front now, I dunno... The rear is already jacked way up so you can't raise the rear anymore it sounds like...

Give it a try and see how it goes.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 3:42 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccwilli3
Personally; I wouldn't have trimmed 1/2" off the front... This is a bike already suffering from cornering clearance and by causing the front to run lower, it just got lessened.

I think you might just be getting used to a bike that possibly is sprung right for you. The stock 929/954 forks have such weak front springs that when braking and turning in, its already compressed so much that it just rolls right over. You're on a bike now that doesn't do this.

I'd back off compression some but since you have lowered the front now, I dunno... The rear is already jacked way up so you can't raise the rear anymore it sounds like...

Give it a try and see how it goes.
Willi: I think his spacers weren't cut correctly to start out with and my understanding is that the shock is already at it's shortest possible length.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 4:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by abtech
Willi: I think his spacers weren't cut correctly to start out with and my understanding is that the shock is already at it's shortest possible length.
Yes sir, I believe the rear shock is as short as it will adjust. Could still possibly be the wrong part, won't know unless I pull it apart and send it to Penske.

Judging by the measurements I got from Throatfudge and Scout, and that abtech had to trim his spacers after Traxxion did the forks, and that after setting sag, my bike pushed unpredictably... I came to the conclusion that my front was probably too high. So I trimmed it. I figured, if it's too low after trimming, I'll replace them, send the forks to Dan Kyle and start all over.

Willi, I agree with the fact that I am not used to the "proper" working suspension. But the push was something I literally couldn't live with (I was 2 feet into the oncoming lane without expecting it, and it did not want to correct until I let off the throttle).

Hopefully I won't run out of clearance and lowside, but I consider it a possibility. Obviously I'll let you all know if that happens.

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post #11 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 4:36 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

You stated at 200 lbs that you thought a 929 was fine with stock settings. Is this correct?
Did this other fellow race this bike?
What settings are you trying?
And why did you cut the spacer before just moving the shocks up in the triple clamp? This one I don't understand.
Unless those fork springs are 1.10 or higher, I can't believe you couldn't reduce preload enough to get it to work properly.
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post #12 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 4:46 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

I think I understand more now. Possible wrong shock, possible too-long spacers... I see now.

I don't think you'll have clearance issues unless you're doing advanced group times at a trackday... You should be fine.
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-03-2006, 4:49 PM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by clutchslip
You stated at 200 lbs that you thought a 929 was fine with stock settings. Is this correct?
Did this other fellow race this bike?
What settings are you trying?
And why did you cut the spacer before just moving the shocks up in the triple clamp? This one I don't understand.
Unless those fork springs are 1.10 or higher, I can't believe you couldn't reduce preload enough to get it to work properly.
Moving the forks up in the triple clamps isn't the same as properly setting the spring preload and that is what he is trying to do. Lowering the static ride height on a 929/954 is really going the wrong way, particulary in terms of straight line stability and ground clearance.

Spring tension and spring length are not the same animal. He could have .7 kgs in there and still have too long of a spacer so regardless of the spring tension would not be able to properly set the preload.

According to Penske (read PENSKE, not Traxxion), the 929 shock is longer than the 954 shock and cannot be set equal in length to the OEM unit. Some vendors have sold the 929 shock for the 954 and told the customer they were all the same. This is definitely not the case.
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-04-2006, 9:41 AM
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Quote:
According to Penske (read PENSKE, not Traxxion), the 929 shock is longer than the 954 shock and cannot be set equal in length to the OEM unit. Some vendors have sold the 929 shock for the 954 and told the customer they were all the same. This is definitely not the case.
[/QUOTE]
Bingo. The one on my 954 came off of a 929, and it is set as short as it goes, but still very long. I was told that they were the same, but I guess that isn't the case. Once I get my forks redone, I don't think that the extra shock length will be a problem. If it is I'll just start looking for a fat girlfriend.
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 954, Penske, Traxxion suspension setup Saga...(LONG)

Ok. As some of you are aware, the weather has been perfect for riding in NC this week. Calm wind, nice temps, and dst have made for some good after-work jaunts.

We rode about 4 hours yesterday and 3 hours tonight. I have to say that the bike handles MUCH, MUCH better now. Very easy to hold a line, very quick on turn in, still plenty of ground clearance. It soaks up Wake County road holes with ease. No push, even with "lots" of throttle. Life is good.

The Erion bolt-on is still way too damn loud... I'm gettin' old.

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