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Discussion Starter #1
Just seems to get worse and worse. Bike is an '02 'Blade. Looks liek the recall work has been done but maybe its just a bunch of scratches behind the fairing so it lookslike its been done, I don't know. This thing will turnn in easily enough but the slightest movement causes major upset. This can be from bumps in the road to my own input (throttle, brake, etc.). I am a very smooth rider, years of experience (like 30) adn I'm wondering if anyoen else has had this problem. I asked a buddy of mine to check it out. He races, too. Said the bike handles like a gorilla's ass. That means bad around these parts. Any ideas, experiences, thought, theories, prayers?

I read an articel that I think I found the link to here a few months back. It was written by Max McAllister. It was a total slam on the 954's front forks. DOes anyoen have that link or text?
 

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I would suggest resetting the suspension to the original settings and then slowly calibrating in what you need to get the bike handling the way you like it. Remember to make one change at a time and then test the settings! Also depending on your current weight the bike may/may not be set to handle youre weight, especially if you are over 170-180lbs. youll need to replace the front fork springs with a stouter set. If the bike has been involved in any accidents the frame may be off, this will screw your suspension settings no matter how much you try to adjust the suspension.

Hope that helps !
SS
 

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A member from Japan!!

Glad to have you here.
 

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Wow... all the way from Japan! Finally a member that'll be online when I'm up those late nights.

As for the settings, I bet it's suspension settings. Check on the sportrider.com website (sorry, no link today 'cause I'm lazy) for their suggested settings.

'Gorilla's ass' eh? I wonder how that term came into being...
 

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Welcome mate What tyres are you running on the sucker cause it could be that they are causing you trouble combined with bad suspension settings. I would check those two things out first if I was you. tyre pressure?......
 

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Here's a little spiel someone wrote on this board a while back, dunno if it helps.


I spoke with dan Kyle over the weekend and he had me do this (I'm 190lbs):
1. Crank the front pre-load all the way down to its tightest setting.
2. Set the back pre-load to 3-4 notches from softest (OEM setting is 4).
3. Set both front damping-settings to about 1.5 turns out from the softest setting.
4. Set the rear rebound damping to its softest setting.
5. Set the rear compression damping to its hardest (or softest...forgot) setting and then back 1 turn.
I obviously need to verify #5. I have it writen down at home at will update tomorrow.



Goatracer...  Are you a CPO in the Navy?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all. Well, I've set the doggone thing back to factory specs, um, maybe three times now. Tires the same. THey're the stock Michelins, tires that I fully trust from racetrack experience. I weigh 190-ish pounds. Not much gettin' around that - I'm a stocky-ass Italian boy from Tejas. I love Japanese beer, staying in the gym and eatin' that Japanese food. Not quite in that order, of course. Bottom line up front - I've owned a lot of these sporty bikes adn never *really* had to change the springs. WHat's different about this bike? One thing I have noticed, when resetting the preload, those sum-guns is harder than goat horns to turn. I mean, for real, I ain't never had that hard a time twistin' preolaoders. I'm wondering if the forks aren't just jacked-the-ass up inside... hmmm...
Devil Dog - where you at? I'm right outside of Hiroshima. You gotta know where that is, right? If you got a bike and you're in my grid square than you probably already know me... this place ain't that big.
Let's see... the story of what a Goat Racer is. Well, that woulda started in Texas. The endurance team I raced on was named after a goat and teh bike was named the Phat Goat and all things were goat-ish but we never *did* no goats so you can let that one go there... OK,'nuffa that stuff. ANyone else got something good to ponder? I'm really considering a read on that McAllister article. What he was saying is that the Showa forks had an incredible amount of stiction, I think he said up to 12mm. There was more to it than that. I've scoured the net since then but, alas, no luck.
I can't believe I just wrote ALL that... I'm hittin' the rack. Pre-dawn comes early round these parts.
 

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GoatRacer : ...I asked a buddy of mine to check it out.  He races, too.  Said the bike handles like a gorilla's ass.  That means bad around these parts...
 I got a really good laugh from this.  Regarding Dan Kyle's suggested settings for the stock suspension, they suck.  I tried it on my 929 and it made the bike waaaaaay too nervous and unpredictable.  The stock settings are mushy and the bike moves around, but it's at least rideable.
 

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Here is what I had mine set up at before I completely reworked my suspension. These settings were much better than stock and still the front end sucked!!! BTW they came from Dan Kyle FWIW

Rider SAG is the measurement from fully extended suspension to compressed suspension of bike and rider combined. IT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERY RIDER DEPENDING ON THEIR WEIGHT.

Rear Shock Pre-load is used for the SAG adjustment (stock shock) Rider SAG 26-28mm = 1.0-1.2 inches

Compression dampening 1 turn in from full out
Rebound dampening full out

NOTE: STOCK FORK SPRINGS SUCK !!! .70 progressive wound at 190lbs I believe you should use a .95 kg spring worth every cent if you cnat afford a revalve or Ohlins fork. Major improvement!

Rider SAG is the measurement from fully extended suspension to compressed suspension of bike and rider combined. IT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERY RIDER DEPENDING ON THEIR WEIGHT.

Fork Preload SAG 26-28mm = 1.0-1.2 inch (crank the preload adjusters all the way down ) you'll still have more SAG than you want but that all there is with those springs.

Front compression dampening 2 turn out from full in
Front  rebound dampening 1.5-1.6 out from full in


I have an Ohlins rear and a Dan Kyle revalve and respring on the bike now, and it rocks!

OH YEAH >>>> get a steering damper !!!!

Also FWIW Sportrider is a good magazine, but their preload settings describe how many lines are showing for the fork preload adjusters and what position on the rear preload adjuster they used . This is useless because they dont tell you how much the rider weighs and often not even which rider they set the bike up to. If your 190 and they used a 130 lb rider their setting are useless.

YMMV but I doubt it
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Strafer - sounds like some good advice. Liek I mentioned before, I have always been able to adapt to any ride and never needed to swtich springs but maybe Honda missed the mark with this bike. A lot of people say the biekhandles really well but soem of my friends that have been riding as long as I have and have had many bikes feel as I do. I don't think there's anyt getting around taking the front spring-sticks off and having a look-see. I hate fiddling with USD cartridge forks, too. Things were so simple on the 70's bikes... yeah, right.
 

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author: Max McAllister

Honda CBR954RR

Honda did something very strange with the RC-51 that has spilled over into this bike. The fork springs have no internal preload on them. Ordinarily, a fork spring will have about 15mm of internal preload, even when the preload adjuster is backed all of the way out. When we measured the sag with a 165-pound rider, we were shocked to find 60mm of sag! This bike sagged more under its own weight than it should have with a rider on it! I typically like to see around 20mm of free sag, and 35mm with the rider on the bike. I can’t comment on the spring rate in this bike, because we simply couldn’t even come close to setting the sag.

This Showa fork has a new style of preload adjuster on it as well. It turns internally, and you have to count turns, much like an Ohlins superbike fork. This is not good in my opinion. It gives you no visual reference for your spring preload adjustment.

There was a more serious problem with fork than the lack of preload on the springs. This fork had horrific stiction. You can measure the stiction in a chassis while measuring sag. Find a fully extended measurement on the fork or shock. Then lift the chassis and let it settle gently (stuck up). Record this measurement. Then push down on it and let it rise gently (stuck down). Record this measurement. The distance between these two measurements is stiction.

For Forks:
5mm is good.
10mm is a sign something is wrong.
15mm is a sign something is REALLY wrong.

For Shocks:
2mm is good
5mm is a sign something is wrong.
7mm is a sign something is REALLY wrong.

This set of forks had 15mm of stiction. Frequently, the lower fork legs will be in a slight 'V' from changing the tires and not aligned properly. I tried to correct this on the CBR and couldn’t make the stiction any better than 15mm.

I do theorize that since the springs were nearly 'dead' in the fork with no preload on them, that this may have contributed for a few millimeters of the stiction. But that doesn’t explain 15mm worth. This was the worst stiction I have ever measured in a production fork. Ordinarily, I recommend that a racer with this much stiction not use the forks until the problem can be found and repaired!

A spring without preload on it will also 'feel' dead. I pinned the preload adjuster and it didn’t really do much. I moved the rebound adjuster (top of the fork) to 2-½ turns out from full hard, and set the compression to 1 turn out.

The CBR954RR has the Honda 'HMAS' damping in it. This fork had no feel in it at all. It didn’t feel like it had springs, and it didn’t feel like it damped. It is the worst feeling fork I have ever pushed on. It is by far, the weakest link in any of the suspension systems of any of these bikes.

The shock spring seemed to be of a decent rate, just slightly soft, and we got decent sag on the #4 ramp position. It had way too much low-speed rebound damping, and we had the screw (bottom of the shock) set to 3-½ turns out. The compression adjuster didn’t really do anything, which is typical of Showa street shocks. We set it to ½-turn out.

This bike was wobbly when going fast. This is easy to explain. While the geometry numbers are very conservative for racing use, the problem lies again, in the fork spring preload. This bike has so much sag that when the bike is riding down the road, it is more than halfway through its travel. At this point, the bike has very little rake or trail. Without trail, you have no stability. So basically, this bike is going to take a beating in the magazines for not having about 10 cents worth of additional spacer on the fork spring! Unbelievable.

This condition will be severely aggravated under braking, as the fork will only be working in the last 15% of the travel, which is taken up by a stiff hydraulic bottoming mechanism. For sport riding, this is not a good situation, since there is no functional travel left to absorb bumps in the pavement.

To upgrade this fork, you will need to change the compression and rebound pistons (to remove the HMAS) and have appropriate springs installed for your weight. (With the right preload, of course&#33

The frame does have a ride height adjuster, which will be great for some street riders. It is not at all convenient for racing use. For track use, regardless of how the shock is built, the compression adjuster will just be useless, so I suggest you change to an aftermarket shock.

With the right fork springs installed, you could raise the back of the bike up to gain about 1.5 degrees of swingarm angle (to get to about 12.5 degrees), and leave the forks at the stock height. This would bring the rake and trail down tighter, and make the bike just about right for racing use.

Note: You definitely would not want to raise the back of the bike before fixing the fork springs!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
COEFF - that's the article I was looking for. Much thanks! What an eye opener, huh? Rest of you read that before? For those of you that don't know who Max is, he started with an endurance team of other nuts on an FZR600 soem years back. I think they're still playing with Suzuki now but he and the rest of the crew are very intelligent gear heads. Check out soem of the old Army of Darkness racing chronicles and see what I mean. NEat stuff
 

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GoatRacer : Let's see... the story of what a Goat Racer is.  Well, that woulda started in Texas.  The endurance team I raced on was named after a goat and teh bike was named the Phat Goat and all things were goat-ish but we never *did* no goats so you can let that one go there...  OK,'nuffa that stuff.  
Not to highjack GoatRacer, this is a realllly longshot but, have you ever heard of Lajitas, TX and a famous goat there (back in late '70's - early '80's) named Clay Henry?  He was elected Mayor of the town, along with Clay Henry II, and III.  Just curious...  

Here is Clay Henry - he could slam several beers in a row before stumbling over towards the wall  
.
 

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My 54 also handles like complete ass, no matter WHO does the adjustments or how much I change, record, and change again, the friggin bike is just a stupid pig...


Apexstrafer - Thanks for the info, I am going to try these settings and call DK on Monday to see how long it takes to get the stock forks reworked.
 

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Bacchus : Quote (GoatRacer @ Sep. 15 2003, 6:00am)Let's see... the story of what a Goat Racer is.  Well, that woulda started in Texas.  The endurance team I raced on was named after a goat and teh bike was named the Phat Goat and all things were goat-ish but we never *did* no goats so you can let that one go there...  OK,'nuffa that stuff.  
Not to highjack GoatRacer, this is a realllly longshot but, have you ever heard of Lajitas, TX and a famous goat there (back in late '70's - early '80's) named Clay Henry?  He was elected Mayor of the town, along with Clay Henry II, and III.  Just curious...  

Here is Clay Henry - he could slam several beers in a row before stumbling over towards the wall  
.

And I thought Clay Henry was the Fireman in the Subway commercials. They even had a song for him. 'Henry, Clay Henry.' Something like that.
 

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I weight 200lbs and found the std fork springs to be way too soft especially under brakes and also the front end felt very vague in corners, not giving much feed back as to what the front tire was doing! it also ran wide a lot. I fitted a pair of Eibach 0.90kg/mm springs up front set the sag to about 32mm and the rebound adjusters set to 1 turn harder/slower than stock as the extra spring tension makes the front rebound too quickly, had the std Honda valves revalved by Frank Pons (former head mechanic for the cagiva GP team), he said the std valves are quiet good for std valves and a viable alternative to Race tech gold valves once revalved, (the forks were also raised in the clamps by a few mm, ie lowering the front of the bike) also a 6mm (1/4') spacer was fitted to the top of the rear shock and the spring was wound up to pos 6 on the preload adjuster. Now not only does it hold a much tighter line and give a confidence inspiring feel to the front end, but suprisingly is more stable than before!
 
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