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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I have decided that I made the right purchase with this 954 machine and I'm ready to put some money into it. I've already got New fairings and undertail, etc. But I'm looking for a performance mod. :rotfl:

I've got my eyes set on either a set of Lightweight Wheels or some suspension. But I don't really know how much of an effect these have on the bike. So basically I'm looking for someones advise on wheel / suspension choice and how much difference it makes. I don't get to many track days, so mostly I'm riding to work and back and screwing around on the overpasses and in the twisties when I go out with friends. I know I know...

So far I've been looking at the moderately priced wheel sets...
Galespeed 5 spoke
PVM Y5
Marchesini

All in aluminum to save me on the street. I've seen a Rear carbon wheel for sale before, but I didn't know how much I should trust a used Carbon Wheel. Can anyone vouch for how much these change the handling of the bike.

As far as suspension, I just know that Ohlins is a good brand. Beyond that, I've never done any suspension with only two wheels, I don't even know where to start. There aren't any roll-bars and the conditions that I change suspension on a car don't seem to apply here...


Thanks guys...
 

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Don't know anything about the other brands, but Marchesini makes excellent wheels. Send your forks to Dan Kyle to get reworked, add an Ohlins shock, and then set your sag properly. It will be money well spent.
 

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Aftermarket aluminium wheels aren't much of a performance improvement as they're not much lighter (if anything at all) than the OEM aluminium wheels.
Carbon are by far the best for performance and as far as I know there's no problem with running them on the road. I think they're even rated better for fatigue than aluminium? Apparently they're also easier to repair than aluminium or magnesium? I can only recall having seen one set of carbons so I have zero firsthand advise in that direction :)
One drawback with magnesium is it has to be coated/painted to prevent oxidisation which can lead to failure - although I've never heard of such a failure.
You could also chase up lighter later-model OEM wheels. I don't know if the '08 1000RR wheels are lighter than previous but the earlier 1000RR wheels are lighter than the 929/954 wheels.
As for suspension, there are _many_ options from the various replacement items to valving kits and springs for both ends.
 

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520 chain and lightweight sprockets with lower gearing are a great modification for road use as well.
 

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I don't want to come across as a prick but are you looking to improve ridability or just impress people with the look of aftermarket bling? I don't know you but this bike has more power than 99% of riders could ever use. It would take a skilled rider to feel, and more importantly use, the negligible power that changing to a 520 chain or swapping wheels may offer.

Get a good rear shock and revalve/spring the forks. Piper Performance in North Richland Hills does good work in this regard. Anyone should able to feel the benefits that this will offer.

If you think you need more power, an exhaust and a PC-III will give you a few more HP. Most guys install stainless brake lines but my stock setup offers more stopping power than I could ever use, even at track speeds.
 

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Lighter wheels will gain some marginal power but they're not a power improvement, they're a handling improvement.
I agree that getting yourself to a circuit and learning to use what the bike already offers even totally stock will amaze you with its capabilities.
 

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not all carbon wheels are road legal....actualy a few are.
i would never...ever trust carbon wheels with my life one the street.If you need to spend the cash...get magnesium.
 

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Have you seen or heard of a carbon wheel failing?
 

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yes i have seen.Completly destroyed (not from crash) on track.
You must also be VERY VERY carefull when replacing tyres...the machine can easily destroy the lips.
 

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First I've ever heard about.
How did it fail and what caused it if it wasn't due to crashing?
I change all tyres by hand anyway :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for the info so far guys. As for a few answers.

Red-Donkey:
I'm not looking to "Bling" my bike, if I get wheels I would like to enjoy the look of them but I would never buy a set just for looks.

I'm not looking for increased acceleration from the wheels either, I don't know how that one got started. Its all about handling, I just don't know how much of a difference they make. I'm not looking for, he said she said. I'm looking for first hand or close to it. When I said performance, I meant going faster with less effort. I don't know about you, but at 90-100mph this thing is physically demanding to turn, I was thinking that light wheels might signifigantly help, maybe in cornering.

And no... I said in my original post that I don't really think I need more power. I'm like you, I don't think I could use any more even if I had it. I just thought I'd put it out there in case someone had an argument for me needing it for whatever reason I wasn't thinking of.

BladeRacer:
I've got the lower gearing already, but it was a nice suggestion, I like it a lot. Who needs to go 180 anyway?


It sounds like everyone here thinks that suspension should come first... So I guess my wheel idea is out... What do I look for in a good motorcycle suspension? How do you know how stiff or soft to make it, keeping in mind that the roads aren't awesome around here and I want to be able to keep riding it spirited-ly every day.

List of mods already done just for reference...
Goodridge Brake lines
Galfer front Brake pads
Exhaust valve disabled
Intake flapper removed
-1T Front +2T Aluminum rear

As far as wheels go, I found info and compiled this little table like some motorcycle magazine did before. I was simply looking at the MOI's and figuring that it would require That ratio less effort to turn the bike with whatever wheel you choose, thats what the math says. I don't know how much it matters in real life practice, maybe it doesn't help you that much.

F/R Static Weight - F/R Inertia
Blackstone Tek (BST) 5.5 10.38 217 304
Marchesini Forged Magnesium 6.54 11.12 276 373
Marvic Penta Cast Magnesium 7.46 12.16 327 437
New Marchesini Alum 7.6 10 311.6 359
Marchesini Forged Aluminum 8.82 13.8 362 496
PVM Forged Mag Y10 5.05 7.98 217 291
PVM Forged Aluminum Y5 7.96 13.44 346 489
Performance Machine Forged Aluminum 9.14 13.16 380 498
Dymag Custom Carbon 7.3 12.38 301 406
Suzuki Stock Cast Aluminum 10.28 16.8 480 880

Thanks for all the input so far, going awesome!
 

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I don't know about you, but at 90-100mph this thing is physically demanding to turn,
This doesn't sound right.
What bikes are you used to riding?
The Blades don't turn like a GSXR but they're not that bad.
Are you running a steering damper?
How many miles on your tyres, what are they, what pressures?
What do you weigh?
Front and rear static and race sags?
What are your suspension settings - preload, compression and rebound damping - currently?
Have you got a cable tie on a fork leg to determine how much travel you're using?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've only ridden dirt bikes (Not much) and my YZ 750 before. I'm not so much complaining as I am just saying that it does take quite a bit of time for my bike to rollover (Like in a hard left to hard right kind of turn.) unless I put in some serious effort on the bars. Mostly I just lean a lot and it will eventually get there but if I want to go faster I need to yank on it.

All the settings on the bike are back to stock "2 out" settings. Except the rebound on the rear shock which seems to be frozen or something.

No steering damper.
I weigh ~ 175
Tyre pressures are 36, 38 F/R Weather here is going nuts so they might be changing day by day. I've got a battleax rear with a new dunlop roadsmart front. Recommended to me by cycle gear. Rear is kind worn out, almost to tread bars.

Sorry but I don't know where to measure sags from. I'm assuming the front forks and the rear swingarm boss?

No cable tie, but what should I be shooting for travelwise F/R?

Thanks again!
 

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the 954 has very quick steering for a big bike, almost like a 600. I think its just that you're used to how a dirt bike turns. I've found on the track that its more about letting the bike do the change in directions rather than trying to force it. Trying to use more muscle usually doesn't help it as much as being fluid and using good technique to let the bike fall into the corner.
 

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I understand you weren't complaining but it still isn't a comment I'd expect ;-)
If you have an adjuster that won't move it may be worth getting it checked out one day. Not immediately thuogh if you're happy with the handling currently. I'm not familiar with the Roadsmart tyres but I'd be inclinded to think any handling problems could be due to the new front and worn out rear so it may improve once you replace the rear. Is the rear a 190/50 or 55?
Sag is a simple measurement along the fork tube, the rear you need to find a recognisable point on the tail somewhere directly above the axle that you can measure to.
As for travel, the ideal is to be using all the travel you have when you are working the suspension the hardest. You don't want it bottoming out too easily but you also don't want to be limiting yourself to less than the full amount of travel.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Do you have any suggestions as to what I might be doing right or wrong?

I tend to have my weight shifted pretty far forward in the middle of a corner. No longer sitting on the seat really (No pressure anyway) I completely support myself with the inside foot and my arms with very slight load on the outside foot to keep balanced easier.

I end up with my helmet to the side or on behind the support edge of the windscreen. I find that I can move around forward and back a bit when I'm "basically squatting" and I don't really know where I'm supposed to be but Ive just ended up using a pretty far forward stance. I'm 6'1" so when I say forward stance, I mean about an inch from the windscreen to my helmet. Sometimes I accidentally tap it in braking.

Any ideas, or do you think I'm just trying to hard? I'll agree that it doesn't feel right when I yank on the bars. I guess it might not actually be slow compared to other bikes, I'm just used to car racing where the response seems so different.
 

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I really couldn't say.
I'm also 6'1" but there is no magical "correct" way to ride that works for everybody :)
Are you perhaps dragging the brakes too deep into the turns?
Is there any brake drag on the front discs as that would very significantly slow the steering down.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I highly doubt that, I know that I'm no expert and don't try trail braking very much at all. Only if I have to because someone hops in front of me in a corner. And then with both brakes. I figure I needed a stickier tyre for that. It sure doesn't seem like there's any static drag on the front wheel, at least not any more than on my car.

It does seem like the bike will turn better with a little rear brake, like when the front end drops. I obviously didn't do this on purpose the first time, but I found it out anyway. I was thinking of lowering the front end through the trees becuase I didn't want to preload the rear so much as to stop it from moving all together. When I bought it used it was on one of the highest settings 2 notches from the most preload? Obviously I don't know what was done before but the shock and spring look stock.

Thanks so much
 

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I bought a 954 shock off a member a couple of months ago and was surprised to find it set to full preload - I didn't ask what he weighed though.
I'd wait to see if it improves with a new rear tyre rather than start adjusting things to work with a worn out tyre.
 
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