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Old October 2nd, 2019, 05:19 PM   #1
nocturncal
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Setting up Suspension for City Riding

I mostly ride my motorcycle on the streets of San Francisco, which aren't known for their smooth roads.

I'm about to service the front forks, and was wondering where to start in terms of making my ride a little less harsh?

I see a lot of threads about turning suspension for better riding at the track/brisk riding, but what I'm looking for is suspension setup that doesn't destroy my body after riding for 12+ hours, all of which are on city streets.

Right now my front forks and rear suspension are all stock, rear shock is set at 2. I'm 175 lbs

Last futzed with by nocturncal; October 2nd, 2019 at 08:10 PM.
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Old October 4th, 2019, 06:13 AM   #2
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Motorcycle courier?

Unfortunately I have very limited experience for the newer gen 250s. Off the top of my head, I can think of maybe 3 things that can help, but would require some homework/research.

For the forks, you could probably upgrade the springs, and look for a cartridge valve emulator. ( recently watched a video on an all white ninja 250, that had adjustable forks, but I don't know if that was a complete fork swap, from another bike, or an aftermarket valve emulator/cartridge for the 250. But he's a forum member here.)

As for the rear, if they make them, a Fox, or Progressive type shock. Most likely expensive) or again, a more compliant shock from another bike.?

Sorry it's not much help, but hopefully gives you a decent direction to point at.
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Old October 4th, 2019, 06:26 AM   #3
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I'd start with checking a recommended spring rate for your weight compared to the stock rate. Chances are the stock springs are too light for you.

The proper springs and oil will make the front more compliant and responsive.
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Old October 4th, 2019, 06:53 AM   #4
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The proper springs and oil will make the front more compliant and responsive.
I just found this, and talks about it some.


https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/k...tbike-surgery/
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Old October 4th, 2019, 08:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by GAU-8 View Post
I just found this, and talks about it some.


https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/k...tbike-surgery/
From that article -

"The shock on the second-generation Ninja 250 (2008 and later) is stiffer than on earlier models, but the fork still runs the same super-soft springs, and the resultant chassis imbalance can be problematic when charging through turns. We slid in Race Tech 0.80-kg/mm fork springs selected to suit our test riderís 175-lb. weight, and replaced the fork oil with RTís 15-weight Ultra Slick Fork Fluid to increase damping. The result is much better front-end feel and a big reduction in brake-induced fork dive."

Good place to start.
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Old October 4th, 2019, 11:47 AM   #6
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Use zip-tie on fork-tube to see if you’re bottoming forks. Sudden impact at end of travel can certainly be harsh. If that's case, you'll want to get stiffer springs to prevent bottoming forks. And matching stiffer oil.

I ride my CBR600RR with track suspension all the time in SF and it handles terrain well. Although I prefer my newgen or newgen 250 better due to lighter weight and more maneuverability. Newgen with stiffer frame and suspension definitely sends through more bumps. On all three bikes, I do have to swerve and zigzag lots to avoid potholes and construction debris. I try to go around anything that’s not perfectly smooth; sometimes I use sidewalk.

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Old October 11th, 2019, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the article, I will check it out, sounds promising.

This may be a dumb question, but is there any difference between setting up your suspension for city riding vs track/spirited riding with regards to the 250?
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Old October 11th, 2019, 02:39 PM   #8
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Yes, big difference.

To deal with city streets with speed-bumps and pot-holes, you'll want to use softer springs and dampers. On track, you'll want stiffer springs and dampers because cornering-forces will fully compress suspension. Hitting bump mid-corner with compressed suspension will cause crash for sure.

In both cases, you want suspension set up so that you'll use up all suspension-travel for range of bumps you'll encounter during use. That's why zip-tie is important to gather data on whether you're already using up all suspension travel. If not, we can install softer springs and lighter fork-oil to absorb bumps & potholes better.

How much do you weigh?
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Old October 11th, 2019, 10:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Yes, big difference.

To deal with city streets with speed-bumps and pot-holes, you'll want to use softer springs and dampers. On track, you'll want stiffer springs and dampers because cornering-forces will fully compress suspension. Hitting bump mid-corner with compressed suspension will cause crash for sure.

In both cases, you want suspension set up so that you'll use up all suspension-travel for range of bumps you'll encounter during use. That's why zip-tie is important to gather data on whether you're already using up all suspension travel. If not, we can install softer springs and lighter fork-oil to absorb bumps & potholes better.

How much do you weigh?
I'm 175 lbs

Once I get the bike's rear set back up I'll measure the travel with zip tie
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Old October 19th, 2019, 05:27 PM   #10
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Kk using zip ties, and 2 weeks of riding all city my right fork still has about 23mm of travel left, the left has 21mm. The left had a slow leaky fork seal in the past that I've fixed using a homemade sealmate.

I'm 175lbs

Last futzed with by nocturncal; October 21st, 2019 at 09:17 AM.
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Old November 21st, 2019, 09:57 PM   #11
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Update,

I ended up fully servicing the front end. Swapped the ball bearings for tapered roller bearings, new bushings, replaced fork oil with Motul 10W at the stock 140mm length from top of fork, and replaced fork seals with new all balls. I kept the stock springs and measured them, they were within service limits. Holy moly the bike feels so much more plush riding in the city. Steering feels significantly improved. My front end wobble at higher speeds is completely gone.

After the service I used zip ties to measure fork travel and I've got about a 10mm of travel left. The grease at the top of the steering column was completely shot, the grease underneath didn't look too bad
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Old November 22nd, 2019, 10:05 AM   #12
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Hey good job!

Reminds me I need to do that on my pre-gen. Ride in was little rough today, SOMA has lots of nasty rough road.
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Old November 25th, 2019, 10:01 PM   #13
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I am going with .90 Racetech springs with pre load adjusters and heavier weight fork oil in my 250. I did the exact same thing with my N400 in Feb of this year. I just added a GSXR rear shock 600/750 2011-2011. I ran the whole track season 20+ days and 2 races with that set up. I wish I had done the shock earlier but will be ready for next season. I plan on doing some track days on the 250 as well. I weigh 175lbs as well.
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Old November 26th, 2019, 05:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Hey good job!

Reminds me I need to do that on my pre-gen. Ride in was little rough today, SOMA has lots of nasty rough road.
All was well with my suspension...and then SF roads happened. I hit what looked like a 8 inch deep pothole today and now my steering is all messed up. Lifting the front tire in the air, when my wheel is centered it always wants to fall to the left. And the forks feel weird...I can't put my finger on it. It's like the amount of fork dive increased 10 fold.

The the bike will randomly drift to different sides when riding and feel like the bike wants to turn whichever way it wants to
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Old November 26th, 2019, 07:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nocturncal View Post
All was well with my suspension...and then SF roads happened. I hit what looked like a 8 inch deep pothole today and now my steering is all messed up. Lifting the front tire in the air, when my wheel is centered it always wants to fall to the left. And the forks feel weird...I can't put my finger on it. It's like the amount of fork dive increased 10 fold.

The the bike will randomly drift to different sides when riding and feel like the bike wants to turn whichever way it wants to
Bummer.

Check that the bearings are not loose. The tapered steering head bearing races are not easy to get fully seated. Last ones we did need adjustment a couple times before they settled down, and we were pretty sure we seated them fully.

Check that the wheel isn't bent, and look at the springs to see if one is damaged. Seems odd that it would happen, but may be a possibility.

You may need to loosen the fork tube clamp bolts, move things around to release any stress, and re-center the wheel.
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Old November 30th, 2019, 02:08 AM   #16
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Bummer.

Check that the bearings are not loose. The tapered steering head bearing races are not easy to get fully seated. Last ones we did need adjustment a couple times before they settled down, and we were pretty sure we seated them fully.

Check that the wheel isn't bent, and look at the springs to see if one is damaged. Seems odd that it would happen, but may be a possibility.

You may need to loosen the fork tube clamp bolts, move things around to release any stress, and re-center the wheel.
Looking underneath, a gap appeared where the steering stem fits into the headpipes bottom hole. I had significant back to front play. It's like the whole steering stem dropped a centimeter out of the headpipe when I hit the pothole.

Anyhow, I pulled the tapered bearings and races, reseated the bearing and triple checked they were seated properly (that lower bearing race is a huge PITA btw). Put it back together and I'm back in business
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