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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. Just want to thank you all for this forum, it's one of the few where I receive the newsletter and browse topics every fortnight.

I have a 2017 XSR900 - this model notoriously had the extra long shock from the FJR and was VERY stiff. The forks were a bit more middle of the road. The seat is also very thin and very hard.

About a year ago, after much apprehension, I decided to pull the trigger on an expensive rear shock - the Matris M46KD. This is their base model, but is well specified and has a large piston. I went to a reputable shop, told them that I do mostly commuting and touring with 20% spirited riding. When the shock was installed and the suspension tuned, it was still very, very stiff - I though "OK, it's brand new and will take some time to wear in". However, it didn't wear in and made me very miserable on a large 4 day road trip.

I took it back to the shop and they 'softened' it up, but it wasn't much better - they said it was tuned to be as soft as possible without terrible wallowing. They didn't revalve it or anything. For a fee, the head engineer put rubber bumps between my seat and the frame, which honestly did more for a comfortable ride than the shock.

In summary, I was really expecting a lot more for my large $$$ outlay. Was my expectation for my financial outlay off? Did the shop sell me an unsuitable product? Do I need to shell out for a shock with high speed compression damping to do anything with hard edges on this chassis? I'm not expecting BMW GS performance but I want to enjoy riding on non-perfect roads. I don't need super sharp track handling. Thanks!
 

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I'd bet the spring is too stiff, happens all too often. Don't know of the shock brand, but just about anything is better than stock.
 

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I would suggest googling suspension adjustment and learn how to set sag. You may need another person help you. Once you do that, you can fine tune compression and rebound damping (if your shock has those adjustments) to get the ride you want.

If in fact it is not even possible to get down into the proper sag range, then as mentioned by the person above, your spring may be too stiff. In that case the shop should rectify it with a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks gents - the shop professionally set up my sag with me. From what I understand, the spring is more or less in the correct weight range (105N/mm spring)

I'm just concerned that the damping is just totally inappropriate and would require an expensive revalve (and I'm unimpressed with the shop for selling me a track shock when I clearly didn't want that). For $1000 AUD I expected a certain outcome (or at least be recommended another product)

Alternatively, I'm not sure if I'm expecting too much for a base level shock and I really need to pony up another grand for high speed compression dampening. However, I only saw rave reviews from those that upgraded the shocks.

FYI I'm 85kgs/190lbs so not far from average motorcyclist weight... if anything, my extra weight would help with stiffer suspension

Edit: Updated spring rate
 

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If you are anywhere in or near SE Queensland I would very highly recommend the services and expertise at RIDE DYNAMICS at Yatala, about 35k south of the Brisbane CBD. Joe there did a superb job of completely upgrading my late GT with K-TECH components front and back, which transformed the bike, giving a magic carpet ride. He was not satisfied until his work gave me the ride I was looking for, and I found him both very informative and entirely trustworthy. I later entrusted him with my then new--to-me MT-09 SP to dial-in the highly adjustable front and rear (OHLINS) suspension, which he did for a miserly fee and which again gave me a vastly improved ride over stock. PM me for any other info....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you are anywhere in or near SE Queensland I would very highly recommend the services and expertise at RIDE DYNAMICS at Yatala, about 35k south of the Brisbane CBD. Joe there did a superb job of completely upgrading my late GT with K-TECH components front and back, which transformed the bike, giving a magic carpet ride. He was not satisfied until his work gave me the ride I was looking for, and I found him both very informative and entirely trustworthy. I later entrusted him with my then new--to-me MT-09 SP to dial-in the highly adjustable front and rear (OHLINS) suspension, which he did for a miserly fee and which again gave me a vastly improved ride over stock. PM me for any other info....
I'm in Western Sydney, unfortunately!
Out of curiosity, what sort of set-up did you go with the K-tech gear to give it that magic carpet feel?

Cartridges - $800
Seat - $400
Screen - $160
ECU Flash - $300
Shock Upgrade - $500

Seems I can spend another $2k to potentially make it a decent back road bumpy tourer... not sure if it's worth sinking the costs.

PS i absolutely adore the bike and want to make this work!
 

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I'm in Western Sydney, unfortunately!
Out of curiosity, what sort of set-up did you go with the K-tech gear to give it that magic carpet feel?

Cartridges - $800
Seat - $400
Screen - $160
ECU Flash - $300
Shock Upgrade - $500

Seems I can spend another $2k to potentially make it a decent back road bumpy tourer... not sure if it's worth sinking the costs.

PS i absolutely adore the bike and want to make this work!
Where abouts? Who did the shock? Pm me if you would like- I'm in the hills district

Your shouldnt need a new shock, this one just needs to be set right
 

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I'd bet the spring is too stiff, happens all too often. Don't know of the shock brand, but just about anything is better than stock.
I'd bet this is probably the culprit. Adding or decreasing preload can not fix an incorrectly sprung bike even though lots of people will argue that you can. You should be able to change springs on a 'premium" shock and in fact it's really easy to do and not that expensive. I'm not familiar with this brand but it looks like it should be good. The website says different springs are available. A 9.5 spring is generally for someone north of 230 lbs. I'd start there before I abandoned the shock for a different brand. The good news is that all the CP3 bikes work great with a good shock and are pretty easy to set up.
M46KD - Matris Dampers

I just found a US distributor for this brand and even though I haven't seen it before, it looks pretty good. I'm inclined to think you can get it to work well.
 

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...Your shouldnt need a new shock, this one just needs to be set right
I agree with this and wouldn't spend another cent until I played around with the settings, even if just one softer click of compression at a time to see if things improve at all.

The shop may have said softer = wallowing, but your experience may tell you softer = compliant. Just make sure to keep good notes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So the spring ordered is 105 N/mm. My weight is 85kg/190lbs. Do you think that is appropriate?
It is currently on 8 clicks out of 42, on the softer side, on the rebound/compression adjustment.
Out of the box it instructs to set to click to 20 (just about in the middle?)

I am concerned that I'm having issues on hard edges (even very small ones) which I would imagine is the lack of damping in the valving, and not the spring being too hard. On 'dips' in the road, I can feel the spring travel down and gently rebound (as a good shock should)
 

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I'm working hard at learning suspension and am not qualified to make recommendations. I'm 250 pounds and a 100 spring (K-Tech Shock) was to stiff for street riding for me. I replaced the spring with a 95 and it's been amazing. It would seem that at 60 pounds lighter than me and 2 sizes heavier spring that you might have your answer. This is my guess, it's way way to stiff. You need to have the people that sold it to you verify what you have and explain why it's right for that brand and you. It's possible they don't know what they're doing. Then maybe find some other professional suspension people to recommend the correct spring. Again, this is my guess and you need to find someone that is qualified. People on a forum can get you pointed in the right direction but you need a professional suspension guy. Make sure you tell them whether it's for street or track. If it is a spring then my experience is that it's harder to get the shock off of a MT 09 than it is to take the shock apart and swap out the spring. The only guy on this forum that I completely trust when he gives advice is Vcyclenut and he is a professional tuner. Take it all with a grain of salt and tell us how you solve it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm working hard at learning suspension and am not qualified to make recommendations. I'm 250 pounds and a 100 spring (K-Tech Shock) was to stiff for street riding for me. I replaced the spring with a 95 and it's been amazing. It would seem that at 60 pounds lighter than me and 2 sizes heavier spring that you might have your answer. This is my guess, it's way way to stiff. You need to have the people that sold it to you verify what you have and explain why it's right for that brand and you. It's possible they don't know what they're doing. Then maybe find some other professional suspension people to recommend the correct spring. Again, this is my guess and you need to find someone that is qualified. People on a forum can get you pointed in the right direction but you need a professional suspension guy. If, it is a spring then my experience is that it's harder to get the shock off of a MT 09 than it is to take the shock apart and swap out the spring. The only guy on this forum that I completely trust when he gives advice is Vcyclenut and he is a professional tuner. Take it all with a grain of salt and tell us how you solve it.
Hi Chester,
I appreciate your input (as well as all others).

Speak to a professional is always great advice, but in this case, I have gone to a professional, paid full RRP, and have ended up with the wrong spring. I even gave them a second bite at the cherry and there was no suggestion of replacing the spring. Very disappointing. This is where I get great value from forums, and to a lesser extend, facebook groups.

I'm also very new to suspension, I wish that I could have figured this all out much earlier - It's been a year and a half of me not enjoying my bike as much as I should have!
 

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Hi Chester,
I appreciate your input (as well as all others).

Speak to a professional is always great advice, but in this case, I have gone to a professional, paid full RRP, and have ended up with the wrong spring. I even gave them a second bite at the cherry and there was no suggestion of replacing the spring. Very disappointing. This is where I get great value from forums, and to a lesser extend, facebook groups.

I'm also very new to suspension, I wish that I could have figured this all out much earlier - It's been a year and a half of me not enjoying my bike as much as I should have!
Don't feel too bad. It's cost me a fortune to learn my lessons the hard way. I just installed Ohlins fork cartridges tonight and had to spend an additional $300 on a fork cap that I stripped out. I was quite disgusted with myself. Live and learn.
Are you sure they are professionals? My local guys rents out race bikes and runs track days. He gave me better advice then K-Tech and I think the US K-Tech guys are excellent. Persevere.... I can tell you this with 100% certainty, you have a great bike.
 

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Speak to a professional is always great advice, but in this case, I have gone to a professional, paid full RRP, and have ended up with the wrong spring. I even gave them a second bite at the cherry and there was no suggestion of replacing the spring. Very disappointing.
I have had custom suspension on every bike I have owned for the past 30 years, I have never had a suspension shop not listen to my inputs or set it up to their specs vs what I am asking for.
If its too stiff FOR YOU (regardless what their chart says), then its their job to work with you to find a solution that works.
 

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Did some poking around and what I'm finding is that for your weight, you should likely be running no more than a 100N/mm spring. The 105 will be quite harsh for your weight.

Not to bash on any particular shop and not saying this is the case but sometimes 'professional' only means they're in business.
 

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I'm in Western Sydney, unfortunately!
Out of curiosity, what sort of set-up did you go with the K-tech gear to give it that magic carpet feel?

Cartridges - $800
Seat - $400
Screen - $160
ECU Flash - $300
Shock Upgrade - $500

Seems I can spend another $2k to potentially make it a decent back road bumpy tourer... not sure if it's worth sinking the costs.

PS i absolutely adore the bike and want to make this work!

I'm totally with the others here who say you should have got what you wanted (and presumably paid for) from your original suspension bloke.
FYI, the work on my 2019 Tracer 900 GT done by ride Dynamics was as follows:

Supply and install K-Tech fork piston kit
Supply and install K-Tech fork springs to suit application


Piston kit - $372
Spring 8.5N - $195
Silkolene - $23
Labour - $187 less 15%

RCU Razor R rear Shock - $908 later upgraded to Razor R unit + $392
Labour - $88 less 15%

Set-up to suit rider (@85kg fully geared-up) - $45 less $100%.

All-up cost - $2153. After my first decent ride out with the new K Tech components I felt (no expert I) that there was still a little unwanted harshness in the front, so Joe replaced the spring with a slightly lighter one (now 8.5N) at no cost, his only remark being that he wants his customers to have what they pay for.. Perfection!

Immediately thereafter I rode the GT from Brisbane to Cooktown (in FNQ) and back, a circuit of about 4000km, over widely-varying road surfaces and conditions, and at no point did I feel anything but comfort, and the 'bucking-bronco' feel on indifferent surfaces was completely eradicated.

I do not want to sound as if I have shares in Ride Dynamics (I wish!) but Joe, the owner, kindly allowed me to stand and watch and photograph the entire process, and I was deeply impressed at his approach. 0433 571 482. Website - www.ridedynamics.com.au. My appraisal from August 2019 on this website is reproduced below:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SERVICE ABOVE AND BEYOND

In an earlier post on this subject (in the global Yamaha Tracer Forum) I stated that I didn't want to try to convince others here that my GT's K-Tech suspension upgrade gave a magic carpet ride. It was indeed a decided improvement over OE, but after my 1000+km circuit of a few weekends ago, over very widely-varying road surface conditions, I did feel - inexperienced in these matters as I am - that there may have been more to gain.

So today, back to Joe Salter at Ride Dynamics. I had gathered my thoughts, which in summary were that the rear shock seemed still to allow a little more harshness through than I'd have expected, and the front felt as if it was 'pitter-pattering' or 'chattering' over some very slight but closely-spaced corrugations - all very subtle, but still there.

Joe explained his intentions, and set-to. Working methodically as usual and without taking any breaks for a ciggie, a cuppa, or lengthy 'phone calls, off came the front fork legs for him to replace the 9.0 springs with slightly less-stiff 8.5 springs, which I mistakenly thought he'd installed first time out. This also entailed shortening the plastic sleeves inside the fork leg to accommodate the now-longer springs. This took about an hour of steady work.

Joe then turned his attention to the rear shock. Accessibility is not a strong point of the GT's rear suspension, but having the proper tools helps, and it was not long before two turns were taken out of the preload (increasing sag, for you sag-obsessives, by about 4-5mm): 7 clicks taken off the compression: and two clicks off the rebound.

All-up, about and hour-and-a-half's work - and in my ignorance I'd though that few turns of a couple of screws would have fixed it! How wrong can you be!

But wait, there's more! After taking the bike for a short ride to check everything out, Joe returned, saying that he was going to change the springs in the front fork again: it seems that he detected some noise and surmised that the new springs may have been rubbing against the inside of each fork leg. If so, and if he'd left it at that it's more than likely I'd never have noticed it - or if I did wouldn't have had a clue as to what it was. Top marks, Joe.

Off came the fork legs again, no need to shorten the plastic sleeves, and a fresh pair of springs was quickly fitted. On measuring the new/ discarded springs it was found that they were over-size in diameter by a mere 0.75mm, a tiny amount but enough to cause some concern to Joe. Another test-ride, and he came back and gave a 'thumbs-up' signal on returning.

The entire job had taken about two hours of steady work, and of course I thanked Joe profusely, for he had also tightened the drive-chain that had developed far too much slack since new. "That's alright", he said, "you've paid for the job and I just want you to be happy". And indeed I am.

The ride home was Nirvana, and I cannot think that the suspension could be any better, suiting me to a tee. The front fork is fully settled with no signs of 'chattering', while the rear is now well-planted with no unwanted residual harshness. There's a total absence of 'pogo-sticking' or wallowing, and minor undulations in the road-surface are completely ironed-out. Time to go for another 1000km test-ride I think!

The new BAGSTER seat, now being made for me, will complete my comfort on this most excellent bike, and happiness will reign supreme.

Finally, I cannot recommend too highly the work and skills of Joe Salter at Ride Dynamics. I have no shares in his business, but I wish I did!
.
 

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I know where @Lolrick went, and there is a love them/hate them relationship with the shop. They are one of the most well known names in Sydney, and some people love them. I've never used them because when I have been looking for suspension work, we just didn't click during the phone call so I went elsewhere.

@Wordsmith, I think Joe used to be on a streetfighters forum back in the day with a wicked little SV 650 with K4 gsxr 1000 forks- nice to see that he's gone on to bigger and better things.

 

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My $0.02 worth.
For your weight, you should be using a 550lb/96n/mm/9.8kg/mm spring or closest to it.
105 is too stiff. Until you get a 'softer' spring fitted, you're wasting your time trying to get around the issue.
Fyi my shock uses a 95n/mm and I'm 10lb heavier than you, but mine has a separate compression circuit to keep things in check.
Go back to the shop, and ask them to fit the correct spring. If they are a decent shop, they should sort you out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi all, you've all been very helpful and supportive. I honestly didn't even consider that the spring was incorrect, but that is very likely our culprit.

In Sydney, we're currently getting flooded all over the place (including near my house and near the workshop) so I'll give it a week or two, after which I'll ring up the shop and see if they will switch the spring without issue. I'm very sad that I spent another year and a half on a bike I didn't really enjoy riding 80% of the time, but I've now learnt a lot about bike suspension!
 
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