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VTR1000F front end help

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by peekay, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. Hi,
    Just joined up so apologies if there's a similar thread running.
    My trusty old 97 Firestorm is in dire need of a freshen up on the front end. I'm only 72Kgs after a big buffet and only use the bike for 300 - 400Km weekend rides. Definitely no knee-down action, just a bit of a fang in the twisty stuff. Main issue is choice of springs and oil weight.
    Anyone have experience to share in this area? I'd prefer to install myself as far as possible. Appreciate any feedback

  2. you are going to need to give us some indications of how it is behaving
  3. Most obvious problem is the extent of static sag, there's also a lot of stiction in the action of the forks. It's a '97 model with about 75k on the clock, I've had it for 8 years and about 60k. Haven't ridden many late model bikes to make comparison but enough to recognise the forks don't 'recover' after taking a moderate hit. Given normal wear and tear, I'm thinking the forks are due for a rebuild.
    The new springs should provide fuller travel with more compliant action on the initial part of the stroke, a good clean out and new bushes will hopefully make travel smoother. Being a lightweight, I'm thinking the valving may need modification as well. Not sure if playing with oil weights will make enough difference. Aiming for comfortable street bike with a slight sporting bias.
    Probably should have changed the oil and checked the level earlier but the slow deterioration has become more obvious lately.
    Any thoughts..
  4. My 99's front end was knackered when I sold it, you should ask over at ozfirestorm and you will probably get the answer you are after.
  5. Cheers
    So what did you trade up to.... I've thought about it but I love the noise it makes!
  6. I felt the same way about mine, no recovery from hits, wallowing in corners, but I am more one 95 kg

    so last week end I wound the compressions down a lot and reset the rebound. Before adjustmnt comp was more than 4 lines showing, I wound it down to just 2 lines showing, the. Set the rebound all the way in and hen 1 turn out.

    Went for a ride and it felt like a pogo from the rear shock.

    So i set the sag and ended up on number 5 for the rear spring setting (from softies to hardest) and 1 turn out on he rebound.

    I also added a 6 mm spacer where the rear shock mounts to the frame asks highly recommended for the bikes.

    To be honest it feels amazing and its like riding a new bike.
  7. VFR1200
  8. Reads like a good plan. From memory the VTR was pretty basic from standard, so taking the opportunity to tweak it to suite yourself should yield good rewards. Reads like the bushes are clapped out. They will need replacing and do the seals for good measure. do some research on spring rate and then talk to an expert.
  9. I've fitted a 5mm spacer and played around with preload and rebound, without a lot of real benefit. To use the correct technical term, I think the forks are 'cactus'
  10. Recently got the seals and oil done on my VTR by the local Honda dealership - it blew a seal on a ride and they were average before that anyway.

    Night and day difference, highly recommended. Think the pricetag was about $400.

    Cheers - boingk
  11. hE5BAC5C1.

    More seriously however, people often forget that the air inside the forks contribute to the spring affect also. More particularly to the rising rate nature of their action.

    So a blown seal means more than just a messy shaft. It means your rod action won't be right.

    Sorry couldn't help myself.
  12. Have a look at the Race Tech site,it has a spring calculator section thats helpful.
  13. Racetech are good for a lot of bikes, but if you get the really honest guy there that I did he will tell you not to bother with the VTR front end.

    They are notoriously undersprung and over damped from factory. So the first improvement came from just adjusting your front damping to more appropriate levels to avoid that problem where the front gets lower and lower but never comes back up. After that, start getting your front pre-load to where you want it. If you are a heavier guy like me @ 120+, you end up getting new springs.

    Between the springs and then new pre-load and rebound adjustments, mine was most of the way to where I wanted it, a little sporty, but fairly compliant for road use. What improved it 100 fold was going to a half step lighter weight oil. I think I went from 10 to 7.5, and was quite happy with the difference. This also solved the front end compression lock problem, you may or may not have experienced it yet.

    Because there is no adjustable compression on the front end, you only get wat you have. The problem is, if the compression happens to quickly, like hitting a pothole under brakes, or hitting some ruts in the road whilst braking, the forks compress fast enough that the compression valve snaps SHUT and the forks go rigid. Basically they go as stiff as an iron bar because the fluid can't move through a closed valve. Bounce on it, and it's fine, but jam it down quick enough and the valve closes off every time.
    When it happens, you will know, it's a loud slapping sound, and you feel like you've hit the bump stops, but you haven't, it was just that pesky valve. Now you can have them re-valved, but on a front end so poor, it's hardly worth it, because you still won't have compression adjustment.

    What most people then opt for is a set of 1998+ CBR forks, which are almost a direct swap from the 929 I think? You then get better brakes, preload compression and rebound adjustment, and just a better product over all, then if you want to spend money on suspension parts, they are for a product that is already better than the VTR stuff was anyway.

    Now, after all that, alternatively if you are a bit mad scientist and want to have a crack yourself, and learn some stuff along the way, there is Shaun Pallisters vtr page, located here


    The guy knows his business, and has done a lot of the trial and error so the rest of us didn't have to. You might find something useful there, I found plenty.

    Best of luck,
  14. wow, double entendre on a bike forum, what next!
    Sorry ibast, sarcasm is my first language...

    But seriously.. Boingk, do you know if there was any internal work like new bushes or just the oil and seals?
  15. Now that's what I was hoping for, informative feedback! more positive feedback about the standard forks would have been even better but there you go.....
    I had seen Shaun's site a long time ago, forgot how extensive it was. If I had a second bike the fork swap might be the way to go but my wife tells me I'm more of a pain without a ride every now and then so extensive time off the road may lead to an expensive and messy divorce.
    Thanks for all the comments, much appreciated
  16. You are welcome. If you aren't keen to replace the forks, I'd be looking at pallister's recommendation for how to get the best out of the factory setup with new springs and valves. The man knows his shit.

    Racetech were more than happy to do the work, the guy there just explained to me it wasn't going to be a "race" build if that's what I was expecting, because of the nature of the stockies. I'm also very fat. :D

  17. You did a guy?:shock:

    Note that he had to be 'really honest', so wouldn't get the opportunity to do many of them - not that many around.