Suspension evolution really in progress?

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12/15/2011 5:14 AM

Can someone explain to me the evolution in suspension tech the last decade? People rave about diff version, exemplified as in the superiority of the KYB SSS, amazing FC revalving. Still I get the impression that every time someone jumps on a mid nineties well maintained bike, they come out saying, the suspension wasn't that bad. I have rode some, owned a 91 CR and I can't really say I would loose a race because of bad suspension?

I remember reading the CR500 vs CRF450 test MXA did some years ago and they felt the 2001 CR500 suspension was pretty decent after all?

I figure there's a difference when you are a A rider, riding SX but how much can you do? Has the configuration really changed? Still oils going threw small holes, springs compress and bushing with basically same materials sliding on similar steel and alumnium surfaces no?

Right springs for your weight, and the right oil amount and viscosity and just go?

Obviously I'm clueless, but I would appreciate if someone could explain it, like how come the 2002 Showa of a CR250 is so much worse than the Showa version on the later CRFs. What did they really do to make it SOOOOO much better?

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12/15/2011 5:50 AM

I couldn't begin to answer your question but I do think the stock stuff now is pretty comparable to some modified stuff of the late 90's early 2000's. With that being said. My favorite suspension of any bike I have ever had was a 1997 KX 250 with ProAction mods for a 155lb. Pro. I swear I could jump a house with that stuff and not bounce. I passed tons of guys on that bike by just over jumping shit. The suspension on that bike also done everything else well, inside corners, rail outside corners, changed lines, breaking bumps. I have yet to have another bike I could do that with. 1997

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12/15/2011 6:00 AM

I wonder that all the time. I'm like, "How much more improvement can be done to something that just goes up and down? How much more can you improve the wheel? " If suspesion im proves SOOOOOmuch every year, then the new bikes coming off the showroom floor should have suspesion as good as the full works stuff 10 years ago.

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How do you make a cat go . ."WHOOOF" ? . . .Dowse it in gasoline and throw it in the fireplace.

12/15/2011 6:10 AM

Suspension has evolved gradually but really hasn't made leaps. Fine tuning year after year. I think the manufacturers took a huge step backwards when they introduced the upside-down fork. That was a marketing ploy for rigidity. Then they spent years trying to put flex back into the chassis design. The best suspension I ever rode was on a '87 CR250. A close second was Trampas Parker's '91 GP bike. That was an incredible mxer. I got to ride that when I worked for Eyvind Boyesen.

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12/15/2011 7:26 AM

Evolution in the last decade? Nothing. Seriously, besides reaching in a jar and pulling out this years valving specs, what has "really" changed (technology wise) since 94ish when Suzuki introduced twin chamber forks? As for the shock, have they really changed anything besides adding low/high speed compression adjusters? Until the manufacturers figure out how to get more than 12" of travel out of a bike, we're there, and we've been there for a very long time. In my opinion, and I'm nobody, ever since USD forks and aluminum frames were introduced manufacturers have been playing catch up. They were already playing catchup from USD forks then they got to start over with the introduction of aluminum frames. Suzuki got it right in 96-98 when they offered the 49mm twin chamber conventional fork.

One of my favorite quotes from Bob Hannah.

Reporter - Bob, did you ever get arm pump?
Bob - Not until they came out with USD forks.

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1998 Honda Z50
1994 Honda CR125
1996 Honda CR250
2000 Honda CR500

12/15/2011 7:45 AM

USD forks are good for SX right?

Showas Airfork will be cool when it comes out

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KEEP WORKING, MILLIONS ON WELFARE DEPEND ON YOU!

12/15/2011 8:11 AM

Stock suspension hasn't made many improvements in the last 10 years. Forks and a shock from say your example, a 2002 CR250 vs a 2008 CRF450, are not significantly different nor would they really improve the feel of your typical novice guy. Actually bolting late model suspension to your older bike is a big mistake too because the valving is so different. It causes some weird problems that take a complete rework of the components to fix. You'd be better served putting the correct springs in your stock stuff.

To say that A-kit stuff isn't the shit though is to admit you've never ridden on it. The high-end expensive as the bike suspension is worth it if you're a pro. That stuff soaks up big hits and square edge bumps like it's nothing. On a normal practice track that's smooth with small berms you'd never tell a difference between A-kit or stock, but on rough ass rutted up tracks at big races that stuff is a dream.

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12/15/2011 8:14 AM

I loved the right side up forks on the 90's suzuki's. I'd like to ride one again just to see if they were as good as I remember. I raced one of those zooks with an Ohlins shock in Belgium one year, I loved that bike.

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12/15/2011 8:26 AM

I never rode any of the link bikes. Eyvind had his and the Suzuki that Hannah raced. He would ride the wheels off his at Field's Hill. Constantly adjusting and tinkering. He built one for Dag when he raced in Norway. Only a few were ever built. Fred Vertucci had one until he broke the frame. From what I know, they had a unique feel and was something to get used to. He tried to get the manufacturers to notice but they thought it would be to costly to mass produce. Pretty ironic when we're paying almost $9Gs retail for a dirtbike.sad

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12/15/2011 8:33 AM

The Suzuki Full floater rear suspension that was produced 30 years ago is still good by today's standards. The low hanging fruit has all been plucked.

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12/15/2011 8:39 AM

ama530 wrote:

Suspension has evolved gradually but really hasn't made leaps. Fine tuning year after year. I think the manufacturers took a ...more

i think the forks were mounted upside down to reduce unsprung weight also

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12/15/2011 8:55 AM

I think probably the differences we're talking about are ones that matter at a level of performance only a very few are at. It still ends up being the settings, and the ability to make and track settings, and the resources to do that. Some of the rest us, hopefully, at best get what we have "pretty good," and that's good enough for us.

If we were honest, most of us don't have a clue about the fine differences; we don't demand that much.

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12/15/2011 9:17 AM

I just want my suspension predictable. No kicking, swapping or huck a bucking. I leave the clickers alone because I cant feel a difference. I can only really tell after a spring and revalve change but other than that I just ride what I have. As long as its dialed in for you, or you think its dialed in for you, thats all that matters. Also, keeping what you have serviced is a big deal. when the oil is done for, it makes a big difference to get fresh oil in. I used to think I was fine just changing fork oil when I did seals only after they were leaky but changing the oil more often is a good to keep the same feel.

So to answer Drsweeds question I think suspension in the last 10 years is pretty much the same or can be massaged to feel pretty much the same. Until we adopt some F1 technology we wont be seeing leaps and gains in suspension R&D.

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12/15/2011 9:24 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/15/2011 9:25 AM

I don't think you're wrong at all. If anything, the reason that stuff on a 2002 would feel much worse or different than new is that it is old and hasn't been maintained or revalved/resprung to the rider's weight, but that is a maintenance issue, not a technology/design issue.
The twin chamber Showa design was actualy introduced by Honda in 1997, not Suzuki in 1994. There have been tweaks since then but it's mostly just valving changes and evolutionary stuff (coatings, different outer shapes, etc). Rebuild kits interchange from 97-07 or something like that.
I put 98 model twin chambers on my 96 CR and with the correct spring rates, they felt just fine. But I'm not a pro and definitely not on a SX track.
Shocks started getting adjustable high and low speed rebound in the mid to late 90s also.
I think a lot of the benefits have just been understanding how the chassis and suspension work together and designing around that equation. That's why the first gen of Honda aluminum frames were so bad to ride.
SFF forks look like a real step forward in design, and I also read that PC is testing an "air fork" with no spring at all. It's also not really air (it's nitrogen I think), so that'll be another special tool/gauge that people will have to buy if this ever goes into production.
I've never ridden A kit or factory stuff, so I can only talk on what I've noticed in production.

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12/15/2011 10:12 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/15/2011 10:13 AM

mark_swart wrote:

I don't think you're wrong at all. If anything, the reason that stuff on a 2002 would feel much worse or different than new is ...more

I believe your wrong, the Twin Chamber was introduced in 1994 on the Suzuki RM's and was even used in a conventional type fork on the 1996-1998 model bikes.

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12/15/2011 10:34 AM

The biggest difference is tolerances have gotten much tighter via improved production capability but ultimately the Valve stacks from the factory are still just what the test riders or engineers spec. With any suspension set up is the key to performance. Spring it for your weight then with consideration to the valve stack and intended use. A-kit suspension isn't any better than the stock set up if you don't take the time to tune it for you.

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12/15/2011 10:53 AM

mark_swart wrote:

I don't think you're wrong at all. If anything, the reason that stuff on a 2002 would feel much worse or different than new is ...more

reded wrote:

I believe your wrong, the Twin Chamber was introduced in 1994 on the Suzuki RM's and was even used in a conventional type fork ...more

No, I'm not wrong. Pull up an old bike test of the 97-98 CR 250, or even the pats schematic at motosport.com.
Twin chambers were introduced in 97 with the aluminum frame. The design of my 98 CR twin chambers is identical to that of my 2009 RMZ 450.
If you look at the schematic, you can see that's a twin chamber design. "Twin Chamber" means there are two separate oil chambers, right?
I have no idea if the twin chamber design was ever used in a conventional fork.

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12/15/2011 10:58 AM

Suzuki had the first twin chamber forks in '94.

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12/15/2011 11:20 AM

Shawn142 wrote:

Stock suspension hasn't made many improvements in the last 10 years. Forks and a shock from say your example, a 2002 CR250 vs ...more

Huh. So you are saying that when I bolted my 04 450 forks to my 99 CR500 was a COMPLETE mistake, and even though they were awesome, I was wrong?! Well, golly gee!
"Doc, get me back to spring 05, I have to go back and NOT ride a motorcycle. I need to prove somebody right. What do MEAN, the fuckin' DeLorean is in for an OIL CHANGE?!?! NOW, Doc!

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12/15/2011 11:22 AM

Shawn142 wrote:

Stock suspension hasn't made many improvements in the last 10 years. Forks and a shock from say your example, a 2002 CR250 vs ...more

scooter5002 wrote:

Huh. So you are saying that when I bolted my 04 450 forks to my 99 CR500 was a COMPLETE mistake, and even though they were ...more

The fact that you're claiming anything makes a CR500 handle good completely negates any slap-stick Canadian joke you're trying to make.

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12/15/2011 11:49 AM

CamP wrote:

Suzuki had the first twin chamber forks in '94.

Yeah part of me wants to be the bigger person and just let this go, but nah, not today.

Honda introduced the Showa twin chamber in 97. The link will take you to the parts fiche from motosport.com.

http://www.motosport.com/dirtbike/oem-parts/HONDA/1997/CR250/FRONT-FORK-97

Follow the link and tell me that's not a twin chamber fork. I remember rebuilding those SOBs back in 97.

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12/15/2011 12:03 PM

CamP wrote:

Suzuki had the first twin chamber forks in '94.

mark_swart wrote:

Yeah part of me wants to be the bigger person and just let this go, but nah, not today.

Honda introduced the Showa twin ...more

Honda introduced "their" first twin chamber fork in 1997. Suzuki introduced the very first twin chamber fork three years earlier.

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12/15/2011 12:07 PM

Shawn142 wrote:

Stock suspension hasn't made many improvements in the last 10 years. Forks and a shock from say your example, a 2002 CR250 vs ...more

scooter5002 wrote:

Huh. So you are saying that when I bolted my 04 450 forks to my 99 CR500 was a COMPLETE mistake, and even though they were ...more

Shawn142 wrote:

The fact that you're claiming anything makes a CR500 handle good completely negates any slap-stick Canadian joke you're trying ...more

I have a set of stock 08 CRF450 forks on a '95 CR250. I also have a stiffer 5.6kg rear spring to match the .47kg fork springs. The suspension was totally unbalanced until I add a lot of HS compression to the shock's shim stack.

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12/15/2011 12:14 PM

CamP wrote:

Suzuki had the first twin chamber forks in '94.

mark_swart wrote:

Yeah part of me wants to be the bigger person and just let this go, but nah, not today.

Honda introduced the Showa twin ...more

Use your own link to look at the fork on a 1994 RM and get back to us with your apology.

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12/15/2011 12:21 PM

I like to look down at my wheels when I ride and see them go up and down over bumps! Weee!

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12/15/2011 12:27 PM

Shawn142 wrote:

Stock suspension hasn't made many improvements in the last 10 years. Forks and a shock from say your example, a 2002 CR250 vs ...more

scooter5002 wrote:

Huh. So you are saying that when I bolted my 04 450 forks to my 99 CR500 was a COMPLETE mistake, and even though they were ...more

Shawn142 wrote:

The fact that you're claiming anything makes a CR500 handle good completely negates any slap-stick Canadian joke you're trying ...more

Owned

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12/15/2011 12:28 PM

forks with compression damping in one leg and rebound in the other

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when opportunity knocked, it waited because I was busy

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12/15/2011 12:30 PM

CamP wrote:

Suzuki had the first twin chamber forks in '94.

mark_swart wrote:

Yeah part of me wants to be the bigger person and just let this go, but nah, not today.

Honda introduced the Showa twin ...more

reded wrote:

Use your own link to look at the fork on a 1994 RM and get back to us with your apology.

"Part of me wants to be the bigger person and just let this go, but nah, not today." How about STFU NOOB!! Lol

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12/15/2011 12:46 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/15/2011 12:47 PM

CR250Rider wrote:

forks with compression damping in one leg and rebound in the other

Like my 99' KTM 250SX had?

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1998 Honda Z50
1994 Honda CR125
1996 Honda CR250
2000 Honda CR500

12/15/2011 12:48 PM

CamP wrote:

Suzuki had the first twin chamber forks in '94.

mark_swart wrote:

Yeah part of me wants to be the bigger person and just let this go, but nah, not today.

Honda introduced the Showa twin ...more

reded wrote:

Use your own link to look at the fork on a 1994 RM and get back to us with your apology.

He sure is fighting it isn't he.

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1998 Honda Z50
1994 Honda CR125
1996 Honda CR250
2000 Honda CR500