B, My forks suspension setup

B, you talked about looking at my forks, I thought I’d post up here just in case it was useful for anyone else, rather than keeping it private. The last time the suspension was dialed in, there was no more preload adjustment left on the forks, they were wound right in. The tech at the time (Ohlins guy, FE) said that he’d observed K5 1000 forks varying massively, with some requiring only minute changes to make a significant difference to the handling, and some, like mine, needing ALL the adjustment just to get near a better setup.

I’m generally very happy with the front, it does what I need for the most part, considering my skill level (loads to learn/do!) though as you said, you don’t know you can have better if you’ve never had it. One thing I do want to comment on, is that I find the steering heavy, the bike doesn’t respond to counter-steering like my 750’s did.

At Silverstone, when getting up to pace in the afternoon, I found it hard work to muscle the bike around in the esses, and around town, it drives me nuts. I’m used to the lightest of counter-steer producing a big change in direction.

With the range of adjustment issue in mind, do you think that sending the forks off to be rebuilt to get more more, and a better degree of adjustment would be beneficial, as well as perhaps changing the balance of the bike, i.e. dropping the forks through the yokes to speed the steering up?

The rear is bonza, never let me down, feels great (gotta love Ohlins), but I realise that any change to the front will affect the rear. I’ve played with the steering damper a lot, and ruled this out of being involved, i.e. I leave it very loose for the road at 5 clicks, and at Silverstone, I was running at 11 clicks to stop shake whilst trying to force the bike around under power via counter-steer. The damper has 32 clicks of adjustment, which is mad. Any advice, appreciated!

Yes i`ve heard the k5 1000 forks do vary considerably Jay. I remember when i first looked at yours and thought there was something fundamentally wrong with the damping. Basically they did not appear to be any of much use. I was looking at a new R6 recently and the front end of that was the same. I dialled im loads of compression and rebound damping to the front end but this function appeared to be almost decorational than functional in my opinion.
Most riders seem to be happy with their suspension but in most cases even the std suspension can be greatly improved.

In your case if your front preload is wound all the way in then the steering geometry is greatly changed and this would have the effect of slowing the steering and also cause you to run wide out of corners. Thats not all. The balance of the bike is also upset as there is less weight on the front and more on the rear. Tankslappers are also more likely as the front is less loaded. This could be improved by either pulling the forks through the yokes or raising the ride height on the rear. Id personally go for the K-tech fork internals for your bike as this would include heavier springs and better comp/rebound damping. It would make a big improvement over std.
The rear Ohlins is great kit but it will only show up the front end flaws more now. The front and rear need to be matched. If you`ve gone to the expense of an Ohlins rear it would be very good practice to upgrade the front too.

When setting up the suspension id leave the steering damper off so more bike feel is had. Bring your bike round Jay and well see what we can do.
I need some computer advice too! Help

Cool, thanks B! A helpful insight as ever!

My 2 cents, fwiw:

I felt the same as you Jay. When I first got my K5 (came off a much lightened & modded TL with race wheels) I also thought that the initial drop in was a tad slow. This was especially noticeable when going through a S type bend and the bike needed to change direction quickly.

First thing that I did was to ditch the std steering damper. I know lots of folks say that the std unit has too little damping, but the Ohlins replacement on a softer setting made a noticeable difference to the steering.

There are also a lot of rumours about the rebound circuit on the forks (too little rebound damping), so I took my forks to my guy (Mark @ MH Racing). He fitted slightly stiffer springs (0.95kg for an Adonis like me) and said that the damping is fine if I’m not racing. We also dropped the front 5mm and dialed in a bit less rebound damping at the back (the bike was sitting down a bit, which slowed the steering - esp on bumpy roads). What a night and day difference! The bike handles exactly how I would like now.

At the back - the std shock is pretty good apparently and only needs to be replaced if you are going to race. Mine didn’t even need a respring.

One last thing - I finally ditched my 014’s for some Racetecs recently and noticed that they seem to have affected the steering slightly. At first I thought the steering had slowed because the Metz’s might not be so tall, but I’m not convinced that, that is really what is going on. After the initial lean the Racetecs do turn very easily, which makes me think that this has more to do with tyre profile (combined with tyre height perhaps?).

Nice, thanks fella. The Racetecs are much more pointed in profile, the 14’s are quite round, which SHOULD speed up the steering (using racetecs)…