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Old 04-06-2011, 02:54 PM   #1
ywgbandit
 
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1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

I'm new to the forum and have recently purchased a new 2008 Bandit 1250. I'm planning on a lot of mods and I have done mostly comfort mods so far. Gel seat, MadStad windshield, Speedo Tuner, Throttle Meister, SW Motech mirror extensions and Givi E45 and E55 maxia bags.
It doesn't take long to realize the suspension was where Suzuki made compromises to meet the budget. I can live with the rear shock for now, but I would like to improve the front end ride quality and eliminate if possible the front end dive on braking.
My question to you all is... for "touring" type riding as opposed to "carving it up" what is the best improvement for the front end? Is it best to start with progressive fork springs, or go with the Race Tech valves and springs? Or can you use the progressive springs with the Race Tech valves? Are there other options? Looking forward to your comments and observations. Thank you in advance!
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #2
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

How much do you weigh? Are you going to be touring with a passenger?

Try just upping the preload up front. I've been happy with mine since increasing preload, but I'm only ~160lb and rarely carry a passenger. Worth a shot for free.

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Old 04-06-2011, 05:35 PM   #3
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

The OEM rear shock is easily up to the task.... but after you've done about 18,000 miles on it, maybe you'll appreciate upgrading to a good (rebuildable) rear shock.

The front end (and the whole bike) would absolutely LOVE a fork-brace (I use a Holeshot fork-brace). I've had a fork brace on my Sportster, the FZ1, Bonnevilles, and a Sprint RS..... and though I couldn't tell if they did anything for me, I could actully FEEL the difference a fork-brace made on the Bandit!

I'm not a fan of "progressive" type springs, front OR rear, get a good single-rate spring instead. About Gold Valves, I think that might be overkill and not fully appreciated on a bike to be used for touring. Simply apply your money toward some after-market single-rate springs that are appropriate for your weight and the lugguge you carry.

(And buy a sheepskin seat cover from AlaskaLeather before you set out on your tour)
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:02 PM   #4
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

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Originally Posted by treybrad View Post
How much do you weigh? Are you going to be touring with a passenger?

Try just upping the preload up front. I've been happy with mine since increasing preload, but I'm only ~160lb and rarely carry a passenger. Worth a shot for free.

trey
I'm 210 Lbs, and the wife is 140. (that's a secret), add another 40 for luggage and contents.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:06 PM   #5
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

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Originally Posted by Fittysom'n View Post
The OEM rear shock is easily up to the task.... but after you've done about 18,000 miles on it, maybe you'll appreciate upgrading to a good (rebuildable) rear shock.

The front end (and the whole bike) would absolutely LOVE a fork-brace (I use a Holeshot fork-brace). I've had a fork brace on my Sportster, the FZ1, Bonnevilles, and a Sprint RS..... and though I couldn't tell if they did anything for me, I could actully FEEL the difference a fork-brace made on the Bandit!

I'm not a fan of "progressive" type springs, front OR rear, get a good single-rate spring instead. About Gold Valves, I think that might be overkill and not fully appreciated on a bike to be used for touring. Simply apply your money toward some after-market single-rate springs that are appropriate for your weight and the lugguge you carry.

(And buy a sheepskin seat cover from AlaskaLeather before you set out on your tour)
The factory rear shock will be replaced with a rebuildable,(probably the one from Holeshot), but not until I've worn it out. It seems to handle the weight OK. It's the front end dive I'm not happy about. The preload doesn't seem to help much, it just makes the ride stiffer, it's a damping issue I think.
Why don't you like progressives?
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

Please understand that when I speak of "progressive", I'm not referring to 'Progressive' brand suspension components.

It was explained to me that progressive springs are supposed to convince the rider that they're absorbing the subtle irregularities of a rough road surface and smooth out the ride. The claim is that when they are called on to do their job over potholes or major bumps, that the spring's tension is progressive in standing up to the riggors of major compression.

It was also explained to me that riders/racers in-the-know don't subscribe to the notion of progressive springs.... they go for the good stuff that stands up to the demands of a real enthusiast. But what do I know, I just decided to buy into the pitch when it was given to me.... made sense to me.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:21 PM   #7
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

I haven't done any suspension upgrades yet. I'll probably do the forks and the shock next winter. But I've been reading and watching, and I think the biggest bang for the buck on the forks is a RaceTech gold valve and better springs.

If you go to the RaceTech site, they've got a calculator to help you choose a spring rate, and you can order the valves and springs directly from them. Or you can get the same valves, and Cogent springs, from Dale at Holeshot. Is one better than the other? No idea, I'm afraid. If you order from Dale, you get an installation video, which is a plus.

If you order from Gold Valve, you have a choice of the same cartridge that Dale sells, or their newer version. As best I can figure (I contacted RaceTech tech support by email and never got an answer), the biggest advantage of the newer valve is greater adjustability, but if the regular one does the job, do you really need to throw another variable in there? Again, I don't know.

(If anyone here can explain the advantage of the newer Gold Valve cartridge, I'd appreciate it.)

Anyway, based on what I've read here and on the other Bandit site, upgrading the forks is the single biggest improvement you can make. Bigger than a fork brace, bigger than the shock.


Me, I'll probably go with the Holeshot upgrades at both ends. People who have done that seem happy, the prices are reasonable (not cheap), and they've been tested on a Bandit by someone who knows the Bandit.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:34 PM   #8
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

Does anyone have experience with the progressive "type" of springs? Do they work as claimed?
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:35 PM   #9
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

I like them on my KLR but as for the Bandit????? Still stock here.
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Old 07-28-2011, 03:03 AM   #10
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

I too have the holeshot fork brace and think that it is needed. Moreover, I have the race tech G2-R gold valves and springs. These non progressive springs are very nice and the whole set up really tightens up the front end. I have lost the crazy front end dive and since it lifted my front end a bit the bike now turns "in" faster then before. It also soaks up the bumps and tracks better through corners. I have an aftermarket rear shock and it also makes the bike flow over bumps much better. I feel that Suzuki cut a few corners on the susp on this bike to get it out the door for less money. My 07 won best bang for your buck when it came out. Nowdays they cost a bit more but you can not go wrong with a race tech front end and some help in the rear as well.

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Old 07-28-2011, 07:46 AM   #11
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

Do the front end Springs & re-valve. Go for the fork brace then do the rear.
I didn't think my bike was too bad until I replaced the rear shock (Cogent) and fitted springs/valves & fork brace to the front.
What a different animal now. Still a heavy unit to turn in compared to a sports bike but it doesn't go all soggy at speed now.
The rear end is so smooth over bumps now. Lots a people say the standard rear shock is ok....they obviously haven't ridden with a good aftermarket unit on their Bandit.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:55 AM   #12
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

Completely stock here except for a click softer in the rear and a tad preload increase in front...
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:22 AM   #13
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

completely stock, I am 200lbs and just changed the settings of the front and rear a bit from stock settings
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Old 07-30-2011, 07:14 AM   #14
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

I first installed the very first rear shock from Works Performance for the 1250, which I took back 3 times to them over the course of 2 months of test riding to have them dial the internal valving, and It has adjustable high speed compression and rebound dampening with a remote reservoir.

Soon after that I installed the Race Tech springs and Gold Valves, which after an initial test ride period I removed the front forks and took them apart to adjust the valve shim stack and the spring spacer length. I ended up adjusting the valve shim stack two more times over the next couple of months of riding until I was satisfied.

Suffice it to say that I love the way my Bandit rides and handles, and I could never imagine owning a 1250 and never doing any upgrades to the stock suspension, and for all of you out there that think your happy with the stock suspension, you don't know what your missing, and this statement from Race Tech's suspension guru Paul Thede say's it all which is, the best you've ridden is the best you know.
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Custom naked Candy Sonoma Red Bandit 1250S/AK7 totally customized with MetrickMetal custom parts and mods. Full Stage II with header and slip-on, Race Tech Gold valves and springs and custom WP shock.
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Old 07-30-2011, 07:37 AM   #15
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetrickMetal View Post
for all of you out there that think your happy with the stock suspension, you don't know what your missing, and this statement from Race Tech's suspension guru Paul Thede say's it all which is, the best you've ridden is the best you know.
For sure understand where you're coming from. I'll probably redo both ends this winter. The bushings were showing good signs of wear on the front last time I took them apart for inspection and cleaning at 40,000 miles. It's figuring out what shock I wish to go with is the problem. The front is going to be Racetech Golds 2 with new bushings for sure. The sharp little heat bumps and broken blacktops getting worst by the year down here.
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:31 AM   #16
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

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For sure understand where you're coming from. I'll probably redo both ends this winter. The bushings were showing good signs of wear on the front last time I took them apart for inspection and cleaning at 40,000 miles. It's figuring out what shock I wish to go with is the problem. The front is going to be Racetech Golds 2 with new bushings for sure. The sharp little heat bumps and broken blacktops getting worst by the year down here.
Get the Race Techs springs, as the problem with the stock springs is their to light and require most people tyo crank up the preload which make the action of the forks even harsher, as a heavier rate spring with less preload will usually always ride nicer than a softer spring with more preload, and thats why it's important to get the spring rate right before going forward with any other mods or adjustments.

I also think that most people after installing a new rear shock and installing new springs and Gold Valves don't take the time to fine tune suspension by dialing in the spring preload, adjusting the compression and rebound dampening settings on the shock and the oil level in the forks.

I was lucky enough to know to of the big wigs at Works Performance as I have been using their shocks on my bike since a little after they first opened, and they used my 1250 to design the new shock for it, which I got for free.

All of their shocks are custom made to order to suit the you and your riding style, and they have a 30 day satifaction guarantee that if your not happy with the ride they will do what ever it takes to make it right.

So seeing as how their not far from me, I took took my shock back to them 3 times over course of about two months and 1500 miles of riding so that they could tweak the internal valving to get me the ride quality I was looking for.
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Check out my line of custom Bandit 1250/650 parts atwww.MetrickMetal.com

Custom naked Candy Sonoma Red Bandit 1250S/AK7 totally customized with MetrickMetal custom parts and mods. Full Stage II with header and slip-on, Race Tech Gold valves and springs and custom WP shock.
IBA #18470
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:51 PM   #17
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

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Originally Posted by ywgbandit View Post
Does anyone have experience with the progressive "type" of springs? Do they work as claimed?
Yes, you . The stock springs are progressive wound!

Personally, I don't much favor this type of spring since your damping is not progressive and you will therefore end up mismatched in most parts of the suspension travel. KTM use a system their dirt bikes that has progressive springing matched (opinions on the quality of this match vary!) with progressive damping.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:01 AM   #18
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

Just bought a GSX1250FA two weeks ago , Suzuki says it comes with stiffer suspension front and rear to compensate the extra weight as compare to standard Bandit suspension. My question is that do I need to change to a heavier springs with race tech valve kit or just the race tech gold valve kit will do to improve the front suspension ?? I weigh about 70 kg.. Bike use for commute and touring . Though of getting holeshot forkbrace too .
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:43 AM   #19
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

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Originally Posted by superspeed123 View Post
Just bought a GSX1250FA two weeks ago , Suzuki says it comes with stiffer suspension front and rear to compensate the extra weight as compare to standard Bandit suspension. My question is that do I need to change to a heavier springs with race tech valve kit or just the race tech gold valve kit will do to improve the front suspension ?? I weigh about 70 kg.. Bike use for commute and touring . Though of getting holeshot forkbrace too .
Your the one that's going to have to determine what changes to the suspension you need to make if any depending on what you don't like about it now, such as the suspensions compliance over bumps, and no one else is going to be able to do that for you. The fork cartridges, fork springs and rear shock all have totally different part numbers from the 09 and earlier Bandits, so I have a feeling that Suzuki may have also changed the dampening in the forls as well as the rear shock as well besides the springs.

Are you happy with the ride quality now?, and if not have you tried playing arounnd with the shock and fork spring preload settings and the shock rebound dampening adjustment, to see if any improvements can be made.

As with all suspension tuning, only change one thing at a time and then ride the bike over the same section of road and see what effects the changes you made had.
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Check out my line of custom Bandit 1250/650 parts atwww.MetrickMetal.com

Custom naked Candy Sonoma Red Bandit 1250S/AK7 totally customized with MetrickMetal custom parts and mods. Full Stage II with header and slip-on, Race Tech Gold valves and springs and custom WP shock.
IBA #18470
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:05 AM   #20
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Re: 1250 Suspension Mods for Touring?

superspeed123,

Another opinon:
Find a suspension Guru in your area.... a GOOD one, ride a hundred miles if you have to! Tell him NOTHING.... just ride to him with your bags full as if you were touring, bring your passenger if you plan to tour with the added weight on the back.

Pay the Guru to marry the "sag" of your front suspension with that of your rear suspension. After he's done setting the bike up, ask him if the factory springs were up to the task of allowing him to adjust everything to the correct sag. If he tells you that either of the springs were too anemic for the weight you have on the bike, THEN discuss with him what you want done......

Ask him to order (AND INSTALL) the correct spring rate for either your front tubes or rear shock, don't go with a progressive spring, insist on a single rate spring! If your bike is new, the rear shock is good for 20,000 miles, don't buy a new shock.... just replace the spring if the Guru tells you it's undersprung.
Now he's got your business, he's ordering the correct spring rate for your bike, for your weight, and your style of riding/touring.... AND he's installing everything. After you ride away with the new spring(s) installed, YOU CAN GO BACK TO HIM for any further adjustments, corrections, or concerns.... and he'll back his product AND his service!

About Gold Valves or some such fancy gizmos..... pay the BIG BUCKS buying and installing them if you're made of money -AND- if you're such a GREAT road rider who races and KNOWS the characteristics of how different damping settings will effect the handling characteristics of your bike. If you DON'T..... the setting at which they install the Gold Valves may not be appropriate for the bike or the conditions you plan to ride..... and you won't even know it. Point is, you may not be able to fully appreciate the valving if you don't know what you're looking for..... and it just cost you hundreds of dollars for something that might actually be worst than had you not had them installed.

Fork Brace:
I've had several bikes with a fork brace, and the ONLY bike that seemed to greatly and obviously benifit from a brace is my Bandit...... might be the single most significant mod' I've done to my bike! The Bandit is HEAVY..... it's still using old school technology, Suzuki had no interest in raising the price of the bike by going with inverted tubes up front. Believe it, there IS flex going on, and that fork brace will arrest it.

Good luck, and don't consult the Internet for definative answers..... instead, go to somebody who does motorcycle suspension for a living and order the parts from him as well as having him install everything. He'll work with you, and if you run into any problems or no longer want to tour with the added weight of hard bags and a passenger, he'll KNOW what to do.....
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