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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the stock springs, 5 weight oil and standard oil height. I recall how soft this setup was when I first got the '03 SV1000S 12 years ago. About 10 years ago I installed a superbike bar kit and have been trying to tune the front ever since. At present my preload is all the way out and compression damping screw all the way out as well. I still don't use all the travel ad have overly stiff action in the front. I am now tuning the action by way of rebound adjustment and overall it's decent but not great - still a bit harsh and if I back out the rebound setting much further it's too loose in the corners. I'm about 185 with gear and attribute this overly stiff fork action to a front end made light by the more rearward riding position dictated by the superbike bars.

The question is what (lighter) spring should I obtain and install for the lighter front end so I can get some supple action back into the fork? My guess right now is 80 or 85 in the stock length.
 

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Firstly, get rid of that oil weight...... go back to 2.5w, it wil be far more supple. Also, from memory, oil height, springs out, fully compressed, is 162mm standard, i think i used to use 150mm (i used 5w as i am a lot heavier)
Maybe get back that point and see..... and use a full synth oil too...
I had a VTR1000F years ago and jumped the front end to 7.5w and it was like riding a jackhammer..... so a similar thing could be happeneing for you....
 
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I'm about 195lb in my speedo's so a fair bit heavier than you kitted up and I find the forks OK, in fact I'm more impressed than I expected to be given the budget nature of the forks. Bike is S model and originally had clip-ons which I've changed to superbike bars, can't say I noticed any difference after the mod'.
Perhaps you could try a pie diet for a while and get your weight up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm about 195lb in my speedo's so a fair bit heavier than you kitted up and I find the forks OK, in fact I'm more impressed than I expected to be given the budget nature of the forks. Bike is S model and originally had clip-ons which I've changed to superbike bars, can't say I noticed any difference after the mod'.
Perhaps you could try a pie diet for a while and get your weight up?
Do you have the '03 SV1000S like mine? Also, can you tell me what your setup is for fork oil and oil height? Stock springs in there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Firstly, get rid of that oil weight...... go back to 2.5w, it wil be far more supple. Also, from memory, oil height, springs out, fully compressed, is 162mm standard, i think i used to use 150mm (i used 5w as i am a lot heavier)
Maybe get back that point and see..... and use a full synth oil too...
I had a VTR1000F years ago and jumped the front end to 7.5w and it was like riding a jackhammer..... so a similar thing could be happeneing for you....
That's worth a try. I read there are big variations in oil so maybe there's a combination of things going on. My 5W oil could have been on the thicker side and it's possible I either mismeasured or was trying more oil than the book calls although that's not in my log. Compared to my other bikes this fork action is harsh and primitive feeling. My '96 Triumph Trident glides through the corners and bumps with ultra smooth action and gives up very little during hard riding. I do have to say the SV feels better the harder it's pushed. On the local bumpy and tight roads at 45 - 55 you're feeling every bump and ripple.
 

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Do you have the '03 SV1000S like mine? Also, can you tell me what your setup is for fork oil and oil height? Stock springs in there?
I've only had the bike since the start of this year and as it's a 2006 model it could have been changed from standard in it's 15 year life before I got it. I do have quiet a lot of history with it and haven't seen anything regarding changes to the forks so as far as I know they are standard.

I've not had any reason to meddle with them myself as they are perfectly good for how I ride the bike, I'm not exactly pushing the limits. So really all I can say is that they don't seem to have got any stiffer since changing the bars. I'd be surprised if this would make such a difference, did you make any changes at the same time as the bars?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've only had the bike since the start of this year and as it's a 2006 model it could have been changed from standard in it's 15 year life before I got it. I do have quiet a lot of history with it and haven't seen anything regarding changes to the forks so as far as I know they are standard.

I've not had any reason to meddle with them myself as they are perfectly good for how I ride the bike, I'm not exactly pushing the limits. So really all I can say is that they don't seem to have got any stiffer since changing the bars. I'd be surprised if this would make such a difference, did you make any changes at the same time as the bars?
Last change was fork oil about 6000 miles ago. At one point I was frequently riding very hard with some fast bikes. I had. a CBR900RR at the same time with suspension by Lindemann Engineering (racetrack style). I was able to adjust the SV similarly so I could keep up on crazy group rides. There has been constant tweaking over the years but for now I can't tune out the harshness. For really fast rides I take a Triumph TT600 with superb handling and so the SV is more or less repurposed as an allarounder hopefully with comfort and a supple ride.
 

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Last change was fork oil about 6000 miles ago. At one point I was frequently riding very hard with some fast bikes. I had. a CBR900RR at the same time with suspension by Lindemann Engineering (racetrack style). I was able to adjust the SV similarly so I could keep up on crazy group rides. There has been constant tweaking over the years but for now I can't tune out the harshness. For really fast rides I take a Triumph TT600 with superb handling and so the SV is more or less repurposed as an allarounder hopefully with comfort and a supple ride.
I initially thought the harshness issue you mentioned was something which reared its head after changing the bar style but I've read over the original post again and I'm now getting the impression that you are comparing memories of the bike from 12 years ago with your feelings about it now with the bar change being made somewhere in the midst of that, closet to the original memories than to now.

I could be that the issue has been contributed to either by other changes made to the fork in the mean time or possibly something had worn out or broken in the fork, maybe one of the adjustment valves.

It could also be due to retrospective vision being more rose tinted than we imagine. I've had cars and bikes many years ago which my memories tell me were absolutely wonderful in the day but I've driven/ridden some more recently and they are awful. Not because I've had bad examples but just because that's what they were like actually like. Bit like meeting your heros!

Interesting that you mention the TT600, I quite fancied one of them when they came out but they didn't recieve a good press when they came out. I suspect this was due to the monthly and weekly magazines at the time not being able to give proper objective tests of many bikes. Isn't life so much better now with the Internet giving us much more realistic views from people who actually own and run these things?
 

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There has to be a T or an I uncrossed or dotted somewhere, the SV front end, although not the be-all and end-all of front ends, is not harsh.....
I really think the fluid and its height is the issue.
So, stock '03 is 162mm oil height... springs out, rebound adjuster rod ou as well, and fully compressed. Remember to pump the leg, and make sure the rebound adjuster
tube (threaded portion with nut) is pushed all the way down. Recheck....

Another thought, is there a spacer that has been placed on top of, or below the white pastic spacer (5) that is extra to standard ? This will increase the spring preload artificially.

Fork fluid is Suzuki L01 which is 2.5W i use Motul in my bike, and mix 70/30% 2.5w and 5w Factory Line to get the 40 degreee viscosity that L01 is rated too.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I initially thought the harshness issue you mentioned was something which reared its head after changing the bar style but I've read over the original post again and I'm now getting the impression that you are comparing memories of the bike from 12 years ago with your feelings about it now with the bar change being made somewhere in the midst of that, closet to the original memories than to now.

I could be that the issue has been contributed to either by other changes made to the fork in the mean time or possibly something had worn out or broken in the fork, maybe one of the adjustment valves.

It could also be due to retrospective vision being more rose tinted than we imagine. I've had cars and bikes many years ago which my memories tell me were absolutely wonderful in the day but I've driven/ridden some more recently and they are awful. Not because I've had bad examples but just because that's what they were like actually like. Bit like meeting your heros!

Interesting that you mention the TT600, I quite fancied one of them when they came out but they didn't recieve a good press when they came out. I suspect this was due to the monthly and weekly magazines at the time not being able to give proper objective tests of many bikes. Isn't life so much better now with the Internet giving us much more realistic views from people who actually own and run these things?
If you get a chance to pickup a clean old TT600 go for it. The knock on the bike was the map in it's first generation ECU. Mine had the classic horrible flat spot in the 3 - 4k rpm range. Fortunately the free Windows based TuneECU program works on that old Sagem 1000 ECU. It's taken me about 30 generations of modifying Triumph's map for fuel and ignition timing but I now believe I have the best running TT on the planet maybe aside from someone who paid to have it done on a dyno. From what I learned I could now build a good map from starting point in 4 or 5 generations instead of 30.

I mounted some alternatives to the Renthal fatbars last night to get some rearward angle at the grips. Renthals way too flat. That change along with backing off on front rebound has it feeling much better. Will be trying the 2.5 weight oil soon,
 

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If you get a chance to pickup a clean old TT600 go for it. The knock on the bike was the map in it's first generation ECU. Mine had the classic horrible flat spot in the 3 - 4k rpm range. Fortunately the free Windows based TuneECU program works on that old Sagem 1000 ECU. It's taken me about 30 generations of modifying Triumph's map for fuel and ignition timing but I now believe I have the best running TT on the planet maybe aside from someone who paid to have it done on a dyno. From what I learned I could now build a good map from starting point in 4 or 5 generations instead of 30.

I mounted some alternatives to the Renthal fatbars last night to get some rearward angle at the grips. Renthals way too flat. That change along with backing off on front rebound has it feeling much better. Will be trying the 2.5 weight oil soon,
Don't know if prices are similar in other regions of the world but in the UK there seems to be a 'bottom limit' for any bike these days. As I say the TT600 wasn't even popular when released and got to a point where nobody wanted them now that they are around 20 years old they seem to be £2k+ which is nearly as much as my SV cost and it's 6 years newer. Wish I'd bought one when they were at their lowest as I did quite like them.

I used the TuneECU program when I had a Triumph Thruxton and it was a great bit of kit, made owning that bike much less painful that it would otherwise have been, even being able to balance the throttle bodies electronically. Unfortunately I think it became a bit less useful later on as the ECUs became more locked down so you can't (easily) re-map them.

Wish there was a similar thing for Suzuki EFi bikes
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Don't know if prices are similar in other regions of the world but in the UK there seems to be a 'bottom limit' for any bike these days. As I say the TT600 wasn't even popular when released and got to a point where nobody wanted them now that they are around 20 years old they seem to be £2k+ which is nearly as much as my SV cost and it's 6 years newer. Wish I'd bought one when they were at their lowest as I did quite like them.

I used the TuneECU program when I had a Triumph Thruxton and it was a great bit of kit, made owning that bike much less painful that it would otherwise have been, even being able to balance the throttle bodies electronically. Unfortunately I think it became a bit less useful later on as the ECUs became more locked down so you can't (easily) re-map them.

Wish there was a similar thing for Suzuki EFi bikes
I'm fully on the TT600 bandwagon. The motor is flexible enough that I can accelerate smoothly from 20MPH in 6th gear. On fast rides the TT stays with liter bikes and has excellent rollon in the 5 - 8K range. Rarely do I need to rev past 9 or 10 even though some have set their redline as high as 15 and the tachometer shows redline is 14. I actually shift less on the TT than the SV because the TT is so smooth.
Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Plant
 

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I'm fully on the TT600 bandwagon. The motor is flexible enough that I can accelerate smoothly from 20MPH in 6th gear. On fast rides the TT stays with liter bikes and has excellent rollon in the 5 - 8K range. Rarely do I need to rev past 9 or 10 even though some have set their redline as high as 15 and the tachometer shows redline is 14. I actually shift less on the TT than the SV because the TT is so smooth. View attachment 118110
That's a tidy looking machine. Every credit to you!
 

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I have an '03 1000S. Doubt that the fork springs are too stiff. Racetech says they are 0.98 kg/mm, but they are progressive wound springs. The 1.0 kg/mm Racetech spring I replaced them with are significantly stiffer.

Too much rebound damping will make for a harsh ride. Recommend you dial out all rebound and see how it acts. If it feels loose, dial in compression.

I'm probably much larger than you, ~270# ready to ride. I have the 1.0 springs and run Silkolene Pro RSF 5wt (ISO 22), oil level ~135mm vs stock 162mm. Racetech recommends 130mm I think. I run ~35mm sag. Rebound is still a little too much with it backed out all the way and compression all the way in, but it's not bad. I also made the switch to tube bars/clamps. I didn't ride it with the clip ons and the fork spring/oil changes, but yes it does move weight back.

There can be significant difference in viscosity of 5 wt fork oils, and 5wt suspension fluids. Finding oil/fluid with ISO viscosity ratings will help you dial in the proper viscosity. Typically you have to go with more expensive fluids to get an ISO rating. The Pro RSF is full synthetic, and still works fine after years of use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have an '03 1000S. Doubt that the fork springs are too stiff. Racetech says they are 0.98 kg/mm, but they are progressive wound springs. The 1.0 kg/mm Racetech spring I replaced them with are significantly stiffer.

Too much rebound damping will make for a harsh ride. Recommend you dial out all rebound and see how it acts. If it feels loose, dial in compression.

I'm probably much larger than you, ~270# ready to ride. I have the 1.0 springs and run Silkolene Pro RSF 5wt (ISO 22), oil level ~135mm vs stock 162mm. Racetech recommends 130mm I think. I run ~35mm sag. Rebound is still a little too much with it backed out all the way and compression all the way in, but it's not bad. I also made the switch to tube bars/clamps. I didn't ride it with the clip ons and the fork spring/oil changes, but yes it does move weight back.

There can be significant difference in viscosity of 5 wt fork oils, and 5wt suspension fluids. Finding oil/fluid with ISO viscosity ratings will help you dial in the proper viscosity. Typically you have to go with more expensive fluids to get an ISO rating. The Pro RSF is full synthetic, and still works fine after years of use.
You are dead on with the rebound suggestion. I've progressively backed off rebound over the last few days and ride is somewhat supple now and close to making me happy. Maybe I'm asking too much. I"ve never been able to adjust these forks to perfection where they were smooth and compliant for everyday riding but also well controlled when hammered through fast bumpy corners. That's a lot to ask and probably not possible with this engineering.
 
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