The Suspense Is Killing Me

Getting ready to play!

Enjoying the first real spring day of the season: Fueling up for a ride with Mr. Slow.

I’m not happy. I was at first, but am not anymore. I was lubing my chain the other day and noticed that the rear sprocket is showing signs of wear, this led me to look into a gearing change, since I’ll have to replace the sprockets in the next few thousand miles anyway. This research, in turn, got my perfectionistic side all bent out of shape because I’m about to change yet another thing while I have one kink already to work out. One thing at a time, chica. One thing at a time. Thus, it came to be that I had to admit to myself that the suspension setup compromise is not working for me in the long run. But I really don’t want to go through that whole crappy fairing and fender removal process yet again. What a bummer that is. Heck, it isn’t really working for me at all, now that I had a chance to put a bunch of miles on the bike. Don’t get me wrong, I love it lowered like it is now. I’m more confident at slow speeds (even though my turns are wider than they used to be) ย and I can actually flat-foot the thing in my race boots now; no more getting stuck on the incline side of a crowned road or trying to back out of a declined parking spot. She also feels more stable and planted. However, when I first started this project I hadn’t realized that maybe the adjustability range of the ‘Busa would give me problems and would lead to compromises. Lesson learned. Check the parameters before implementation to see if it’s even possible to follow through. It was a learning experience (and still is), and I wouldn’t have been able to ask the right questions at the time anyway. Yes, I could have asked for help and had the answers given to me, but that’s not how I work. I want to own my solution. I want to be guided, not shown. The Socratic Method, that’s how I like to be taught. I had to take it one step at a time, and I’m not sorry that I did. However, I am now frustrated with the current setup. The bike now corners like a bus and my arms are really getting tired from the heavy steering, at least that distracts me from my sore thigh muscles. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My geometry is way too relaxed for my taste, since I am missing 10 mm of preload in the front, but the adjusters are at their limits. I don’t want to spend more money on this… I have to sleep on it, but I think the best I can do is raise the fork tubes through their triple clamp 5 more millimeters and crank in rear preload. Between those two, I should be able to affect the desired decrease in rake/trail. I’m dangerously close to getting into the no-no zone up front and I’ll blow my rear sag numbers into race territory, but I think it might just give me what I need. If not, I can always move for a reversal.


Fat Lady Pixels

I suppose I need to take a few quick shots, to show off her new Bling Bling:


OMG! OMG! OMG! The Fat Lady Can Dance?

So I come back from my 14.5K service. I had them throw the Brock’s lowering links on there in addition to the kickstand, since the first looks to be a huge pain in the ass to do yourself, the pipes are in the way; I don’t have a jack; and I can’t get the ‘Busa’s fat ass on the rear stand by myself anyway. But I needed to get this done, because if I hadn’t done it today, it would have had to wait for over a week. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Anyway, I gave them the parts with the instructions to take all the preload off the rear and to install the links at stock length. Dude behind the counter looks at me funny. I know the look… it’s the look of ‘girly, you don’t really know what you’re doing, do you?’ Then he asks me: “Why get lowering links when you want them at stock length?” I reply promptly: “I’ll adjust them later.” He nods, then: “All the preload?” My turn to nod:”Yes, don’t need it. Take the entire 5 mil off.” He writes it down, letting out a longish “Okaaaay.” I leave. Two hours of milling about the nearby shopping center, and hanging out at Starbucks; then the phone call finally comes in. The Fat Lady’s out of surgery. I finish my latte then walk my butt back up the road about a half of a mile. Jamie, their resident ‘Busa tech, tells me that he couldn’t install them at stock length, they’re too long, so she ended up about one inch lower in the rear. I had figured that this might happen, but I couldn’t be sure. I tell him, it’s all good, give them my cash receive my stock parts and am out of there. I walk outside and look at my baby. She’s all squat in the back… looking like she’s driving uphill. Huh. She actually looks faster sitting there with her new linkage and shed of the rear preload. He also adjusted the kickstand for me, but she’s still a little too upright for my taste, so tomorrow I’ll fix that after hubby helps me put her on the rear stand. I throw a leg over and the first thing out of my mouth is: “Holy shit, she sits like the Sporty Low!” Then I giggle. Crap, I have a ton of bend in my knees. I think I might be in danger of dragging ass cheeks. This oughta be interesting. I back her out of her parking spot and find that this is a lot easier than I remember; I’m backed out and gone faster than ever. I pull out into traffic and it only takes me about a mile, the cheese quesadilla S-curve, to be convinced that I might just like the hell out of this. After a few more miles, I’m astonished. What the hell? She’s way more stable (I expected that), she doesn’t want to unload her front-end anymore under hard acceleration (I expected that, too), she’s more settled in turns (I kind of expected that, also) and damn it… what I didn’t expect was that she is freakin’ easier to steer. WTF? That doesn’t make any stinking sense. I increased my rake and trail and the steering is lighter? I’m dumbfounded, but who cares, I’m enjoying the crap out of this new feeling. I sure hope I can make it up onto the curb in our driveway without bottoming out…

I go home and promptly exchange the stock top triple clamp upper with the one I ordered from Exoticycle. Then went for another test ride. It’s all good. Front’s still rigid, behaves pretty much the same as it did with the stock part. Then it dawns on me. I have enough leg room now for my Hayabusa gel seat that I got from hubby for Xmas. Back home I go, switch out the seats and go for another jaunt. Awesome. Now I don’t feel like I’ll be getting road rash on my ass, and I like this even better. Tomorrow when it’s daylight out, I’m going to have to go and really stress test this puppy!

One more thing has got to go though: the stock clip-ons. I need longer bars! The Pazzo Racing levers do not clear the dash plastics and interfere with full-lock when they are in the position and angle I need them to be. I had to basically adjust them to gain clearance, but I’ll be needing another 7-10 mm to prevent the parts from touching. I can still use the fork lock, but it puts the squeeze on the brake lever. I think I’ll probably need about 15 mm to have them clear when they are adjusted properly to my hands. Now I need to find a set that is longer than stock… but nobody ever posts the length of the darned things. So I guess it’s email time.

Still, even with the lever thing, I’m so damn excited, I wanna go ride all night!!!! Shit! I can’t hardly contain myself I’m so happy!!!!

Linkage to the entire series:

  1. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Rider Sag, Free Sag, and Preload
  2. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Plan ‘A’. Plan ‘B’. Plan ‘C’ It Is.
  3. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Exploratory Surgery
  4. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Let’s Go Shopping!
  5. The (preliminary) results: OMG! OMG! OMG! The Fat Lady Can Dance?
  6. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: The Fat Lady’s Got Slammed
  7. Suspension Tuning – Part 1 (Results): There’s a first time for everything…

Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Let’s Go Shopping!

We need a few things to put ‘Plan C’ into action and begin twiddling adjusters to hopefully end up with a sweet ridin’ ride. The Fat Lady’s fixing to get it!

Top Triple Clamp:

Gen II Hayabusa Triple Tree Clamp

Black anodized aluminum top triple tree clamp for a Gen II Hayabusa from Exoticycle

I got this puppy since it was the only one I could find that was said not to interfere with the controls clearing the fairings and windscreen and interfering with full lock-to-lock steering. We shall see if that is fact or fiction.

Lowering Links:

Brock's Performance Window Lowering Links

Brock's Performance Window Lowering Links

I opted for these since I wanted something that was fully adjustable and easy to use. I liked the idea of the windows showing available thread left. That’s a pain inna arse as I have discovered when adjusting the angle of my foot levers. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Dog bones are too crude in their adjustment ranges (full 1-inch increments) and are a pain in the arse to adjust, should the need or desire arise. And the other fully adjustable links I’ve looked into didn’t have the windows. I like the windows. Yeah, these puppies are three times the price of dog bones, but I’ll save myself some headaches and a massive amount of cursing later.

Adjustable Kickstand:
And so the newly lowered Fat Lady doesn’t find it necessary to take an asphalt nap in my absence, I got her an adjustable kickstand at McCoy Motorsports (tobefast.com), but I’ll take a pic of that when I get it. The pic in their online store isn’t worth ripping off, it’s so damned ugly.

Linkage to the entire series:

  1. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Rider Sag, Free Sag, and Preload
  2. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Plan ‘A’. Plan ‘B’. Plan ‘C’ It Is.
  3. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Exploratory Surgery
  4. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: Let’s Go Shopping!
  5. The (preliminary) results: OMG! OMG! OMG! The Fat Lady Can Dance?
  6. Suspension Tuning – Part 1: The Fat Lady’s Got Slammed
  7. Suspension Tuning – Part 1 (Results): There’s a first time for everything…