Boing Boing Boing - Bouncy Front End - Yamaha FJR Forum : Yamaha FJR Owners Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2020, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Boing Boing Boing - Bouncy Front End

Gents,

Yesterday I met up with FJR NewOn2 (Steve) from near my area. He wanted me to take a look at his FJR because he's experiencing strange handling characteristics. He bought the bike used. It's a 2014. Pretty bike.

It's been a long time since I've my my big Feejies, so I'm here to seek counsel.

The tires are PR4s and in good shape. The pressures are ok and he's not a big guy. The steering head bearings feel good.

He said that when he got the bike, the clickers were all maxxed tight and he thinks the previous owner may have been a big boy. As he noticed some wonky handling, he said he put all the clickers back to stock. That's what I would have done, too.

When I threw a leg over the bike, I could tell right away that the front is so squishy and bounces almost like a rocking chair. The back is set on soft, but feels pretty firm. The front feels bouncy soft. When I rode it around the mall parking lot, it requires a hefty PUSH to get it to turn, and then it's fighting you to stand back up.

Yeah, that's not like any FJR I remember. My son thought the previous owner may have lost oil from the fork or something, but the bike doesn't look like it's been abused at all.

Now, I suck at suspensions and I have guys I depend on for track and dirt... but for street I've used Traxxion Dynamics and they are good at setting things up and shipping 'em to you.

So, as I look for a local suspension guru to send Steve to... can anybody think of some tips for him?

Thanks!!

* * Just hanging around until I can ride with Petey, Mack and Rock again. Never forgotten. * *
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2020, 08:05 PM
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First determine exactly how many grooves are showing on the preload adjusters. I'd start with about 3 grooves showing. Then I'd take a hard look at the compression and rebound damping settings. I guess this is what you referred to as the 'clickers'. If the forks are leaking it should be quite apparent after a close inspection. Repeating bounce from front end after initial compression of forks is a sign of to soft of rebound damping at the top end. The lower ones adjust open/close to set the resistance to sudden compression at the lower end. You test this by simply applying the front brake and thrusting down on the front end. Just for initial feel of course. Only a test ride can confirm final adjustment. I've actually gotten pretty good over the years just static adjusting by feel and observing how the compression rebound behaves.
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Last edited by RobertO2016; 09-04-2020 at 08:16 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2020, 10:16 PM
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Fork springs are progressive, squishy if preload not cranked almost all the way in, if not all the way (good for say 175 lb. rider).

Damping should be set at 8 clicks out to start, not the squishy Yamaha 12. Rear shock better at 7, eventually likely end up at 6 clicks out.

Doubtful he lost fork oil unless a seal is leaking, but you'd see that all over the front brake pads/rotors if it did. Loss would be minimal anyway, it always looks worse than it is. Certainly didn't lose enough to affect function.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaYzerman View Post
Fork springs are progressive, squishy if preload not cranked almost all the way in, if not all the way (good for say 175 lb. rider).

Damping should be set at 8 clicks out to start, not the squishy Yamaha 12. Rear shock better at 7, eventually likely end up at 6 clicks out.

Doubtful he lost fork oil unless a seal is leaking, but you'd see that all over the front brake pads/rotors if it did. Loss would be minimal anyway, it always looks worse than it is. Certainly didn't lose enough to affect function.
Thanks for that, RaY. We'll look into that.

* * Just hanging around until I can ride with Petey, Mack and Rock again. Never forgotten. * *
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE:

I wanted to bring this thread back to report:

I just dropped my son's dirt bike off at my suspension guy. I barely remembered to ask him if he ever heard from that FJR guy that was the subject of this post...

Haha, yes you could say there was something wrong with his fork alright! My suspension guy reached into a box and showed me what was left of the damper rod inside the fork. I should have snapped a picture, but just imagine a coat hanger after being trampled at a horse race. The previous owner must have had it apart and didn't get the damper rod installed properly and it was just bouncing around in there getting wadded up and tangled in the spring. Thankfully the new owner (FJR NewOn2, I think) has it all corrected now, by a very respected suspension guy in my area. Happy ending. Bike should feel MUCH better now!

(This is why I PAY people to do my suspensions, because I'm a suspension BOOB.)

* * Just hanging around until I can ride with Petey, Mack and Rock again. Never forgotten. * *
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 03:44 PM
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Hey Liquidsilver,

Yes, the rebound adjustment rod was wound up in the fork like a coils spring - no dampening on that leg at all and I don't think the other one was much better. Someone made a mess when they serviced the forks previously!
Shock guy (Jim) is awesome and had to get a 2016 cartridge (2014 part no longer available from Yamaha) and modified the adjuster to work on the 2014. He fully rebuilt the forks with new straight rate springs and Gold Valve kit from Racetech.
It is like a different bike now! Being so new to street bikes I didn't even realize just how bad it was. Just taking a gentle curve on the highway previously required thought and effort, now its like the bike is telepathic compared to before the fix.
One or both of the forks has a bit of an audible squeak but Jim said he would take care of it no problem - still holding out for some more riding weather before I tear it down again, not a big deal as I will be doing full inspection and maintenance over the winter.
REALLY love the bike now!!

Thanks much for the recommendation!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 03:50 PM
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FYI, RaceTech and Traxxion have plastic fork spring guides that keep the springs centered and that may be the source of your squeak (springs rubbing on side walls of fork tube). RaceTech is proud of theirs, while Traxxions (if bought with the spring kit at least) are a bargoon IMHO.
I still can't imagine how someone would screw up a cartridge that bad. Like, how is that even done? Oh well, glad you got it sorted out.

Ray
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 04:49 PM
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Do you know if the squeak ever goes away, or can be rectified - or is it a "live with it" thing?

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-27-2020, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJR NewOn2 View Post
Do you know if the squeak ever goes away, or can be rectified - or is it a "live with it" thing?
Not knowing what kind of squeak it is... I guess I'd let Jim at Shock Zone give it a listen. He's forgotten more about suspensions than I will ever know.
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* * Just hanging around until I can ride with Petey, Mack and Rock again. Never forgotten. * *
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-28-2020, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaYzerman View Post
FYI, RaceTech and Traxxion have plastic fork spring guides that keep the springs centered and that may be the source of your squeak (springs rubbing on side walls of fork tube). RaceTech is proud of theirs, while Traxxions (if bought with the spring kit at least) are a bargoon IMHO.
I still can't imagine how someone would screw up a cartridge that bad. Like, how is that even done? Oh well, glad you got it sorted out.
What I was thinking. We need a pic of what he's talking about firstly. I thought about the cartridge rod jam nut coming loose, causing the cartridge rod to unscrew itself from the cap, dropping down to the bottom of it's travel, thus exposing the thin adjustment rod to the spring, then getting bent, popping out of the adjuster cap and getting twisted like a pretzel from that point. Dunno.
Then there is the possibility that he didn't even have a jam nut on it, or it wasn't connected to the cap in the first place. lol.

I've been eyeing those Traction Dynamics and Race Tech internals for a while now. I have the Gold Valves in my ZRX1200 forks and it feels like it's on rails in the turns. I can imagine how an FJR feels with the works in the front end.

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