GSXR Woes – the Continuation

Up the Mountain

About 3 months after buying the bike, my wife and I took a trip to Cameron Highlands. The bike’s engine was fantastic. There was ample power everywhere and at any time. Big cc engines are nice! It did not matter at which gear I wanted to over take. Overtaking is just a twist of the wrist.

The section up the mountain from Simpang Pulai to Cameron Highlands was a stretch of well paved sweepers. It had been ages since I last rode a proper motorcycle and cornered, so I was naturally apprehensive. More importantly, the dearest person in my life is riding pillion on the bike – very precious cargo on board.

Boh Tea Plantation at Cameron Highlands

It turned out that due to the superb engine, riding up the mountain was similar to riding a scooter. In the end, I left it in either 3rd or 4th and just rolled on and off the throttle. As for cornering, on hindsight, I realised now that the suspension was probably set up too hard so it was tiring on the arms, waist and legs with too much feedback coming from the road. However, I enjoyed the ride towards the end and was rather happy by the time we got to the hotel.

Lighting Gremlins and Other Issues

After our return home, it was time for her oil change. I decided to ask the Suzuki Agent to do quite a bit in addition to the oil change. I got them to adjust the valve clearances, overhauled the brakes, stripped the suspension linkages and wheel spindles to clean and grease everything etc…

After the bike was done, the lighting gremlins returned. Her headlights would not light up or did so once in a while. What’s more, when I wanted to ride back to the workshop the next day, petrol started pouring from the tank as soon as my key is switched on and the fuel pump started!

Dumping Fuel

It turned out that the fuel hose was worn and had to be replaced (Suzuki Agent replaced it FOC out of goodwill…nice of them). However, the lighting gremlins continued despite the workshop’s best efforts. After running out of options, I printed out the wiring diagram and traced the wires that had to do with the headlights (low beam). With my dad’s help, we removed EVERY terminal from the connectors behind the right fairing, cleaned them with a fine sand paper and reconnected them.

During the clean up, we discovered some burnt wires and poorly connected wires which my dad helped to solder and connect. Whoever did this wiring splicing and tapping in the first place did a disgraceful job.

We started by choosing the lazy way out – tapping the connectors, moving the wires around and trying to secure them with zip ties. However, there was no way to solve the problem except by stripping the terminals and cleaning them one by one. Very tedious but it solved the problem once and for all.

Burnt Connector

I also performed some simple servicing on my own. I changed the air filter, fitted in new spark plugs, removed and greased the foot brake and gear pedals (almost no one thinks to do this). The hand brake levers and clutch levers were also cleaned and greased. The front calipers were also removed, cleaned up a bit and greased with copper grease in the appropriate places. It is quite amazing what simple servicing can do the improve the feel of the brakes.

Suspension Settings

The bike’s speedometer is showing 171,112kms but she goes like a rocket. There is so much power for the road that it is just ridiculous. Weighing at only 170kg dry, she is one of the lightest big bikes I’ve owned. I’ve spent the previous months of ownership adjusting and fretting over the suspension settings. I have always been very particular about suspension settings for sportsbikes. Why? Because if you own a sportsbike, you are going to: 1) Go Fast and 2) Corner. You need to be in controlled at all times and suspension plays a big part. If you are scared of the bike, you cannot enjoy the ride right?

When I first got the bike from the last owner, the bike was the most uncomfortable motorcycle that I have ever ridden. Her suspension was very harsh and every bump on the road was transferred to my body. It was killing me. After much fretting over the settings, I realised that the last owner was a dumb ass. He has increased the rear preload so much that the suspension does not move at all! I suspect that he did that  in order to achieve the “pointy-tail-up-in-the-sky” look. This is so dumb. With no suspension movement in the rear, the rear tyre may not be able to get in contact with the road when the bike is leaned over and slide. Rider may end up in a crash. The thing is that I see bikes now and then with such set ups. I can only shake my head in wonder.

Anyway, after adjusting and keeping track of every adjustment, I have finally come to a comprised setting for my typical road riding conditions, which is mainly city riding and some highway travel. The setting is slightly on the soft side for comfort and ease of turning the bike. For high speed riding and fast cornering, I suspect that the preload on both ends will have to wound up 1 “stop” harder.

The following is the set up that I have decided on for now:

Front:

  • Tyre Pressure: 34.5psi (std is 36psi)
  • Preload: 5 lines showing (std is 4 lines showing)
  • Compression (bottom): 10 clicks from all in (std: 10 clicks)
  • Rebound (top): 7 clicks from all in (std: 6 clicks)

Rear:

  • Tyre Pressure: 39psi (std: 42psi)
  • Preload – rider sag: 32mm and reduce by 1 turn softer (I measured at 32 and then felt that 1 turn softer works better) (std: 177mm length of spring – dunno how u gonna measure this)
  • Compression (top): 8 clicks from all in (std: 8 clicks)
  • Rebound (bottom): 7 clicks from all in (std: 7 clicks)

I doubt that the rear shock has been opened and serviced before, but the truth is that the adjustments on both front and rear suspension works well and every click or turn makes a difference. I am quite happy now at this setting for daily use and a bit of cornering whenever I have a safe chance to do so. I weigh 75kg.

Feel free to try out these settings, but every rider has their own preference and the road conditions and riding styles may require different settings. It is always good to start out with the manufacturer’s settings and work from there. Make one adjustment at a time and see how it works. Record them and your comments and continue from there.

I found the following guide to be very useful and informative:

http://www.gostar-racing.com/information/motorcycle_suspension_set-up.htm

Finally, a sorted GSXR1000 K1. All maintenance done and set up for riding.
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