Suspension on the 14 - Kawasaki Forum :: KawasakiWorld.com
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-31-2012, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Suspension on the 14

My 2006 had a severely weak rear spring. I got a stronger spring, and it worked great. The forks on the 14 were fine, but this time around I'm thinking about something a bit different. I did respring the 2003 forks and I Loved it.

From snooping around here in UAE, I've found several shops that are extremely capable of setting up my suspension, and/or upgrading. There is an avid group of track riders in Dubai, and a Sweet track at MotorCity.

I'm just looking for any feedback or experience with the 14s suspension. I've looked into reworking the stocker, but I am not sure of the time and effort involved. For the rear, I will probably buy a complete plug and play shock. As for the forks, once my truck arrives, I will pull them off and have them resprung and valved(if I still feel the need for it).

The endgame is to get a better feel for the road and have some room for adjustment. Street riding 100% with the ability to soak up some of the huge frickin' speedbumps? Possible? I just don't feel like I am 'in touch' with what the bike is doing....maybe the overall height compared to my 2006? Tires maybe...never had Bridgestones. Steering damper on the '06???

I'm frickin' clueless, but I still think I should have a better feel for the road than I have now. It's really hard to explain.
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post #2 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 04:40 AM
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Suspension Update

For those that remember several months ago I embarked on a project to upgrade the suspension on my ZX 14R 2012. Standard the suspension was IMO sub-standard, the front suspension had a sag out of the box of around 54mm while the rear was somewhat better, wallowing and then harshness when the dampening was turned up to control the wallow. With gear I weigh around 126 Kg.
I started by buying a second hand set of forks from the US, I then purchased some Racetech 11n/mm springs & some 20mm Ohlins supersport valves. While I had them apart to do the machining for the ABS I had both fork legs re-chromed & the bottoms powder coated, once reassembled you could not tell them from new except for the colour difference. I had the fork oil changed to a 10 wt to allow for the extra dampening required for the stiffer springs.
I then removed the existing forks & replaced them with the upgraded ones. Immediately the problems with the rear suspension were apparent, so a Penske 8983 was ordered, this was matched to the machine & my weight at no extra cost from Hardracing/Penske.
After fitting the new shock, on the first ride it was like the bike had been transformed from a harsh wallowy ride into a plush controlled ride, & while some tweaking of the suspension has been necessary ie setting sag, rebound & compression settings (which actually do something now) all the time it has been improving, & now I beleive it is exactly were it needs to be for the performance of the bike. The bike is now much more responsive to road surface irregularities & has a much more planted feel. There is no more running wide & I am much more able to change lines mid corner. ie It now steers where I want it to go!
For those considering suspension upgrades for this bike I say JUST DO IT The cost to do this was around $1800.00 aus but would be considerably less if you were to use your existing forks. I still have my original forks sitting untouched in a packing box.
IMO this has been well worth the money spent, the bike is now a joy to ride, & I beleive tyre life will also improve as the suspension is keeping the tyres in contact with the black stuff more consistently. The bike is now easier to ride & safer on poor roads.



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post #3 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Neil, THANK YOU for the insight. I've already got my next upgrade locked in, which is the exhaust...unless it falls thru. I upgraded the fork springs and rear shock spring on the zx12, only did the rear spring on the 2006 14. After reading your input, it is moving to the top of my list. I will likely do the exact same setup as you are using. Luckily for me, there are some professionals nearby that can help me tune it.

For those reading, 126kg is 276 pounds...which is about the same as what I am now. Running wide, wallow, and the inability to change lines sounds Exactly like my 2012. I still need to do some tweaking to get more out of the stock setup until I get this work done. On a side note, the salesman here thought I was nuts when I adjusted all the 'factory' settings and tightened all bolts before I rode the bike home for the first time.
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post #4 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 10:37 AM
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You guys go right ahead and waste your money.The 14r is set up awsum from the factory.I have the race tech conversion on my 12r and the 14r is way better out of the box.Get it thru your heads these are not liter/ repli-racers .They are big fat fast pigs.Your asking the bike to do something it can not.When your sliding on your ass waiting to hit think of me telling you to forget it.nnnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

2000 zx12r 60,500 mile( Now 0 mile 2003 brand new engine} street bike 9.6`s in the 1/4 a few times.My 2012 14r stole me away.9.1 so far..Now my H2 piss`s on everything.It tried to flip me shifting into 3rd gear.
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post #5 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Just curious, Mark...how much do you weigh?

And how can you tell a guy that has already set up his suspension that its a waste of money? Please, let me know what my favorite color is while you are at it.

My rear shock on the 2006 was maxed out and wallowed from day one...the 2012 feels almost as bad. As for the forks, they are not pissing me off like the rear shock. The ZX12 is not even part of the equation---I upgraded it too.

Where do you get this from?
Quote:
Get it thru your heads these are not liter/ repli-racers
I realize that I have a fat-beast, with a fat beast sitting on top of it. I also realize that I've got enough miles under my belt to know that this "out of the box" suspension sucks balls from my standpoint. I'm not delusional about thinking I will turn this bike into an Exacto knife... that is not my endgame anyway. I have enough riding experience to know that I want more 'communication' with pavement, more feedback, and more response. The best information I get now is 'numb' at best. I was really hoping it was more of a tire issue(not real familiar with these bridgestones) than full on suspension...but physics are hard to argue.

Neil, what year part numbers did you use? Everything from 2011 charts fit? Any other issues I need to be aware of?
Thanks
L2m

Last edited by lie2me; 09-01-2012 at 12:06 PM.
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post #6 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 12:04 PM
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Have you tried setting the sag and fiddling with the adjusters?
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post #7 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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This will sound stupid, but no I haven't. The rear shock is still at factory(minus full preload). I adjusted the forks to the same settings as my 2006(forks feel good to me). When I have a bit of time, I will see what I can do before spending money. I'm going to take it back to factory settings and start over. Suspension is obviously not my strong suit. I don't have enough faith in the stock rear shock to think it will make much difference, but I hope I am wrong.
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post #8 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by lie2me View Post
Just curious, Mark...how much do you weigh?

And how can you tell a guy that has already set up his suspension that its a waste of money? Please, let me know what my favorite color is while you are at it.

My rear shock on the 2006 was maxed out and wallowed from day one...the 2012 feels almost as bad. As for the forks, they are not pissing me off like the rear shock. The ZX12 is not even part of the equation---I upgraded it too.

Where do you get this from?

I realize that I have a fat-beast, with a fat beast sitting on top of it. I also realize that I've got enough miles under my belt to know that this "out of the box" suspension sucks balls from my standpoint. I'm not delusional about thinking I will turn this bike into an Exacto knife... that is not my endgame anyway. I have enough riding experience to know that I want more 'communication' with pavement, more feedback, and more response. The best information I get now is 'numb' at best. I was really hoping it was more of a tire issue(not real familiar with these bridgestones) than full on suspension...but physics are hard to argue.

Neil, what year part numbers did you use? Everything from 2011 charts fit? Any other issues I need to be aware of?
Thanks
L2m
140 pounds......look these bikes weigh 150 pounds too much....end of story.......just buy a zx10r and get it over with..they are magnificent .the right tool for the right job...the zx14r owns the street.that is what it was made for....it does`nt feel like it`s gonna break in half when you hit road imperfections like liter bikes.liter bikes where made to road race on smooth as glass tracks not shitty state roads and hyways.they beat you up riding them out there.........i ride all kinds of sport bikes.i learn a lot from it.

2000 zx12r 60,500 mile( Now 0 mile 2003 brand new engine} street bike 9.6`s in the 1/4 a few times.My 2012 14r stole me away.9.1 so far..Now my H2 piss`s on everything.It tried to flip me shifting into 3rd gear.
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post #9 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lie2me View Post
This will sound stupid, but no I haven't. The rear shock is still at factory(minus full preload). I adjusted the forks to the same settings as my 2006(forks feel good to me). When I have a bit of time, I will see what I can do before spending money. I'm going to take it back to factory settings and start over. Suspension is obviously not my strong suit. I don't have enough faith in the stock rear shock to think it will make much difference, but I hope I am wrong.
what sag vale do you have at full preload?
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post #10 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 01:22 PM
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140 pounds......look these bikes weigh 150 pounds too much....end of story.......just buy a zx10r and get it over with..they are magnificent .the right tool for the right job...the zx14r owns the street.that is what it was made for....it does`nt feel like it`s gonna break in half when you hit road imperfections like liter bikes.liter bikes where made to road race on smooth as glass tracks not shitty state roads and hyways.they beat you up riding them out there.........i ride all kinds of sport bikes.i learn a lot from it.
^what's up with this guy?
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post #11 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by lie2me View Post
Just curious, Mark...how much do you weigh?

Neil, what year part numbers did you use? Everything from 2011 charts fit? Any other issues I need to be aware of?
Thanks
L2m
I used 2007 forks, but any year is OK. The reason I didnt upgrade my existing forks was because Ohlins could not reliably inform me if the 20mm supersport valves would fit.
As for our friend that beleives it is a waste of money to upgrade suspension, he obviously doesnt ride on the type of roads that I do. Different strokes for different folks!



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post #12 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 02:16 PM
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Have you tried setting the sag and fiddling with the adjusters?
Out of the box, with the compression adjusters wound all the way in (no lines showing) I had 46mm of sag. The bike had around 300Kms on it so it was only going to get worse. My suspension guy told me Kawasaki only upgraded the front springs to .95n/mm from the earlier version which had .9n/mm springs. These might be OK for a 95Kg rider, but that would make the rear over sprung for that weight. Kawasaki are known for not spending money on suspension (not a complaint, but a statement) This is now my 4th big bore Kawasaki in a row, and I have spent money on the suspension on all of them.
I still beleive it was money well spent, as it transforms the handling of them!



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post #13 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 05:39 PM
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^what's up with this guy?
stating the facts........fat is fat any way you look at it.........if these guys were educated on motorcycles they would`nt throw gas on a fire.sure you can put an Ohlins fork and shock for 4000 fucking dollars on a 14r but a liter bike is gonna go right around you and your scraping sparks.knock yourself out.Why not buy a used 2011 zx10r.If you have`nt rode one you are gonna love it.......

2000 zx12r 60,500 mile( Now 0 mile 2003 brand new engine} street bike 9.6`s in the 1/4 a few times.My 2012 14r stole me away.9.1 so far..Now my H2 piss`s on everything.It tried to flip me shifting into 3rd gear.
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post #14 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Mark has been around this site for a long time, he's always got excellent insight on anything with two wheels, but Mark, I still completely disagree with you on this one.

If I didn't look like a monkey f*cking a football, I'd have an R6 or R1. Big fella like me will not commit to a bike that size unless it is a track only bike. The smallest bike I have ever riden was a gixxer6...would never own something that small...But DAMN it was a riot. That kind of weight on a bike would surely get me killed...it was like a mountain bike with a turbo. What a blast.

Thanks for the insight. Gonna be February before I start on the suspension, till then I will set up what I have, the best that I can.
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post #15 of 28 Old 09-01-2012, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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sure you can put an Ohlins fork and shock for 4000 fucking dollars on a 14r but a liter bike is gonna go right around you and your scraping sparks.
No intentions on spending $4k...not even close to it.

I'm looking at spending over $1800 for a full exhaust and pcv....the 14 doesn't need that either. It's all about what I want out of my motorcycle.

2011 ZX10r sounds really sweet...do they make them in 2XL?

Quote:
what sag vale do you have at full preload?
I have not set the sag. I know it is the first step, but the rest I have to figure out on the internet. Once the weather cools a bit here I will have make a trip to Dubai and pick the brains of guys who know what they are doing. From day one of owning the Big Kaws, I started with stock settings and just tinkered with it until if felt right. I've got a much better chance at screwing it up than most, so I write everything down, and go back and forth until if does what I want it too.
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