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Should I Lower Front Suspension Or Not

2622 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  bogie
So I finally got the bike I've always wanted and am in the middle of a pretty good build on the whole bike. Trying to sort out a few things before purchase and hoped to get some advice from you guys with far more seat time on these than me.

I am finally getting the bike setup how I want it and what I have that may influence the decision on this topic is an '09 DX with Metzeler ME880 120/70ZR-19 Front & 260/40R18 Rear on BST wheels. I just got in my Arnott air ride system for the rear and want to improve the front stock suspension. I looked at upgrading to aftermarket inverted forks but did not feel, after reading a lot on here as well, that the price of admission for those would really gain much. Please correct me if I'm wrong there. So after reading a lot what I had kind of settled on was either replace springs and fluid in the forks with Progressive brand or with Racetech Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators with a pair of Hi-Performance Springs from them. I am also trying to decide if I go with the lowering model of each of these since I am going with the air ride in the rear or stick with standard height in the front. I know I will give up a little more in handling if I lower the front say 1" but am also wanting the bike to look right/balanced.

As a little background and as to where I am hopefully looking to be at with this bike, I have been riding cruisers (bobbed out) for the last 10+ years or so but rode sport bikes for about 15 years prior to that. I still love getting on twisty roads and a decent handling bike but too damn old and fat for sport bikes any more. The V-Rod always impressed me as a good blend between these worlds and so far I am beyond impressed and absolutely love this bike and the torque! I am also prepping to finally fulfill a lifelong dream of riding Deal's Gap and other area roads late this summer. I am hoping to get this all built, sorted and some good seat time before riding the dragon. I know this isn't the best handling bike and with a 260 rear. It's the bike I always wanted so I am trying to make all the improvements that make the most sense for what I am trying to get out of it and appreciate any advice.
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Front suspension

Personally I would not have inverted forks on my V-rod because of the limited travel and high maintenance required to keep seals from leaking. A little leak from an upside down seal quickly depletes the fluid from the forks. My Triumph Rocket III has them. It does wheeley from time to time which takes the seals out in a hurry.:)
Up grade your stock forks and call it good.
Keep stock height front, did that to my own -07 dx but running
internals from PS & gold valves. Nice combo at low cost.
Arnott rear myself too, pump them to max when curving thru turns will give you an
extra 1/2-1" ground clearance at rear and reducing scraping pegs. Helps steering too.
Drop the air (12" or so) and it looks cool as h¤¤l.
Alternative to lower the front: raise tubes thru top three..
Good luck with project, post pictures.
I wouldn't lower, but if I did on an X I would simply cut the spring. Even not lowered the X isn't going to generate the lean angle or have the suspension travel that using things like gold valves will make much difference. I'd just cut the spring, play with fluid levels and play with fluid viscosity. Would most definitely not do the progressives.

I could see spending some money on parts if chasing an issue, but all the VRODS are stable at their limits, so I would not spend the bigger money and go with old school adjustments for comfort. JMHO
On my old bike I put lowered shocks on the rear. Lean angle changed a little bit but not as bad as I was worried about. A couple of months later did the front the lean angle changed ALOT and the bike didn't look much different. I would recommend upgrading to the progressive stock height springs and heavy duty HD fork oil though. Really cut down on dive when braking.

Thanks guys. That is exactly what I was guessing but don't have the knowledge yet on these bikes ya'll do. I was thinking keep stock height in front and upgrade but I was worried it would look odd when I'm just cruising around town lowered in the rear with the Arnotts. Sounds like that's not exactly the case.

I was hoping that it may look ok stock height front and then I could even raise a bit in the rear to help when in the curves. Just didn't want to waste money buying the wrong height fronts and then have to buy another set to make it right.
Yea killerVRod that is one thing I am trying to fix with an oil upgrade is the dive in the front. The dual brembos really stop this thing well but the dive needs to be improved. The rear brakes really don't seem that good but that's another topic.
You can really help dive with higher fluid level.

Edit: You can increase spring rate rise without buying progressive springs by increasing fluid level. That said, it is critical to determine what the maximum level is such that you don't hydraulic lock and overpressure your seals. You need to keep a small air chamber even with the fork fully compressed. This requires measuring the inner diameter of your fork and converting it into a height volume measurement. You need to weigh the spring and calculate it's total volume. 1 fl oz of steel weighs 8.24 ounces. E.g. a 3 pound spring will equal 5.82 fl ounces. Convert this number to height in your tube and you will know how much room you need for the spring. Add about .1" for air chamber and you have a max oil height. Once you have the max go ahead and go to that level. Odds are it will be too progressive and you will subsequently lower it, which you can do incrementally.
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Copy that formula Mike. Thanks

What is it about progressives you don't like on these bikes?
Let's just say real suspension tuners use flat rate springs. Progressive gives you nothing that properly adjusting oil weight and volume won't. More a marketing gimmick than anything else. Guys change springs and change oil while in there. They then attribute the new feel (altered damping) to the spring rather than the real change, which is the oil. Progressive is happy to take the credit when it isn't really their product that the customer feels.
RaceTech make/match spring with your weight.
Wilber makes good springs too.
This is probably gonna be my next upgrade too
RaceTech make/match spring with your weight.
Wilber makes good springs too.
This is probably gonna be my next upgrade too
Now were talkin. A custom spring matched to your weight and riding style to give the correct amount of rate and sag. Now that's proper suspension tuning.
I will give Racetech a call and see what they come up with.

The other product I came across that looks interesting is the Traxxion cartridge/spring setup they can make for these bikes. Any thoughts on that product?
I have the Arnott Air Suspension in rear, Progressive Springs up front. Just had the Metzeler ME880 260mm rear and 120 fronts delivered along with Galfer Wave Rotors/EBC pads. If you're going to set up your ride, might as well do it right. The front Progressive Springs helped nose dive like day and night..You will be glad you did it!
Another option are cartridge forks, Traxxion dynamics do a kit for the VRod. Myself and many others on here use them very successfully after trying all the other options and wanting more...

I tried an oil change at first but it didn't have the effect I wanted so went for the Traxxion kit, it came setup for my bike and my weight. Absolutely transformed the front end and have been faultless since, now 5 years and plus 20k miles they are still the same.

Not cheap, but similar fork internals to what most high end performance bikes come with these days.....

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