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Discussion Starter #1
UPDATED 10/5/04

it seems as though alot of us SV'ers are not satisfied with the stock suspension. we are always tweeking this, adding that, or replacing everything!

so i thought it was high time someone wrote a little guide for those who are planning to upgrade their forks, or just want more information on what their options are. i am not an EXPERT or a PROFESSIONAL, but suspension is something that really interests me so i read books, watch dvd's, and discuss it on these boards whenever i get a chance.

DISCLAIMER: anything you do with these instructions and advice is purely your choice and i claim no responsiblity :lol: i will correct any erroneous info i post, just let me know.
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STOCK FORKS:
the stock forks are something that was stuck onto the sv to meet its pricepoint. they had to cut corners somewhere, and the forks (and rear shock) helped them do that. they are basically a very low-tech damping mechanism. they are whats called damper rod forks.

damper rod forks are named after the damper rod (duh), which is a tube inside of the forks at the bottom end of them. they have 4 holes drilled into them that oil flows in and out of (5 counting the small top hole). as you apply the brake or let off the gas abruptly, the oil in the forks is pressed through the damper rod holes. the faster you brake, the faster the oil gets pressed through the holes. the damping effect comes into play when only so much oil can get through the holes at one time and its creates the effect of slowing the dive. has to do something with hydraulics, but im not gonna get too technical here.

the rate the oil gets pushed through is determined by a few things:
#1: the weight of the fork oil (the heavier the oil, the more damping)
#2: the stiffness of the springs (the stiffer the springs, the less likely they are to compress)
#3: the size of the actual damper rod holes
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STOCK FORK PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
the stock forks come sprung really soft from the factory, and its very hard to get correct sag numbers from them for a rider of more than 150lbs. they also suffer from watery fork oil. i believe its 5wt from the factory, but i know for a fact that its not more than 10wt. these two things when performing in concert, add up to a severely divey front end. if youve ever had to stop suddenly, you will definitely notice the huge dive from stock SV forks, maybe they even bottom out. and forks SHOULD actually dive, but not as much and as uncontrolled as the SV's do.

there are serveral routes you can take to fix these problems.

#1: stiffer springs. these help by giving the forks more dive resistance.
the most popular fork spring maker for the SV would be racetech ( www.racetech.com , they also offer svrider.com members a 20% discount on parts pruchased through them when you mention that you're a member and give them your member name). you can answer a few questions on their website and they give you the proper spring rate for your weight.

#2: thicker fork oil. thicker oil will basically give you more damping because less of it can flow through the damping holes at any given time.
fork oil comes in many brands, i use bel-ray 20wt. i would suggest 20wt or heavier oil, though you will probably wanna play around till you find out what combination you like best.

#3: the racetech goldvalve emulator. the racetech emulator is a device that attempts to partially turn your forks into a more modern cartridge-style fork by giving you compression adjustability. basically, you drill out the holes in the damper rod until they are useless as a tool for damping. this turns over control to the emulator, which sits atop your damper rod. when combined with a stiffer spring and thicker oil, it is a very effective tool in combating severe nose dive.

the combination of all three is a great setup for everything from commuting to canyon carving to even racing! some people even say that the goldvalve emulator is not really needed, even for racetrack use.

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FORK SWAPS
the problem with the above setup is not really its LACK of adjustability, but its EASE of adjustability. controlling compression (assuming you have the emulator) requires you to put your bike up on a triple tree stand or hang it so the wheel is suspended, take the fork caps off, use some sort of magnetic device to get the emulator out of the fork, adjust it, put it back in, and seal everything up. to adjust rebound, you have to REPLACE the fork oil, which requires either a vacuum of sorts, or removal of the forks and dumping the oil out. THEN you have to factor in what your different oil did to your compression settings on your goldvalve. this would start to be a pain in the ass, especially if you are at the track and you need to adjust your stuff on-the-fly. which leads me to what alot of SV'er are turning to: fork swaps.

people turn to fork swaps because of the ease of adjustability. need to adjust rebound damping a little? turn that little knob with a flathead screwdriver. same goes for compression, turn a little knob with a flathead and find a nice spot you like. what you get as an added bonus (in a swap from more modern bikes at least) is better brakes, and sometimes inverted forks, which have their own bonus list. there is also another route to go, which i havent done too much research on, which is swapping the internals and lowers of the stock SV forks, for honda f3 internals, which are cartridge style. i wont go too much into this because i dont know much about it yet.

Theoretically, you can put damn near any fork you want onto the SV. zx6rr's, gsxr's, r1's, etc etc...almost all will require the entire front end; forks, triples, wheel, rotors, brakes, clipons, fender....

the most common would be the gsxr forks. out of the gsxr forks, the two most commonly used for swaps are 96-99 SRAD 750 forks, and the 00-03 750 forks. they are both USD (upside down) forks made by showa. the 00-03 forks are known to be some of the best stock forks ever put on a bike (besides european ohlins bikes). theyare cartridge style forks, which basically have two different valves that control compression and rebound.

speaking only for the 00-03 gsxr 750/1000 fork swap, the 99-02 will need some modification (read below), the 03 and im pretty sure the 04 as well, i cant get ahold of the fiche files to confirm this, need no modification whatsoever, they will bolt right up to it.

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ISSUES WITH SWAPS
there are a few issues you will be dealing with if you decide to go the swap route:
#1. the 99-02 sv needs either a special steering head bearing for the gsxr swap, or you can braze material onto the existing bearing. TWF (look his name up in the member directory) sells the bearing you will need. this will be the case for alot of fork swaps.
#2. you will lose your front drive speedo. recently someone figuired out how to refit the speedo drive onto the rear wheel. heres the link:
http://www.socalsvriders.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10167
the exception would be the R1 front end, it retains speedo use.
#3. if you have a naked, you will need a place to remount your speedo and headlight. if you work good with metal, this should be a breeze, if not, you probably want to contact a fabricator shop to have them bust you out some bracketry.
#4. most of the swap forks are shorter than the stock forks. for this reason, the bike will tip in faster than before. trail is not an issue though, because the sv has tons to spare.
#5. some people will say that you have to revalve the swapped forks for them to actually work alot better than the stock forks. this is not true, BUT, there is always room for improvement.
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COST
stock fork stuff_______________________
fork oil: 4-5 bucks, depending on brand.
racetech springs: 100 bucks (~90 shipped with the svrider discount)
racetech goldvalve emulators: 130ish, you can find used ones sometimes.
pre-drilled and brazed damper rod from traxxion dynamics: 100 bucks.
whole package from traxxion (springs, oil, traxxion damper rod, emulators, labor) 450 bucks plus shipping. basically you send them your forks and they upgrade them for you.

swap fork costs________________________
forks: 175-600
wheel and rotors: 170-300
brake calipers and controls: 50-100
triples: 40-70
fender: 50-80
axle: 20?
steering head bearing: 55?
special gsxr wheel tool: 10-24 (depends on your make and model of front end, you can either get a huge alan key [19-27mm] or a gsxr wheel tool off ebay, look for a seller named komodo draggin)
entire front end (recommended): 600-900

ebay is your friend for parts. so are boards like this and racing boards, racers love getting new stuff and parting out old bikes, and you can reap the benifits of this if you just troll around race message boards.

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SWAP COMPATABILITY LIST:
wheels:
00-03 GSXR750 wheel will fit in:
--00-03 GSXR600 forks
--00-03 GSXR750 forks
--01-03 GSXR1000 forks

triples:
96-04 GSXR750 triples can hold:
--basically any forks that have 50mm tops with 54mm main tubes
(to be continued)
have fun.
 

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Thank you chrdog. It's nice to have all this information in one place.
 

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I have a 04 SVs and was looking at front end swaps on eBay - will a 2004 GSXR 1000 install just like the 750? I like the gold forks :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
yes, but 1000 forks are different brand (kayaba), and are not said to be as good as 750 forks. you will spend alot of money of the 04 swap becasue its so new. you will have more trouble finding the parts because theres less going around. the only difference between 00-03 and 04+ is the radial brakes/radial master, sv cant even go fast enough to utilize those :cry:
 

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Good Stuff Chrdog !
Thanks for sharing, excellent info.
As for me, I'm going the cheap springs and oil route first...we'll see from there.
 
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Good job man...very helpfull for everyone im sure.

1) Has anyone tried installing honda nissin calipers on ther gsxr front end?
I heard that with minimal modification this can be done

2)Will any displacement gsxr 00-03 front wheel fit any other gsxr front end from 00-03?

3)Will my Glafer brake lines and master cylinder and lever from my svs 03 fit the gsxr(02 750) tokiko calipers?

4)Someone mentioned the gsxr forks need to be revalved...why.
The gsxr's are similar in wieght to the sv and they are doing the same
Job so provided they are in good condition why would they need to be revalved?

Thanks again for the tutorial and hopefully you can add some of these questions to the post.
 
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Mineral said:
Good job man...very helpfull for everyone im sure.

1) Has anyone tried installing honda nissin calipers on ther gsxr front end?
I heard that with minimal modification this can be done

2)Will any displacement gsxr 00-03 front wheel fit any other gsxr front end from 00-03?

3)Will my Glafer brake lines and master cylinder and lever from my svs 03 fit the gsxr(02 750) tokiko calipers?

4)Someone mentioned the gsxr forks need to be revalved...why.
The gsxr's are similar in wieght to the sv and they are doing the same
Job so provided they are in good condition why would they need to be revalved?

Thanks again for the tutorial and hopefully you can add some of these questions to the post.
1)maybe.mounting points and offset is what needs to be same.in worst case you need plates between calipers and forks.however I dont see point why.
2)yes.03 gsxr1000 rotors are different in size.all others are same.
3)yes.master,lever and lines have nothing to do with calipers.banjo bolt that screws in to caliper may be only difference.some have different tread pitch.
4)they dont.but if you chasing best posible set up it is way to go.it depends on you and your riding ability.
 

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I wouldn't mind changing out my oil just for a mod that's light on the wallet. Now I just need a how-to for that. :)
 
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Can i mount pre 03 gsxr 1000 calipers on my 02 750 front end?

Thanks again!

we need a fitment chart or something..
 

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If I wanted to go the easy route and just change to heavier oil, can I leave the forks on and replace the oil? If so how involved is this and how much tension is on the cap when I unscrew it due to the spring?

ali
 

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Discussion Starter #16
the bike needs support when the caps are off or the front end will crash down on itself. it needs to be supported in some way, whether that be rachet tiedowns tough bike triples and rafters of garage or front end stand etc etc...there cant weight on the front end basically. after that, you still have to get the oil out. chances are you arent going to be able to get all the thin stuff out of there, so when you fill it up again, you will end up with a different weight of oil than you intended. theres also air bubbles and oil level measurement to think about.

i wouldnt really recommend it. just take the forks off and do it the regular way. the first time you do it, it takes a while, but after you've dissasembled your forks a few times, it gets really easy. btw, theres not much pressure on STOCK fork caps.
 

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Thanks for the advice, I'll remove the forks. It might be winter when I work on it which will make having it disassembled and unridable much easier lol. I'm going to splurge on the racetech .85 and use bel ray 20 weight oil. I'm 5'10" 185 so I'm thinking this should help out big time.
 

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I'd say get one of the stands that supports the bike from the swingarm axle, like an Abba or similiar- they're as stable as stands get, and you can suspend both ends (simultaneously, if you want to for some reason). Much easier and safer than a triple-tree stand or jacking the bike on a normal rear-stand.
 

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CBR F3 + SV650 Fork legs info

Seeing as how it hasn't been covered on the list, I'll add a little additional information myself. The CBR F3 fork swap is a much more economical way to swap for forks that work well, offer more adjustability and retain stock functionality for street riders. I considered the GSXR swap, as well as the Emulator valving but in the long run, this one is way better. Especially if you've already got springs suited to your weight in your forks. It does cause a bit of concern for standard SV riders in that they get in the way of your handle bars which necessatates the use of clipons. I purchased a damaged set of forks to do this which saved me $$$ in the long run.

Price for the forks (1996 & 1997 best option) = $165 ebay ($200 - $250 normally)
Damaged forks = $75
Price for the Gold Valve = $111 ebay ($125-$170 normally)
Price for fork springs (same as SV springs) = $65 ebay
New seals = $35 shipped from Traxxion (It pays to take you business where you got most the information and knowledge)
Fork Oil = $12
Clipons = $95
Total = $495

Sell old forks = $200
Stock handlebars = $20
Sell emulators & dampening rods as a set $150
Sell preload adjusters $35

My total price = $88

Putting them together is a simple as the mechanic work to do a fork swap with a few differences. The Gold valve kit comes with a video so it's not hard for an intermediate level mechanic to take care of. The spacers will need to be recut but that's normal, other than that, it's a pretty smooth fork build.

The upside/downside is that they are 1.5 inches longer than the stock SV forks. This allows you more adjustability at the track for tuning but looks a little funny. For me, it allowed a perfect spot to mount my clipons that's not too racy for long rides and lowers the position enough for me. If you want it lower, put them under the triple clamp. The major upside is that I don't have to find a way to mount my headlight assembly or turn signals and I retain my stock speedometer.

Just My 0.02

Pictures to follow soon...
 
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