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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there any consensus on "best bang for your buck" fork or shock upgrades? The brakes and front fork are so bad. I'm seriously considering selling the bike and getting a 5th or 6th gen VFR instead.

I have read that a GSXR front end swap is the way to go, but I've also read that it's a terrible idea. I've read the same thing about GSXR shock, cartridge emulators and everything else.

I'm a fairly good wrench, so I'm not afraid of DIY methods, but cash is a little tight this year, so Ohlins and Pensky are out of the question, at least for now.

I bought a GSXR rear shock a while back, but i have since read that it's basically useless because the oil is worn out, and it can't be replaced. Wouldn't it be better than the gladius rear shock even if it is worn out? I don't actually have any complaints about the shock except that it's way under-sprung when I have a passenger. But I have read that fork upgrades make the rear seem terrible somehow.

I'm a big guy, 245 pounds, and I often strap camping gear to the bike, or take my wife out riding, so spring upgrades and a good range or adjustability are an absolute must, but I don't even know where to buy them or how to spec them.

I'm also not as young as I used to be, so any solution that lowers my handlebars, or ditches them for clip-ons is out of the question.

What would you do if you were in my shoes with like an $800 budget?
 

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Nope, no consensus ;)
At 245 plus a passenger, I would think the VFR makes a lot of sense. That being said, Sonic Springs up front or some drop in cartridges are easy and relatively cheap. New aftermarket rear shocks are anywhere from $400 to $1200 depending on how fancy you want them.
Incidentally, the gsxr front end wouldn't help with the weight of you and a passenger so that may not be a tree worth barking up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
At 245 plus a passenger, I would think the VFR makes a lot of sense.
Yeah. I almost didn't want to mention that part for fear that it might discourage Gladius focused answers. The VFR appears to be a very cramped triangle compared to the Gladius, which is a big turn off. It's also a lot of extra weight to live with for the 90% of the time that I don't have a passenger. I'll have to test ride one and see.
 

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I had a BMW k1200 for years along with my SV, it was the only bike I rode with my wife on the back. The SV just wasn't made for it. Not to say it can't be done but you definitely need to spring the rear for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes. Sadly, there can be only one at the moment.
 

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AR-25 Axxion Rod Damper Kit, S41-2 - Traxxion Dynamics (for 2017), other years available.

I used the above in the forks, front brake system with rebuild from a SV1000 and Galfer HH pads

I used a K-Tec shock but many people have been successful with GSXR/ZX14/ZX6 shocks. Sonic Spring & Race Tech have stronger shock springs for most of those shocks, sometimes it needs a spring perch but those are available from the spring maker.

The traxxion rod damper kit is $399, used shocks less than $100, stronger spring less than $200, leaves enough for better brake pads.
 

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A Kawasaki ZX14R shock (2006-2017) has the right spring rate for your weight in stock form already. There are tons on eBay for around $90.

As far as other used shocks and spring rates I used these two resources for my shock replacement on my SV650 2nd Gen. Don't know if the Gladius has a different shock length and frame geometry, so your mileage may vary.
Your GSX-R shock may or may not have the right spring rate depending on the model and year. And yes, it will be better than stock if in fact its spring is heavier.
 

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front: springs at least, emulators maybe
rear: zxwhatever. or penske/ohlins/ktech
brakes: braided lines, better pads
 

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Im installing an AR25 kit from traxxion this weekend, penske on the way for the rear. After all my research I would say the traxxion kit for the front, and at least a YSS for the rear shock. All can be done for less then $900.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, guys. I really appreciate all the input.
A Kawasaki ZX14R shock (2006-2017) has the right spring rate for your weight in stock form already.
Do you know if it fits the Gladius?
After all my research I would say the traxxion kit for the front, and at least a YSS for the rear shock.
You think Traxxion is better than RaceTech for emulators... What lead you to that conclusion? So far I have only looked closely at RaceTech. I like the way they describe the system. Their diagrams made it understandable for me.
 

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Without spending $750-$1K on actual cartidges, the traxxion kit is the best value and best design, in my opinion. The traxxion system replaces the damper rods with new machined rods from traxxion with the emulators built into the damper rods. Heres a video explaining it:

they also gave me a discount since I bought everything from them, front kit and rear shock. saved me about $140 total.

I personally have not road anything with either the traxxion kit or the RT emulators, but I really appreciated how much thought and engineering that went into the traxxion kit.

Im hoping to install the front end tomorrow, so I will let you know once completed how it does handling the brake and throttle dive these bikes have issues with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, so the main advantage seems to be the ability to run thinner oil, which lets the fork continue to perform well at lower temperatures. I'm all about extending my riding season, so that's nothing to shrug off. It sounds like it comes at the expense of rebound tune-ability though. With regular emulators, you adjust rebound by changing viscosity. Not the quickest or easiest adjustment, I admit, but it's a consideration I'll have to weigh. I think I'll give them a call and hope I'm misunderstanding that part. Thanks for the link to the video. That's great info.
 
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Do you know if it fits the Gladius?
I don't know for sure, but it seems the shocks have the same dimensions according to this thread:
You also might be interested in this SV650/Gladius shock replacement video with a ZX14R shock:
 

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I don't know for sure, but it seems the shocks have the same dimensions according to this thread:
Gladius, SV 650 AL7 (2017 gen. 3) and newer SV 650 AL9 (2019 gen. 3) all feature the same shock P/N (item 16).
 
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Penske rear shock. Race tech emulators front. HH pads. 245 as a rider, the SV still screams. Add another 150 rider and not so much.
 

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OK, so the main advantage seems to be the ability to run thinner oil, which lets the fork continue to perform well at lower temperatures. I'm all about extending my riding season, so that's nothing to shrug off. It sounds like it comes at the expense of rebound tune-ability though. With regular emulators, you adjust rebound by changing viscosity. Not the quickest or easiest adjustment, I admit, but it's a consideration I'll have to weigh. I think I'll give them a call and hope I'm misunderstanding that part. Thanks for the link to the video. That's great info.
Holy crap is the traxxion kit good. soaks up high speed bumps like they are not even there, rides like a lexus and corners are incredible! Feels so planted its insane! Also, no more off throttle dive or harsh brake dive on the front end, very solid. Im going on a 4 hour ride on sunday and will report back after Ive had more seat time, but from the 2 hour ride I took a couple days ago, ^^ is my first impressions of the AR25 kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Holy crap is the traxxion kit good. soaks up high speed bumps like they are not even there, rides like a lexus and corners are incredible! Feels so planted its insane!
That is good to know. I'm about 90% sure that this is the way I'd like to go. Their sales manager, Dan, emailed me back and answered my initial questions about the front. It's more expensive than the Race Tech emulators, but it seems like a superior product.

Also, no more off throttle dive or harsh brake dive on the front end, very solid.
That is my primary goal. That's a very strong selling point to me.

If I go with the Traxxion up front, then I run into a dilemma with the rear. I think I already mentoned that I have an '07 GSXR shock sitting on a shelf, and that I don't know how many miles are on that shock, so it could need a rebuild regardless of what I think I want to do. I've read that just installing the GSXR shock with it's stock spring is a big improvement, but I wonder if it will feel undersprung if the fronts are corrected to my weight. He (Dan) said they can sell me an appropriate rear spring for the for the SFV which would fit the GSXR shock for $110-$135. He also offered to rebuild, revalve and dyno tune the GSXR shock ~$250. If I do all that I'm way over budget though.

I wanted to keep this upgrade under $800. The front (from Traxxion) will cost $400, and I'm looking at $200-$300+ in tools (tripple clamp stand, damper rod holder, fork seal driver, fork oil level tool, aluminum vise jaws). On top of all that, a wheel chalk is starting to look like a really good idea, since I'll be doing most, if not all of this work alone.

I'm sure I can swap a spring without any trouble, but I'm not hugely confident that I could do a good job rebuilding the shock internals. I can follow directions to take it apart and put it together, but I might not be able to identify problems, and I definitely don't have a shock dyno to tune it on. I don't want to throw money (especially money outside of my budget) at it if its not necessary, or if I'm not going to appreciate the difference.

I could install the GSXR shock as is, or I could just install the spring, and wait until later to rebuild the shock if it feels like it needs it, or I could do it all now. If I just install the shock as is, I could save almost $400 (maybe save up for a Penski down the road). Doing just the spring for now would let me spread the cost out (if not save the $250 outright), but it feels kinda halfa55ed. Either way, I could learn what that mid step of an budget adjustable shock feels like. Doing it all at once would let me learn what a proper setup at both ends feels like, it would minimize downtime if the shock actually does need a rebuild, and I'd have the experience of rebuilding the front this time before the need to rebuild the rear comes around again, but I'd never be able to upgrade to a Penski without feeling like I had wasted that $400.

Does anyone have any reel experience with this? Would it feel undersprung if I just installed the GSXR shock as is? Would it feel under dampened if I just installed a spring without a rebuild? Would it be insane to have traxxion do the shock, and go with RaceTech in the front to try and stay within the budget?
 

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Sounds like you have a lot to consider. In the meantime you could just spring the front end for your weight and see how far you can push the bike. I was impressed what $100 on springs and fresh rubber brought out in my bike before I touched the rear shock and installed emulators.
 

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That is good to know. I'm about 90% sure that this is the way I'd like to go. Their sales manager, Dan, emailed me back and answered my initial questions about the front. It's more expensive than the Race Tech emulators, but it seems like a superior product.

That is my primary goal. That's a very strong selling point to me.

If I go with the Traxxion up front, then I run into a dilemma with the rear. I think I already mentoned that I have an '07 GSXR shock sitting on a shelf, and that I don't know how many miles are on that shock, so it could need a rebuild regardless of what I think I want to do. I've read that just installing the GSXR shock with it's stock spring is a big improvement, but I wonder if it will feel undersprung if the fronts are corrected to my weight. He (Dan) said they can sell me an appropriate rear spring for the for the SFV which would fit the GSXR shock for $110-$135. He also offered to rebuild, revalve and dyno tune the GSXR shock ~$250. If I do all that I'm way over budget though.

I wanted to keep this upgrade under $800. The front (from Traxxion) will cost $400, and I'm looking at $200-$300+ in tools (tripple clamp stand, damper rod holder, fork seal driver, fork oil level tool, aluminum vise jaws). On top of all that, a wheel chalk is starting to look like a really good idea, since I'll be doing most, if not all of this work alone.

I'm sure I can swap a spring without any trouble, but I'm not hugely confident that I could do a good job rebuilding the shock internals. I can follow directions to take it apart and put it together, but I might not be able to identify problems, and I definitely don't have a shock dyno to tune it on. I don't want to throw money (especially money outside of my budget) at it if its not necessary, or if I'm not going to appreciate the difference.

I could install the GSXR shock as is, or I could just install the spring, and wait until later to rebuild the shock if it feels like it needs it, or I could do it all now. If I just install the shock as is, I could save almost $400 (maybe save up for a Penski down the road). Doing just the spring for now would let me spread the cost out (if not save the $250 outright), but it feels kinda halfa55ed. Either way, I could learn what that mid step of an budget adjustable shock feels like. Doing it all at once would let me learn what a proper setup at both ends feels like, it would minimize downtime if the shock actually does need a rebuild, and I'd have the experience of rebuilding the front this time before the need to rebuild the rear comes around again, but I'd never be able to upgrade to a Penski without feeling like I had wasted that $400.

Does anyone have any reel experience with this? Would it feel undersprung if I just installed the GSXR shock as is? Would it feel under dampened if I just installed a spring without a rebuild? Would it be insane to have traxxion do the shock, and go with RaceTech in the front to try and stay within the budget?
I can completely understand your concern. One thing I can say, when i bought my AR25 kit and Penske rear shock from Traxxion, they gave me a 10% discount, which saved me close to $150. I do believe they also have a lower priced shock made my bitubo, you may inquire with Dan about that shock cost as well as the discount. I want to say it was around $600, so you would be looking at $400 for the front and $600 for the rear, if they can do the same 10% you would come out at $900... (I obviously cannot say if they will do the discount for bitubo shock, he offered it to me to swing me into the more expensive penske :) )

I can tell you, the rear now feels pretty crappy since upgrading the front, but not un-rideable or anything, its really only an issue on really spirited riding or hitting bigger bumps / potholes.

If I were in your shoes, I would probably upgrade the front and rear (if they will do the discount) at the same time, with ordering all the parts from one vendor, such as traxxion.

If I was trying to save $, I would probably just get the front from traxxion and install the GSXR shock as is.

One more note, maybe ask Dan if you can order the front, and have an open discount of 10% on a rear shock should you choose to order one in the future?

I can tell you that working with traxxion was one of the easiest and most confident purchases I have ever made, after speaking with Dan my mind was made up.

If you have any questions, just ask, always glad to help!
 
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