Track Days on Stock Suspension?

Discussion in 'Information For New Racers' started by biker, May 5, 2019.

  1. biker

    biker Member

    Hello all,

    Hoping for advice on my current setup. I am just about finished buttoning up a 2005 GSXR 1000 that was pulled out of a crash. As it sits:
    - k7 front forks and triples (+2mm offset)
    - 112 link chain, -1/+2 sprockets
    - Pirelli Rosso III
    - EBC EPFA, SS Lines

    From my old k0 750, I have a Penske 8983 and Ohlins double clicker. I had planned to do the forks with straight rate springs and ohlins fpk or penske valves, depending on which shock I use. But I also just read an article saying that the stock k7 front forks are good enough for track use. Also, we typically run Dunlop Q3 or Q4's, the Pirellis might be swapped out since I'm more comfortable on the q3's. I've mostly ridden my old 750 which felt like a boat by comparison. I'm more of a carry speed rider than point and shoot. I ride in slow to mid intermediate at NYST, which I would say is more tight and technical than international tracks.

    Any advice on my setup? I've researched this thoroughly, but dont want to hit the track on a 1000 with a wild setup. I havent ridden the pirelli's before, will I high side myself into oblivion? Am I safe to try the stock k7 forks, or are valve upgrades critical for my pace? Either shock will need a stiffer spring, and I would like to have the front and rear match, but setting up the forks will run me another 500 on top of rebuild. Thank you in advance!
  2. SPL170db

    SPL170db Trackday winner

    If you're riding slow to intermediate pace I wouldn't worry about at all. In fact you're WAY overthinking're going much slower than you think you are in the B group at a trackday.

    The bike in stock trim is plenty capable of doing advanced trackday pace without batting an eye. Just have the clickers set properly by the trackside suspension guy and you'll be set assuming the springs in the bike are within range for your weight (you didn't mention what that was).

    All the rest of that stuff up there you're just getting all sorts of ahead of yourself. Keep it simple. And if you're high siding yourself in the intermediate group at a trackday the problem is nothing to do with your bike but your skill set.

    I mean there's videos on Youtube of when the 05 1000 came out and they were doing track tests on bone stock bikes with the OEM tires and they were thrashing them around much faster than intermediate trackday pace.

    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  3. biker

    biker Member

    Thanks for quick reply, I’ve seen your posts many times across these forums!

    I’m 175 without gear, so stock fork springs should be good, just progressive. Thanks for the note, I think I’ve just been fortunate enough to only ride track specific machines, and I have no street experience. So we’re generally okay with current setup and either the Penske or ohlins shock? I have the stock k5 shock too. The itch is real bad since I had to sit out all last summer!!
  4. SPL170db

    SPL170db Trackday winner

    175 should be fine for the stock spring rate. Yes linear rate springs would be ideal for the track but the OEM progressive ones will make due once the preload is properly set. Again, I'm looking at this from the perspective of the typical pace a mid-level trackday rider would be going at.

    I mean you can put whatever you want into the bike.....but it sounds to me like you are asking:
    "Do I NEED to have this aftermarket part installed otherwise I'm going to override the capabilities of the stock bike and crash?" The answer to that question is a resounding no.

    In completely stock trim right off the showroom even on OEM tires the bike is way more capable than the pace of a mid-level trackday rider. I've seen plenty of instructors riding showroom stock demo bikes in advanced group all the time. The only setup the bike needs is to have the correct pressure set in the tires and like I said have the trackside suspension guy set your preload/rebound/compression....and that holds true whether the suspension is the bone stock or $3000 aftermarket bits.

    Now if you simply want to install a bunch of aftermarket parts because you enjoy modding the bike then more power to you....but to be honest I'm a little confused if you are, as you said, someone who only rides track in the first place I would think that type of knowledge would be self explanatory from just being around the track enough times.
  5. biker

    biker Member

    Hoping to level set here- I’m well aware I am nowhere near the limits of the bike. I’m not asking if I’m at the pace to need an aftermarket shock, so much as saying- this is what I have, can I throw this together as-is safely? I have these 2 aftermarket shocks, one of which I’m very familiar. I happen to have a stock shock, which I would assume has never been serviced. I do my forks every year, but from what I understand the stock shock is unserviceable at least by me. So do I take my chances on 15 year old oil and seals, or risk unbalancing the bike by throwing on the shock and leaving the forks untouched? I have an odd position of riding my first season on a former ama bike, with no prior riding xp. I’ve scoured posts on k5 geometry long enough to know you know the platform better than most, I heed your advice. I’m undoubtedly an overthinker, just want to be prepared before I get on the track with this bike.
  6. SPL170db

    SPL170db Trackday winner

    Ahhh, I see what you're getting at.

    Well, I don't have model-specific information comparing the two but a shock that was designed and sprung for an 01 750 might not be ideal for an 05 1000. It could be made to work, but you need to consider 2 important things.

    1) the overall length of the shock. Are they close to one another? On my 05 1000 I have it shimmed 5mm longer than stock. So if the 750's shock is within a couple mm's of the stock 1000's that should be fine.

    2) the rising rate of the rear suspension linkage. Shock springs are not like fork springs in that their force is translated through the ratio of the rear linkage which can and does differ from one bike to the other. To give you an example I run a 550 lb spring on my 1000 and I run a 600 lb spring on my 600, because the linkage between the bikes is a different rate....even though I run identical fork spring rates on the 2 bikes.

    Unfortunately someone with better knowledge than me would have to answer that for you.

    ....another thing to be aware of is the length of the K7 1000 forks you have installed. I believe they are the same overall length as the K5's but I'm not certain, and that would be worth double-checking on as that could affect chassis geometry as well. But a reasonable starting point for the bike is I flush the forks in the clamps and have a +5mm shim in the rear shock.....also run the rear wheel close to as far back in the axle adjusters as possible.
  7. biker

    biker Member

    I have to check my notes but I measured the stock k5 at 325mm eye to eye, and my old Penske was less than 10mm longer, so probably similar to stock with spacer, it’s also adjustable. I believe the k5 shares the same linkage design as the earlier bikes, as compared to the k7 and up which is reversed? But per penskes chart Ill need a 550. Anyways about the geometry- I measured the k7 forks to be the same length as k5, 2mm offset change means slightly slower turn in and more mid corner stability, more weight on front. Also I think I have 112 or 114 link chain, whatever will put the axle as far back as possible, also subject to change if I keep the -1/+2, but basically as far back as I can for less wheelie, and will raise rear slightly (effectively longer swingarm), and again more weight on the front. On paper this all sounds great but I have no idea what to expect once I jump on. I wasn’t planning for all these geometry changes, but a pair of straight k7 forks were easier to find and cheaper than any k5 forks, and all of a sudden I think I’m just eccentric swingarm pivots away from the factory yosh setup? Anyway the track is some 4 hours away so measuring thrice. But the more I blab here the more I think I just need to go ride. Thank you for your thoughts
  8. TLR67

    TLR67 Well-Known Member

    You overthinking it... get a trackside suspension guy to give you a proper set up and just go ride. Reading all this it honestly sounds like your taking all the fun out it..
    The.Johnner, ducnut and TurboBlew like this.
  9. FrancisA

    FrancisA Are you scared?

    I rode my stock suspension into advance pace on street tires with PRE, and advance at PRE is probably the best around. You’re nowhere near needing anything fancy. Until you’re leaving streaks in corners and / or top of advance group no matter who’s there that day, just get whatever you have set for your weight and ride it. Trust me, we’re not fast, no matter how fast we think we are.
    The.Johnner likes this.
  10. K51000

    K51000 Banned

    K5/6 GSXR 1000's FTW!! Sorry, couldn't help myself
    Steeltoe likes this.
  11. stangmx13

    stangmx13 Well-Known Member

    +1 to overthinking it. install your freshest and best shock, install the best tires, get the trackside suspension guru to tune it for ~$40, and ride.
    Bruce likes this.
  12. 2blueYam

    2blueYam Track Day Addict

    What you have should be capable, but suspension is one place that having better almost always lends to a safer riding experience no matter what the pace. You can make a mistake in the beginner or advanced group and a good suspension can save your ass when you do. I made a mistake early on in my track day riding on my 2003 R1 and crashed. I am almost positive if I had the Penske internals and proper springs in the forks that I have now instead stock, I would not have crashed. With that said the springs were too soft and it was under damped. It was both bottoming out under heavy braking and under damped. The front end folded on initial braking straight up and down. Reports are it was "spectacular" when the bike launched off the outside curb in Turn 1 at BFH. It was 11 years ago so I can laugh about it now. :D

    The K7 front end and stock shock may be fine for your weight and you can get it close enough on the damping. Go ahead and do a track day on the stock stuff, just have a suspension guy at the track do a set up for you. If he doesn't think it will work well, just take it easy that day. Either send your Penske to a good suspension guy or give it to a suspension guy at the track to service / set of for the K5 while you are there. It will be worth it in the long run. It is a better shock and may prevent you from a high side on the 1000 when you make a mistake and you will make a mistake.
  13. tecknojoe

    tecknojoe Well-Known Member

    Proper rider training can help avoid the mistake in the first place.

    Modern OEM suspension is more than capable for track use. You don't need Penske and Ohlins just to go turn laps.
    KneeDragger_c69 likes this.
  14. biker

    biker Member

    Thank you all for chiming in- Very supportive group, and quick replies too! I will certainly consult the local suspension guy. I would say the ohlins is the most recently serviced, just need a stiffer spring, the penske is the easiest to have refreshed as Penske will do it with quickish turn around time, and the stock shock may be a good base for comparison, but probably not the thing I want to cheap out on with the 1k, especially with 15 year old oil. I know a good shock will make up for a mistake, and I know it would benefit me as a learning rider to feel the nuances of the stock shock, but frankly I'd rather err on the side of caution. I'm not chasing lap times, nor hot to get into advanced group, just want to get more consistent days in this year with a solid bike. Thing really feels like a toy under me versus the k0 750.

    @2blueYam my old man went down on a high speed high side on a 01 r1 with ohlins rear. he regrets cheaping out on his street metzeler m1's?.. Only reason I'm fretful of the rosso III's and might saddle up for the good ol Q3's. You think the penske is better than the ohlins (both old double clickers)? I loved the penske on the 750, if anything it felt a little soft and numb for me on that bike but good for a new rider. It would be very soft as is for the 1k. Also, am I bonkers for thinking that when going from a 425 spring to say a 475 or 500 that I will run out of rebound adjustment to counteract the additional spring force?

    To all that are saying you're overthinking it, 1000x agreed. I need to pick a shock and just send it!
  15. 2blueYam

    2blueYam Track Day Addict

    My understanding is the Ohlins are typically built for a specific bike and not easy to adapt to other bikes with some exceptions where the length etc. are the same or close. Most Penske's can be rebuilt to fit another bike fairly easily by someone that knows what they are doing and has access to the right parts. That is why I suggested having someone rework the Penske for your current bike and set up instead of the Ohlins. They are both very good shocks and would work great for a track day bike at any pace assuming you can get it set up and sprung for your bike. Running either as is could be much better than the stock shock or could be a disaster if the geometry and / or spring rate are too far off. Call a professional and see which one they would recommend you send them to be set up for your bike.

    A new bike is enough to learn so picking up a set of Q3 or Q4 to have one less thing you are worried about might not be a bad idea.
  16. 2blueYam

    2blueYam Track Day Addict

    Of course you don't need it. I would amend that statement to "Modern OEM suspension that is properly serviced and sprung for the rider is more than capable for track use." In this case the choice is spending money servicing a 15 year old stock shock versus sending in a Penske or Ohlins that the OP already has in hand to have them set up properly. That is a no brainer in my book.

    It comes down to personal choice of where the money vs. safety line falls for each individual. As a fast intermediate / slower advanced track day rider I spend money on good suspension and race tires because not crashing is worth it to me. Getting injured sucks. Spending time and money repairing my bike sucks. Anyone at any level can make a mistake no matter how many races or rider training schools they have completed. Anyone can make a mistake no matter what their "pace" is. Beginner or slower Intermediate level track day riders crash at track days. Would better suspension and / or tires save all of those crashes? No and not even a majority of them, but they would save some some of them.
  17. stangmx13

    stangmx13 Well-Known Member

    u have said u are an intermediate trackday rider. that means u dont know how to ride on a track yet. it also means u dont know what a properly setup track bike should feel like, nor do you likely know what setup changes would allow u to go faster or be more comfortable. its also likely that everything u feel now is worthless info because your riding is going to change so much as you learn how to ride. so u dont need a baseline from the stock shock. u probably wont feel any useful nuances from nearly everything about your setup. and your overthinking might just prevent you from focusing on the most important thing... your riding.

    aside from all that, IMO here are the easiest steps for setting up a bike:
    1. pay for a baseline from a quality tuner
    2. ride the bike
    3. identify and fix issues
    i suspect #1 will be near impossible for u because its an old bike and uve changed the fork offset and length. so u gotta start with #2, which is what everyone is already saying. then u do #3 which is not possible before doing #2... and will take a lot of time because of my above paragraph.
  18. Wheel Bearing

    Wheel Bearing Professional low sider

    A lot of hard truth in this.
  19. biker

    biker Member

    It could be hard to swallow for most, but its also the basis for my question. I'm comfortable on one specific bike on one specific track, with a maybe a handful of experiences of other bikes and tracks. So since I'm preparing to adjust for the new to me bike, I'm consulting those who know the bike and suspension in general. Based on the feedback here, I will make sure the bike is sprung properly, do my fork oil and seals, and have penske rebuild the 8983. They were helpful on the phone, generally good support for the shock. I'll have the local suspension guy dial in the damping and try it. Thanks for advice, all.
  20. badmoon692008

    badmoon692008 Well-Known Member

    Anecdotal evidence for sure, but I did a year of trackdays and then my first year of racing on bone stock suspension that had never been refreshed with 25k miles on it, and I weighed 315 pounds... Could I have gone a little faster with better suspension? Probably towards the end, but it made me learn to be consistent and smooth, and to learn what suspension felt like when it wasn't working for me... This made me appreciate the right suspension much more, and be able to feel the nuance of what the better suspension was doing compared to the stock stuff.

    Long story short you can go a long way on stock stuff.

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