Upgrading suspension on Triumph Thruxton.

Discussion in 'Technical' started by bung, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

    I've just got back to work in the USA and am researching suspension options for my Thruxton. The standard set up is basically scarily woeful. So taking advantage of the better deals here in the US I will carry something back but what exactly to get?

    Having already researched this and with a budget of $1000 and wanting non piggy back rear shocks (purely for asthetics) I had settled on a set up from Italian company Bitubo. They made a very nice looking shock and fork cartridge set at my budget but looking for dealers here it seems they are not so popular.

    So I spent last night going over the options again and had another hard look at YSS. I have to say it took a bit to get past the made in Thailand scooter shock prejudice and after looking hard at them they actually come up as a very good shock. They have a very good and pro active network here in the USA, Have some very good technicians behind the development and of course they are made and sold in Thailand so I should have no trouble getting service back there. Their Z range is where I am at and am torn between the Z 362 and Z 366 models.They appear the same except the 366 has a 16mm shaft over the 362's 12mm. Both have 36mm pistons. There is a z 302 with a 30mm piston and 12mm shaft but @ $460 I can go a little better given my budget.

    So it seems the z 362 falls between the 302 and 366 and @ $500 is good value seeing the 366 is $660. The z366 carries some more higher quality parts notably a better "bearing" mounting arrangement over the standard bushings. But at $660 it is really geting up there for a shock. I can get an Ohlins 36E for $550 but it has no rebound adjustment, only compression and I think is overpriced given what the YSS offers - 60 click rebound, +10mm height adjustment, quality mounting arrangement and a bladder seperating the oil and gas inside the piston (the ohlins has non and is an "emulsion" shock, very low end)

    I did have a brief look at prices in Thailand and saw a set for +20k baht but if anyone can show me a price list in Thailand I would love to see it as it may save me carrying some in (more room and weight for other stuff!) I am assuming it is cheaper here and at around 20k for these z 366's I think is ok value compared to in country.

    I am still deciding if the beefier 366's are neccessary or the 362 will suffice. I like to get into it riding and as we know Thailands roads can throw up some surprises. I know what I am like, I will probably always wonder if the 366's would have been better than the 362's if I buy the latter...

    I really don't want the piggy back design and realise that they offer beter performance but given how I ride and these non piggy back designs have large pistons and bladder seperating the oil and gas I think I won't be able to push them to see a degradation in performance.

    Well done YSS, I have thrown off the "It's only Thai made scooter shocks" mantle. They are a quality item. I can always take the stickers off :)

    So I am left with deciding on the front end. Leaving it standard is not an option, it has to be one of the worst front ends i have used on any bike (30+ years riding)

    The Bitubo cartridge seems good still as well as other cartridge systems out there then there are the emulators a bit cheaper and then using progressive fork springs is cheaper still.

    The cartridges are the way to go and given I am going to put high end shocks on it and I want it to handle the best I can I am looking at those.

    So much for the $1000 budget eh?...The Bitubo cartridge will run close to $600 as well but I am looking at an American company Traxxion to see what they have.

    Any advice welcome!
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  3. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

  4. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    YSS actually make some quality products.
  5. Hoghead

    Hoghead Ol'Timer

    since you are in the US I would give Racetech head office is CA a ring. They have dealers everywhere and really know their stuff

    Give a think about the spring rate on both ends of the bike. Not only is the valving in both shock and fork a big issue, but the spring rate, air gap in the front, oil viscosity in cSt terms, and level are very important issues. While some are satisfied with an off the shelf solution, it is not as simple as buying a shock and slapping it on. You are spending major money, so get it right with a suspension designed for your weight, riding stye, and road conditions. If the suspension company is not asking about your weight, riding style, and road conditions, go somewhere else, or become knowledgeable enough to know what you need.

    Buy springs designed for you and not some half baked marketing scam for a progressive one size fits all application. I have just been around this with Hyperpro and I am astounded that they can even sell their springs to a knowledgeable user. Perhaps that is not their market.
    Note that YSS do not mention spring rate at all in the link you sent

    Cannon Racecraft in Oklahoma make great custom springs, or just get Racetech to sell you a proper front and rear package.

    You use both the terms cartridge and cartridge emulator. What do you have a cartridge fork or a damper rod fork?

    YSS Thailand have never replied to a single technical question and I wonder if they could not be bothered, the English is confusing, my questions are just too difficult to be bothered with, or they just do not have any idea. If you are happy with an off the shelf solution then fine, but I have given up on them locally.
  6. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

    Good point and thanks for pointing that out. I have noticed some manufacturers setting up springs for weight and riding style and YSS do not say they do it but when you place your order they will offer 3 spring rates for your weight. I have seen it in my research but for the life of me can't find it now.

    Same as Bitubo do. You place your order and they build your shocks.

    The front is the same, the ones I am looking at offer springs for different weights.

    The Triumphs have a damper rod set up in the fork and you can get complete cartridge set up including the spring that replaces the internals of the stock fork, emulators that aid damping and rebound along with new springs or just put new springs in, any of it is better thsn stock but the complete cartridge is the best offering a complete package.

    Note that I am no expert and am trying to learn the in's and out's of suspension, I have never had a fork apart before.

    It is a shame that YSS' in country service is not that good. I guess having their main market outside of Thailand and the guys in country just sell them makes it so. I am hoping a good shock will last me a long time. I can always send it to Australia where they have a large service network same as the USA.
  7. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Race Tech is the way to go as Hog Head pointed out! Best Money spent on My Harley, case of 3rd time Lucky as I replaced the Original with Progressive Rear Shocks and Front Springs, I think they were possibly Worse than the Original!!! I then got Race Tech New Zealand to send Me Ohlins Rear Shocks (1 inch longer than Standard as they recommended) and for the Front. New Emulators, Springs etc. Transformed the Bike and a Huge Improvement! Ohlins is the way to go I say!!!
  8. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    Revalve the forks and get a correct rated for your weight linear spring, do not use progressive springs ,racetech in USA are favourite products , in UK I used Ktech to sort my Ducati forks out ,

    rear end use Hagon, IKON , Ohlins, Bitubo, Nitron or even YSS but forget progressives .
  9. Hoghead

    Hoghead Ol'Timer

    It takes a bit of specialized knowledge to embark on fork re-valving and while easy to say it is not so easy to do right. If you do not have the experience, ring Racetech.
    You may wish to take a look at my recent post re fork oils for some applicable info and link to a shim stacking analysis program if you feel up to tackling a re-valve.
    Needless to say you will need to bring the shims with you.

    The other alternative is a Racetech Gold Valve, and they most likely will steer you that way. I am re-valving first, and then if not happy will buy gold Valves.

    Note my cheeky comments on progressive rate springs.

    BYW, I think that a rear reservoir shock would look the part on a Thruxton, but it is your bike.
    in either shock style, the suspension company should valve it to your weight, and riding style.

    I am having trouble finding the right fork oil here in Chiangmai. Have Racetech give you the oil viscosity in cSt terms (not just 5W for example) then see if it is available here.
  10. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

    I contacted YSS and they do fit a spring to their shocks according to the information I give them so that is nice.

    I looked at race tech and although their shocks are quality, look the part and are set up right they are close to $800. Add to that the front end and I am way over my budget. I don't think I need to spend over $1000 on suspension for a Triumph twin. Probably will though :)

    I am getting alot of info off a Triumph forum (really too much- everyone has opinions on suspension!) Some guys had the racetech gold valves and ended up swapping them for others, Ricor seem to be popular.

    I noticed that with these emulators you need linear rate springs, progressive ones don't work as well.

    Either way, whatever I do it will be a vast improvement over standard.

    Ian, how much were those Ohlins? What model are they?

    I got time, so just enjoying researching it out and hopefully get a nice set up.
  11. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

    Just reading up on these Ricor Intiminators. They have a two way circuit that controls chassis movement or wheel movement independantly and are very well received. One guy on the Triumph forum changed his Race Tech valves out for Ricors and was very impressed with the difference so given that and the fact they are on sale and just drop in on top of the damper rod (the race tech valves you need to pull the whole fork apart) means I will be ordering up a set of those tomorrow. $120 cheaper than normal so that will go towards a nice set of springs which race tech do a good set of but seeing how it looks like I will get the YSS shocks I like I may as well get their spring at the same time.

    Just thinking at 10,000k's on my tyres I better pop a new set on at the same time when I get home to finish it off.
  12. Hoghead

    Hoghead Ol'Timer

    the YSS springs look progressive in the photo.
  13. brian66

    brian66 Ol'Timer

    Many people spend heaps on suspension and never realise the benefit. That is because most riders who do not use huge load forces on the suspension, apart from barking, to enter and exit corners, only need the suspension to keep the wheels in contact with the road in normal road riding situations.

    The single most important component of the suspension is the spring. If the spring rate is correct for the rider, the bike will ride through bumps and feel “planted” It should not wallow or feel harsh.

    So to get the bike to handle, the spring rate must be the first priority. The correct spring rate for the bike and rider will allow the spring to work through its designed range, correctly. This means not bottoming or topping out.

    Setting the sag is the second most important item. A common rule for street bikes is that 33% of the suspensions stroke should be set for sag. (For example, 100 travel mean sag set at 33 mm) That is with the bike fully laden with fuel and rider.
    If you have to wind on more preload to get 33%, the spring rate is too soft so you need to change the spring. If you have less than 33% or even possibly have no sag at all the spring rate is too hard for your weight.

    Having damping and rebound adjustment allows one to fine tune the suspension to allow handling characteristics to improve. But having these adjustments is generally only felt if the bike is ridden much harder through corners.

    The very high spec adjustable suspension that has high and low speed compression and rebound adjusters will allow fine tuning.
    The benefit one gets by having this technology is when the suspension needs to handle sharp edged bumps that require high speed corrections. This controls the spring from compressing then rebounding too fast and conversely to eliminate the floating feeling from bumps that move the suspension slowly, up and down.

    So to avoid spending heaps of money for no benefit make sure the springs are correct first. Get them right and ride the bike. You may be surprised at the result.

    I have many years of experience in modifying and using race suspension (Ohlin’s, Showa etc.) plus street riding with standard suspension. I have race bike log books showing hundreds of adjustments I have made on the tracks trying to find the perfect set up for the bike to handle. However not many of those tracks have more than a few minor bumps or brake area ripples. The adjustments I make are for G forces that cornering applies to the suspension so I can enter and exit faster in control.

    My street bikes have the correct spring rate and the damping and rebound adjustment is almost redundant. It rarely gets used.
  14. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

    I was refering to the fork springs. There are progressive springs available but these don't work with the emulators/intiminators as well as linear springs. Apparently.
  15. bung

    bung Ol'Timer

    ^^ Brian, Thanks for your insights! This is what I was hoping for posting this thread, getting people with real world experiences knowledge and past advertising hype. I hope it is of some use to others. I am learning a lot about suspension, the only time I did anything was buying a set of Ikons off the shelf 20 years ago!

    I am still interested in the Ohlins 36E but was put off about the lack rebound adjustment but as they are set up to your specs and from what you say once set up you won't need to adjust them? Just crank in a little preload if you carry a passenger and or luggage?

    The YSS I am looking at ave 60 clicks of rebound which I thought may be too much and easy to lose track of where you are and have to continously count out how clicks you want.

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