Author Topic: Fork upgrades  (Read 237 times)

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October 08, 2017, 05:02:49 PM on

Offline abruzzi (OP)

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As I wait a week or so to pick up my new 2002 Girly I've started thinking about what upgrades I want to give it, and from past ownership my recollection was the suspension on these things were mediocre at best.  Having spent the last few years on a well sorted KTM 950 Adventure, I think going back to the triumph suspension will leave me wanting. 

As it turns out, I had bought a set of Racetech Gold Valve Cartridge emulators for my steamer that weren't ever installed, and according to the Racetech website, the Girly uses the same part number, so I already have that part.  I'd like to get a more appropriate spring rate too.  So I had a couple of questions:

1. Are the cartridge emulators worth doing?  I couldn't find much discussion here, but I thought I'd ask since once installed you can't go back (since you're drilling out the holes in the damping rod.)  I ride 90% street, but rough dirt roads are definitely part of the picture.

2. Racetech's calculator says I should have .90kg/mm spring rate, but the heaviest they sell is .80.  Are there any other manufacturers that sell the right size springs (36.5, 550 I believe) that might have something closer to .90?  Does .90 sound like the right number for a 250lb rider and the kind of riding I do?

3. I've read that I can replace the fork caps with speed four fork caps to give the forks adjustable preload.  I can't decide if that is a worthwhile thing to add?  I don't see adjusting preload on the front frequently they way you might on the rear when you load or unload the bike.  Nonetheless it might make it easier to find the right spot without having to cut a half dozen PVC spacers.

For the rear, I have a Wilbers on the way which will hopefully improve the rear end.  I may have some questions about that later.

October 08, 2017, 10:35:21 PMReply #1 on

Offline John Stenhouse

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The Wilbers will sort the back end out fine.

Im just running heavier weight oil in mine, takes a bit to get used to it but after that it's fine, can't give any experience of emulators or harder springs I'm afraid
Black 885i Tiger UK based
Orange 955i Tiger Canadian based
Norton 961S never got it, tired of waiting

October 08, 2017, 10:58:15 PMReply #2 on

Offline abruzzi (OP)

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Yeah, my biggest worry is that .90 kg/mm springs is too stiff (given that they don't even sell that weight).  I don't want to suspend it like a street bike when I ride it like an adv bike.  My second biggest worry is finding someone competent to do the work.

With the wilbers I found a used on on eBay for cheap ($350 for a $1k+ model) so assuming it's fully functional, I should be good there.

October 09, 2017, 09:02:58 AMReply #3 on

Offline Chris Canning

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There was much talked about years ago about the Race tech gold valves and I never heard a bad word,I just never got around to fitting such and found a decent solution with fork springs and some tinkering with oil weight.

I was fine reading the OP’s post till I saw 250lbs  :icon_eek: trying to spring a bike for both road and off-road at that weight is really going to take some R&D took me long enough just for the road for two up and our combined weight is around 70lbs more.

Of course the OP has been spoiled with the WP suspension on the KTM so suspect a pretty steep learning curve is ahead  :icon_biggrin:

October 09, 2017, 03:28:42 PMReply #4 on

Offline abruzzi (OP)

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Then it should be easier.  I weigh less, and I don't drop or gain 130lbs randomly.

What surprises me is haven't been able to find any online seller of fork springs that simply sells on spec, i.e. let me worry about fitment, here is the diameter, length, and compression rate.  The best I've found is a place called Sonic Springs that does seem to have heavier weights for the tigers:

http://sonicsprings.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=75_168&products_id=596

October 09, 2017, 03:55:40 PMReply #5 on

Offline Chris Canning

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Having owned a BM 1100s since 2000 12 months before I bought my 955 new one of the major problems I now encounter is buying anything aftermarket because the reality is there is no market!!! hence why your having a problem you only have to look at Tim on here with his Wilbers forsale i’m Astonished that it hasn’t sold so hardly surprising aftermarket has given up on us.

I put Ohlins springs in my front forks and I’m not even sure if they are available anymore.


Aside from the above while I have spent probably the best part of 10 years to obtain the Holy grail suspension wise with my 955 give it the slightest sniff of off road and it becomes very unhappy but try out braking me into a corner on tarmac you’ll be making a very large hole in the hedge  :icon_biggrin:

I’d point out its all relative your never going to get your front end as good as your Kaytoom because the Tiger forks are errrr budget.

October 09, 2017, 05:15:44 PMReply #6 on

Offline abruzzi (OP)

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Oddly though, the tiger 800 should use the exact same springs--36.5x550.  And it's not like there is anything brand specific about most fork springs.  They are a length, a diameter, and a compression rate, that's my surprise.  (some might have a narrower bottom coil to help hold the spring in place, but I don't know how common that is.)  I get that the aftermarket is dead for girlies, and we're mostly buying dusty leftovers on the shelf.

I did dig up an old thread where Sasquatch reccomended going to .9 or higher on the girlies for just about anyone.  Before I found that post, my main concern with going from .6 to .9 was that .9 (a 50% increase) was a number biased towards hard road riding and would be too stiff to deal with the more "adventure" type riding.  Then again, Sasquatch was a big guy too.

October 26, 2017, 05:33:05 AMReply #7 on

Offline Linux_Tyro

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Hello, on my 2006 Tiger I have Sonic 1.0 springs and Race Tech gold valves with 5wt oil. I am 252lbs and the stock suspension just wasn't working for me. The amount of dive when breaking was too scary. Now it is just about perfect.

As I read here on this forum, once the front is sorted you find out how bad the shock is. They were right. Was constantly have to correct in sweepers as the back end swayed through every turn. I was looking at a Penski shock from Cogent Dynamics but went with a HyperPro purchased from Sasquatch here on this forum. Bike handles unbelievable now compared to original. No more wobble. No more scary dive when breaking and when pushed over into a sweeper the bike stays right there.

I'm much happier now and enjoying every trip I take on this bike.

November 06, 2017, 10:57:32 AMReply #8 on

Offline blacktiger

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First thing to do with the forks is to check the rider sag. To do it properly you'll have to take off the gaitors. That'll tell you if you need different springs. Over my 73000 miles with mine I've found the standard springs are fine. I weigh 100Kgs.

As for the oil. Get a litre of 10W and a litre of 15W and mix them 50/50 to give you 12.5W and fill to 105mm. This will keep the plush ride but give more control and less dive.

Sorted.  :wheel
2002 955i 72000 miles & counting.
2013 800XC 25000 miles & counting.