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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a casual rider that doesn't race or scrape pegs in the twisties. I weigh around 240lbs and ride solo. I don't want to spend money on upgrading the suspension unless I have to.

I have a 2015 I bought as a new leftover last year. The only thing I've done to the suspension is mess with the rear springload adjuster a little.

What settings would you recommend for the stock suspension for me? I'm a total newb at this this stuff so please try to put your suggestions in layman's terms that I can understand. TIA
 

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Find a reputable shop that can help you set the suspension sag with you on board. That's key. A friend can do it for you as well but you may need two friends to hold the bike up while you sit on it and someone measures the sag. From there, increase rebound damping on the rear and front until you find the right setting of comfort and control. It won't take you long to fine tune the damping. A little goes a long way when it comes to damping adjustments.

Personally for me, I weigh 185 with gear. I have the springs set at factory setting. Then I actually turned DOWN the damping a both F & R from stock setting by 1/4 turn. That's it. It still feels taut to me yet more compliant. I ride fast in the twisties, but I also ride a lot on less than perfect pavement so I want that compliance built in. The N1k suspension is already taut right out of the showroom so it's probably easier to make it too stiff than it is to make it compliant and still maintain control.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Find a reputable shop that can help you set the suspension sag with you on board. That's key. A friend can do it for you as well but you may need two friends to hold the bike up while you sit on it and someone measures the sag. From there, increase rebound damping on the rear and front until you find the right setting of comfort and control. It won't take you long to fine tune the damping. A little goes a long way when it comes to damping adjustments.

Personally for me, I weigh 185 with gear. I have the springs set at factory setting. Then I actually turned DOWN the damping a both F & R from stock setting by 1/4 turn. That's it. It still feels taut to me yet more compliant. I ride fast in the twisties, but I also ride a lot on less than perfect pavement so I want that compliance built in. The N1k suspension is already taut right out of the showroom so it's probably easier to make it too stiff than it is to make it compliant and still maintain control.
Thanks. I will look for a good shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Found a shop willing to do it but they're saying the only way I'd notice any real difference is if they completely rework the current shocks with new springs, etc. Said they'd hate for me to pay an hour or two of labor and not really notice any difference. Does that sound right to you? It doesn't have to be perfect for me.
 

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Found a shop willing to do it but they're saying the only way I'd notice any real difference is if they completely rework the current shocks with new springs, etc. Said they'd hate for me to pay an hour or two of labor and not really notice any difference. Does that sound right to you? It doesn't have to be perfect for me.
At 240lbs on a bike designed for a rider like 160-180lbs, they are not wrong. To get a good sag number you're going to have to run a lot of spring preload and that is going to make for a very harsh ride. Then you'll need to really add a lot of rebound damping, almost closing the circuit. If you upgrade the springs to get a good sag number, there definitely won't be enough rebound damping in the fork or shock to optimally control it.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Found a shop willing to do it but they're saying the only way I'd notice any real difference is if they completely rework the current shocks with new springs, etc. Said they'd hate for me to pay an hour or two of labor and not really notice any difference. Does that sound right to you? It doesn't have to be perfect for me.

At 240lbs on a bike designed for a rider like 160-180lbs, they are not wrong. To get a good sag number you're going to have to run a lot of spring preload and that is going to make for a very harsh ride. Then you'll need to really add a lot of rebound damping, almost closing the circuit. If you upgrade the springs to get a good sag number, there definitely won't be enough rebound damping in the fork or shock to optimally control it.
Ok. They'll be getting me an estimate in the next day or two and we'll go from there. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just called Traxxion Dynamics and realized they're only about 160 miles away. They said we could schedule an appt and they could rework my stock suspension and have me done the same day. Will be calling Dan soon and getting estimates.
 

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Chowda, for less than ten bucks why not join Dave Moss Tuning for a month and watch his videos on topics such as yours? Dave is vastly experienced and he even does individual Remote Tuning sessions with his subscribers. He is not a racer or trackday-only guy, but helps street riders too. You may find that throwing more money at your motorcycle is unnecessary. I think you'd enjoy the process.
 

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Chowda, for less than ten bucks why not join Dave Moss Tuning for a month and watch his videos on topics such as yours? Dave is vastly experienced and he even does individual Remote Tuning sessions with his subscribers. He is not a racer or trackday-only guy, but helps street riders too. You may find that throwing more money at your motorcycle is unnecessary. I think you'd enjoy the process.
Rick this is great advice for someone within a reasonable weight range of the stock spring rate and damping. At 225lbs I got my bike as good as it well get, which is still not very good compared to bikes I've owned with a suspension sprung and valved for my weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Would it be reasonable to send the rear to be reworked and adjust the fronts as-is possibly adding different fluid without having them resprung? Seems to me that the rear would take the majority of abuse due to my weight being over the rear shock and not leaned over the front suspension.
 

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Chowda said he is a casual rider who does not ride aggressively. That would be the first question Dave will ask, an honest assessment of one's abilities and needs, and Chowda's honesty starts him off on the right foot. From there, Dave recommends settings for him to try out and provide feedback for. He may find something he's happy with that requires no further expenditure.

Dave's methodical A to B to C approach reminds me of a medical condition I had a few years ago. A sudden onset of severe heart arrhythmia was freaking me out big time. Doctor 1 rigged me up with the portable monitor, looked at a day's worth of readouts, then said yep...you may be a candidate for a pacemaker and have to lead a more sedentary life.

Then an oldtimer referred me to his heart doctor for a second opinion. When I called his office doctor 2 said he was heading out of town for three weeks, but he asked me several simple questions over the phone: Do you exercise a lot in this hot weather? (Y) Does your bicycle helmet have the crusty white deposits on the straps from your sweat? (Y) Do you salt your food? (N) He said okay, your symptoms are those of a low electrolyte condition. I will suggest you begin salting food normally, and cut back on caffeine intake. The condition should improve within 24 hours and then disappear for good. If not, call me back in three weeks and we'll get you in.

Guess which one was right? The guy with the simple, ordered approach of gathering information: A to B to C, not the A to M to Z. The fix was mind-blowingly simple. It did not cost me a dime! What's scary is both are licensed to practice medicine. Doctor 1 seemed intent to sell me something, Doctor 2 was intent to put me right.
 

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Before you spend some money, set the static sag yourself, if it's not there already. And just try to get the rider sag as close to where it needs to be with you on board. If you have friends, this is free (maybe buy them some coffee or beer). Then slowly turn up the F&R rebound damping until you find the setting that feels fine to you. 1/4 turn at a time. You said so yourself, you don't ride too hard. You don't do track days, you seem pretty easy on your bike. If you just want to improve the ride for the way you ride and your environment, go ahead and adjust. What have you got to lose? If you're still not happy, then spend the money and re-spring and re-valve the bike. But don't take someone else word that you're doomed without trying first. Especially from a shop that wants you to spend money!
Kawasaki gave you an adjustable suspension. Adjust it.
 

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Kawsaki didn't not give us adjustable spring rates and only gave us a limited ability to adjust damping based on that spring rate. Dave Moss has literally seen me and my bike. I only weigh 15lbs less than Chowda. He bounced it around and did some twiddling said my springs are way too soft for my weight. For any kind of riding. He said the same thing about my '15 R1 the year before. Just like ever other bike I've ever owned. So you all understand, in order for my bike to work as sufficiently as it is now, which is still deficient, I have to run a **** ton of preload, to control that much stored energy both my front and rear rebound circuits are only half a turn out which is almost completely closed. This isn't rocket science here, bigger guys need bigger springs, and valving that is not almost completely locked out to control them. If you're not a clydesdale like me, you might never understand.
 
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Yes but Chowda doesn't ride like you. You appear to be a really experienced, and fast rider, who hits the SoCal twisties hard. That means you're really taxing your bike's suspension. OTOH, Chowda said he's not like that. Maybe he is. Only he will know. All we're saying is try the path of least resistance first. If that doesn't work, go to Plan B.
 

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You know, theres still a baseline that needs to be somewhat correct, and at some point you are far enough away from ideal to be a safety concern. A rider at any lever, or ability deserves better than that. Especially if/when something goes wrong.

In the old days, we could change to thicker fluid. They gave us 10w....20w..30w as options. Now the stock cartridge fluid is about 5w. If you try to use thicker oil, say you found a real 7w, the forks basically lock up. They were never designed around tuning with different weights of fluid.

Traxxion has a lot of options besides all in, and 2000.00 upgrades. Ill bet they can do something for under 1000, total, and it will be the best money you've spent on the bike. I dont think you would go to the store and stretch out a medium t shirt . It might work, and it might be on sale, but its not correct.
 

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Just called Traxxion Dynamics and realized they're only about 160 miles away. They said we could schedule an appt and they could rework my stock suspension and have me done the same day. Will be calling Dan soon and getting estimates.
This would be the way to go. Traxxion does a great job and they can also set up sag with you on the bike. Once sag is set properly you should not have to ever change it unless you add a passenger or loaded luggage. You can fine tune the suspension to your liking with the damping adjustments.

I weigh about 180 before putting on riding gear and even at my weight the improvement in handling and ride was remarkable. I went the more affordable route and just had them rebuild the stock parts with new springs, valves etc. and it worked out very well.
 
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Yes but Chowda doesn't ride like you. You appear to be a really experienced, and fast rider, who hits the SoCal twisties hard. That means you're really taxing your bike's suspension.
Yes I am capable of riding hard, but I also commute to work everyday. A well sorted suspension makes both something nicer because I don't run track setups on the street. Tracks usually don't have to worry about expansion joints.

Really this discussion is operational vs optimal. In theory Kawasaki gives us all an operable bike, and for people of a certain weight, the spring rates and the truly useful most effective range of the damping curve aligned with that spring rate are closer to optimal. My opinion is that a suboptimal setup is actually more dangerous for all riders, but a better rider can ride around it. Everyone can ride an operable bike, and everyone can benefit from a on optimal bike, even if they might not fully be able to exploit it's capabilities. I personally believe there is no limit to better.
 
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Chowda, go over and join the Concours 14 owners group. Even at the free level, you get a membership number. At one point, Traxxion gave a good sized discount to the owners group members, and youll be one as soon as you have the number.. Best part of that was you didnt need to buy c14 goods or services. It was good on everything they sold. It saved me over 130.00 on the parts i bought. Dont get me wrong, its well worth paying full price, and Dan is seriously cool to work with, but the number might help save more.
 

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I went the more affordable route and just had them rebuild the stock parts with new springs, valves etc. and it worked out very well.
For most people, myself included, this is more than sufficient and makes a world of difference. Almost everyone that does this comes away impressed with how much nicer their bike rides.

My '15 R1 already had a pretty good fork and shock, it just was set up for 160lb rider. I spent $900 having Lindemann Engineering here in SoCal go through it and totally transformed the bike.

For my N1K, I'm not crazy about the shock or the fork design per se, so I will probably go the AK20/Penske route, but it's more out of desire to have finer tunability and farkle the bike than out of pure necessity.
 

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I believe everyone goes over to Race Techs site to look at our stock spring rates. Race Tech shows the Ninja 10p0 as having a 1.0kg/mm fork spring and a 9.6 kg/mm shock spring for the 2011-2015 ninja 1000.

The shock number might be correct, but the fork is not. Kawasaki did change to a 1.0 fork spring in 2014, but the 11-13 bike was supplied with a .85kg/mm spring when it left the factory.
 
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