Baja Suspension Challenges...


12 replies to this topic
  • maddawg23

Posted December 26, 2005 - 10:47 AM

#1

So we're setting our XR up for the Baja500 this year and suspension is proving to be the tricky part. I'm counting on some of you Baja gurus for advice.

We've got a team of three guys ranging from 155-220. Yeah...huge range. It'll be a challenge for our set-up, but we've got no choice.
The lighter guys are faster, so I guess that helps balance things a little bit.
We've got plenty of suspension expertise on the CRF450, but the XR650 is a whole new ballgame for us.

We've got a local guy doing the suspension. He's a VERY good suspension technitian (has done suspension for factory motocross teams), but with limited baja experience.

Overall, what needs to be done to the XR suspension? How can I advise him on our Baja suspension needs?

  • RJC

Posted December 26, 2005 - 11:06 AM

#2

I'm all ears on this one too. I'd vote for demo/wrench session on this somewhere in California. I'll bring the post-wrench beer.

  • Husky_Forever

Posted December 26, 2005 - 11:18 AM

#3

Set it up for your lightest, fastest riders. Your heavier racer will have to live with it. I've raced the 1000 several times with riders more than 50 lbs lighter than I (before gear that was) and that has always worked good. The 500 will be a technical race like this years most likely, so high, top speed handling wont be a necessary thing to worry about. :applause: Steny

  • mikekay

Posted December 26, 2005 - 12:13 PM

#4

my recomndation would be to use a suspension shop with lots of experience setting up the 650r for baja.

i would use either:
Barnumspro, ESP, RG3 or Precision Concepts. All have set up baja race bikes we've run in the past with great results :applause:

each does something different to the forks--so there isnt any one 'best way' to do it IMHO.

the rear shock is often replaced by a unit off a KX500/CR500.

of course all this depends on how much ya wanna spend, how fast you really are, etc. etc.

full blown race set up can run to $1500 or more.

a moderate set up will be around half that.

  • maddawg23

Posted December 26, 2005 - 08:17 PM

#5

Well, we realized early this whole adventure is going to be costly. This will be our first Baja, so a finish is a win. We don't have the Baja expertise or money to really be competetive yet.

We'd like to use our local suspension guy if possible. It seems like Baja setup is something he can learn. Am I right?

Two of us are A/B Enduro riders in NorCal with lots of Nevada desert riding experience (been riding since we were 5). Both of us ride CRF450s normally. Our third guy is an old desert rat, but hasn't got much time on a bike in many years.

Honestly, we're going to have to go fairly low budget (comparitavely it seems) on the suspension. We were thinking a revalve and new springs on the stock stuff.

Are we going to be suffering with that little suspension work?

That's really helpful to hear that we should revalve for our lighter/faster riders. That gives us a direction to go in.

  • BajaBoundMoto

Posted December 26, 2005 - 08:28 PM

#6

The XR650R is very easy to get really close to great. Face it, it's going to be a compromise for every rider, that's just the way it is when you have a range of abilities, styles, and weights.
Riding style makes the hugest difference...to the point two guys 60lbs difference can be happy with the bike just because they ride differently.

You should go out and test in some fast smooth but choppy dirt roads and in some big g-outs and a bit in big fast whoops. Each guy ride and play with clickers 'till everybody is pretty happy. It could take all day, or more.

Unless you're riding Solo then the bike will not be perfect.

It's really not a big deal at all, you'll be fine.

Do you think that the same bike works perfect for both Hengeveld and Childress? Doubt it.

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  • mikekay

Posted December 26, 2005 - 10:52 PM

#7

well if you are low budget and just riding to finish:

-Remove one big shim from the fast stack. Put in 43 eibach springs. run 90 mm (spring in, collapsed) of 5wt. Put in some fresh seals. You can diy for $120.

-Run the rear shock with a 11 rear spring. Freshen up the nitrogen.

Raise the fork tubes about 3/8ths inch from flush.

Set the sag at 4 inches.

With all this done go hit some woops/rocks and set the clickers.

Compression is on the bottom. Back it off till you bottom out on the gnarliest or gnorlies. Add one click. Right (clockwise) is stiffer, left is losser.

Now go do rebound--start with the same number of clicks as the compression--and start adding clicks. usually you will end up with 2-4 more clicks of rebound than compression on this bike. hit some medium jumps and note if the front tire leaps up, note if you are getting arm pump, or if its stacked up on downhills--if so give MORE rebound (not less).
The trick is to have it smooth enough over the rocks but have the bike riding high enough in the forks stroke to handle the woops.

You should end up with a bike that will both handle well and take on the rocks and woops for all of you. Remember that all teams suffer with this issue.

On our race bikes we are most concerned with not destroying a wheel--so we will set it up for the heaviest guy. The lighter dudes just go thru life racing baja with stiff suspensions. Thats just the way it is for them.

Hope that helps.

  • Husky_Forever

Posted December 27, 2005 - 10:04 AM

#8

Tim and Mike are spot on from different view points and race experiences. Your local guy should be able to get you in the zone if he knows how to set up desert bikes. If not, Precision Concepts is the way to go. Sounds like you want to finish, so I would go hog wild on your suspension, or anything for that matter. Go with the Honda Power up kit, o ring chain, gear it up a few teeth to get a decent 90 on the straightaways. Get a 4.7 gallon IMS tank, rewind your stator to run a single HID light. Run some HD tires, tire balls or foam front tire/ HD moose or similar tube in rear. Prepare the bike by tearing it down, and rebuilding it piece by piece. Check everything, lube what needs lubing (this can be started while suspension is being done), loctite with either red and blue those parts that need it.

THEN GO OUT AND HAVE A TON OF FUN! Take pictures in the pits and remember, if you ride at least on a 25 mph schedule the entire race, you will finish before the last checkpoint closes. OR, you can contact Tim here and contract with his tour company to handle your entire prerun, setup, chase and race needs, probably cheaper than you guys will spend yourselves. BUT HAVE FUN! :applause: Steny

  • maddawg23

Posted December 28, 2005 - 12:05 AM

#9

Dang, that's awesome. Thanks for the detailed advice. Exactly what I was looking for. We've all been riding a long time, but have no experience with an XR650 until we bought one brand new a couple months ago just for Baja. We're really trying to go about this right and get LOTS of advice from the experts. We've tried to spend our money wisely.

My eyes have gone crosseyed reading pretty much every thread I can search out on this board about Baja. I'm sure I'll be posting many more questions as the event gets closer. Thanks a lot for the help. Baja can be a little intimidating for the first-timer.

As a compromise, we'll probably set it up for the middleweight of the group. Our suspension guy is doing some of his own research, but I'll print this thread out and deliver it with the suspension next week.

-Scott

  • rmhrc630

Posted December 28, 2005 - 02:02 PM

#10

well if you are low budget and just riding to finish:

-Remove one big shim from the fast stack. Put in 43 eibach springs. run 90 mm (spring in, collapsed) of 5wt. Put in some fresh seals. You can diy for $120.

-Run the rear shock with a 11 rear spring. Freshen up the nitrogen.

Raise the fork tubes about 3/8ths inch from flush.

Set the sag at 4 inches.

With all this done go hit some woops/rocks and set the clickers.

Compression is on the bottom. Back it off till you bottom out on the gnarliest or gnorlies. Add one click. Right (clockwise) is stiffer, left is losser.

Now go do rebound--start with the same number of clicks as the compression--and start adding clicks. usually you will end up with 2-4 more clicks of rebound than compression on this bike. hit some medium jumps and note if the front tire leaps up, note if you are getting arm pump, or if its stacked up on downhills--if so give MORE rebound (not less).
The trick is to have it smooth enough over the rocks but have the bike riding high enough in the forks stroke to handle the woops.

You should end up with a bike that will both handle well and take on the rocks and woops for all of you. Remember that all teams suffer with this issue.

On our race bikes we are most concerned with not destroying a wheel--so we will set it up for the heaviest guy. The lighter dudes just go thru life racing baja with stiff suspensions. Thats just the way it is for them.

Hope that helps.



Hey Mike I'm interested to hear your opinions on fitting CRF450R forks to the XR650R. Do you thinlk they would work well for trail riding/fast cross country riding? (revalved and resprung of course)

Have you done it, was it much better than stock and do you think Honda just wont do it to their race bikes due to marketing?

The frame cracking stuff is pretty much BS isnt it?

  • mikekay

Posted December 28, 2005 - 02:59 PM

#11

IMHO its bs about the frame-just marketing.
but for sure i'm not the guy to ask--i've never ridden a 650 with CRF forks.
dont know 'nuthin 'bout 'em.

  • PowerCell

Posted December 29, 2005 - 06:18 PM

#12

"In the news today.... Proton Auto from Malaysia divested itself of all its holdings in MV/Cagiva and Husky(almost 60 %) for $1 euro.It stated that the MV Agusta/Cagiva and Husqvarna brands was such a bad investment they were willing to sell their whole interest for $1 euro.It was stated that the motorcycle business was $107 million euro in the red.......OUCH!"

  • Cosmo

Posted December 29, 2005 - 06:42 PM

#13

"In the news today.... Proton Auto from Malaysia divested itself of all its holdings in MV/Cagiva and Husky(almost 60 %) for $1 euro.It stated that the MV Agusta/Cagiva and Husqvarna brands was such a bad investment they were willing to sell their whole interest for $1 euro.It was stated that the motorcycle business was $107 million euro in the red.......OUCH!"



OUCH!!





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