Ragged Yamaha Suspension


13 replies to this topic
  • RickSanson

Posted October 18, 2007 - 10:22 AM

#1

I have an 07 WR450 and have been working on everything about this bike. Not long ago I set out to get the suspension dialed in and the first order of business was to get the sag(s) properly set which I did.

Now that the shock sag is right (and by all appearances the fork sag seems correct) I went off to West Virgina to ride and test the bike. The forks are just terrible! They are anything but "plush". I know you're going to say to valve the thing and I am. But what I noticed was that the fork travel is just ragged, they are not smooth in their travel in any way. There are definite sticky areas and I can feel slight clunks in the travel. This was tested by holding the front brake and pushing down on the forks.

Yesterday I went with a buddy to look for a new bike and I checked the suspension on a "new" '05 WR250, a "new' 06 WR250 and a new '07 WR450. They all felt the same way!

Anyone else experience this? Are these forks that bad?

  • CORider63

Posted October 18, 2007 - 10:26 AM

#2

I have an 07 WR-450 and my forks are fine. I backed the damping out from stock because I ride a lot of rocky trails and don't like the front end deflecting.

Have you bled the air out of the forks? (That still shouldn't affect the smoothness of the stroke, but may make them feel more harsh.)

  • JSanfilippo

Posted October 18, 2007 - 10:41 AM

#3

How many miles does it have? How agressive are you?

Mine has about 500 and i'm fairly agressive. The forks are actually "too plush" for my weight.

  • RickSanson

Posted October 18, 2007 - 10:49 AM

#4

Hi JS! We're about the same on our bikes I believe! Plush isn't a word that describes my bike at all!

I've gone from max to min compression damping and the thing just feels terrible! The terrain is rocks and roots! Lots of square-edged stuff but still, to simply lock the front brake and push the forks are just clunky. I can feel them catch about 2/3rds into the push then it frees up past there. Large compression damping changes don't really feel any different!

All I've done is replace the stock fork springs to a higher rate, test (worse), then replaced the new springs with the stockers (still sucks).

I dunno!

I have bleeders on the forks to allow bleeding at will...

  • GCannon

Posted October 18, 2007 - 11:03 AM

#5

Could the fork legs have been "Pinched" together the last time you removed the front wheel? This could cause a symptom like you describe?

  • JSanfilippo

Posted October 18, 2007 - 11:11 AM

#6

Hi JS! We're about the same on our bikes I believe! Plush isn't a word that describes my bike at all!

I've gone from max to min compression damping and the thing just feels terrible! The terrain is rocks and roots! Lots of square-edged stuff but still, to simply lock the front brake and push the forks are just clunky. I can feel them catch about 2/3rds into the push then it frees up past there. Large compression damping changes don't really feel any different!

All I've done is replace the stock fork springs to a higher rate, test (worse), then replaced the new springs with the stockers (still sucks).

I dunno!

I have bleeders on the forks to allow bleeding at will...



I hope you're not expecting TT-R style dampening out of this fork in the stock configuration. This is a totally different animal.

A little background on my experiences with USD forks. 1 YZ 250f ('01), 3 WR 450fs (an '06 and 2 '07s) 2 CRF 450Rs (and 04 and an 05), 1 Husky TE 250 (stock and worked fork), 1 CR 250R ('01), 1 CRF 250x ('07).

The showas on all 4 hondas were very good. They were plush over the small stuff and had decent bottoming resistance on bigger hits. All four showas were stock (the 250x was showroom fresh with 30 something miles) and the 450 fork worked better for me because of the higher spring rate. The CR's fork works really well considering its 7 year old technology.

The Kayabas on the '01 YZ 250f were sprung and valved for an "A" class 195 LB'er MX rider and are rediculously stiff over small trail obsticales. Taking sharp edged obsticles like braking bumps, roots, and rocks litterally rock your wrists to the core on this bike. Bottoming resistance is very good off of big jumps...but thats what it was built for.

The Kayabas on all three WRs acted the same. I'm not surprised because they are all practically the same fork. All three were stock

The marazocchis on the Husky (in stock form) were very harsh. Part of that had to do with the rediculous amount of time the husky fork needs to break in. I rode the bike about 8 months later with the fork re sprung, lowered, and valved for woods riding and the difference was night and day. I didn't get to take it off any sweet jumps :crazy: so I can't comment on bottoming resistance but it took little hits really well.

The point I was trying to make with this long winded post is that USDs perform differently when tuned for a specific purpose. It sounds like you need a re-valve.

  • huffster

Posted October 18, 2007 - 11:38 AM

#7

Rick,
Make 100% sure that your triple clamp pinch bolts are correctly torqued...This can and will cause the forks to bind and feel like turds ! Also, double-check the front wheel alignment and make sure the front axle and forks are not causing additional binding.

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  • RickSanson

Posted October 18, 2007 - 12:30 PM

#8

The last time I pulled my front wheel, I was very cautious in making certain the the forks were properly aligned. I even slightly spread the right axle "holder" and bounced to make certain the forks were aligned. I just went to the garage, pulled the front wheel, re-greased the bearings just cause it's a habit, and did the alignment. This time, however, I noticed the axle holder was in a different position on the axle. I also took more time to get to the point of torquing down the holder bolts.

I feel the forks were somewhat out of alignment (good call there) but they still feel clunky (by bouncing the forks not by riding).

I am pretty picky about torquing things properly so yes, the triple clamp bolts are right. Thank you for the reminder though!

I don't know man! I am going to re-valve anyway but you would think the forks would have been in a little better shape!

  • waynus

Posted October 18, 2007 - 12:57 PM

#9

The forks on my 06 are the same.

I run 952's which have a very stiff sidewall. Because of this, I run the front at 10psi and this allows the tyre to absorb the small stuff. You just have to keep a closer visual of the stuff you're riding over but so far no dented rims.

It's transformed my riding from bone shaking to enjoyable. Just try it and see :crazy:

  • gergis

Posted October 19, 2007 - 08:54 AM

#10

I was searching for stiction in my forks too, and felt the 'slight clunks' while using the same test method you described. I found the clunks to be caused by the play in the floating brake rotor. If you get someone to hold the front wheel (have them squat in front of the tire and pull it toward them after you've applied the brake), you may find the clunk is no longer there.
I couldn't discern this clunk while riding, only while in the garage. My WR puts my hands to sleep so badly, that I don't feel anything after awhile :-)

  • fitzy

Posted October 21, 2007 - 04:24 AM

#11

It's the stupid base valve design. Try actually going harder on your compression clickers. Sounds odd, but you may be surprised. I'm putting conventional base valves in mine to fix the problem. They actually get to soft cause the spring in the base valve looses it's tension, and the work to far in the stroke.
This is want I think is happening. Might try posting in the suspension forum:excuseme: :crazy:

  • Rainman_WFO

Posted October 21, 2007 - 03:38 PM

#12

I just dropped off my forks and shock to Pro-Action here in Nor-Cal and in discussion with Brian Bacall out here, he mentioned that the valving that Yamaha uses for the WR forks is basically the same as what Yamaha had out in the mid-90's. If you are any heavier than 160 lbs, you definitely need some revalving (or aftermarket valve replacement) done to match the heavier springs necessary.

  • RJB

Posted October 22, 2007 - 05:51 AM

#13

I just dropped off my forks and shock to Pro-Action here in Nor-Cal and in discussion with Brian Bacall out here, he mentioned that the valving that Yamaha uses for the WR forks is basically the same as what Yamaha had out in the mid-90's. If you are any heavier than 160 lbs, you definitely need some revalving (or aftermarket valve replacement) done to match the heavier springs necessary.

I'd have to agree with this. My old YZ426 had far better suspension stock and night and day difference after I had the forks revalved and springs changed. I only wish I could get my 07 WR450 done too. Will have to wait till December for that, but getting tired of the clunking and bottoming out over the smallest of jumps. One of the Aussie bike mags had a whole section on the 07 problems and fixes. You can find it here

  • RickSanson

Posted October 23, 2007 - 05:46 AM

#14

I just knew I hadn't done enough to mess up the stock suspension. I seriously dislike it (I don't hate anything)!

I think I'm going to do the re-valve myself... I hope that goes alright!

Thanks all!




 
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