I don't think it's entirely fair to air my dislike of the fork and shock rebuild, as I never sent them back for 'adjustments' after trying several things to improve the basic ride quality.
Fair to who? Me?
Since I'm the one asking for feedback I don't think you have to worry about being fair or not. When someone is not fully satisfied with something I did, the biggest mistake that could be made is not finding out why it is not working. I don't skimp or do things unprofessionally so I have nothing to hide. I could have made a mistake somewhere....but given the simplicity of the design, I doubt it. There just may be something here that is more technical than the usual issues.
I was never able to get it ride-able enough to fine tune for wheel tracking or handling.
I was not willing to wait another 4 months to have any changes done, when I thought I was very clear on what I was looking for. I stated that I was happy because I believed the job to be very thorough and professional. I assumed the problems I was having were outside the suspension; fork binding, riding attitude, clicker settings etc.
After turning fork and shock clickers to "0", I still had no real suspension under 10 mph. It was effectively rigid in the front. Small bumps and rocks would rip the bars right out of your hands. There was also no static sag in the front forks. They were topped out all the time. A non-professional suspension enthusiast friend of mine believed the wrong springs were installed, that were 50mm too long. I don't know.
Ah...so good information.
So obviously something was not right. I mean, this is a set-up that is very similar to what I run on my open bath KYBs and there are more than just a few guys on the forum that have a similar design in their bikes, all with positive outcomes.
Now..this clearly does not mean that it's a matter of preference. I truly believe that something was seriously wrong here. I mean, for them not to sag is a clear indication of some serious binding.
The one major red flag on this one was the level of wear and the type of wear on the suspension when we received it. When I go back and look at the service record there were things that had to be corrected that don't normally need to be.
So what came back was very different than what we took in...and in more ways than one. Big changes, and perhaps there were problems that we failed to see.
50mm of preload? Not a chance. So perhaps we need to get some more details on what that suspension guy saw or thought he saw. But I would certainly not let a fork go out with 50mm of pre-load on it. 5 or 10...yes, but not 50.
To be fair, the bike was sold (couldn't resist the offer) and probably could have been corrected without much effort on Dave's part. I was just done with that bike, besides the suspension.
So you know, I have been tuning my own suspension since 1979, and have raced amateur desert, trials, and motocross. I am not a newbie to the MC. I have had my CRFR, CRFX, RM, XRR and XLR's all tuned by ESP, Barnums, Enzo, and PC.
I currently have an '07 450, and I have just ordered stiffer springs, to begin with. The bike is SO much better than the '03 in every way, yet feels the same too.
I think I can understand your frustration and with all things considered, moving on was perhaps in the cards. Big changes between an 03 and an 07. And...not every bike works for every rider.
With that, you spent a good chunk of change on something that didn't work for you and I carry a good portion of that responsiblity. Yes, we could have gone back and fourth and such but you most likely didn't have much faith in the whole thing, given what led to this.
I have spoken once with the new owner but I can't remember what they had called about it. I don't think it was anything obvious. Perhaps I'll get it back into it at some point and see if I can find out what's going on with it. Perhaps there's a bent tube or something.
With that, I'll cover you on springs and fluid and seals and bushings and such on the new machine. Just make a list of what you need and want and I'll send it down and you can either do the install yourself or have someone local take care of it for you. Please take advantage of this.
Thanks again for everything and hope to hear from you soon.