This text was initially revealed within the February 2002 difficulty of Bike Cruiser.
We’ve usually mentioned that whenever you change a motorbike from inventory kind you enter right into a world of give and take. Whereas a inventory bike’s design has inherent compromises, the producers normally deal with all-around rideability. As customizers, we typically make modifications primarily based on type or enhancing only a single space of the motorbike’s efficiency. Typically—however not at all times—these modifications come on the expense of one other space of efficiency. Generally, although, you possibly can proceed your alterations and dial out the problems you created.
Once we had Kosman graft billet rims to the inventory hubs, we had been trying to mount a number of the sticky Michelin Pilot Sports activities out there for as we speak’s sport bikes. Additionally, by becoming a smaller diameter entrance wheel, we hoped to quicken the V-Max’s steering a bit by reducing the rake and reducing the rotating mass. We had been profitable on each counts. Possibly even too profitable.
The V-Max has by no means been identified for its dealing with prowess. Rising the tires’ grip elevated the masses positioned on the chassis. We tried upping the air strain within the fork which has the identical impact as bumping up the preload. Sadly, as soon as we received the entrance arrange for spirited driving, the trip grew to become harsh in something however commando mode. The rear suffered from comparable signs. Setting the rebound damping at place 4 to dial out a number of the boinginess did assist although. Lastly, in sweeping corners the body didn’t maintain the wheels in line when monitoring over irregularities within the pavement’s floor. The rougher the street, the extra the flex was obvious.
For our suspension upgrades, we slipped on a pair of Progressive Suspension 440 shocks. The $495 shocks are inventory size, serving to to keep up authentic trip peak within the rear. Because of the V-Max’s middle stand, all that was required to swap out the shocks was a half hour, a 14mm wrench, a 10mm socket, and a dab of grease. Whereas the 440s don’t provide any damping adjustment, preload is adjustable with none instruments. Simply flip the highest collar on the shock clockwise to extend the preload. We discovered one flip from full mushy supplied appropriate sag for Max and our rider.
Including a set of Progressive Suspension’s progressive charge springs ($75) is messier and a barely extra time-consuming exercise. The great thing about progressively wound springs is that the preliminary motion is comparatively mushy, however because the suspension compresses deeper into its vary of journey, the tighter wound portion takes over, firming up the spring and serving to to forestall bottoming.
The final addition we made for our preliminary suspension upgrades was a Carbon Honeycomb Sub-frame equipment manufactured in Japan by Lively (makers of some very cool sport bike elements) and imported into the U.S. by T.A.W. Automobile Ideas, Inc. The second we found these $425 carbon-fiber body braces, we needed to get them organized. We’ve seen some nifty billet braces (Lively makes a type of, too) and all method of creations individuals have bolted to V-Maxes to stiffen issues up, however these had been by far the trickest.
Set up required some dexterity. The brackets that mount to the body’s backbones should slip underneath wiring and hoses earlier than they are often rotated into the correct place to align with the brace. All the is sturdy, and the subframes mounted with solely a minimal of jimmying. The one downside encountered was some cracking and flaking of the clearcoat over the carbon fiber the place two of the bolts tightened down. We’ve contacted T.A.W. and had been assured that the chips are beauty. The lifetime of the brace must be unaffected.
The Proving Floor
Efficiency testing is likely one of the pleasures of this job. Out within the native canyon, our Max didn’t endure from the outdated bob-and-weave as earlier than. As a substitute, the trip was agency with out being overly harsh. The fork nonetheless tended to hydraulically lock over giant, sharp-edged bumps, however that’s extra a operate of damping-rod forks than the spring. Sweeping corners nonetheless brought on the bike to wobble a bit. Nonetheless, the body was rather more inflexible with the body brace put in. The wobble had been reworked from confidence-zapping to hardly noticeable. Additionally, the chassis now not felt prefer it was winding up like a spring when it hit compression bumps in sweepers.
Lastly, our undertaking V-Max is coming into its personal. From right here we’ll transfer into efficiency mods that are sure to take this rocket ship into one other world.