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MsRN98

5th-Gen fork Upgrades

Hello All--greetings from Madison, Wisconsin! While I'm certain this topic has already been beaten to death (and I've read many of the threads), I'm going to ask about it again. With something just over 3,000 miles on my '00 VFR since November, I've come to the same conclusion as many of you--the stock suspension is barely adequate to the bike it graces. I've talked with Jamie Daugherty (picked up the bike in Fort Wayne, too), and I'll definitely go with his re-tooled 929 rear shock. For the forks, though, there seem to be a plethora of options. If I stay with stock forks, Jamie's cartridge kit will go in my fork. However, there's also the brake de-link with Super Hawk lowers and brakes, or the RC51 build, with RC51 lower triple and Super Hawk upper triple. Has anyone here experienced more than one of these options? For someone like me, who's willing with a wrench but lacks welding, fabrication or engineering skills (sorry--bioscience, languages and healthcare background), is the RC51 mod too much for me to take on? As it obviously changes effective trail due to the changed fork offset, does it radically change the character of the bike? And for someone like me, who will never race but might do a few track days here and there, is the RC51 mod overkill? I have to change my upper tubes soon (bad pitting), so I'm trying to decide on the most sensible direction to take this wonderful bike. Thanks in advance, everyone, for your input!

 

Oh--here's a recent pic of my Yellow Bird...

 

 

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I haven't seen any yellow 5th gens on the streets of Fitchburg lately, a red 6th a few days ago tho...

 

I've got Jamie's internals, Superhawk lowers, and 929/954 calipers (4 piston, the superhawk only has 2 piston and it's a straight swap).  Out back I'm running a Nitron 3-way.  The setup is absolutely brilliant and I doubt I could use much more performance on the roads around WI.

 

If your uppers are shot, the RC51 choice is yours since you are basically buying new forks.  I don't really like servicing USD forks, so they weren't really on the table.  However, I have no plans to track the VFR.

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My two cents, if you're fine with the 5 Gen brakes, then doing DMr fork internals is a very cost effective upgrade and is well worth the cost. I have had all three of my bikes redone by Jamie and all three have been revitalized! If you find that the brakes are in need of an upgrade, installing VTR forks and calipers would be the easiest upgrade and would most likely be worth the time and effort.

 

Although I track my 5 Gen, I kept the stock braking system and just updated the internals. As I mentioned above, it is now a very revitalized and capable bike. I'm sure a de-linking and installing better calipers would do even more for me, I am not that interested in doing all that work for something that I'm happy with already.

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I haven't seen any yellow 5th gens on the streets of Fitchburg lately, a red 6th a few days ago tho...
 
I've got Jamie's internals, Superhawk lowers, and 929/954 calipers (4 piston, the superhawk only has 2 piston and it's a straight swap).  Out back I'm running a Nitron 3-way.  The setup is absolutely brilliant and I doubt I could use much more performance on the roads around WI.
 
If your uppers are shot, the RC51 choice is yours since you are basically buying new forks.  I don't really like servicing USD forks, so they weren't really on the table.  However, I have no plans to track the VFR.

Fitchburg, huh? I live just off Seminole Highway, near the south branch of the Arboretum. Of course, I also spend much of my time schlepping back and forth between Fitchburg and Wausau, which may be why you've not seen my yellow VFR. Where in Fitchburg are you?


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I'll move the Madison discussion to PM, but a follow up to Duc2v4

 

The real reason I delinked the brakes was because I hated bleeding them.  The 4 piston calipers are just a nice addition and were cheap enough with all the wrecked fireblades.  The pair cost me less than $100 with a MC on ebay.  They needed a rebuild, but I would have needed to buy and rebuild vtr calipers just the same.

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My 2 cents is in a question How much do you not want to spend?   I've done Jamie's up grade as well,  best money spent.  but right with it is the Delink, bIMO another well spent money.  The process is pretty cut and dry. I didn't have really any thing major bite me.  only thing that slowed me down was how I wanted the new front brake line to route as it was ordered with a no money back guarantee, meaning we make,  it's yours,  so I looked it over a many times before hand. There's a many of these spelled out in google,  its your friend.  That said MY O My does the Viffer stop now.

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My 2 cents is in a question How much do you not want to spend?   I've done Jamie's up grade as well,  best money spent.  but right with it is the Delink, bIMO another well spent money.  The process is pretty cut and dry. I didn't have really any thing major bite me.  only thing that slowed me down was how I wanted the new front brake line to route as it was ordered with a no money back guarantee, meaning we make,  it's yours,  so I looked it over a many times before hand. There's a many of these spelled out in google,  its your friend.  That said MY O My does the Viffer stop now.

More important to me is how much time I want to be without the VFR. I just spent time on FlEaBay pricing 954 calipers, MC, and SuperHawk forks. IIRC, the fender requires special-made brackets to fit Super Hawk lowers. It would be helpful if I could just use Super Hawk fork tubes--uppers and lowers, plug them into my VFR triple trees, and toss in Jamie's cartridge. I know the Super Hawk uppers are 41mm; more to the point, are they the same length as VFR uppers, or will I need to mix and match? If so, I'll buy a set of VFR uppers for now, toss in Jamie's cartridge, and save the brake de-link for another day.


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I started with Jamie's compression valve and springs in the stock forks, then added VTR  adjusters and a rebound Gold Valve, then moved to VTR lowers and CBR600F4 brakes, now I have CBR600F4 forks in 6G triples with 6G bars.

 

I blame eBay. Don't tell my wife.

 

The biggest step change is to the damper internals, and will make a huge difference to the bike's ability to deal with bumps with confidence. The VFR stock front end is undersprung and has restrictive high-speed damping especially in compression, that stop it absorbing bumps nicely. I use 0.9kg/mm springs, and have replaced both the compression valves and rebound. If you are happy with the VFR brakes, I'd stop right there, IMHO that is 95% of the total improvement that you will get.

 

I got the urge to add adjustable rebound damping, so I bought some lightly bent VTR forks and used the fork caps and damper rod parts. Just so I could play with the rebound bleed adjustment. The damper cartridge parts, fork seals, fork bushes  etc are all interchangeable between VTR and VFR.

 

So I had some VTR lowers just laying about...add some CBR600F4 brakes and I had the de-link going. Used the VFR uppers. Made my own fender adaptor plates. The VFR wheel and axle slot straight in. The brakes needed to be shimmed off the fork mounts by 3mm to centre nicely on the discs. CBR600 calipers interfere with the lower fork mounts, and the latter need a little filing to fit nicely. Could you use a VTR mudguard? I'm going to say probably no, the guard slips over the outside of the fork mounts, and the VFR fork spacing is wider so these just won't fit. As far as I recall, the VTR uppers are near enough to the same length as the VFR, certainly within 5mm, so near enough to interchangeable.

 

I do prefer the separate brakes, but had no problem with the linked system either.

 

Then I had another urge, to upgrade to CBR600F4 forks; these are 43mm diameter, so significantly stiffer than 41mm forks, and came with adjustable compression damping, something I wanted to experiment with. The 5G wheel/axle fit straight in, and the 5G guard fitted perfectly at the lower mount, and needed a simple bracket to mate with the top fork mounts. 

 

The problem with modifying this stuff is knowing when to stop. I would find myself riding along and wondering whether a little more rebound damping might be good, or a little less compression damping. Within reason, now I can just stop and pull out a screw driver, but the reality is once you have taken out the junky OEM damper parts and got the shim stacks right, there's not much to be gained with further fine-tuning. Jamie's recommended set-up was close to but not quite the best for me, but I think that comes down to individual preferences, and I've learned that like pillows and mood lighting, I prefer my suspension on the softer end of the scale, as I (think) tend to ride fairly smoothly.

 

 

IMG_3330.JPG

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Ah in my case with the brakes and forks,  it was kinda done in a two step process, but knew right off the bat the forks where to be done asap, so sent them off to Jamie, could I have done it?  Probably,  but time was kinda crazy and had a couple things to do with the VFR that was going to take the week, so shipped em off to Jamie to work his magic on.   it was during the next part of the re dos, when I saw the brake mess that I decided it too needed done.  it took a few months to gather the parts for the de link, but was very doable once the parts where here, I went 04 CBR600f41 master and calibers with SH lowers, rear brake was just a rear MC change didn't see the need to do the bridge line to work the 3rd pot,   so far so good.  On the fender brackets, that's easy,  it's  a Mello Dude VFRD member thing. speigler were the folks Iused for the front brake line.   As far as the forks go time wise,  send em off,  they'll be back in no time,  in my case 9 days. no fuss no mess.

 

DSCF1027_zpstprpbnra.jpg

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MsRN98, I have an extra set of Mello Dude's 5th gen fender-to-VTR fork adaptors if you're interested.

 

RVFR and Terry, what was the turnaround time on your suspension projects with Jamie?

 

IMG_0573.thumb.JPG.24eb7e18c530c38c62b90ef37fd2f2fc.JPG
 

 

 

IMG_0574.JPG

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After replacing springs to 0.95kg/mm, I went to a local well known suspension builder for a front high flow compression piston replacement and custom shim stack.

It was crap, went back, still crap.

Decided I could do better, or at least, no worse.

My end shim stack/oil choice was much better (many times dismantling forks and experimenting), but could not get it to what I thought it was capable off.

Then I went the VTR lowers (with the rebound adjustment) and 954 calipers.

I then went with high flow rebound pistons/shim stack, it was much better still (more times dismantling forks and experimenting). This actually helped the compression stack a lot more then I realized it would.

Now I have great suspension and even greater brakes.

But I can now notice the fork flex when pushed hard.

If I started from scratch again, I would go the 43mm swap, a bit more money but well worth it in my own opinion (not as much as going UD forks, and better geometry).

I received a lot of help from members here, specially Terry.

Getting ready made internals is an easy step, and JD has a good reputation in this forum, but I now realize how much doing it myself taught me about suspension.

If you have a bit of mechanical knowledge/time, and good tools, it's not too hard to do.

If you don't have a feeling for lack off or too much rebound/compression damping, it might be better to get it ready made.

Suspension is very personal. Nobody can build you the perfect suspension for you, they can only give you something that is ok for most, after that they need your feed back.

Either way, anything is better then stock (badly undersprung, badly damped).

Rear is even worse, but you really need to do both together, they need balance for good handling.

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RVFR, nice picture of your machine...
A friend(mentor), long agony had a saying, "when I get the urge to work, I sit down and wait for the urge to pass" haha. Good advice, no? Who listens to good advice, time to play is better!
Do what you are comfortable/able to accomplish, anything is better than stock.

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2 hours ago, sfdownhill said:

MsRN98, I have an extra set of Mello Dude's 5th gen fender-to-VTR fork adaptors if you're interested.

 

RVFR and Terry, what was the turnaround time on your suspension projects with Jamie?

 

IMG_0573.thumb.JPG.24eb7e18c530c38c62b90ef37fd2f2fc.JPG
 

 

 

IMG_0574.JPG

 

I live far, far away from Jamie. I ordered just the parts and did the rest myself. I have had a little experience with fork tinkering and fitted springs and Gold Valves to my RF900 forks. Jamie's parts are a very similar to Gold Valves, and generally cheaper, so in my view functionally they are interchangeable. Race Tech do however provide a lot of background info with their parts and these give useful recipes for shim stacks, and their spring rate recommendations are pretty correct too, and I used those to guide my changes.

 

Forks are easy enough to rebuild; the only bit that can give trouble is getting the bolts out of the bottom of the forks, as these screw into the dampers, which can spin in place if you are unlucky. An impact driver can overcome this, but I've mostly been lucky in that regard. If it happens, pulling up hard on the extended damper can add enough friction to stop the spinning, but some have had to resort to drilling off the bolt head.

 

If anyone wants advice I'd happily share what I've learned. I've had plenty of help with other bike issues from forum folks.

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MsRN98, I have an extra set of Mello Dude's 5th gen fender-to-VTR fork adaptors if you're interested.
 
RVFR and Terry, what was the turnaround time on your suspension projects with Jamie?
 
IMG_0573.thumb.JPG.24eb7e18c530c38c62b90ef37fd2f2fc.JPG
 
 
 
IMG_0574.thumb.JPG.c7dea601d7a9102e86d448be23971329.JPG

Sfdownhill, I may take you up on your offer; please send me a pm with your asking price. Right now my head is spinning with all the options that people have shared...I know, I know--first-world problems, right?

So far, the linked brakes don't bother me; that could very well change as I spend more time with them. My brake lines are (I'm guessing) seventeen years old, which makes them overdue for changing, IMO. IIRC, running new stainless lines for a linked setup is a major pain; de-linking may save a few headaches where that's concerned. I like the CBR600 F4i M/C for the fact that it looks like a stock VFR M/C, and thus lends less of a 'Frankenbike' look to the project. Time will tell as regards the health of my current uppers; Jamie thought perhaps only a few thousand miles would elapse before they started leaking, and I've better than 3K miles on the bike already. Aaahhh...head spinning!

Time to stop thinking, and go do something concrete and useful. Laundry, lawsuit, walk the dog, repair my scrub tops--the bike will wait for now. Thanks, everyone!


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Yes Mello is the man

 

his brackets mounted

 

DSCF0974_zpsgwiiui0l.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   It took 9 days turn around sending the forks UPS to Jamie 

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Here's a few more pennies to add. I have installed SS lines on both of my VFRs and the 5 Gen was a bit of a snap compared to the 6 Gen, probably because I didn't strip the rear sub frame off of the bike. That alone would actually suggest that the 6 Gen would require more work anyway as I didn't have to on the 5 Gen nor had the same amount of effort dealing with them.

 

As far as bleeding, I now have it down to a science and have actually had several people come over for my assistance with it and once you put speed bleeders on (Something I highly recommend linked brakes or not) bleeding is a snap. I think bleeding linked brakes might be intimidating at first, ultimately it just means more bleed points.

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MsRN98 you are going out your project correctly - the more data points you have, the better your decision making can be. Over the past year I've learned to treat the advice of vfrd 'old hands' like Terry, Duc2V4, RVFR, and others as valuable advice from very experienced, very expensive lawyers, but without the cost. They have, without exception, had my best interest in mind when helping me with insights. I will PM you.

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Oh, and +2 on Duc2V4's assessment of 5th gen stock brake hoses. Because of the number of brake hoses, it is critical that you fill and bleed carefully and, after the last step of filling/bleeding, zip tie your brake lever gently toward the handlebar and use a tiedown run through your center stand to press the brake pedal, then leave them that way overnight. This allows any residual bubbles to slowly escape upward while the system is under light pressure.

 

Thanks for the DMr info terry and RVFR.

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My 2 cents worth on brake upgrades (assuming you go this path) is that my preference would be for early CBR600RR brakes, rather than the CBR600F4 set. The RR (and 954 and SP2) uses smaller 30/32mm pistons and a bigger master (17.46mm) which in my experience gives the best brake feel/power combo. The 600F4i uses a smaller master (15.87mm) and bigger caliper pistons (32/34mm) so is a more powerful set up (more pad pressure for a given squeeze) but with a soft lever feel. I have a 954 set on my VTR, and 600F4i on the VFR, and I much prefer the former, although I'm still using stock hoses with the VTR and braided hoses on the VFR. I swapped out the F4i master for the larger and visually identical 600RR master on my VFR, and that is an improvement.

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I'm running SP2 calipers and master cylinder. Very happy with it....

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The drive for me was to keep it stock looking,  which the f4i master is a dead ringer for what was coming off. I'm not sure what Terry is referring too being soft,  these bit hard and now,  it's probably a personal feel which i get. either way it's way better than what it was.  I'm still try to decide on working it to install a 8th gen rear caliber.   but for now it's ok. but just the size of the rear caliber is kinda like,  Really? 

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I'd follow Terry and Mello w 30/32 front calipers and a 17.46mm master cylinder [11/16 cast into the reservoir] found on RC51 SP2s and early CBR600RRs. There is a close cousin to the 17.46mm front master available in the 15.875mm [5/8 cast into the reservoir] found on F4 and up CBR600's and others. I believe it was older ST1100s that had 16mm masters - not sure. I've gathered a bunch of data, all from guys on here who have been there, done that.

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Speaking of master cylinders, my notes show VTR, RC51, and F4i all having the popular-for-VFR-delink 14mm rear master cylinders. Is this accurate? Since we are talking about a fork upgrade which possibly includes a brake delink, I hope this doesn't qualify as a thread hijack.

 

Are any of these rear master cylinders favored over the others? Do they all have pushrods that are too long for the VFR and need to be cut down?

 

RVFR I was just rereading your post from early in this thread - dang your bike takes a purty photo! Sorry I didn't see that you'd already stated your suspension turn around time before I asked. I might have missed the answer to this question too, but which rear master cylinder did you select?

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Speaking of master cylinders, my notes show VTR, RC51, and F4i all having the popular-for-VFR-delink 14mm rear master cylinders. Is this accurate? Since we are talking about a fork upgrade which possibly includes a brake delink, I hope this doesn't qualify as a thread hijack.
 
Are any of these rear master cylinders favored over the others? Do they all have pushrods that are too long for the VFR and need to be cut down?
 
RVFR I was just rereading your post from early in this thread - dang your bike takes a purty photo! Sorry I didn't see that you'd already stated your suspension turn around time before I asked. I might have missed the answer to this question too, but which rear master cylinder did you select?

Thread hijacker! No, what you're asking is totally germane...


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4 hours ago, RVFR said:

The drive for me was to keep it stock looking,  which the f4i master is a dead ringer for what was coming off. I'm not sure what Terry is referring too being soft,  these bit hard and now,  it's probably a personal feel which i get. either way it's way better than what it was.  I'm still try to decide on working it to install a 8th gen rear caliber.   but for now it's ok. but just the size of the rear caliber is kinda like,  Really? 

 Yep, all down to personal preference. I found the F4i master and brakes had a bit more grab than I wanted, I prefer to use a bit more force when I want more stopping. With braided lines, there is little flex in the system. 

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46 minutes ago, sfdownhill said:

Speaking of master cylinders, my notes show VTR, RC51, and F4i all having the popular-for-VFR-delink 14mm rear master cylinders. Is this accurate? Since we are talking about a fork upgrade which possibly includes a brake delink, I hope this doesn't qualify as a thread hijack.

 

Are any of these rear master cylinders favored over the others? Do they all have pushrods that are too long for the VFR and need to be cut down?

 

RVFR I was just rereading your post from early in this thread - dang your bike takes a purty photo! Sorry I didn't see that you'd already stated your suspension turn around time before I asked. I might have missed the answer to this question too, but which rear master cylinder did you select?

I used a 600F4i rear master, and did have to cut the pushrod down to fit; a hacksaw makes short (see what I did there?) work of it. IIRC there was something in the mounts that needed modifying, maybe they were threaded and just needed to be drilled out? I know it was no big deal. 

 

You can leave the back caliper totally untouched, and just take both the stock brake lines to your new master, and use a double banjo bolt to connect them there. There is a suitable double banjo in the linked brakes that you can re-purpose for the job. The stock lines fit like they were made to have this done.

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