Looking to improve handling

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Looking to improve handling

This is a discussion on Looking to improve handling within the ZR-7 Performance Upgrades forums, part of the Kawasaki ZR-7 category; I am trying to search on how to improve my 2000 zr-7's handling as I have been riding with some gsxr 600 riders and would ...

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Thread: Looking to improve handling

  1. #1
    Newbie drifterz28's Avatar
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    Looking to improve handling

    I am trying to search on how to improve my 2000 zr-7's handling as I have been riding with some gsxr 600 riders and would like to keep up better. I feel the bike has the power needed on the street to keep up but with the higher center of gravity and soft shocks there is a lot of room for improvement.

    At this time the bike is stock with a new clutch and rebuilt front forks (seal leak). I know the the tires can be upgraded and I plan on doing that this spring but I can do some other work between now and then.

    thanks for any links or anything you can provide.

    p.s. not looking to spend more than the bike is worth

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    Supreme Being sh0rtlife's Avatar
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    spacer in the front forks and a new rear shock/spring....aside from that...i think someone did a fork swap..and i think another bikes rear shock fits..but i couldnt tell you what it was otehr than to search

    however...what tires are on it now?...cause tires make a MASSIVE improvement

  3. #3
    Supreme Being carryall's Avatar
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    Progressive springs. ($100) BTW, the 2000 had weaker springs than later years, and either the PVC spacers or adjustable fork spring adjusters work. I believe our friend Shakey did a new rear adjustable shock he likes. Maybe wait, or look at his threads. Not sure of the weight of a gsxr600 but, I bet it's way lighter than our ZR7, and like you said, good sticky tires are going to be key to holding the line. AND skill.
    Blue ZR7 with...color matched swing arm, heel plates, bar end mirrors, passenger pegs, F&R blinkers with smoked lens, oil cooler with mesh, carbon fibered side covers with mesh, custom made chin fairing, along with a tail trim, LED underbody lighting, Yoshimura RS3 muffler, Corbin seat, F15 windshield, 17t front sprocket, oil temp gauge, rim tape, custom grips, front spring preload adjusters, different handlebars with risers, Ivans jet kit with air box mod and snorkel removal and AIS removal.

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    Supreme Being Doug Hyde's Avatar
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    Don't forget the free or cheap things that will help the bike handle better and/or will help you control it better: set ride height (rear is free; front is cheap), set rear rebound damping, ensure wheel alignment, play with air pressures, set chain tension, set lever angles (most are way too high), and take as much slack out of the clutch and throttle cables as possible without causing problems. New tires will make the most immediate difference of course. And since most of us don't have skills that exceed our bike's capabilities: read or re-read about advanced cornering technique (Total Control by Lee Parks is a good 'un) and practice, practice, practice. Learning to smoothly blip-downshift can really help in the tight twisties, too.
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  6. #5
    Newbie drifterz28's Avatar
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    I have been searching the forums but the zr-7 short run leaves even shorter valid information (dead links)
    I know the gsxr is way lighter, lower and faster and I am in no way working on racing and winning. I am always taking classes to improve my skills.

    @Doug Hyde do you have information or link to the "set ride height (rear is free; front is cheap)"

    Thanks for the insight.

  7. #6
    Obo
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    The rear shock is adjustable in both preload and rebound (see the owners manual or service manual.) Playing with it is free.

    As for the front you can do the pvc preload mod, or buy a set of adjustable preload caps for around $30 US. You can also change the oil to a stiffer weight. The oil & pvc mod will cost you about $20.

    If you want more pep you can also change the front sprocket from stock 16tooth to a 15 tooth. Most of us though go the alternate route and go to a 17 tooth to give a bit more top speed (vs acceleration) but mostly to prevent the buzzing engine at highway cruising speeds. Sprocket will run you around $20 as well. You could also do a rear upgrade to a 39 tooth from stock 38, but the front is an easier swap.
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    Supreme Being rcannon409's Avatar
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    As kids, we had no money. It would have taken a lottery win before my dad would have ever given me enough money to "waste" on something like fork springs.

    The new bikes had 10" inches of suspension travel, our old bikes had 6"..so, anyway...

    We soon realized that if you shorten a fork spring by 1 inch, then make up the lost length with pvc pipe, its stiffer. He shows you how to do that, here:

    Rick Sieman: SuperHunky.com

    If you go to far, the coil swill bind against each other, which is not good.

    Its way easier to buy the correct spring, but this method is more fun. Plus, sometimes its impossible to find a different spring for an older shock.
    2012 Ninja 1000 all green - Brembo 330mm rotors - AK20 fork cartridges -Penske shock-slipper -Ivans reflash...Leo Vince slip on and Arrow header

  9. #8
    Supreme Being Doug Hyde's Avatar
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    Like Obo said. Preload essentially sets the ride height (or "sag") -- the stock rear shock is adjustable for preload, but the stock forks aren't adjustable for anything, so preload on the front can be controlled via the spacer or cap methods Obo mentioned. You can find the method for measuring and calculating proper ride height in many places online. And then there are rider preferences (I like a little more weight on the front tire), so you've got to play around a bit. My advice is to not make too many big changes at once, or you'll have trouble figuring out what worked or what didn't, and what and which way to tweak things further.
    Last edited by Doug Hyde; 11-23-16 at 01:07 PM.
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    2015 Versys 650 ABS
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    Supreme Being shakennstirred's Avatar
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    Even with suspension mods you will still have a steel tube flexing frame, that's my handling setback,
    now I have updated the front n rear on my ZR7. good thing is I can ride to the edge of the tyre and nothing on the bike touches the road.
    lots of guys with stock setup on the ZR7 Facebook group, complain that pegs touch down before the edge of the tyre is reached

    Its a lot better than stock and a lot safer, it now rides the ripple and bumps, instead of tying its self in knots at speed.
    I ride with guys on yam R6/R1 and zx10r and its hard work at 100+ mph trying to stay anywhere near them, the bike isn't made for that sort of thing
    The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off until further notice
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  11. #10
    Newbie drifterz28's Avatar
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    I by no means expect to beat them (I am not crazy) thanks for the input. I have do a ton more research on this, order some new fork caps with adjustment and a 97 ninja rear shock like I found on Doug's post.

    Thanks for all your insight.

  12. #11
    Supreme Being shakennstirred's Avatar
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    I'm running a Nitron shock and Hyperpro springs with preload adjusters and its so so much better.

    biggest thing is set it up for your weight.

    I wasn't saying beat them, because you wont well not unless their crap lol, but even trying to hang on to their coat tails is tiring, fun but hard work
    The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off until further notice
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  13. #12
    Obo
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    Quote Originally Posted by drifterz28 View Post
    I by no means expect to beat them (I am not crazy) thanks for the input. I have do a ton more research on this, order some new fork caps with adjustment and a 97 ninja rear shock like I found on Doug's post.

    Thanks for all your insight.
    Do your research here in the forum about which shock you need. I can't recall the exact year(s) that fit, but you want ones with the remote reserve not the attached reserve.

    If I recall you'd want a 1998 zx6 r or f (I forget which one) rear shock with remote reservoir - assuming you don't go for a new aftermarket unit.
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  14. #13
    Newbie drifterz28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obo View Post
    Do your research here in the forum about which shock you need. I can't recall the exact year(s) that fit, but you want ones with the remote reserve not the attached reserve.

    If I recall you'd want a 1998 zx6 r or f (I forget which one) rear shock with remote reservoir - assuming you don't go for a new aftermarket unit.
    Yeah. after I posted that I found it, ordered the shock and now I am installing

    Next up setting the preload. so much fun!

  15. #14
    Supreme Being sh0rtlife's Avatar
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    whoa..i just realised your local...considering ive only seen 2 zr7's localy what color is yours?

  16. #15
    Site Elder lpscruggs's Avatar
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    I've been through all of this before "back in the day", making one of the most notoriously evil handling motorcycles of the early to mid 70's (a Kawasaki 500 MachIII) handle well or more predictably at the limits of lean angle and available tire traction. As the old hot rodding axiom says "how fast do you want to go... how much do you want to spend". First you need to properly set up and find out your front and rear ride height and spring sag. Your fork springs and internals are prime components for upgrade as is the rear shock. Also you need to find out if the frame geometry is correct and if not how far off it is and can it be corrected. Are your front and rear wheels in line. There are literally dozens of questions that you need to answer Before You Start Throwing money and parts at your motorcycle.
    The first 2 places I personally went for my 01'ZR7S are Works Performance (rear shock) and Race Tech (front forks) Scour their websites and call both companies as in this former racers opinion they make the best stuff out there. They are not cheap but you will be working with some of the best in the field in performance motorcycle suspension.
    And I'm sorry to tell you but your ZR7S is at least 20hp short of the modern 600 sport bikes. And a bit overweight.
    The ZR7S is basically a no frills version of the 83'-85' Kawasaki GPz750 so it's on paper it is no match for a modern 600. But if well maintained, set up, and ridden will give a very respected accounting of itself and it's rider.
    The folks at Race Tech & Works Performance will be able to set you on your way and help you understand what you are really looking at.
    If you follow through with this "quest" you will have amassed a very useful amount of knowledge on motorcycle handling. Good Luck and Good Hunting.
    Oh Both of my ZRX's and my ZR7S are running Works Performance shocks & Forks with new internals and springs from Race Tech. Huge difference in the quality, comfort, compliance and controllability at all speeds.
    Last edited by lpscruggs; 11-26-16 at 12:42 AM.
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