A stock shock is fine for...
A stock shock is fine for average-sized street riders, but heavier folks will greatly benefit from the Race Tech Gold Valve kit and stiffer spring.
Last month we kicked off our two-part suspension series on a 2005 Suzuki GSX-R750 with a complete fork overhaul from the suspension pros at Race Tech. The trusty steed had amassed nearly 30,000 miles and its suspenders were in need of maintenance, but more importantly, the owner had complained of a wallowing ride from the onset.
Prior to seeing the bike and its owner we chalked up the loose suspension as a simple maladjustment, but after a quick observation of the owner’s 240-pound stature we knew exactly what the problem was–he was too heavy for the stock setup. Sure enough, the adjustments were tightened and yet the bike still sagged like something found in a National Geographic article.
 After grinding the OEM...
 After grinding the OEM shaft peening, the stock nut can be removed in preparation for the install.
The forks nearly bottomed while on the brakes and the rear shock sagged so much it was already sitting mid-stroke with the owner in the saddle. Although the high mileage was partially to blame for the limp suspenders, most of the fault was placed on the stock components. Since our rider was well over two-bills he handily outgunned the stock parts that are generally sprung for a 160-180 pound rider. When we say the suspension isn’t up to the task we don’t mean the fork legs, shock body and hard parts, but rather the springs and valves that are designed to work with a lighter rider.
This might seem like a difficult problem to fix, but Race Tech has turned a tough task into a simple component swap. So we decided to pick up where we left off last month and address the draggin’ ass rear shock.
 With the factory stuff...
 With the factory stuff gone, the golden goodness is added.
Sure, an Öhlins or Penske unit might be your first thought, but the price tag will make you think again. Especially when you consider Race Tech can rework your stock components with enough performance for even the nastiest of track riders.
After a thorough cleaning, Race Tech got down to business by replacing the old seals and bushings with new replacements before adding its Gold Valve unit. The Gold Valve is set to our rider’s weight/riding style and will provide supple suspension action over slow-speed bumps and soak up the high-speed hits thanks to precise oil control. Unlike the OEM pieces, there are no concessions to cost and ease of production–performance comes first with the Gold Valve units.
 These shims are what...
 These shims are what dictate the valving characteristics of the shock, as they’re tuned to achieve the proper damping based on rider weight, riding style, etc. Here you can see the Gold Valve rebound damping shims being installed before the base plate and shaft nut are added.
Race Tech added its Ultra Slick oil before assembling the unit with a burly 8.0x2.5-inch, 8.0Kg spring that’s perfect for our big boy’s weight. Race Tech also custom powdercoated the spring for a dash of color and a unique touch.
With the new goods back under the Gixxer we immediately felt a difference just spinning it around the block. But the real test was yet to be seen—what would the owner think? Thankfully his first impressions were in line with ours–tight and wallow-free.
We checked back several weeks and 1000 miles later only to find he was happier than ever. The feel only got better with time and after some adjustments he found the perfect setup for his style. Gone are the days of bottoming the forks and a squatty rear end that would push the front wide through corners. Instead, his seasoned Suzuki has a new lease on life and it’s riding better than ever.
 We had the spring powdercoated...
 We had the spring powdercoated red so only the most observant would realize what lies beneath. Before shipping the components back to the SSB HQ, Race Tech set the spring pre-load as seen with the tape measure.
It’s important to note that a stiff, performance-focused suspension will only be beneficial when riding hard and generally isn’t ideal for basic commuting and freeway riding. SSB
MAX RIDER WEIGHT THE STOCK SUSPENSION IS DESIGNED FOR.
RACE TECH SHOCK REBUILD
|SHOCK REBUILD (LABOR):
|8.0 x 2.5” 8.0 KG SPRING
|ULTRA SLICK LIGHT FLUID
|CUSTOM COLOR SPRING
Next Month: A 2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R gets uncorked
Special thanks to the crew at Race Tech for the help.