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How To: Bitubo JBH & XZE11 Install

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So I recently picked up and installed the Bitubo JBH and XZE11 rear shock from Bellissimoto and figured I would do a quick install write-up.
I installed both last week and after a couple hundred miles and a few adjustments I can say it was well worth it. My FZ is now a lot more stable and it corners just as well as my ZX. Paul was great to work with and was very responsive when it came to questions.
The entire install took about 4 beers and one trip to the hardware store. 
Before you get started you want to make sure you have a solid tool set (sockets, ratchets, screwdrivers, ect), an impact gun, a couple 500+lb rated ratchet straps, a metric hex key and metric bit socket set, an A-frame ladder ( I believe mine is 7-8ft forgot to check), and a 28mm standard length socket. I also ordered replacement lower fork bushing and fork seals from Forks By Matt. The FZ forks are prone to premature bushing wear so I figured I would swap them out with the new bushings while I had everything torn down.
I decided to start with the rear shock, first you need to remove the rear tire hugger/chain guard. There are two (4mm) bolts on the chain side and two plastic pop rivets on the rotor side. Here is after removal.
After that is off, position your ladder over the seat of the bike. Run your ratchet strap over the top step of the ladder and down to both passenger peg brackets. Make sure you leave the kickstand down and ratchet the rear up until it is roughly 3/8" off the ground.
After the rear is up, use two ratchets with extensions and remove the two shock mounting bolts. They should both be 14mm if I remember correctly.
After removing the bolts the rear tire will swing down and make contact with the ground.
Lube up both pivot points with white lithium while you're in there.
The XZE11 is advertised with a 10mm adjustable length, I wanted more weight on the front so I adjusted my shock up about .250". To do this you have to break the lock nut loose and turn the upper shock eyelet out to the desired length.
First, I started by loosening the lock nut (the silver one). To do this, I lightly clamped the upper eyelet in my vise and then broke the nut free with an open end wrench. 
Then I removed the eyelet and measured the overall length.
There are roughly 15.6mm of thread below the locknut which mean you can raise the rear a maximum of 7.6mm or .300". I chose .250 ish to be on the safe side. This ended up equating to about 3 threads exposed when the lock nut was tightened down.
I used the vise to tighten the lock nut back down and did my best to keep the top and bottom eyelets aligned.
Here is the old compared to the new. Doesn't look like much of a length change but it made a pretty big difference.
Now the shock is ready to go in. I bolted the front up first and the lifted up the rear tire until I could slide the lower eyelet bolt in. once both were started I torqued the front to spec with the OEM lock nut and then used loctite on the bottom bolt since the Bitubo shock yolk is tapped on one side and you do not reuse the OEM locknut.
Here is it installed.
Now you can reinstall your tire hugger/chain guard and release the ratchet strap. The plastic rivets are a PITA to get in so you may have to remove the rear brake line mount to get a little more space. 
Now onto the front.
Here are the JBH cartridges. One leg is preload and rebound the other is preload and compression.
First thing is to remove the front wheel hugger, ABS sensor (if equipped), and get the front up on a triple tree stand. I have the venom stand and pitbull [HASH]33 pin. Then remove the front axle and wheel.
Crack the fork caps loose while the forks are still clamped. It will make it easier once the forks are removed. Loosen the clamps and slide one fork out. I did one side at a time so I did not mix parts. 
Once the fork is out you can remove the damper rod bolt. The factory used a lot of loctite and did not tap the damper rods very well. This makes removing the bolts a pain. I ended up compressing the fork a few inches with a ratchet strap and then used an impact wrench to zip the bolt out. Even with my 60gal compressor and a 1/2" impact gun it was a bit of a struggle. Here is the how I ran the strap.
With the bolt removed the fork oil will start leaking out. I set the bottom down in my oil catch pan and then removed the fork cap and pumped the fork until most of the oil was out. Then I pulled the spacer, washer, spring, and damper rod out. If you are not replacing the fork bushing or seals you can stop here and insert the new cartridge, fill with 170mm of Bitubo fork oil and bolt everything back up to the proper torque specs. I on the other hand wanted to change bushings.
To finish disassembly of the fork you want to carefully pry the dust shield off with a small flat blade, and remove the wave snap ring that hold the fork seal in. After the ring is removed use the upper fork tube (the chrome one) as a slide hammer and knock the seal out by holding the lower fork tube while pulling up on the upper tube. It should come out pretty easily. I didn't think to take pictures here since I have done this a couple times and didn't expect to do a write up, sorry :(.
Once the seal is out the two tubes should separate. I laid all of the internals out on some cardboard.
After everything is out, inspect the upper and lower fork bushings. Both of my lower bushing were shot but the uppers looked okay. 
The right hand bushing had some teflon worn off but it wasn't nearly as bad as the left fork bushing (the last pic). I have about 12k on the bike and it should not be worn that much. I am glad that I decided to get new bushings ahead of time.
To remove the lower bushings I used a small flat blade and pick. I pulled one side up and then slid it over the end of the fork tube. To install the new ones you just slide it over the end until it clicks into the groove. Make sure you clean the bushing groove before you put the new one on. I used brake cleaner to spray out the tubes and groove then wiped everything dry with an old tee shirt. Try not to get brake clean on the bushings.
Once everything is cleaned up install the new bushing and then put your upper bushing on and then finally the large spacer washer. Here is a pic of the order.
Lube up your new fork seal and slide it over the upper fork tube. Make sure the have the seal going the correct way.
After that put the below part in the bottom fork tube with the spring side facing up.
(Bottom fork tube)
That little plastic piece nests with the "damper" rods of the new cartridges and has to go into the lower fork tube before the upper tube is inserted. Here is a pic for reference.
Alright, now you have the new lower bushing, upper bushing, washer, and fork seal on the upper fork tube double check that the little white plastic bit is in the lower tube. If all is where it is supposed to be, combine the lower and upper tubes and press the seal down by hand until it starts to seat. At this time you will use your fancy 41mm fork seal driver to finish seating the seal, if you are like me and forgot to order a driver then you have to improvise or wait for one to arrive. 
I chose to improvise. Basically you clean the upper tube with brake clean and wrap electrical tape around it until it is bigger than the seal (roughly a 5/16"-3/8" of tape all the way around). Then you use the tape and upper tube to press the seal into the lower tube. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this but if you forgot to order the proper driver and are impatient like me then this worked but has the potential to harm the seal (not in my case so far).
Here is after I drove the seal in.
once the seal is in you can install the OEM snap ring, if you drove the seal far enough the snap ring should click into the groove on it's own. Then lube and reinstall the dust cover. Put the stock over travel spring over the "damper rod" of the new cartridges, like in the picture below, and insert it into your fork assembly.
Add 170ml of the Bitubo fork oil to each fork. 
I used this to measure out the fork oil. 
It's a meat injector that happened to have ml on it. The needle helped me get it into the fork without spilling any oil. 
Once the forks are filled, tighten down the cap by hand and Fish the fork though the triple and clamp. Tighten the fork clamps and torque the cap to the OEM fork cap specification. Use a short socket with an extension to do the final torque. I used an adjustable wrench and the German torque spec, which ended up leaving some marks on the cartridge caps. Rinse and repeat on the other fork. When both are done and reinstalled double check that both forks are at the same height in the top triple. 
Hopefully this helps someone. The install was pretty straight forward and anyone that has mechanical aptitude can do it. Just make sure you have the proper tools on hand. I am assuming that anyone that is going to install themselves can handle removing body panels and wheels which is why I didn't bother taking pictures of it. :)
Feel free to PM me with questions.
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Great job so far! Looking forward to reading the rest!
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Great job so far! Looking forward to reading the rest!
Thanks! I think I am done, I'll probably read it tomorrow and remember something I forgot the first time through :)  
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Nice write up @Chuckles! I've completed my ZXE11 install today and will start my JBH install tomorrow. Thanks for the JBH write up so I won't need to do one. :D
If I hadn't already written my ZXE11 install steps and taken all the pictures I wouldn't have bothered after you posted yours. :)
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Nice write up @chuckles ! I've completed my ZXE11 install today and will start my JBH install tomorrow. Thanks for the JBH write up so I won't need to do one. :D If I hadn't already written my ZXE11 install steps and taken all the pictures I wouldn't have bothered after you posted yours. :)
Thanks, let me know if you come across anything you think I should add after you complete your install.

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This thread has been fixed! 

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Very nice write-up, convinced me I won't be doing this myself ;-).



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