Jump to content
pattonme

Bitubo JBH dissected, ridden and rated

Recommended Posts

bellissimoto
2 hours ago, topazsparrow said:

As someone who recently bought front and rear suspension from Bitubo through you guys, what kind of outcome might be expected?

 

My rear shock showed up with a leak and I had to send it back to you guys for repair - which you were really good about, but combined with the concerns about the front end now.. it's a bit of a black eye on bitubo for our bike seems like.

 

 

 

 

I do remember that shock, but it was a while back.  There were some drops of oil in the packaging you discovered if I remember correctly.  Wasn't sure if it was just upon assembly or if was actually leaking, and when it came to our attention we took care of it right away like you said.

 

As far as the front end is concerned, I wouldn't be.  You haven't had any problems with yours have you?  If you have, or for that matter anyone else, please contact me immediately so we can take care of it.

 

As far as the outcome is concerned, Bitubo wants to remedy the issue if there is one.  Their initial fix was to answer Matt's technical questions (he's a tech savvy guy after all, and his whole business centers around "fixing" or improving other manufacturers' products), and Bitubo is also going to send him some new springs to try, as the impression that was left was that Matt's system was to harsh.

 

And please don't misunderstand my comment in parenthesis, that is not a dig on Matt at all.  Matt and I are friends, he's been to the shop, we broke bread together.  Matt knows his stuff for sure, and offers a valuable service to improve components for individualized needs.

 

Which is why Bitubo wants to work with him to solve what ever issues he's having. 

 

But please keep this in perspective.  When you send components to a specialized tuner, the tuner will ALWAYS find improvements.  For someone like Matt, he has the skills to improve products for individualized needs, but it doesn't always mean the base product as delivered isn't good, just means it can be improved upon in certain cases.

 

It's not unlike other brands of suspension...pick one.  Ohlins is well regarded at the top of the food chain in racing circles, but what people don't know is that the Ohlins products as delivered for a customer's bike is NOT the same Ohlins product that ends up in the hands of a racer who has a suspension tuner.  The tuner will always do their tweaks to improve upon if they can, but the average customer that installed them as-is will be over-the-moon and never know the difference.

 

In regards to Matt's cartridges, Bitubo is keen on working with him to fix whatever issues he's having.  Bitubo has certain parameters they use to determine how they build and customize each kit for the individual.  These parameters scale accordingly with different rider and spring rates.  Once outside normalcy (for Bitubo), the scale is less linear, and this could be the cause of this particular issue.

 

It's actually ironic that Matt is having an issue with his set, as he is in possibly the best position to work with Bitubo to help sort it all out if in fact the base product as delivered was defective or outside the normalcy (for Bitubo).

 

:)

 

- Paul

Edited by bellissimoto
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FZ07R WaNaB
2 hours ago, bellissimoto said:

It's actually ironic that Matt is having an issue with his set, as he is in possibly the best position to work with Bitubo to help sort it all out if in fact the base product as delivered was defective or outside the normalcy (for Bitubo).

 

Don't forget from my previous posting that Matt is not the only one having a problem with the JBH cartridges. My cartridges were extremely stiff as well. I'm fortunate that I live 25 minutes away from Matt, and had him install my completely stock/not tampered with cartridges. I noticed the harshness immediately, and on bad pavement, it was borderline dangerous. I, too, want to see this problem straightened out.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bellissimoto
25 minutes ago, FZ07R WaNaB said:

 

Don't forget from my previous posting that Matt is not the only one having a problem with the JBH cartridges. My cartridges were extremely stiff as well. I'm fortunate that I live 25 minutes away from Matt, and had him install my completely stock/not tampered with cartridges. I noticed the harshness immediately, and on bad pavement, it was borderline dangerous. I, too, want to see this problem straightened out.

 

 

 

Yes Sir, and if I'm not mistaken, both your set and Matt's set are the ones outside the normalcy (for Bitubo), which is even more reason for Bitubo to work with Matt to alleviate any issues, since it seems outside these parameters their formula doesn't scale in a linear fashion (so it seems). 

 

As soon as we get more info, I'll pass it on, but so far, everyone else that has fell within their range has had very positive results.

 

:)

 

- Paul

Edited by bellissimoto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topazsparrow

Sorry to pile on, but mine are quite stiff as well.

 

I'm not suspension guru so I've kept quiet about it in case it's just ignorance on my part - and it may still be. But for sake of additional data, my front end is pretty stiff as well.

 

With the preload backed all the way off as far as it would go, and the compression at two clicks from the softest setting, it's still pretty jarring at highspeed. Using a zip tie on the front fork, it's got about 1 inch or a bit more left until it runs out of tube - though I'm not sure where the bump stop is. It seems to get more jarring the longer I ride it as well.

 

For the time being, i'm assuming the spring rate is just too high and not that there's anything defective with the unit. Finding out more will require me to take it to a suspension shop to see what they think and if lowering the spring rate would help.

 

It's still better than stock though - particularly the rear shock!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pattonme
5 hours ago, bellissimoto said:

and his whole business centers around "fixing" or improving other manufacturers' products

Maybe I'm word-smithing here but that was NOT what I set out to do. The Matris F15K, the Andreani, Nitron TVT, the Ohlins NIX-30 and NIX-22, GP Suspension's GP25, the K-Tech IDS20, and most recently the JBH I bought for my personal use and professional curiosity. To be honest I'm getting tired of doing the in-house GSXR retrofit because it takes so much time to do each one and my thru-put is pretty rotten because my day job is taking up so much of my time. And now with a plethora of sub-$600 kits out there I was hoping they were up to the task.

 

I've ridden all of these products and nearly all have paid a visit or few to the shock dyno. Some I made only minor changes to (eg. really thin oil) while others have had their pistons flipped or replaced and valving reworked. All because in my personal opinion the as-delivered state was some degree of "unacceptable/unlivable", some more egregiously so than others. Admittedly my threshold for "good to acceptable" is probably much more picky than your casual consumer who has only ever experienced Jap4 OEM suspension and since it hasn't killed him yet, doesn't recognize the issue. I tune for the street where real bumps happen, not the track where the predominantly smooth surface allows even rotten suspension to appear decent. Until you go ride Nelson Ledges...

 

It's telling that there are numerous reports of harshness on the street with eg. the Andreani across a variety bikes their product is used in. Other tuners around the world are recently likewise making changes to the kit before handing it to the consumer. Every single Matris F15K that I've sold in stock guise has come back with the user requesting fixes to the compression. Are there some of them out there on the race tracks and people are just happy with them? No doubt. Everyone not on this board who's never heard of me or read my thread on the matter, riding in perfect happiness? Sure, why not. But people are finding me thru Google for non-FZ07 bikes asking for a solution because they are unhappy with the Matris or Andreani kit for their ride. Heck even racers are reaching out for help.

 

Some products are quickly apparent to be unsuitable for street use as delivered from the factory. I would unfortunately put WaNaB's JBH experience in that category. But let me quickly point out this might be a case of a bad unit (eg. too much air pressure in cartridge). The matter is being pursued with Bellissimoto's help and the Bitubo factory.

 

Edited by pattonme
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Littlebriar

This exchange is very worrisome to me since I have a set of JBH on order which has not been delivered yet. 500 bucks is not chump change to me.

Edited by Littlebriar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bellissimoto
7 minutes ago, pattonme said:

Some products are quickly apparent to be unsuitable for street use as delivered from the factory. I would unfortunately put WaNaB's JBH experience in that category. But let me quickly point out this might be a case of a bad unit (eg. too much air pressure in cartridge). The matter is being pursued with Bellissimoto's help and the Bitubo factory.

 

 

And this is why I say Matt is in the best position to help fix it.  Bitubo makes RACE SUSPENSION.  It's in their name, it's in their DNA.  The Europeans have test riders that weigh as much as a 14 year old teenage girl, on smooth as glass roads and race tracks.  The JBH line is very versatile, as it can deliver solid performance on both.  To most people, European suspension in general will be stiffer than US based brands from what I've found, but it's usually preferred to stock because most people want a performance based system, not just something better than OEM for street use.

 

This is all good feedback though, because Bitubo actually cares, and with Matt's expertise, can help sort it out.

 

I implore you guys though, if you find your suspension is too stiff, or not happy with it in any way, please let me know right away so I can do something about it.  It might come down that for people based in the US, going one step softer on springs may do the trick for the small percentage of folks who find it too stiff for normal street use.  Could be something as simple as that.

 

But I do appreciate everyone's feedback and even offer you this...

 

If Matt finds some special sauce of a solution that helps everyone who actually has this issue (and the issues turn out that it's just not within HIS acceptable range, as he put it) you'll STILL have a total suspension solution that's less expensive than the competition, and tuned by someone of Matt's expertise personally set up for you.

 

But lets just see if we can come to the same solution from the factory first, shall we?

 

:)

 

- Paul

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FZ07R WaNaB

FWIW, I ended up selling my JBH cartidges to pattonme (Matt) mostly due to me not wanting to deal with the trial and error period while this problem gets straightened out. I would prefer to just ride my bike.

 

Having said that, I had Matt install the new bushings to remedy the bushing wear problem (yes, they were worn at 8500 miles) as well as reinstalling my heavier fork springs and adding Matt's home brew of fork oil. That actually works fine for me in combination with my Bitubo XZE11 shock. My current suspension setup is a heck of a lot better than stock!

Edited by FZ07R WaNaB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DewMan
2 hours ago, FZ07R WaNaB said:

FWIW, I ended up selling my JBH cartidges to pattonme (Matt) mostly due to me not wanting to deal with the trial and error period while this problem gets straightened out. I would prefer to just ride my bike.

 

Having said that, I had Matt install the new bushings to remedy the bushing wear problem (yes, they were worn at 8500 miles) as well as reinstalling my heavier fork springs and adding Matt's home brew of fork oil. That actually works fine for me in combination with my Bitubo XZE11 shock. My current suspension setup is a heck of a lot better than stock!

I've lost track, but did you get to ride on the JBHs? Can you speak to the harshness that's been reported by some? How does it compare to (better/worse/just different) to OEM? ✌️

 

If anyone else would like to offer their comparisons of JBH vs OEM I'd be interested as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pattonme

@DewMan, use the back button?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
poida

I'm not an expert, just a rider from Sydney, Australia and here is my experience with the JBHs...

 

I bought a pair of JBHs from Bellissimoto last yr and rode it for about 4 months. I found it quite harsh/stiff on the street and contacted Bellissimoto about the issue. Paul was helpful and I ended up doing a spring exchange with Bitubo - 0.9 to 0.8 springs. Rider sag is pretty much spot on and it seems acceptable for the street most of the time. There are times it seems harsh/clunky but some of the roads around my city are quite bad. Any roads with multiple potholes can be quite frightening. 

 

I would say the OEM fork damper setup is more 'plush' around the streets (just my feeling). But the JBHs do feel better for more aggressive riding - around the national parks, mountains, country side. I'm starting to think perhaps the JBHs are more geared as race suspension? 

 

At the moment i'm reading up and learning about suspension. I think i need to look into the settings and play around with it, i also have a Wilbers rear shock i have to setup to sync with the front suspension. I haven't done the bushing replacement yet as i'm waiting for the parts. Perhaps this is causing some clunky feeling with the forks? (bike has 12000km on the clock). 

Edited by poida

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bellissimoto
12 hours ago, poida said:

I'm not an expert, just a rider from Sydney, Australia and here is my experience with the JBHs...

 

I bought a pair of JBHs from Bellissimoto last yr and rode it for about 4 months. I found it quite harsh/stiff on the street and contacted Bellissimoto about the issue. Paul was helpful and I ended up doing a spring exchange with Bitubo - 0.9 to 0.8 springs. Rider sag is pretty much spot on and it seems acceptable for the street most of the time. There are times it seems harsh/clunky but some of the roads around my city are quite bad. Any roads with multiple potholes can be quite frightening. 

 

I would say the OEM fork damper setup is more 'plush' around the streets (just my feeling). But the JBHs do feel better for more aggressive riding - around the national parks, mountains, country side. I'm starting to think perhaps the JBHs are more geared as race suspension? 

 

At the moment i'm reading up and learning about suspension. I think i need to look into the settings and play around with it, i also have a Wilbers rear shock i have to setup to sync with the front suspension. I haven't done the bushing replacement yet as i'm waiting for the parts. Perhaps this is causing some clunky feeling with the forks? (bike has 12000km on the clock). 

 

In reference to the statements in bold above...

 

Bitubo is listening to us.  They want you to have a great experience.  Bitubo changed their standard spring rate 1 step softer because of feedback from users.  Poida received a set before this change was made, and we advocated a swap due to his particular circumstances...

 

The JBH line of cartridges is NOT their highest end performance race cartridge.  That goes to the ECH line, but they don't make them for the FZ-07 and most naked street bikes general, just pure Super Sports bikes mostly.  Having said that, the JBH line was created to form a happy medium, and their valving was specifically created to work with a wide variety of spring rates to give a performance orientated feel and a great upgrade over OEM.  But it IS sport performance orientated.

 

It would be like buying a corvette and expecting it to be plush on pot hole ridden roads.  Or like changing the suspension on a full size pick up for sport use and then wonder why the payload capacity rating is now lower.

 

I just want to put this in perspective for everyone.  You all know I'm enthusiast FIRST, and employee second.  I make no commission, and I have no agenda.  Many of you know me personally, and have followed my own FZ-07 build under my personal screen name pgeldz.  I say this because I'm just as passionate as all of you in wanting to get what I paid for when buying parts for my own bike.

 

So while the JBH line is probably the most versatile cartridges out there, and will work flawlessly for the majority of the people out there for their intended use, there will be some instances that are outside the normal parameters for Bitubo to accurately determine spring rates, etc.  When this happens, I do my best to work with Bitubo and the customer to sort it out.

 

Matt (pattonme) believes a spring change will not solve his issue, so it's possible he actually may have a defective set.  If so, they are covered under warranty and we go from there.  The first thing is to at least try the new springs per Bitubo, and if they don't solve the issue, we elevate it.  This is the proper path.

 

You guys are actually in luck to be honest because like I said earlier...for those of you with this particular issue, Matt is in the best possible position to work with Bitubo to  help solve it.

 

:)

 

- Paul

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pattonme
2 hours ago, bellissimoto said:

Matt (pattonme) believes a spring change will not solve his issue,

I'm sure you folks have a bicycle. pump up your 700c tire to 50psi. Now jamb your finger into it (not the side). That is the force being exerted preventing the oil from being displaced in front of the piston. In order for the  leg to move, heck the springs to compress, the rod (and piston attached to it) must be able to travel downward. That movement is being retarded by said counter-force. and it only gets stiffer the deeper into the stroke you go till it hits about 72psi at max travel.

 

That's the physics of the matter. It's really not that complicated to figure out why the fork is having trouble reacting to large and fast displacement events;  >100 inch/sec. 1"+ pot holes, frost heaves (they don't have those in Nevada), stutter bumps with any kind of compliance even if there were no shims on the piston at all.

 

All weaker springs do is change just 1 of the 3 (well actually 5) force components involved:

spring

valving

cartridge pressure

---

oil viscosity

fork internal pressure

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bellissimoto
11 minutes ago, pattonme said:

I'm sure you folks have a bicycle. pump up your 700c tire to 50psi. Now jamb your finger into it (not the side). That is the force being exerted preventing the oil from being displaced in front of the piston. In order for the  leg to move, heck the springs to compress, the rod (and piston attached to it) must be able to travel downward. That movement is being retarded by said counter-force. and it only gets stiffer the deeper into the stroke you go till it hits about 72psi at max travel.

 

That's the physics of the matter. It's really not that complicated to figure out why the fork is having trouble reacting to large and fast displacement events;  >100 inch/sec. 1"+ pot holes, frost heaves (they don't have those in Nevada), stutter bumps with any kind of compliance even if there were no shims on the piston at all.

 

All weaker springs do is change just 1 of the 3 (well actually 5) force components involved:

spring

valving

cartridge pressure

---

oil viscosity

fork internal pressure

 

I agree with you Matt, but as previously stated I have to follow what Bitubo wants us to do to remedy the issue.  If and when the new springs are in and you don't feel it has solved the issue, we take it to the next level, and I put you in touch with Bitubo's R&D to communicate a remedied solution.

 

:)

 

- Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topazsparrow

I just wanted to say thanks for having this open discussion here for us all.

 

It's nice to see a vendor interacting with people in an open and honest fashion, and as always pattonme's invaluable insight into issues I'll never fully grasp.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fzar

I'm following here as this is a modification I'm interested in doing. I'm holding off on a exhaust purchase as I think I'd be better off looking after the suspension before the pipe, and this topic has opened up a can of worms I wouldn't have been any wiser to the problem until after purchasing. I agree with @topazsparrow 

Posted Friday at 02:36 PM

I just wanted to say thanks for having this open discussion here for us all.

 

It's nice to see a vendor interacting with people in an open and honest fashion, and as always pattonme's invaluable insight into issues I'll never fully grasp.

 

Thanks for this information and working to find a solution.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bellissimoto
1 hour ago, fzar said:

Thanks for this information and working to find a solution.

Of course! I definitely want to see the community benefit from this, and want the very few affected to experience what all the other happy folks are experiencing with Bitubo.  You don't hear about it though cause they are too busy riding and enjoying, not posting on the internet :)

 

- Paul

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topazsparrow
On 5/14/2018 at 12:30 PM, pattonme said:

My new, replacement piston. Machined to 21.97mm instead of xx.

 

2018-05-14 01.22.42.jpg

Did you get a chance to try this out? any updates?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
poida

@pattonme probably tricky to service/mod for a normal home mechanic? - since both legs are pressurized? what tools did you end up using?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pattonme

you'll need some thin wrenches - bicycle cone wrenches get close. 18mm if memory serves. I should be able to get back to working on these finally. Re-pressuring the cartridge might require a 'sport' needle pump but I'm hoping it's just a traditional Schrader. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Littlebriar

I know this is an old thread but I wanted to add my experience to the discussion. I bought a pair of JBH cartridges and a XZE11 shock from Paul at @bellissimoto earlier this summer. Right after I ordered them, this thread caught my attention and I was worried I made a mistake. I called Paul and discussed my concerns. He was super helpful and he suggested that we should probably drop down a bit on the spring rates from the traditional Bitubo recommendations for my weight and riding style (aggressive street and occasional track days). Both cartridges and shocks were easy to install. The trick with the wedged in broom handle and impact wrench allowed me to easily remove the cartridges. The new ones dropped in with out problems. I was really surprised at the unsophisticated tube that was the OEM tube. No wonder the stock suspension is so bad. Then again, I couldn't believe how inexpensive the bike was when I bought it. I guess you've got to cut corners somewhere. The shock was no problem to switch out once I figured out how to suspend the bike.

The spring rates turned out to be just fine as both front and rear sag as recommended by Bitubo were achieved. I did have to back off the rear preload to almost full extension to achieve 26mm (25-30 is recommended). Test riding down a familiar stretch of bumpy roads provided a firm but not harsh experience. That's just what I was looking for. I have some pretty nasty expansion joints where I ride and found that opening compression and rebound a couple clicks improved those bumps. The bike is stable around corners and I feel much more confident. I am achieving good travel on the forks as shown by the zip tie method.

I had planned to do a track day last month but unfortunately it was raining and the track is virtually impossible when wet so I didn't go. It's getting too cold up here to plan another track day this year but I'll get to a few next year and find a tuner to help with improving the set up.

My weight with gear: 200lbs

Front springs: 0.8

Rear spring: 12.5

To sum up, I'm happy with the product. I believe it's a good value and Paul at bellissimoto was helpful.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bellissimoto
On 10/14/2018 at 7:56 AM, Littlebriar said:

I know this is an old thread but I wanted to add my experience to the discussion. I bought a pair of JBH cartridges and a XZE11 shock from Paul at @bellissimoto earlier this summer. Right after I ordered them, this thread caught my attention and I was worried I made a mistake. I called Paul and discussed my concerns. He was super helpful and he suggested that we should probably drop down a bit on the spring rates from the traditional Bitubo recommendations for my weight and riding style (aggressive street and occasional track days). Both cartridges and shocks were easy to install. The trick with the wedged in broom handle and impact wrench allowed me to easily remove the cartridges. The new ones dropped in with out problems. I was really surprised at the unsophisticated tube that was the OEM tube. No wonder the stock suspension is so bad. Then again, I couldn't believe how inexpensive the bike was when I bought it. I guess you've got to cut corners somewhere. The shock was no problem to switch out once I figured out how to suspend the bike.

The spring rates turned out to be just fine as both front and rear sag as recommended by Bitubo were achieved. I did have to back off the rear preload to almost full extension to achieve 26mm (25-30 is recommended). Test riding down a familiar stretch of bumpy roads provided a firm but not harsh experience. That's just what I was looking for. I have some pretty nasty expansion joints where I ride and found that opening compression and rebound a couple clicks improved those bumps. The bike is stable around corners and I feel much more confident. I am achieving good travel on the forks as shown by the zip tie method.

I had planned to do a track day last month but unfortunately it was raining and the track is virtually impossible when wet so I didn't go. It's getting too cold up here to plan another track day this year but I'll get to a few next year and find a tuner to help with improving the set up.

My weight with gear: 200lbs

Front springs: 0.8

Rear spring: 12.5

To sum up, I'm happy with the product. I believe it's a good value and Paul at bellissimoto was helpful.

 

I'm glad I could help, and you are happy with Bitubo :)  Thanks for the review!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.