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kylerhsm

Finally upgraded - First Impressions

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kylerhsm

I love my MT07. It's one of the best bikes I've owned and probably the only bike I haven't got bored of and wanted to sell after a few months to try something new. I use it daily as a commuter and occasionally on the weekends, although the ratio is about 95% commute. Either way, the only thing I can't stand about it is the suspension. Everyone knows it's bad, but when you own other bikes and switch between them on a day to day basis you can really tell. For comparison, I also own an MT03 660 and this older bike with a pretty boring as hell engine has far superior road manners and is far more confidence inspiring even with the TKC80 dual sport tyres I run on it. Hell, even my mates VTR250 which I've been fixing up for him feels better on the road.

For those who might not have experienced it or don't know what they're looking for, the biggest problem is the way the bike wobbles around on corners when hitting road imperfections. The slighest bump will kick the back end up and down and start the bouncing which creates a kind of wobble. Good rear suspension won't do this, as it actually has damping, which is clearly what the MT07 doesn't have.

Anyway, the upgrade. I was considering a budget upgrade in the future once I sold my latest custom build and was probably going to go for the YSS ($300US approx delivered) and Cogent DDC's ($240US approx delivered). I'm in Australia, so my pricing is estimated and has to account for shipping costs. Since I use the bike pretty much as a commuter, I didn't see the point in getting something too expensive. But a guy locally listed a Bitubo XZE11 for $340US so I jumped on it within a few minutes of him posting it up.

Install was as simple as it could get. I jacked the bike from underneath to take the load off the back wheel, removed the rear hugger, undid the two bolts holding in the shock and swapped it over. I'm a shortass so I set the height on the Bitubo to the minimum, which leaves it about 1-2mm longer than standard. It came with a spring labelled as "120", which based on looking through the information on these forums doesn't tell me a lot. It seems that people either get sent a 120 or a 130 so I think it's OK. I've set my overall sag to 35mm which gives a static sag of 10mm which I think is OK, although I'm a noob to this stuff and going by what I've researched over the last few days. Rebound damping was set to 3/7.

The first test was my daily commute and the improvements were immediately felt. The bike instantly behaves far more predictably around corners and does not have the tendancy to squat under strong acceleration. In terms of harshness, I'd say overall it's a bit better than standard at soaking up the bumps. It feels sporty so you still get a lot of feedback but it avoids the initial jolt that potholes or manholes can give. In this department, the front still lets you know when you hit something sharp as it always has and to me the front has always been the worst for bump absorption so the overall improvement isn't huge in terms of smoothing out the ride.

The second test was hitting the mountains on the way home and here is where I really started smiling. The improvements here are profound and so easily felt that you instantly know that you've just made a huge improvement to the overall handling of the bike. I tested a few damping options from 1/7 through to 7/7 and ended up landing back at 3/7. The bike now holds its line on cornering like no other bike I've owned and there is no bucking or bouncing at all, and this is on some pretty average roads. It begs you to brake later and get on the gas sooner and gives you no reason at all to let up. You could pretty much say I'm in love and it really feels like I have a whole new bike. I didn't enjoy this bike in the twisties before because our twisties have a lot of bumps and it just felt unnerving, especially on those nasty right-turns that most people find slightly more difficult. But now I feel like I'm going to be taking the long way home a bit more often.

Now here's my conundrum. I don't like the front end. For my weight (165 pound) it just feels too harsh as any and every bump in the road sends a jolt up through the handle bars. I thought the Cogent DDC's would be the perfect solution for this, BUT, the same seller also has the Bitubo JBH12 cartridge kit (he's selling his bike) and said I could have it for $270US. At full retail, there's no way I'd spent the $$$ for a cartridge kit because my bike is primarily a commuter but I feel like that for this price which is only $30US more than what the DDC's would cost me shipped to my door that I'd be stupid not to just take up the offer and have a nice matching front/rear suspension setup on the bike. I'm waiting to hear back from him about which springs it has though, because I have a feeling that if they're 9.0's, the front end might actually be more harsh than stock which is what I was hoping to avoid.

Two questions to those who know more about suspension setup than me (which is probably most of you):

1. Does my rear setup seem OK at 10mm+25mm (35mm total) sag? Does this indicate the spring is in my range of weight?

2. Am I right in assuming that the standard front springs are too heavy for my weight, seeing that I am getting 15mm static + 13mm with me for 28mm total sag, and therefore if the standards are 8.7, then I should be looking at 8.0's or 8.5's? And that 9.0's, even with a cartridge kit could possibly feel worse?

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the wealth of knowledge I gained over the last few days reading pages and pages of suspension threads 😛

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stickshift

Nice one, an upgraded rear shock is a must on these bikes I reckon. Your rear sag numbers look ok to me.

I weigh the same as you - I fitted Cogent’s DDCs and lighter front springs to suit my weight and hit the correct sag numbers. The springs worked ok to absorb bumps, however the torque of the engine extended the springs a greater amount on acceleration, making things interesting to say the least. I reverted back to the stock springs with the DDCs and am pretty happy with the combo (have done track days with this setup).

TLDR: Stick with at least stock front spring rate. 0.90 springs in cartridges may be fine as you can tune the damping for them.

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Littlebriar

I have both the Bitubo XZE11 and the JBH12 cartridge kit on my 17 FZ-07. I'm impressed with the ride. Firm but not harsh. It feels like a totally different bike.  I'd buy those cartridges if I were you.

I'm not savvy enough about spring rates to provide advice of such things.


Steve, 2017 Yamaha FZ-07, 2016 BMW 1200RT, Harbor Beach, Michigan

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kylerhsm

I was going to do the fork swap with him this weekend but he said he's been offered a deposit on the bike (he had it for sale with the cartridges listed in the advert) so it looks like I might have missed out. He also upped the price back up to his original $500 ($340US) so it may be that I end up getting some DDC's instead. I think that having a matching front/rear set as well as the adjusters appealed to me, although knowing that I wouldn't actually make any adjustments once I got it where I wanted. I'll update this post when it happens but I think the "smarter" choice was always the DDC's considering I don't ride very aggressively and will definitely never track the bike.

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kylerhsm

After much deliberation, I have ordered the Cogent DDC's. As much as I wanted fancy clickers the reality is I'd probably never use them once I got the bike set up how I like it. The appeal of having them there was very strong though, just because they look great and give your bike a more high tec look. I went with the middle of the road settings which were "Medium" for rider type/style and "Standard" for ride preference. I love a plush ride, but the Bitubo is firm and sporty so I'd rather keep them balanced. I'll report back after my first test run.

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