R6 Suspension / Geometry Page

Originally I was not going to go into much depth on this page, but I felt I was remiss in not explaining how suspension and geometry work together to provide a final product. If you really want to read the ideology of motorcycle geometry and how it has evolved over the last couple decades then the old article can be read here, but I have to put this out there first & foremost.

One of the biggest misconceptions in the industry about suspension is that it only benefits those that are racing or super aggressive etc. The truth is better suspension helps the Novice rider with his/her first streetbike just like it aids the Expert Racer at the top of the sport. Doesn't matter if you are commuting in stop and go traffic every day or trying to set a new lap record. If the bike is more compliant, more comfortable and more responsive then it is better for anyone's needs regardless of skill level or intent of use. The suspension can be further fine tuned to your specific needs as the racer at the limit of traction aiming for a new lap record has different needs from the damping rates than the guy wanting to take his girlfriend on a ride to his favorite lunch spot, but more compliance is always a good thing whether you need a better ride on your daily commute or more grip while getting on the gas exiting Turn 5.

What you are really purchasing when you buy aftermarket quality suspension is a greater margin of safety and a larger margin of error with some extra comfort thrown in. You get to ride faster with less drama and more compliance and feedback from your own motorcycle. For your specific needs of track riding there is no better way to improve the bike. When the bike is doing what it is supposed to underneath you then that frees up your mind to focus on other issues like body position, throttle management and hitting those brake markers with confidence instead of worrying about the ripples in the braking zone or that dip at the apex of Turn 6 and how they are going to upset the chassis etc. Proper suspension makes the bike predictable in all conditions. Additionally if the bike is working with you instead of fighting you into and out of every turn then when you do make a riding mistake you stand a much better chance of the bike correcting itself and keeping you on two wheels than if the bike is working against you and protesting your inputs the entire time.

Now let me go on to explain a personal stance because a lot of you like to send me emails trying to justify the OTHER brand of suspension you bought and want me to tell you that you made the right decision. I sell and service Ohlins because it is the best. I am not saying that other brands are not good or they won't work or anything of the sort. I am merely stating that if you want the absolute best products in the world then Ohlins is what you choose! The pinnacle of roadracing on this planet is MotoGP and those teams can afford to buy any brand of suspension they want and they all go with Ohlins. You don't see any teams at that level using WP, Mupo, Nitron etc. They want what works the best and that is Ohlins period. Most if not all of those other brands would be glad to GIVE MotoGP teams free product just to be able to say that a team at that level uses their stuff. The real truth is Ohlins doesn't sponsor any team. Even Rossi's team pays for their Ohlins products and support. They pay because it is the best and it is worth it so when you come to me asking me what I think about the brand you chose over Ohlins don't expect me to candycoat my response and tell you its just as good as Ohlins. It's not. It may be 100 times better than the OEM crap suspension you were using, but it is not Ohlins. With the Ohlins product you get top quality everything from the actual product design to the technical support. The pool of knowledge put into their products and available to the end users is immeasurable. Additionally I should point out that sometimes it doesn't even come down to how good your suspension is, but how good you think it is. The aspect of mental confidence is rarely mentioned in this ego-driven competitive sport, but for the average rider just knowing you have the best products on the planet installed on your bike is in many cases just as effective a tool for building confidence as using those parts to their full potential would be. The point is if you already know you have the best product in the world on your bike you damn sure won't be second guessing your decision and asking me what I think about it.

Back to the topic of the 2017+ R6 Specifically

This R6 actually steers pretty damn decent right off the showroom floor and requires just minor changes to get the handling in the sweet spot for proper track use.

Basically we leave the OEM shim in place on the rear shock mount, raise the Ohlins rear shock clevis one turn (1mm) from bottomed out & then raise the front to fine tune the Trail in the geometry to get the bike to steer without running wide when we get on the throttle coming out of the turns.

The amount we raise the front end will vary depending on the riding style and outright speed as well as the type of fork internals you are running. OEM forks need more height than say an Ohlins FGRT fork or FGK NIX30 Cartrdige both of which generally require less height than an Ohlins FKR Spring Charged Race Cartridge which always has internal pressure pushing up against the springs causing the front to ride in a different area of the stroke in all conditions etc.

For those of us NOT running at or near race pace where the suspension is laser focused to run that type of pace or running Pressurized Race Cartridges where sag numbers are thrown right out the window, the rest of us can rest assured that the standard Rider Sag settings of 30mm Rear and 38-40mm Front are excellent starting numbers.