ZX-10R 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 ZX-10R Specifically

In a very nice contrast to the way so many production bikes have been being delivered from the factories in the last decade or so where longer & longer swingarms coupled with unrealistic trail numbers require us to raise the front end up to atmospheric levels just to get the bike to finish the turn or even install offset triple clamps to accomplish the same task. THIS ZX-10R actually steers pretty damn decent and requires what I would consider more conventional methods of altering the geometry for proper track use. What I mean by that is we are finally getting back to raising the rear and not having to fight the front so much.

The bike as delivered does has some understeer, but it's not overly difficult to fix. A combination of shimming the rear shock mount and raising the front to increase trail makes pretty quick work of it. Along with that we have some tricks from within the forks with the oil height and spring rates as well for the guys that are really working on lap times.

Obviously I cannot give specifics for every single tire manufacturers actual diameters and combinations out there, but I will share what is working on my bike currently.


Kyle Racing 5% Linear Race Link
6mm Shim
Ohlins TTX-GP Shock short as possible, (C37-R5 Valving start at 16 clicks on Compression and 10 clicks Rebound)
Axle Middle to Back
27mm Rider Sag


Stock Triple Clamp
Ohlins FGRT NIX Forks 4mm above the top clamp to top of fork tube (11 clicks Comp, 11 clicks Reb)
Oil Height 185mm
35mm Rider Sag

Addendum 01/18/16

Ok... I keep getting emails about setting up the stock suspension on the Gen 4 ZX-10R

The geometry and damping of a sportbike is basically fine tuned to a riders needs and is dictated by how fast the rider actually is, how far they lean off the bike, the size and profile of the tires, the quality of the suspension and a list of other variables.

Stock suspension will require a different type of geometry than quality aftermarket suspension would. With proper damping and spring rates in most quality aftermarket suspension you will limit the amount of front end dive under trailbraking and squat under acceleration etc which drastically alters the way the bike enters and exits the turns and adds not only stability, but consistency to the set-up. Stock suspension lacks that ability and you have to ride around those issues which makes geometry setup a compromising nightmare. I learned years ago that stock suspension is shit. I don't care how many accolades whatever magazine or blog throws at it, it's still shit and is much harder to get set up properly for one specific weight, rider or riding style when it was built as a one size fits all.

I don't ride on stock suspension nor do any of the pro racers I derive set-up data from so I do not personally know how to set up stock suspension on a ZX-10R for race use. It would never even occur to me to try. For normal trackday or street riding I can get you in the ballpark so that it is a reasonable semblance of conformity, but it will never be even remotely close to what aftermarket suspension will do for you. What I would not do is just arbitrarily set your clickers to what some moto-journalist posted in some magazine article somewhere. Most of those guys are just writers that happen to know how to ride a motorcycle and they don't really have to be good at either one to do the job. The rest of them are retired racers or test riders that have specific requirements or feedback they look for in a motorcycle set-up that may make the bike handle great for them, but would likely mean very little to the average rider.