This shock is manufactured...
This shock is manufactured in the USA by Cogent Dynamics to Holeshot specifications, and offers preload and rebound damping adjustments. While it’s a decidedly low-tech-appearing unit, performance is excellent and the shock made a significant improvement in the Suzuki’s stability and canyon prowess.
As you’d expect, the poor Suzuki’s chassis — underdamped and softly sprung to begin with — was woefully inadequate for any canyon riding with its newfound power. Walker was not surprised when we called to point this out, and was ready with suspension upgrades built to his specifications. Cogent Dynamics, a suspension shop in North Carolina that produces aftermarket shocks for a limited selection of bikes, manufactures a shock built to Holeshot specifications for the GSX/Bandit series. While the Cogent shock lacks the bells and whistles of a high-end unit, it does offer adjustable preload and rebound damping, is fully rebuildable, and has a lifetime warranty. The high-quality shock is available only through Holeshot Performance, with a modest retail price of $645. We found that in the transition from GSF/Bandit to GSX, Suzuki has slightly changed the rear suspension linkage; a shock intended for the earlier models will not fit the GSX. Take care when ordering suspension bits for either model.
Walker recommended the Suzuki’s conventional cartridge fork be equipped with Race Tech Gold Valves and a set of Cogent springs ($130, again available only through Holeshot), so we shipped the fork tubes and a set of springs off to Race Tech. Since we were the company’s first customer with GSX forks and the Suzuki part numbers for the internals are new for the bike, Race Tech — thorough as always — started from scratch rather than assume everything was identical to the Bandit/GSF bits, ensuring that the components and valving are suitable. The full treatment Race Tech treatment of compression and rebound Gold Valves, new seals and fluid along with installation cost $525. With the forks back in hand, we reassembled the front end and mounted a Holeshot fork brace to stiffen things up. The $150 fork brace is a five-piece design, CNC-machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and black-anodized — a really nice piece.
To put the GSX’s extra power to the ground, we replaced its OEM-spec Bridgestone rubber with a set of Michelin Pilot Road 3 tires, the company’s latest sport-touring tire introduced in mid-2011. MSRP for a set of the Pilot Road 3s for the GSX - a 120/70 front and 180/55 rear - is $493. With the tires mounted but before we performed the suspension upgrades, Bradley noted that the Pilot Roads drastically improved the bike’s steering, making response lighter in addition to more linear. The Michelin’s new X-Sipe Technology — thin grooves running across the tread — is said to improve wet-weather grip as well as mileage, two things we will hopefully get a chance to thoroughly test in the coming months.
With the suspension installed and the package complete, Bradley reported the GSX is much more balanced, with the suspension and tire upgrades better matching the increased power output. The slightly longer Cogent shock raises the rear ride height approximately 10mm, making the steering lighter still but not sacrificing stability — in fact, the bike is much more stable than stock now. And even though we didn’t upgrade the brakes at all, the Suzuki is more composed under braking and stops quicker. Most likely the combination of the Michelin front tire and stiffer front suspension helps here. Bradley noted that the front end definitely feels more rigid with the addition of the fork brace, but the conventional fork still skips over some bumps and the bike is a bit unnerving on corner entry. Of course, we’re still dealing with a 550-pound bike; even though handling is quite improved from stock we would not expect literbike prowess.
For well under $3000 we released our GSX’s potential and transformed it from an underperformer into a definite overachiever. The bike is way more fun to ride and more representative of what you’d expect — and want — from your 1250cc super-standard. Bradley summed it up best: “If you have one of these bikes and you don’t have these upgrades, you are not doing the bike justice.” SR