During the last few years we've seen an almost exponential rise in the number of options available for modifying your bike's suspension. A variety of companies are offering more parts and services, ranging from tweaking your stock boingers trackside to completely replacing major components. One relatively new development is the availability of reasonably priced, complete fork cartridges, which are said to perform better than revalved stock parts for many reasons and are legal for supersport racing. Just as we were contemplating testing some aftermarket cartridges ourselves (and we've already got more in the swag cube to try), GP Suspension rang up and offered a day at the track to test several of the company's options for our Yamaha YZF-R6. How could I refuse?
We spent a day at Willow Springs...
We spent a day at Willow Springs with GP Suspension and two Yamaha YZF-R6s to experiment with a slew of suspension options.
I reserved a spot with the friendly people at MTC for one of their track days at Willow Springs, and as a benchmark I took along our stock Yamaha R6 test bike. The GP Suspension folks brought along their own R6, also stock except for suspension modifications, and we fit both bikes with fresh Dunlop D208 GP JLB tires.
While GP Suspension is a relatively new company, its owner, Dave Hodges, is well respected and has years of experience in the field. Before we started, I spoke with Hodges about the R6's stock suspension. "The stock components in the new R6 fork-in my opinion, they have good stuff to work with, but they don't give you enough adjustability. You have to replace the compression needles to get a broader range of adjustability out of it. They're trying to make a valving setup that works for every Joe Blow who buys one out of the showroom, [but] it's not going to work for the guy who's 260 pounds. He's going to have to make changes to make it right for him."