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1994 900SS CR, 2002 998 Trackbike
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After cheating on my 900 last year with a new-to-me 998, I vowed to get back on the SS more this year and make some miles. Unfortunately I am now thoroughly spoiled by the power and chassis performance of the 998, so the 900 will have to be souped up a bit to compete.

Long story short, I want to set a budget for modifications that will yield the biggest improvements in terms of rideability and suspension for a "sport touring" kind of role, occasionally carrying some luggage or the (100lbs) girlfriend, both of which the 998 can't do.

The bike is relatively stock at the moment, and due to being "collector plate" qualified (huge insurance discount), it has to *look* stock.

It has freshly rebuilt mikunis with the FP kit, 11:1 FBF pistons, and an ignitech ignition box. It's got a new-old-stock Showa rear shock from an SP, and a stock front end with some sort of linear aftermarket springs that actually seem to be appropriate for my weight. It's got almost new Michelin pilot road 4 tires that I like. I'm having an upholsterer work on the seat at the moment to increase the height a bit.

What I find lacking is the fork damper performance primarily, the rear end isn't all too impressive either, and of course the motor could always pull a bit better as well...

What would you do to it for $500 / $1000 / $1500 / $2000? For example, I'd love to have FCRs (who wouldn't), but I feel like that money is better spent on some fork cartridges, a shock revalve, maybe some head work?

I will never make this thing as fast as the 998, so I don't want to start a bottomless moneypit. So what did you all do that made the most impact for the money?
 

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There used to be a 944 kit for these that Mike Duzik liked and then rejet the carbs and install carbon slip ons. Never cared much for changing cams as it moves everything to the top end RPM wise. Ohlins fr and rr are much better than Showa but exp

Other than that, with a two valve engine, you're screwed.
 

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fix the suspension and lightweight wheels. that's 3k gone.

save some more and send the motor to eric.
 

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Personally i'd go Ohlins rear shock and upgrade or redo the front forks, especially seeing as how you have just had the Mikunis freshly built.

If bling is your thing, Randy @ Stradafab does an exhaust that is stunning.
 

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I wouldn't change what I've done to mine (see my sig). IMO - my best value for money was the carbs and exhaust system (and the first bits I changed). Next was the Ohlins rear shock (for the adjustability and enhanced performance) and front springs, which have made a marked difference to the handling and comfort on the poor quality roads that I'm usually riding on.

The Barnett alloy clutch was a nice upgrade - less 'ting' in the rattle, and the engine spins up a bit faster as well. I've got a light flywheel to go on - but I prefer to have an engine that'll idle happily, so it's waiting... For the next bits - when I get some spare $'s, or have to replace/repair something. In the wish list is either hi-comp pistons, or a 944 kit, and an Ignitech kit, and... (...lighter wheels, new forks, cams, head work,... and a winning lotto ticket ;)).
 
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The Ohlins DU235 rear shock drops straight in and performs excellently. Can be had new for < $1000 on ebay, but budget an extra $150 for a spring to accommodate passenger and baggage. It is nearly indistinguishable to the laypersons eye, with the same yellow spring and gold reservoir, the major visible difference being the Ohlins brand on the reservoir.

Ohlins FG837 is a fork that's nearly a drop in replacement, made for the Sport Classic, Monster and Supersport lines that had a 25mm front axle. The stock wheels can be adapted, you'll need a spacer made to adapt the 25mm speedo sender and depending on which brake caliper adapter you can find, you might wind up changing the calipers, and will probably have to change the lines to go with them. Expect to pay $1500-$2000 if you can find them at all, they stopped making them around 2005.

Alternatively, You can look for an Andreani fork cartridge kit. You might need to update the fork bodies to get these to work, I'm not positive. Andreani uses Ohlins internals and custom machines the fork caps, spring spacers and associated parts to make retro-fit cartridge kits for the applications that Ohlins doesn't build for. This is a much less expensive and really nice upgrade that'll cost around $600.

The last option is handling improvements is light weight wheels. I upgraded from the early fat three spoke cast aluminum wheels to a pair of Marchesini M10 forged aluminum and saved, IIRC, 10 lbs per wheel. It was a significant amount of weight, and made a remarkable difference in handling, suspension feel, and bike dynamics. 10 lbs doesn't sound like much, but if you ever played with a gyroscope when you were a kid, you can imagine how huge that difference is at speed. Finding a pair of period correct design wheels in forged aluminum or magnesium is getting harder and harder though.
 

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I would say to do the GSXR fork internals conversion . You can usually pick up a usable set cheap on eBay. I bought a lightened stock flywheel, a good compromise for the street. Barnett clutch will also spin up a bit quicker and be a bit quieter. If you ride at night, a headlight upgrade would be smart. A performance rebuild on the rear shock wouldn’t show. I’ve picked up most of the SP bits on eBay. That should be stock enough. Wheels are pretty expensive, would you still get by as stock ? I personally like the sound from a modified air box lid, there may be a little performance boost there. I don’t see a gearing change listed. Nothing woke mine up like a 41 tooth rear sprocket . Stainless brake lines and HH pads were a great upgrade. Better grips, adjustable levers make for a more comfortable ride.
 

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since you have pistons I would leave the motor alone it should make enough to be fun, I assume you have a light flywheel?

I would valve the compression valve for the roads you ride and make sure springs are right . Ohlins forks are very nice but need seals more often and are $$$ for your bike. You could do the gsxr1000 fork conversion and gain radial brakes and 43mm tubes. it is not drop in but certainly less than a set of ohlins.

Ohlins rear shock or penske with added ride height in the rear. if 2-up the stock springs may be good but I would prefer straight rate on either.
 

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1994 900SS CR, 2002 998 Trackbike
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, some good suggestions here already.
I did a few little things not listed on top: 15:39 gearing, happy with that. Electrics are sorted, and I wired the headlights on a separate 10g circuit and cleaned them up etc so they are actually really good now, which is great for a sport touring bike. I rebuilt the front brakes and I have stainless lines, happy with that as well. Airbox is de-snorkeled and the exhausts are de-cored (that 2:1 looks awesome though)

I read about the andreani cartridges - anyone know if they would drop into the CR forks as well? This being a 94, it does have the Showas at least, but they are the none adjustable type, so no holes at the feet. I know I can't do the GSXR drop in because of this unfortunately. Maybe I should try a new linear shock spring on the stock shock before spending any money on something new back there anyway.


Since I already have 11:1, I think a 944 kit wouldn't be as big of an improvement for the money. ST2 cams are an idea (if I can ever find some), seems like anything beyond that power-wise, I have to spend big money that might be better invested into the suspension.

Lighter clutch is something I hadn't thought of. I can also machine down the flywheel a bit, I have access to a lathe.

Light wheels, another good idea. Pricey though. Those that have them, would you start there if you got a stock bike?
 

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Light wheels, another good idea. Pricey though. Those that have them, would you start there if you got a stock bike?
I do agree with lighter wheels as having the largest affect on handling. When I put Marchesini magnesiums on my 916 about 1000 mi after I bought in 1995, I almost threw it down in the street riding away from Mike Duzik's place. The turn in was that different. These days, I would do the OZ forged alum jobs if they make them for the 900ss. Of course, carbon wheels would be even more silly since they are even lighter than the alum or mag jobs. But these are stupid expensive and must be handled with the utmost care during tire changes
 

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It may be apples and oragnes but I was contemplating all kinds of changes to my '02 900 Sport's front end. I wasn't happy with the damping especially in bumpy corners. Fresh fork oil transformed the ride. Compression and rebound are just about perfect. Even though my Marzocchis are essentially budget forks Ducati set them up properly at the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've pretty much decided I'll start with the forks, probably get a new spring for the Showa in the rear, and maybe turn down the fly wheel to start with.


Anybody here have experience with the Andreani cartridges vs. a Racetech valve? I feel like the issues with the stock fork (which already has new oil) is mainly on the compression circuit, then again I have no rebound adjustment at all on the CR forks.

Racetech stuff will be easier to get into Canada than Andreani, not to mention MUCH less $$, but will it do what I want?
 

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I have installed Racetech gold valves in Showa non-adjustables for a couple decades now. depending on what you are wanting to have them do they are good enough the majority have been happy enough to go no further. If you feel you want adjusters the Andriani cartridges will be the only cartridge I would use, based on cost vs performance they are going to be the least expensive cartidges on the market that I have seen and the quality is good enough.

The decision comes down to how bad you want adjusters? My own bike I would not bother with the adjusters but they can come in handy in certain circumstances, If you do not mind tearing it apart more than once yourself then you have little to no need for cartridges. If you want a better valve than stock (hard not to improve on what you have) plus low speed adjust ability and external preload you want cartridges.

Gains vs cost means no to the big bore kit.
cams are not going to gain you a ton unless you have good heads,porting. high rpm cams are not going to help much in the midrange where a carby with a bank of carbs live. Brad blacks site may offer clues to a better midrange cam that would be a better fit.

Lighter clutch is something I hadn't thought of. I can also machine down the flywheel a bit, I have access to a lathe.
I have never noticed a seat of the pants difference in responsiveness with a light clutch outer basket. I weighed a aluminum outer vs steel outer and the difference was close to 1-1/2lbs, thats not bad savings mind you but because it is not on the crankshaft you perceive about 1/2 of that weight so you would feel about the same as 3/4 of a pound off the crank. again not bad but bang for the buck wait until you need a new clutch and swap then. The flywheel on the other hand you can take 1-1/2lbs directly off they flywheel and notice it much more with you turning it down. your labor there is little cost for this gain if you don't mess something up. Flywheel is one of the best bang for the buck mods right there with gearing, I prefer steel to aluminum and like some flywheel mass to keep things smooth but 1-1/2 lbs has little to no downsides.

Wheels= for a street bike I would spend the $$ and get a set of forged aluminum. If you have a choice look at weights and but light if not just make sure it is forged and lighter than a oem cast wheel. In my experience you can re-coup your costs at least 50% and often more when/if you ever sell them used. I would bet they would not last many days if a set of forged aluminum wheels would show up in the marketplace as the demand is high but supply is low. Used forged aluminum would sell for between $1000-1500 based on wheels I have seen go on this and other sites.

Avoid if possible magnesium and carbon if possible used , if not then educate yourself about the pros and cons of either before you buy. if you try a set of carbon you will likely own them as the improvement is huge but long term lifespan is simply unknown. Magnesium is strong (cast < forged) and cast = forged aluminum for weight so it is worth the money. But magnesium does need special care and maintenance and buying a set of poorly maintained mag wheels means you should spend a good $400-500 on testing,coating and re-finishing.buying a set of fresh painted or powder coated wheels without proof of them being done right will mean you also should have them re-done or risk damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks, great to hear from someone who knows both. I wasn't sure if the Racetech valves will work correctly with the Showas, but I guess on mine, without the adjustable rebound, I wouldn't have that whole rebound-compression crossfeed issue that the adjustable Showas apparently suffer from.

I usually spend a few days messing with suspension settings, and then don't touch them much any more until I have some other changes like tires. So opening the caps a few times is not a big deal.

I will turn down the flywheel as suggested, and I also agree that the clutch can wait until it's due for replacement.

Forged aluminum wheels are tempting, but I believe due to the collector plates they have to look quite similar to the stock ones to pass, so it could be difficult to find the right pair.
 

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Forged aluminum wheels are tempting, but I believe due to the collector plates they have to look quite similar to the stock ones to pass, so it could be difficult to find the right pair.
Look similar for who's benefit? Some bureaucrat sitting behind some gray metal desk somewhere doing something of nothing is not going to know or care. Just keep paying your road taxes or whatever it is you pay over there and the world will be a happy place.
 
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