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Discussion Starter #1
Not right away, but down the road, I'd like to upgrade the suspension on my ST3. I'm thinking about a Penske 3-way for the rear and stiffer springs and revalve up front. Anyone know of- and even better- have experience with suspension shops in IL (or Southern WI or Northern IN? I'm in Chicago but can drive a ways if necessary. Thanks.

- Kevin
 

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Give Ken at Superbike Italia a call. He is in Lyons about a mile north of I-55 on 1st avenue. The # is 708-447-5110. He has done the suspension on all 3 of my bikes, and couldn't be happier.
 

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I would not recomend the 3-way adjustable Penske on your ST3. We can get into the reasons if you like. I recomend the 8981 double adjustable. Under some conditions, I would recomend an Ohlins with the hydraulic preload adjuster (like the ST4S). I really try to hook up guys from this board on suspension components but regardless of where you go, I am happy to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
NCRick said:
I would not recomend the 3-way adjustable Penske on your ST3. We can get into the reasons if you like. I recomend the 8981 double adjustable. Under some conditions, I would recomend an Ohlins with the hydraulic preload adjuster (like the ST4S). I really try to hook up guys from this board on suspension components but regardless of where you go, I am happy to help.
Rick,

Appreciate the input. I'd like to hear why you recommend the 2-way over the 3. Thanks.
 

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The triple adjustable shock is great, it just cost a LOT more than the double adjustable version and IMO won’t give an advantage to compensate the expenditure. For a racer with professional support, yea, for someone who really likes to play with this stuff and can spend all the dough they want, it’s cool. But Penske make 1 shock with 3 different compression adjuster options. The lowest cost is a narrow range 6 position adjuster that selects in very precise steps, the second is a wider range adjuster and the third type is the two way compression adjuster that uses a secondary shim arrangement with variable preload to trim the high speed damping.



Any of the adjusters are merely acting on a small amount of oil that is displaced by the shock shaft on compression of the shock. They are only a means of trim adjustment to the main damping system that is the shock piston, ports and shim stack. That and the rebound adjusting system are all the same on all the shocks. These shocks are custom built for your specific needs and provide the correct level and characteristics to what you need, eliminating the need for all the extra adjustability. We get these shocks set up so close that most of our customers try the different settings, only to revert back to the original recommended setting. In some ways all the extra adjustment can cause a user to get “lost” in the settings and have worse performance.



It’s late, I hope that made sense. The Penske is a wonderful product and I am sure you will be impressed by the performance any of their shocks will give.



What do you feel the stock suspension shortcomings are?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Rick,

Thanks for the explanation; it made sense. I always appreciate when one of the experts in their field stand up and say "you're not going to benefit from spending the extra money". It can be said for many things about bikes be it suspension, tires, steering dampers, hp mods, etc. My ST3 is nearly stock and I haven’t found any shortcomings that make me love it any less.

Which is a good lead in to answer your question. I haven't found the suspension to be a detriment in most- if any- situations I've ridden (maybe it has but I just don't know it) The couple track days I've had it out for I thought it would have been fun to have an upgraded suspension to work with but I can't say I would have been any faster with it- at least not initially. Mainly my interest in having higher quality suspension is knowing I have something that is more capable of handling a road imperfection or more aggressive riding keeping the bike under better control. I do find the amount of front end dive under heavy braking something I'd like to lessen. Revalving and new springs set to my body weight and riding style would probably get done before a new rear shock. I've heard a number of riders mention increasing the rear ride height on the ST's helps a lot with turn in speed which is what initially got me interested in this. My ST3 isn't adjustable for ride height so I starting looking at suspension that would allow for that.
 

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In my short experience of riding the ST3, I was impressed with the refinement of the suspension in it's stock form. I think you are correct when you say that it must be ok if you don't feel anything the bike is doing is causing you a problem. Since you are doing track days, you are using the bike in a sporting manner. No matter what, 90% of the performance comes from the rider anyhow. A big key is your confidence. Since you seem to notice some issues with the fork when on the brakes, i agree, that is the place to start. Doing a respring for your weight and use will be #1. I do a good number of Penske superbike fork internals modifications and those are super sweet., I would say that is the #2. I can't comment about the ride height but what you say makes sense. Can you swap out to a different rear link that has the adjustment? The Penske shock has adjustment. I sell the Penske 8981 double adjustable shock (list $795) at $685.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
NCRick said:
Doing a respring for your weight and use will be #1. I do a good number of Penske superbike fork internals modifications and those are super sweet., I would say that is the #2. I can't comment about the ride height but what you say makes sense. Can you swap out to a different rear link that has the adjustment? The Penske shock has adjustment. I sell the Penske 8981 double adjustable shock (list $795) at $685.
I think yes is the answer to the rear link but I'm not certain and need to look into it. If it's true then I'd revalve the front and put an adjustable link on the rear. I solved my track day issues by buying an '03 R6:) Riding the ST3 hard on the track I don't think is such a good thing for it in the long run. The rear Penske is very affordable which is encouraging.

I have you on my radar for suspension work. Last year I made a trip to Knoxville and then to Robbinsville and I decided pretty much then and there to make it an annual occurance. Asheville is close so if I decide to do this work maybe I could give you advanced notice and have the bike worked on one day while down there.
 

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One thing is that I do not work fast. There is a local shop I work with that could remove the forks from the bike (that is a step i don't normally do). it would be great to ride together. I could get a better feel for the best set up. That would also allow me to set the sag and stuff for you. Seems like a 2 day job though (forks). the shock install is quick.
 
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Kevin, I was referred to this thread from costlyducati to give you a little help with your question. Rick does have some good points and he is not steering you in the wrong direction. A high speed compression adjustment is not needed by most riders and it can get very confusing to set it up right. The first thing I would recommend is a base line set up. The best suspension won't work if it's not properly adjusted. Rebound, compression and Sag should be checked before going out on the track. Once you know where the bike is then you can start the upgrades. I am the Midwest Ohlins service center and personally I stick with Ohlins products if I can. They have a great fork shim kit to revalve with and springs are dependant on the sag number. The rear shock that Ohlins sells has rebound, compression and a hydraulic preload adjuster. On a touring bike like the ST3 easy spring preload adjustment is great because of the differing loads of bags and passenger. Also no matter what shock you go with there is a ride height adjuster available to address that matter. I have a lot of experience dealing with ST4's with different riders, shocks and swingarms. I would be glad to help you out with whatever you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ken, I appreciate the information and the offer. This thread turned out to be very informative. Nice to know the most expensive option isn't necessarily the best option for once!
 
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