Cushy ride needed

Discussion in '5th Generation 1998-2001' started by spxer, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    OK, long story but I will try to keep it short. I bought my 99 vfr new and have loved it. But I am 17 years older now (notice I wrote "I" am 17 years older). I am 64 with some arthritis in my lower back. I don't want to give up on my VFR. Some years ago when I started having my back difficulties, I bought an Ohlins shock an sent it and the forks off to a well known suspension builder to be customized for me. I tried to express what I wanted in the ride, but I must have failed at that because when reinstalled on the bike it was the worst ride ever. I returned the parts for reworking, but the results were no better. I could not ride the bike any longer. So I removed the extremely stiff springs and went back to something close to stock rates and put the Ohlins back to stock valving. Much better, but still very choppy. The question is, can I make the VFR ride soft to protect my back? I don't care if the "handling" suffers, as long as I don't.
     
  2. Allyance

    Allyance Insider

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    I would look at ergonomic adjustments as well. As an older rider, I have lowered the pegs and raised the bars a little. You want to take some of the pressure off you hands which transmits shocks to your body. Even foam grips can help, little tweaks can add up a more comfortable ride. A third party cushion or adding memory foam to your seat can also help.
     
  3. OOTV

    OOTV Well-Known Member

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    Who was the suspension tuner if you don't mind me asking? Many of us who have gone to Jamie Daugherty http://www.daughertymotorsports.com, myself included, have had really great results, so hopefully it wasn't Jamie. The reports I've read about Racetech have been hit or miss but most of the complaints I have heard is that they appear to usually go on the soft side with their spring rates, so that might actually work in your favor. Ironically the stock suspension's main issue is that many consider it too soft. Damping however might be the more important issue to resolve.
     
  4. fink

    fink Insider

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    Back off everything would be my suggestion. Basically all the suspension does is absorb bumps to keep the ride smooth . What you are really looking to do is to change your riding posture .
    Do you get out on the bike much?
    From what you have said it sounds as if you don't, so what I would suggest is taking some paracetamol and ibuprofen and going out for a run. More time on the bike will help tone up the core muscles used on a bike. Start an exercise programme that will help strengthen your back.
    http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/...conditions/back-pain/back-pain-exercises.aspx

    Think about how you sit on the bike, what you wear on the bike. Could you cope with a bit more padding on the seat , raise the bars up a bit, lower the pegs, alter the screen? Clothing wise loose the belt and use a pair of braces.
     
  5. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    I do have lowered pegs and I have raised the stock bars. I do not have an issue with the riding position as far as I can tell. It is the bumpy ride. The roads here in KY are very rough.
    I have put 68k miles on the bike, but very few in the last 2 or 3 years. The firm Corbin seat admittedly does not help, but it fits me well. I also have a 1977 Goldwing standard and it does not beat me up like the VFR. It also is not fun like the VFR. I often ride 100+ mile at a time. I have the shock set up full soft, which gives the best ride, but it is still very choppy.
     
  6. RVFR

    RVFR Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Fink here, Not that you haven't heard it before, but work the core group of muscles. Yoga & stretches work wonders, I play golf too, so get into the swing of it, if it wasn't for my 1/2- an hour in the morning. I wouldn't be walking. What's funny here is the vfr is the most comfortable thing I do and it's set up to rail, not saying once in awhile there's that one of bump or, that hurts, but even the 4 wheel vehicles drive me a bit nutz. If you are not sure, go find a good PT that understands what your going through. Yes the VFR can be set up to be a bit more plush, just interesting you say you had the suspension bits sent out to do just that, and found it worse Hmm? Stock set up is pretty plush. Then like others have said, play with risers and foot peg location, and maybe a seat change is in order. just saying.
     
  7. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    It's not the occasional big bump. I can feel all the ripples on the road. I am sure exercise would help me, but I need to help the bike too. Also I have had a broken hip due to a bike accident and stretching seems to aggravate my back as well. I may be beyond repair!
     
  8. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Well-Known Member

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    I have experimented a bit with my VFR front end in search of a more controlled and comfy ride. There is definitely a trade off between the two, and backing off the compression and rebound damping certainly leads to more comfort but at the expense of control.

    You need to ensure you have free-flowing ports in the compression and rebound valves (Gold Valves or similar) and look at opening up the low speed bypass hole and lightening the shim stack.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    I do have aftermarket valves in the fork. It is the rear that bothers me the most as it transmits through the seat to my back. I do not know if the Ohlins shock can be softened up any more in the low speed by modification. The compression and rebound are all the way out. I have considered drilling out the bleed hole and see what happens. I fear it may get somewhat out of control due to wallowing. I also may go to an even lighter spring as I am only 142 lbs these day.
     
  10. RVFR

    RVFR Well-Known Member

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    I happen to have a stock 5th gen shock with 32k if. Can I assume you have re sprung the shock to your weight?
     
  11. V4toTour

    V4toTour Active Member

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    Get Helibars. They will allow you to sit more upright. I have them on my '99, never going back to stock. https://www.helibars.com/products/H...rs-for-Honda-VFR800-{47}-VFR800-VTEC/178.html

    For your back, you NEED to get an Airhawk seat pad. It's really the best option out there for your situation. https://airhawk.net/product-category/cushions/ I'd recommend the Cruiser R Small for the VFR. This will put a buffer of air between you and the bike. Not only will it prolong riding times, but I've found it to be very effective in dampening large bumps that would otherwise send a large shock up your spine. The air cell bladder thing it's using was originally developed for medical uses, for folks who were seated in wheel chairs all day. The key to comfort with these is to keep them minimally inflated, just enough to get you up off the seat.

    [video=youtube;id_6oJQDOt4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id_6oJQDOt4[/video]
     
  12. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Well-Known Member

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    The Ohlins can be softened by altering the shim stacks in the same way as you would adjust a fork stack. Fewer shims = less total damping force.
     
  13. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    I have sprung to my weight, but it is at the higher range.
     
  14. spxer

    spxer New Member

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  15. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    I have been down that road, and back again. It did not improve the low speed ride. It did make the high speed go bad.
     
  16. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Well-Known Member

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    I haven't experimented much with varying the low speed bleed as that tends to be irreversible compared to a shim change. What I do know is that the compression valves in my ST1100 fork have lots of free bleed area and are consequently plusher over irregularities than my VFR and VTR, but you do lose some feel of control as a result. In my experience suspension setup is always a compromise between comfort and the feeling of control.


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  17. V4toTour

    V4toTour Active Member

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    Yes, they are higher and further back meaning your hands will be closer to you.

    Stated on the site I linked:

    1 1/4" taller**
    1 1/2" rearward**

    Riding on the interstate, I can relax my left arm off the grip and rest on knee. With the Helibars doing this I can sit pretty much perfectly upright. Couldn't do that with the stock bars. Those measurements may not seem like much but the effect is immediate. You'll see the benefits the next big ride you take after installing them.
     
  18. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    V4toTour,
    I am going to try the Airhawk. Their website recommend the Cruiser medium for the Interceptor.Do you use the Cruiser R Small?
     
  19. V4toTour

    V4toTour Active Member

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    I have a cruiser R small that fits on the stock seat nicely. If you're a guy, you want the "R". The R designation means there's a center channel that's void of any air cells. Reason being as worded by the product page : BUILT IN STRESS RELIEF DESIGN FEATURES – REDUCED PRESSURE POINTS ON TAILBONE, SCROTUM AND PROSTATE

    The regular cruiser medium will have air cells uniformly placed across the whole pad.
     
  20. spxer

    spxer New Member

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    I ordered the Airhawk Cruiser R small. I will post a review when I get it in and try it out. Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions.
     
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