Added adjustable suspension to my scooter

Back story: For the first 2 1/2 years or so that I was riding I rode my Yamaha 125cc scooter as my only vehicle. I got a Honda CBR150 about two years ago. I haven’t ridden it a lot, though. I don’t like all the bodywork on it; with the traffic being unpredictable I’m too afraid of dumping it. Parts are very expensive and have to be imported from Thailand; it’s sold grey-market, and there aren’t a lot of them around. I’d like it a lot more if there was a decent level of support for it. I was also told by Ah Huang that there were no parts available for the 90’s Taiwanese motorcycles, like the NSR and FZ/FZR. I’ve since found that to be untrue and bought an NSR, with an engine rebuild, for 1/4 of what the CBR cost.

So, I got back on the scoot a couple weeks ago and discovered how much I really enjoy riding it. Yeah, it’s kind of slow, but with the low speed limits and narrow roads that’s OK. Its short wheelbase makes it great for cornering, and there is, obviously, a place for service every other block. I also like the automatic transmission; I’ve had 7 cars with a stick shift, but as I’ve gotten older and automatics have gotten better, I’ve found that I like them a lot more.

As with most motorcycles, one of the first places to start with performance upgrades is the suspension. The bike was originally purchased new by my brother-in-law in late 2001. What with the local maintain-it-if-it-breaks philosophy, it didn’t get too much attention before I owned it, and I always had the ‘it’s just a scooter’ attitude, so everything, fluids included, was 7 years old, excepting oil. And the shock; I broke the original :wink:

The yellow thing is stiff as a board and only adjustable for preload. It got replaced with this one, which has compression and rebound damping, for about NT7000. The company is RPM, which the guys who hang out at the Longtan track say is the better of the local companies. It’s still a little stiff, but there are a few mitigating factors. There is very little room for suspension travel on yer average scooter. They’re very low to the ground and use 10" tires. I’ve been watching other scooters, and the ones that don’t bottom out do bounce over bumps, so I think that may be endemic to the breed. It seems to be handling well; I don’t think the tire is leaving the ground, although the ride is kind of rough. What the hey; they were never designed to be touring or sport bikes.

Here we have the original left fork leg, complete with 7 year-old fork oil. You can’t replace the oil in these things :astonished:

The right side, with the antique rubber brake line and 2 year-old fork leg. They don’t replace fork seals; they replace legs :unamused:

I’ve seen worse scooters.

New shiny, sparkly bits. Compression and rebound damping. About NT10,000.

Also note the new stainless steel brake line. Highly recommended. Two-finger braking on a scooter

Settings right now are full rebound and no compression front and rear. That seems to give the best ride while still allowing it to corner. Bridgestone BT39SS tires (race tires for small-displacement motorcycles; they even come in 2 compounds) will help even more. They have a much rounder profile than the not-bad Maxxis 6029s that are on there.

The zip tie test showed me that I’m getting a lot more suspension travel up front than I thought. Travel is 75mm out of the 125mm showing. I’m not sure if that’s good or not, but I think that’s the best I’m going to get.

Parts were sourced at Motorbike in Jhongli (quite often called Autobike on Forumosa). They have a quite good selection of performance scooter bits, especially suspension, exhaust, and of course, stickers. I also added a Kitaco upgraded ignition, NGK Iridium plug, and stiffer springs in the clutch (the clutch part of the the CVT automatic transmission). Those mods made the major flat spot I used to have between 20 and 40 km/h all but disappear. I’m sure it was mostly due to the clutch springs. So, now I not only have better blue-truck-passing acceleration, I also have improved taxi-avoidance braking

For those of you who have never had adjustable suspension, I added some of the more helpful suspension guides to the bottom of my club’s FAQ Suspension page.

Now it’s time to start racing this puppy. Maybe

Great post. I’m really interested in that stainless steel brake line. :slight_smile:

They’re cheap, and well worth it. I got a lot of stuff at once and didn’t get a receipt :astonished: but it seems it was in the NT800 range. I also got the RPM pads at the same time, so I can’t really say that it was all the stainless line that made braking better, but I’m sure it was the majority. Stainless is just better than rubber, and most scooters owned by foreigners are so old that the line should probably be replaced, anyway :slight_smile: