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Discussion Starter #1
First year out I think I am going to stick with the stock CB350 front end with slight modifications and invest in a good damper. I plan to put tappered bearings in if I ever get them from ProFlo. What weight oil should I use...20w? Anybody use spacers to stiffen the springs or other tricks?


Yeller'
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Ask not what the wanker can do for you, but what you can do for your wanker!
 

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I think 10w is about the heaviest weight I would put in your forks, 10w is pretty stiff as it is. I have seen spacers on the cb750 front ends but not a 350 front end. I'm sure there are other tricks the cb350 racers here can tell you, but I'm going to say just clean up the front end, get a dampner, and run 10w oil and the bike should handle fine.
 

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Race bike?
I use 20wt and a 1 inch spacer on 550/4 forks that are on my 175 race bike. Front is a tad too stiff at the moment...great in the dry, but not so great in the wet when it needs to be a bit more compliant. And we are only talking a 200 lb bike.

To start off you might want to go a bit softer (still much harder than stock) depends on your riding level. Real stiff responds well to aggressive riding, might want to try to keep the suspension at a point were it works with your skill level.

Whole different animal than a street bike. Right from the get go you'll want something twice as stiff as stock. If you can even come close to jumping on the front end and bottoming the forks then they will bottom badly while hard on the brakes into bumps like T3.
JohnnyB
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is the question JB, how aggressive am I going to ride? I figured I would just try to build up the stock forks as best as possible and give it a feel the first season or first part of the season. I'll be running a stock 350 drum brake so I can't imagine I can get too aggressive without running out of brakes and/or kissing the pavement all the time...but that is just a guess. I put heavier oil in my street 1984 R100 BMW cafe bike and really noticed the dif. I am just a bit worried because I am 6'3" (6'4" on a good day) and push 210 pounds....so I will be putting the weight on the stock fork....

Yeller'
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Ask not what the wanker can do for you, but what you can do for your wanker!
 

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The manual says to use Automatic Transmission Fluid in the forks. Thats what my CL350 has--it came that way from the previous owner.

The manual did not state how much. Do any of you now how much oil goes in. The idea of 20W sounds more like it than ATF.

What steering damper would you all reccommend for my bike (CL350). What, if any, bigger forks are a direct bolt on? I think I heard CB550 or 500.

I do not think I will be a real aggresive rider, either on the 350 or MB5.
 

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Branson,

when AD and I did is forks on the 175 (stock forks) the 10w was barely compressible under his weight. Under mine that is a different story, but my thinking on this is that larger fork diameters work better with heavier weight oil - am I on the right track in that line of thinking or off base?
 

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pete-

i'm running 20wt, progressive springs, and a little over an inch of spacers in the upgraded setup, i ran 20wt and a few washers as spacers on the stock front, but it had the external springs. i show about 5 inches of travel now which sounds a little too stiff, but i really like it. the stock front end has enough play/flex and you're big enough to stiffen it up i think...spacer and 20wt. as far as aggressive riding, you may be smarter and more cautious than i was your first season out, but you're still racing and you're already pretty aggressive on the street. and why not use the front end bits i gave ya...did you find some sketchy parts? we can get more over at the secret stash if needed? it would be just as easy as putting the stockers back on...especially if you don't have the new bearings yet. let me know what you need and we'll put it together on New Years if ya'd like. oh, and middletown indoor races are saturdays in January, maybe Clancy will ship us his bike, my little old SL100 can't even compete with the 9-year-olds on 50s.

-tt
 

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dudes

you pretty much have to do what feels right to ya.

atf is crap. might as well run AIR
i have run 20, 15, and 10... pretty much stoked on my 12.5 weight right now. you can combine differebt weights to make your own custom blend. 20 felt freaky stiff to me.

whatever you do.... if you are running a stock 350 drum... don't bother running brake shoes in it cause that brake won't stop ya... you might get a couple of corners... but that it. shit wil be fading in a lap or two. get a 450 drum with some race linings. if you want to go fast... sometimes you have to stop fast. get a 450 front end and rock out!!!

mattman
 

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i once asked zack c what he was running for tire pressure about 4 seasons ago ( while he was running a 350 honda)... he said ...hmmmm lets check. 10 in the rear and something similar in the front. he also stated that he was running some fork fluid in one fork leg and none in the other cause it's seal was leaking.

it ain't the bike

matt
 

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Geeto, hard to tell with these old forks...I've seen radical differences from one model/size to the next. 20wt in one model fork might be stupid stiff...might still be a bit soft in others. I don't think the manufacturers put a lot of QC in those damper rods.
In general...when a fork is almost incompressable after adding 20wt...it's because there is too much in there...or dirt cloggling the holes. Some of the stated fork capacities and sketchy....and just draining by the plug and adding the stated amount will have way too much in the fork.
My personal favorite is forks that appear to have no damping and no fluid...then you add oil....and they still appear to have zero damping.

Pete....what Tim says.."you are still racing"...very true. ANY laps you do on the track will be far more agressive than anything you ever do on the street. There is almost no comparison at all.

For setup you can always start with the static sag, try for about 1" with you sitting on the bike. Add/remove spacers to achieve this. Then play with the oil to get the damping you need. Remember...it ain't no caddy, you aren't look for a cushy ride. For a new racer it would probably be a bit better to err on the side of too soft, rather than too hard.

Matt...so if it ain't the bike....I must be a damn fine rider!!

JohnnyB
 

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Shit, JB,, we're posting at the same time. you must not be working . . . or suffering from broken ribs?
 

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You know...I don't want to differ with the "old school" idea that your equipment doesn't matter....but I will differ with it.

In the long run, you build a piece of shit, and your results will be shit. People that say you don't need brake...yet have a good brake on their bike, or you don't need tires or suspension.....well look at what they race on a regular basis.

For the average racer building a piece of shit, or not paying attention to the details is down right dangerous and bad advice. For the average racer it most certainly does matter whats in the forks, or how much air in the tires. For the average racer the bike is VERY important.

Zack has more miles on a race bike than most of us have on a street bike. He can compensate for problems, ride around them, and is an expert at on the fly adjustment of his style to suit the situation. You can not use him as an example of what you can get away with.

Bottom line....how much faster would Zack have gone WITH proper air pressure and good forks???

Don't encourage junk yard race bikes, build it like it's a motogp bike, ride it like it's a motogp bike, or else youre only climbing halfway up the mountain, only fighting a cow, having sex with a he/she, wearing socks with your sandals, just plain being lame. You'll find 95% of the guys at the top of the vintage heap pay very close attention to detail...or have someone that does it for them.

Be all you can be....rise to the challenge. Better yourself...better your bike, better your mind. And remember....most of us are NOT Zack, or Nichols, or Roper....and never will be. Work with what you CAN fix....like your bike.
JohnnyB



Edited by - jbranson on Dec 12 2006 8:31:36 PM
 

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sorry if ya took my jibber jabber to heart. junkyard crap belongs in the junkyard. my point is that you have time to set up a decent brake. don't give up. i have made the same mistake as you are going to by running a stock brake. it just don't work.

set up the bike right. get all the controls working properly, race tires, brakes, decent suspension. these things are more important than a trick motor.

yep jb is fast
 

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have you seen chris marshalls 350 honda? i remember when i first met chris, he told me half his bike is held together with west systems. it almost is. and hes won daytona like 8 times.

ps, you wanna run the xr??? lets work a deal out,

jc



Edited by - joe c on Dec 12 2006 10:36:47 PM
 

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Hey...I bet Chris's bike has got the suspension setup just right for him, good tires, good brakes. I've seen his work, he's not riding a piece of crap regardless of what it looks like. He knows what he's doing and never struck me as someone that compromises much.

Look at the guys that win consistantly, Roper's Aero, Turks Bulto, Yanerilla's MT, Evan's Hondas, Nichols Triumph, Pritchards Ducs, Pete T's Ducs, all bikes in excellent tune, excellent shape, with all the right parts on them. Yeah a great rider can win on a pretty crappy bike....but a great rider on crap won't beat a great rider on a good bike.
Rider skillz will change with time, can be improved, honed, altered. A skilled craftsman knows good tools can improve his work, same with bikes...if you are fast on crap...you can be faster on something good. I see several guys right now that are good, but I know would be considerably faster on a well tuned, well setup bike. Guys like Steve Baker, our own Tim T., Tex, Hirko to name a few. Guys that are pushing their present setups close to the limit. Guys that if you could shave 40 lbs off their bikes and setup the suspension just right, and give them all the brake they can use...well they'd be quite a bit faster....yeah, most of us would with those changes...but some could step right in and really USE the changes.

Anyway....I find it frustrating sometimes looking around at some of the riders and seeing the innate skill that a lot of USCRA riders have but can not fully explore because of the lack of top notch equipment.

A good example once again is what Zack did on Mary's bike in 200gp. Zack is very fast, I put him on a bike that while not exotic, was very well setup, very balanced, with no real weaknesses. Very light, stable, tractable. Good suspension, good tires, decent power. He thrased it to what I'm sure is a new 200gp track record at Loudon. That's what can be done with both good rider AND a good bike.

Basically what I'm saying is a lot of you guys short change yourselves. A lot of you are BETTER than your bikes are, a lot of you could drop seconds by just getting anal and precise about your bikes. I think guys like Evil can tell you just how much a decent bike can improve your overall skills and confidence.

Old timers love to say...hey it's all the rider... course they say that, makes them heros, gives them all the credit. I'm kind of an old timer and I'd never say that. I think I'm pretty good as a rider...but I can tell you straight out, the main reason for my success is my bike, it's a freakin killer bike, just plain tons of time and money...the BIKE is what has put me on the podium more often than my own skill. I know for a fact Zack could get on my bike and drop 2 seconds a lap off my times.

Gotta be honest with yourself if you want to improve. And that means if you really feel you can go faster than the bike is allowing you....you probably can. Most of these vintage bikes are being run way over their design limits...it's quite possible that you've reached the point where you are exceeding the limits of your bike.

It's also possible you're just an average rider...which is also absolutely fine...but you gotta reach down and be honest about what you feel is holding you back.
JohnnyB
 

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i liked the branson who hates.....mary, let him back ont he computer now.

actually chris' bike only looked like crap because there were weekends when he crashed it 4 or 5 or 6 times at 3 different tracks. he can run with anyone on toms cb though. and its not as tuned as his was. he ran with buff at vir on it, and won v2 and got 2nd in v3 on it think this year at summit one weekend. but 48 hp takes some work. chris runs out of the box progressive shocks, model 218 or something like that and his forks arent waay tuned. maybe a preload spacer, but nothing fancy. one thing about chris, he never compromises, thats why its taken 4 weeks to get his xr together. its also why his 350 will probably never go back together.

if you look at his tz, or a few other bikes that will soon be available for gawking at, youd know i was kidding. the guy can do some real nice work. and hes a pretty damned good rider. and, just as a heads up, he is apparently going to be back at nhis this year with a full ride in lwsv. so watch out! and he should have his cb72 back in action to run with you guys. i think ya'll have a pretty good advantage at this point though.

jc
 

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It will be nice to see him back at NHIS. He always mixed it up some and kept the same fast guys from winning everything.
When he does a full season with the USCRA he'd usually take home a lot of wood.

Even basic new shocks...a spacer, some new fork oil, some basic adjustments...hell, that's more than a lot of people do.

My priorities are usually...
1. Controls ...they gotta be right.
2. Brakes...same
3. Basic suspension work (new shocks, tuned forks, proper adjustments)
4. Engine
5. Engine (not a typo)
6. Advanced suspension work (extended swingarm, trick parts)
7. Advanced engine work
8. Fixing explosion from advanced engine work

And if I see one more big ass metal front fender on a CB350 I'm going to go ape shit.
JohnnyB
 

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i like my metal fender, i even lowered it for aaron, since he said it looked like i was always going to be riding offroad with it. hey man, its period! i have a new glass fender, since aaron hated mine so much. it was either that or go to a maier cr250 fender. thats the only way to approach bike racing. its the most sensible. you cant just start diving into 002 deck or you'll never get anywhere!

when im allowed, ill put up the pics of chris' last project, but ive been sworn to secrecy for the time being. some of you may remember seeing it a long time ago.

jc
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Tim - No the front end you gave me is salvageable with some work.

I just am looking at the bike and the amount of time I have to get everything running well by May is questionable. Now May sounds like it is far off, but with two little kids and work I am really only able to get a few hours a week to work on the bike. I am going to try and get the bigger forks set up. I am also interested in the comment about the stock cb350 drum. I was going to drill some vent holes in it and run race compound (EBC?) brake pads. Is that not enough? I would hate to be going into t3 on lap 3 with no brakes. The alt. has been removed as well, so I believe that results in less engine braking.

Interesting note - the CB I am working on I picked up from Rufo. I believe he said Zack road it a few seasons ago (I can't remember) and did quite well on it. I don't expect nor believe I could ride the bike I have one lap around NHIS, let alone do "quite well" on it. So that may be the bike that had no oil in one fork..... When I took the forks off, one had very little oil in it!



Yeller'
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Ask not what the wanker can do for you, but what you can do for your wanker!
 
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