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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
You don't live too far away from me, unless of course you travelled a very long way to ride Blackhawk Farms.

I would love to let the 996 off the leash there for a day, but I don't have the leathers. Swapped over to more comfortable (for the road) fabric gear years ago....
Blackhawk is about 2 hours north of me. Been there a couple times. It's a nice facility.

The track day organization works with a local vendor to rent leathers for a reasonable price. My first time up there I rented all the gear. I don't remember how much it was exactly, but it wasn't too bad.
 

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Blackhawk is about 2 hours north of me. Been there a couple times. It's a nice facility.

The track day organization works with a local vendor to rent leathers for a reasonable price. My first time up there I rented all the gear. I don't remember how much it was exactly, but it wasn't too bad.
Good to know, thanks for that info. Renting leathers would be a good way to get out on the track initially. Maybe a little late this year, but something to prep for next year.

I'm in Lisle, IL....Blackhawk is about 2 hours north for me as well....
 

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wrench 86, did you ever hear of clipping apexes, or just apex of a corner? Your supposed to find the fastest way around the track but making all the turnabout's as large a radius as possible. not just rid around in the middle of the road

FOG
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
wrench 86, did you ever hear of clipping apexes, or just apex of a corner? Your supposed to find the fastest way around the track but making all the turnabout's as large a radius as possible. not just rid around in the middle of the road

FOG

Blackhawk has little white dots along the racing line. I generally try to hit those. At least entering and through corners. Turn 3 (big right hand sweeper after the straight) is set up in a way where you enter from about the middle of the track. First track day, everybody was swinging way to the outside and the control riders told us to look for the dots and keep to the middle of the track entering that turn. 🤷‍♂️ Other than that, I'm mostly trying to keep out of people's way on the passing sections.

If you've got any specific feedback, I'd be more than happy to hear it. Here's a map of Blackhawk so we're talking about the same corners:
52766
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Good to know, thanks for that info. Renting leathers would be a good way to get out on the track initially. Maybe a little late this year, but something to prep for next year.

I'm in Lisle, IL....Blackhawk is about 2 hours north for me as well....
I'm pretty much straight south of Rockford. Down in the Illinois Valley region.

I'd recommend doing a track day there. Motovid is a good organization, the control riders are friendly and it doesn't seem too bad price wise. I can also tell you, from personal experience, that they have medical staff standing by who are courteous and professional. 🙃
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Got a chance to dig into the bike a little bit today. Not sure where exactly to put this so I guess I'll tack it onto this thread:

A Ninja 300 rear wheel is a direct swap for the 500.

I found one other thread that mentions this in passing, but I would like to say it conclusively: It's a direct swap. The 300 rotor is slightly smaller so you're going to have to switch that over. But otherwise it bolts right up. The 1/2" wider wheel allows a greater selection of tires including the Dunlop Q3+ in 150 size which is what my 300 has on it now. The inboard holder for the chain guard needs to be removed or bent out of the way for tire clearance and the guard itself likely needs to be modified (I didn't check). But it fits otherwise.

Something else I noticed is that someone installed an inline fuel filter. I hear that these are a problem? Should I remove it? The fuel line was run along the frame an then under the tank support cross-brace. Is this the normal routing? Or should I shorten it to drop directly down to the carbs? Haven't had a problem with it running. Honestly, it smells quite rich. But that could just me being used to things with a catalyst on them.

One more thing: Anybody know where I can get a purely mechanical petcock? Or if I can modify the stock one to not need manifold vacuum to open?

Mods: Let me know if I should be starting new threads for any of this stuff. I'm trying to not clog up the other categories with possibly redundant threads.
 

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I put a really specific year SV650 shock on my EX. The SV spring rates change throughout the years, I think I got an 03' which has like a 410 spring (the shock with the white spring). Don't quote me on that though!

It's much better than stock for my weight and has lifted the rear an inch.
 

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As to rear shock, have a look at the '99-'03(?) ZR7S. Asixde from the cheap OEM Ninja 300 unit, it is the only shock that will bolt on with no mods or interference. The top mount is 2mm narrower, so a couple of thin washers and it's good. It's the right length and has rebound adjustment and something like 6 position preload. Spring is 450 lbs/in IIRC. The shock links will do most of the ride height for you anyway. You should be able to find one for $40-$50 on you-know-where.

52783
 
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It's always a mystery to me, why guy's think a junk shock that somebody else rejected is going to work wonders for their EX. trust me they ain't any better. it may have some bells and whistles that the stocker didn't, but in reality unless your shock is calibrated for you and how you ride, it won't be any better.
unless you are expert level racer, you prolly can't tell the difference .
It's pretty though
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
It's always a mystery to me, why guy's think a junk shock that somebody else rejected is going to work wonders for their EX. trust me they ain't any better. it may have some bells and whistles that the stocker didn't, but in reality unless your shock is calibrated for you and how you ride, it won't be any better.
unless you are expert level racer, you prolly can't tell the difference .
It's pretty though
Personally, I'm just looking for a more appropriate spring rate. At ~185lbs sans gear, the stock spring is pretty useless. The shock itself is also 26 years old at this point and I have doubts about its integrity overall. Something newer, with a stiffer spring can't possibly be worse. And it's a lot easier and cheaper than tracking down the adapter collars so I can put the right spring on the original unit.

But you're right: It probably won't make much of a difference at the level I ride at. It's just a cheap mod that I don't mind spending the money on. I'll probably spend more on stickers or paint. :) 🤷‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Alright, time for an update:

Over the past couple days I have gotten around to installing the updates to this bike that I've been gathering over the last few months. I've got:
Galfer braided stainless front brake line
Galfer sintered front brake pads
Racetech front springs with the recommended front preload and oil level/weight from the Racetech calculator
Dunlop Q3+ tires in 120/60 and 150/60 sizes (Ninja 300 rear wheel)
Stock rear shock with preload set to max
Woodcraft rearsets
K&N air filter
FOG airbox mod
FOG bones
Modified the stock petcock to bypass/remove the vacuum valve
Removed the chain guard and front mounting tab

The best change out of all of these is a tie between the tires and the FOG bones. The FOG bones are fantastic and really help to sharpen up the initial turn-in. Putting the wider tires on dulls that somewhat but the added grip is a huge difference. That I was coming off the 7 year old Shinko's that were on the bike when I bought it probably contribute to that perception.

The worst changes are probably either the brakes or the gearing. I don't know what kind of pads I took off the bike but the HH Galfers really don't seem to help any. If anything they feel a bit more wooden (didn't think that was possible). Maybe (hopefully) they'll get better as they bed in, but first impressions are not great. Same with the gearing. I would have thought that jumping up 4 teeth on the rear would produce noticeable results, but no. It just seems more high strung at highway speeds. Keep in mind that these are all just "seat of the pants" impressions. It very well could be faster and I just don't feel it.

With the better tires on it I can now lean quite a bit further and really notice how much pogo-ing action there is from the rear. I had gotten a hold of a ZRX-6 rear shock but wasn't happy with the way it fit, so I opted to put the stocker back on while dialing the pre-load all the way up. It doesn't seem to have any damping properties at all. I'll need to get something in there that isn't completely worn out before I get to the track at the end of July. Probably going to opt for a low-mileage Ninja 300 shock just to keep the budget reasonable.

Also of note, I discovered that the bike had a 106 link chain on it for some reason though the sprockets were stock sizes (16f/41r). I ordered a new 104 link chain thinking that, because of how much slack there was and thinking it was a stock chain, it would fit over my 45t rear sprocket. It does not. I'm running the old chain for now (yeah, I know) until I can get a new chain in the correct length.

Anyway, just thought I'd keep this post current. If anybody has any further suggestions let me know.
 

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yeah couple of points or thoughts. doesn't matter what suspension you choose or end up with if you don't set the sag it will never be right unless you are very very lucky. a huge improvement can be had just by setting it an increase in 5w oil in the front forks for instance. as for gearing as a rule of thumb the ratio is around 3 to 1 so one tooth on the front is equal to 3 on the back. if you go too low on the gearing all you do is shift the gearbox ratios down to point where you lose a gear (top) might just as well keep the stock set up and ride one gear lower. same effect. also if you had gone up one tooth on the back. to 42 and down one on the front to 15 you would have exactly the same gearing ratios but the chain would have fit easily. standard chain is 104 links. by the way when buying chains the standard (cheapest) length is 110 for some reason. ok so it's 6 links too long normally and has to be cut but you never get a chain that too short.
 

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SOme thoughts on ratio changes, I often had this discussion with my mates at Loudon. I ran a gears that made top gear just peak the rpms at the fastest point of the track. where others just didn't use top at all.
I always beat them.
when you gear down final drive: you make all the gears closer together and improve acceleration or drive out of a corner. you may geta extra shift or two per lap but that usually won't matter.
the exception is to gear for a problem corner , a place where the engine just can't pull strongly.
Always a challenge

FOG
 

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Racetech front springs with the recommended front preload and oil level/weight from the Racetech calculator
Have you played around with adding washers to the front preload? I'm 185lbs with gear too and have nearly 3/4" preload added over what Racetech suggested, but I'm running the SV650 rear shock with FOG Bones and a taller rear tire. Front is smooth as silk.

The only way to ride the Ninja is corner speed & lean angle. And as FOG suggested, set gearing to max RPM on the straight in the right gear. Don't lose out on straight line speed because you've maxed out top gear. That's a real easy way to be slow.

What's next? Emulators? Did you switch to GP shift with the rear sets?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Have you played around with adding washers to the front preload? I'm 185lbs with gear too and have nearly 3/4" preload added over what Racetech suggested, but I'm running the SV650 rear shock with FOG Bones and a taller rear tire. Front is smooth as silk.

The only way to ride the Ninja is corner speed & lean angle. And as FOG suggested, set gearing to max RPM on the straight in the right gear. Don't lose out on straight line speed because you've maxed out top gear. That's a real easy way to be slow.

What's next? Emulators? Did you switch to GP shift with the rear sets?
I haven't done anything since the forks were rebuilt. I don't service the forks myself, I take them to the same place that mounts my tires. As of right now, the main concern is how bouncy the rear is. The fronts feel OK, if a little soft. But the back end seems to have effectively no damping. Once I get that sorted out I'll worry about fine tuning the front.

I'm still on the standard shift pattern. I'm not sure about the 500 but when I tracked my 300 there was only one corner where I needed to shift while leaned over.

I'm on vacation next week and between getting ready for that and another project (getting my uncle's ZRX1100 running) I haven't had much time to mess with the 500.
 

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your never going to get the rear under control ,till you get a real shock. if your lap times are close to the limit for your track. you will need a custom shock.
Penske ,or other .
If you are more that 3 seconds slow ,practice

FOG
 

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@Wrencher86 ,

If you can rebuild a ZRX1100, you can pop the cap off a fork and drop in a washer or two to stiffen up the front with pre-load until it at least feels better. Not going to do much good overall without a better rear though. I'm not Dave Moss, but hopefully improving the front doesn't make the rear worse.

Personally, I look at GP shift two ways, and the EX500 has both...
Adjust to GP shift when: 1) Shifting in turns and/or 2) shifting in attack position. The EX500 is really a sport tourer in stock handlebar trim (IMO). Shifting requires a big body shift back away from the fairing (the effing stock controls don't rotate down enough to allow you to stay under the fairing and shift). If you want to stay hugged on the bike, you should look at GP shifting to help. Then again, I'm running stock lower controls, so my shifter position sucks too.

Time to get a CBR600 really..
 

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I ran rear sets and a GP shift, if your cornering even moderately hard you can't get your foot under the pedal to upshift when leaned over coming off a turn.
If you can , your not riding hard enough.

FOG
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
your never going to get the rear under control ,till you get a real shock. if your lap times are close to the limit for your track. you will need a custom shock.
Penske ,or other .
If you are more that 3 seconds slow ,practice

FOG
I feel like we likely have different standards for "under control". At this point I'd simply like to not feel like I'm riding an exercise ball around.

I ran rear sets and a GP shift, if your cornering even moderately hard you can't get your foot under the pedal to upshift when leaned over coming off a turn.
If you can , your not riding hard enough.

FOG
Ha! Yeah, duly noted and likely very true. But again, I'm just trying to enjoy myself, not set the track on fire. I broke my collar bone at a track day 2 years ago and really, REALLY don't want to do that again. So the plan is to be somewhat more conservative until I get more experience.

If you can rebuild a ZRX1100, you can pop the cap off a fork and drop in a washer or two to stiffen up the front with pre-load until it at least feels better. Not going to do much good overall without a better rear though. I'm not Dave Moss, but hopefully improving the front doesn't make the rear worse.
Not a total rebuild. It had been sitting for ~15 years so I had to go through the carbs. It runs now but my uncle could never leave anything alone so it's got pod filters and a Muzzy pipe and the carbs have been messed with. It runs like ass at anything less than 3/4+ throttle. I don't really want to spend anymore time dicking with it but family is involved so things can't be that simple.

As for working on forks, I don't have the correct tools to do most of the work and no experience with it anyway. But you're right, shouldn't be difficult to add a couple shims. Need to get a two-jaw puller to make getting the caps off easier.
 

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I feel like we likely have different standards for "under control". At this point I'd simply like to not feel like I'm riding an exercise ball around.



Ha! Yeah, duly noted and likely very true. But again, I'm just trying to enjoy myself, not set the track on fire. I broke my collar bone at a track day 2 years ago and really, REALLY don't want to do that again. So the plan is to be somewhat more conservative until I get more experience.



Not a total rebuild. It had been sitting for ~15 years so I had to go through the carbs. It runs now but my uncle could never leave anything alone so it's got pod filters and a Muzzy pipe and the carbs have been messed with. It runs like ass at anything less than 3/4+ throttle. I don't really want to spend anymore time dicking with it but family is involved so things can't be that simple.

As for working on forks, I don't have the correct tools to do most of the work and no experience with it anyway. But you're right, shouldn't be difficult to add a couple shims. Need to get a two-jaw puller to make getting the caps off easier.
Any box auto parts shop has a small puller compressor that works great. Costs about $20.
Compress > Pull C-Clip > drop in washers > Compress > Pop in c-clip > Wash - Rinse - Repeat. Couldn't be easier. Not need to pull the forks or remove seals.
 
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