SWB Racing (Suspension set up and servicing)

Today @HelmutVisor and I rode to Ebbw Vale to SWB Racing Suspension Set Up for me to have the suspension set up on my Street Triple. I had only speculatively emailed to make an appointment mid morning and received an almost immediate reply saying they’d do it today if I liked as they were unlikely to be at their business location for the next three weekends (due to the racing calendar).

After a nice ride there, we were greeted by Will; he asked what it was I felt when riding the bike and thought could be improved and explained everything to us. I said that I found the suspension really hard and often also felt as if the rear tyre “skittered” in corners which could affect my confidence and sometimes the front “dove” under hard braking and could propel me quite hard into the tank. For info I am about 58kg ish in normal clothes.

Will explained every single thought process he had and any changes he made as he went along and said he was keen to educate which I really appreciated. He showed me the front forks when compressed that didn’t return to the top anything nearly like immediately - they were like a trampoline.

He said the rear suspension was compromised as the bike was the lowered version, leaving far less travel. The rear preload was at it’s minimum setting and he said as I was “slight” I produced very little rider sag when measured, but that he believed the short travel of the suspension meant that the bump stop was being reached regardless of my weight, producing the rear wheel “skittery feeling”.

The front was adjusted to return immediately to the top and he said that he would go against everything in the book and actually increase the preload, despite me being a lighter rider to lift the rear and “tip it on it’s head”. He then sent me off on an “assessment ride route” (a very scenic, enjoyable twisty one) to see whether the changes he had made had improved things, or worsened them.

I have to say that it was immediately like riding a completely different bike; really confidence - inspiring, no “jittering”, turning in quickly, no diving even under hard braking (suicidal sheep running out that @HelmutVisor had scared with his Nightstorm riding past before me). We returned to Will and he said that the smile on my face said it all - he was going to adjust again if I wasn’t happy and send me on a second “assessment ride” but I just couldn’t be happier. He did say I would have bet money beforehand on the suspension being too hard (which I would!) but in reality it went absolutely against what the “book” said and where his experience came into play and it was, in fact, too soft.

The difference in my confidence on the ride home was amazing - I carried more speed through bends, leaned the bike more and accelerated out earlier as the bike felt so completely settled, connected to the road and precise. I even carried far more speed on the straighter bits of road and my overtakes were more precise.

I was already really happy with it and wouldn’t have said you could improve it much if I had been asked (my only complaint was the harsh ride!) but it turns out you very much can.

You could not deal with anyone more passionate about his craft than Will and he was truly welcoming and happy to educate (plus, zero sexism - he spoke to ME about my bike, as opposed to Helmut, which was very refreshing indeed) and also very happy to take as much time as it needed to get it right. He also made me promise to message when we got home to tell him how the bike felt on familiar roads (I am very familiar with most of the route home, certainly from Abergavenny) and told me what particularly I should pay attention to (which I have done).

Possibly the best £60 I have spent on my bike and I would wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone.

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Nice one :+1:t2:your description of the ride home is why I love these street triples so much! They are just sublime and confidence inspiring.

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I would have said mine was anyway - due to my inexperience I am sure - but this has just made it completely perfect!

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I find when it feels right, you often go round a corner, or over a bump, or hit an unsettling bump mid corner and think to yourself, what a sweet handling machine this is!

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@MrsVisor What a fab write up and you’ve made me want to do the same on my bikes, particularly the XSR700 which feels skittish at times :thinking:

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Will was superb @geoffb - encourages questions and really makes sure you understand what he is trying to achieve and that you are happy. Can’t be far from you either I am guessing. He also goes to some bike nights he was saying too and offers set ups there.

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I absolutely must get my MV looked at. I have exactly the same experience you described with your Triple. Hard ride, skittery on imperfect road surfaces. I don’t mind the bike moving about but it loses traction sometimes.

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A lot of people complain that the Speed Triple RS is set too firm from the factory. When you compare it to my MV F4 the Triumph is like riding a sofa…The MV only works as the speeds increase, then it’s perfect for me. I know you can probably improve it for road use but I’m not a fiddler and after 17 years of riding it as it’s set up, I’m pretty sure it’s going to stay the way it is now…!

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My old Street Triple 675 is on the original shock. I’m sure it used to be a better ride than it is now. I will get the rear suspender replaced at some point anyway as it’s looking a bit tatty.

It’s still not as stiff as my MV, mind. That really does need sorting. @Motopulcino’s Streetfighter isn’t exactly a plush ride but it does a better job of keeping the rear tyre on the tarmac on the rough roads around here.

Going faster helps somewhat but that’s not exactly an ideal solution. :grin:

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