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Discussion Starter #1
I've posted his in another thread, but haven't gotten any responses.
I know that the AK-20 cartridges improve the handling of a wing. Is the ride quality (smoothness and bump absorption) of the Traxxion fork springs just as good as the AK-20 cartridges? If the ride is better with the cartridges, how much better: a little, a lot, just noticeable?
 

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Better than stock, not as good as the AK-20's, but this is a personal opinion.

Any spring upgrade (Traxxion, Racetec, Progressive) will be significantly better than stock. A lot also depends on the type of rider you are and how much you can afford to spend.
 

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Kind of Apples and Oranges. The springs help support the weight of the bike, you need appropriate springs for the weight of the rider and/or passenger.

The AK20's control the rebound and compression of the forks when you hit a bump. This damping is what controls the smoothness of the ride and the bikes stability.

You can't have good suspension without good compression and rebound damping.
 

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It depends on YOUR interpretation of a good ride. There have been complaints on all of them. Bart and Chris gave you info to make YOUR decision. The Traxxion set up is the acknowledged best setup yet there are nitwits that even complain about that. If you are happy with the OEM, just stay with that. Don't change because of all you read.

i suppose that Traxxion or Progressive springs would raise the front end and eliminate the dive if that is what you want. That would be a slightly harsher ride but better for aggressive riding. After that, mono tubes would be a poor man's improvement. If you want to know you have the best, then go with Traxxion AK-20s. If you use your friend Google, there is enough information on this board to read for days. You're welcome.
 

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I have the Ak-20 cartridge and the Traxxion springs. I would not have spent the money on the cartridge without changing the springs, especially since the forks were already torn apart to install cartridges. Change in ride on my trike was dramatic and I consider it money well spent.
 

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It depends on YOUR interpretation of a good ride. There have been complaints on all of them. Bart and Chris gave you info to make YOUR decision. The Traxxion set up is the acknowledged best setup yet there are nitwits that even complain about that. If you are happy with the OEM, just stay with that. Don't change because of all you read.

i suppose that Traxxion or Progressive springs would raise the front end and eliminate the dive if that is what you want. That would be a slightly harsher ride but better for aggressive riding. After that, mono tubes would be a poor man's improvement. If you want to know you have the best, then go with Traxxion AK-20s. If you use your friend Google, there is enough information on this board to read for days. You're welcome.

The intuitive assumption that stiffer springs (within reason, of course) results in harsher ride is false. It is counter-intuitive at first, but appropriately strong springs actually provide a more comfy ride that weak springs. The older GL1800 set-up is a prime example of the stock rear spring being so wimpy that even modest bumps caused bottoming and butt slap. The fronts of the OE (at least the older versions) sacked-out quickly and the same thing happens, slapping the bottom of travel. Stronger springs restore a better range of usable suspension travel so that you are not riding around practically on the bottom all the time. I had very good improvement with the upgrade to Progressive brand springs front and rear keeping the OE suspension otherwise except for fresh wear parts and fluid until the AD began to seize. Then I disabled the AD and WOW what a nice difference again. Very low cost, very high benefit. I now have the Traxxion Mega and it is better yet, but the cost is much higher too. You can add Traxxion springs and then if you upgrade to higher level Traxxion you can get credit for that which you have already purchased, at least that is how it was last time I up-graded. Then you have the Monotube alternative and also RaceTech. Great to have choices.

prs
 

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I have the stiffer 1.2 kg Traxxion springs and my ADV disabled and I do have the Traxxion upper and lower tree. In my opinion my setup is WAY smoother and better than stock. The worst ride I ever had on my 2013 was riding it home from the dealer after coming from my 2001 that I had upgraded. I had forgotten how bad the stock ride is. The stock springs are so weak that you bottom out and hit the ADV on every bump and every hard corner. They are great on a smooth road, but fail miserably when they really need to work.

Having said that, as others have said, fixing the springs is just part of the equation. The other part of the equation is whether or not the valving in the fork will respond to your needs. The factory valving is not adjustable, it is what Honda gives us as an "average" compression / rebound that they hope will work for an "average" rider. The problem is that we are not "average" people but individual so it would just be luck if your weight and riding style happened to work perfectly for Honda's average settings.

Going to an AK-20 cartridge allows adjustable compression and rebound so you can tune for your needs. Even after you set for yourself, you can adjust when you ride 1 or 2 up and you can change when you are riding different types of roads.

It's really not even close to the same as stock when you look at it that way.

Having said that, I'm pretty happy with springs only for now. It costs a whopping $140 and some fork oil / seals to put in correct springs vs. $1200 or so for AK-20s. I may go with AK's later and I may go with a Traxxion rear shock but for now....I seem to be putting all my performance money into my track bike.

BTW...I did have progressive monotubes on my 2001 and I MUCH prefer just the Traxxion springs to the MT cartridges. The MT is not adjustable on compression and rebound either and you can't pick a stiffer spring (you can set the pre-load differently with spacers but that's not the same as an actual stiffer spring). I found the monotubes dived a lot on braking with the ADV disabled and I did not like that at all. The 1.2 kg spring is pretty stiff, but it doesn't dive on braking so I feel a lot more stable with it.

The AK's are the cats meow because you can put in the correct spring rate AND you get compression and rebound dampening. Whether the compression / rebound adjustability is worth the extra $1000 is up to you.
 

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The intuitive assumption that stiffer springs (within reason, of course) results in harsher ride is false. It is counter-intuitive at first, but appropriately strong springs actually provide a more comfy ride that weak springs. The older GL1800 set-up is a prime example of the stock rear spring being so wimpy that even modest bumps caused bottoming and butt slap. The fronts of the OE (at least the older versions) sacked-out quickly and the same thing happens, slapping the bottom of travel. Stronger springs restore a better range of usable suspension travel so that you are not riding around practically on the bottom all the time. I had very good improvement with the upgrade to Progressive brand springs front and rear keeping the OE suspension otherwise except for fresh wear parts and fluid until the AD began to seize. Then I disabled the AD and WOW what a nice difference again. Very low cost, very high benefit. I now have the Traxxion Mega and it is better yet, but the cost is much higher too. You can add Traxxion springs and then if you upgrade to higher level Traxxion you can get credit for that which you have already purchased, at least that is how it was last time I up-graded. Then you have the Monotube alternative and also RaceTech. Great to have choices.

prs
Completely agree.

For those that struggle with this concept, think of it this way....if the spring gets soft enough, it will essentially provide no support so you'd be riding without springs. It is easy to see how no springs would be harsher than properly sized springs. Soft springs are a bit better than no springs but they still bottom out easily and put you in a "no spring" situation which is way harsh.

Too hard of a spring is essentially the same as no spring as well as it's just so stiff it doesn't move.

Bottom line....what you want for the smoothest ride is a CORRECT spring rate to properly suspend the motorcycle and the rider(s) and allow adequate travel to absorb bumps.

IMO, stock springs are probably the correct stiffness if you weigh about 130-150 pounds. If you are heavier than that, stiffer springs will definitely help give you a smoother ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just an update. I found out why I was not enamored with the ride of the AK-20s. There is supposed to be 3 turns of adjustment on the screw on the top of the fork and they are supposed to set at 1 1/2 turns from bottom as a baseline. To make the ride a little softer, you can turn the screw out 1/4 turn. The left fork only had 2 1/4 turns of adjustment and was 1 turn from bottom. The right fork only had 1 1/3 turns of adjustment and was only 1/3 turn from bottom. When I talked to Traxxion, he said "No wonder it didn't ride very good. That's plain wrong." I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out what I was going to do with this wing that didn't ride very good.

I'll have to get this fixed and see what the ride is like. Hopefully the fix will make the ride much better.
 

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Before spending the big bucks spend a penny or two and put a tie wrap around a fork leg above the dust cap and take the bike for a ride. If when you get back and the tie wrap is almost touching the lower triple clamp you need stiffer springs. Stiffer springs require different damping rates so you will need either Race Tech or Traxxion stuff to compensate. Maybe monotubes but I don't know anything about them. I opted for Race Tech because I can tune them to suit me.

Pete
 

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Just an update. I found out why I was not enamored with the ride of the AK-20s. There is supposed to be 3 turns of adjustment on the screw on the top of the fork and they are supposed to set at 1 1/2 turns from bottom as a baseline. To make the ride a little softer, you can turn the screw out 1/4 turn. The left fork only had 2 1/4 turns of adjustment and was 1 turn from bottom. The right fork only had 1 1/3 turns of adjustment and was only 1/3 turn from bottom. When I talked to Traxxion, he said "No wonder it didn't ride very good. That's plain wrong." I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out what I was going to do with this wing that didn't ride very good.

I'll have to get this fixed and see what the ride is like. Hopefully the fix will make the ride much better.
Your installer tightened the fork caps on the AK20s too much or he didnt set the 3 turns before assembly. You turn them by hand until they stop then adjust the jam nut to the caps. I double check how many turns I have before raising the fork tubes up against the caps.
 

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Before spending the big bucks spend a penny or two and put a tie wrap around a fork leg above the dust cap and take the bike for a ride. If when you get back and the tie wrap is almost touching the lower triple clamp you need stiffer springs. Stiffer springs require different damping rates so you will need either Race Tech or Traxxion stuff to compensate. Maybe monotubes but I don't know anything about them. I opted for Race Tech because I can tune them to suit me.

Pete
Good concept but I disagree with 2 pieces.

1.) If ADV is still enabled, most every bike will get to the same point and stop so it's hard to use the normal zip tie travel test. If you disable ADV,you'll find the stock springs will bottom out almost every time you stop because they are so weak. This test works great on most every other bike in the world but the ADV changes it for the Wing. (IMO...the ADV is Honda's band aid to fix the fact that their front suspension is very soft and flexy and would bottom out all the time if you didn't have the ADV)

2.) Valving has NOTHING to do with spring rates. Valving controls how quickly the oil passes through the valve passages and how quickly the valves allow the bike to compress and rebound by controlling the hydraulic properties of the oil since oil does not compress. You can definitely change the springs without changing the valves and have a positive result. I'm not saying that the stock valving can't be improved by good aftermarket valves like RaceTech that are tuned to what you need, but you don't necessarily need new valves because you get new springs. You can drop stiffer springs in the stock forks by just pulling the top caps and topping off the oil and have significantly improve results. (although I recommend taking apart the forks, cleaning them and replacing bushings and sliders when you change the springs as the stock stuff will be pretty worn out after anything over 10K miles)
 

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We will have agree to disagree. Changing spring rates without altering the valving will yield less than optimum results.


Pete
 
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