Join Date: May 2016
Location: Green Bay WI
Year/Make/Model: 2003 Vulcan VN1600 Classic
Color: Pearl Ivory
Harsh/stiff front end ride
Now that I have my 1st 100 miles on my 03 VN1600 Classic, one thing for sure is the forks need some tuning. It has a harsh stiff ride, especially over sharp edged bumps. The rear end feels really good even for a bike with 30,000 miles on it. But the forks need work for sure. I'm 215 lbs in riding gear, tire pressures are 40 front 42 rear, so I could bleed those down a good ten pounds each.
Anyone have experience modding/tuning the front forks for a better ride. Here's what I plan:
1. Progressive fork springs; softer coils on the bottom and getting stronger near the end of travel.
2. Pull the damper rods out and slightly increase the hole size through the damper.
3. Lighter weight oil, like ATF or SAE 15 weight oil.
4. More oil per leg; the old guideline was to remove the fork springs, push the fork legs up to the end of travel, pour in oil up to three inches from the top of the tube.
5. Convert the fork leg caps to add air fitting and tubing to adjust the air pressure in the forks with a small hand bulb pump. I'd have both fork legs connected to a center fill port with a Shrader valve. Then I can adjust the air preload up to maybe 15 psi.
The idea is to increase the damper holes for easier oil flow, quicker response over small bumps. Increase the oil volume to more quickly increase the air pressure in the fork leg during compression to act as a bump stop. The air caps will let me fine tune the preload in the fork legs.
When life throws you a curve, lean into it!