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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've only bought 8 new bikes out of 21 bikes in 55 years, and at my age this may the last one. I can only recall 3 bikes that remained essentially as I bought them, and those bikes were not new, and had been modified by a previous owner.

Many of the used bikes were project bikes intended to be developed anyway, but ALL the new factory bikes required some 'tailoring' to fit my needs and preferences. I think there's an idea popular in motorcycle media that with all the specificity of design in motorcycle market segmentation that a machine should be ready to serve its rider right off the showroom floor. If it's not ideal (and a single bike rarely is) then the rider tries another model etc.

Manufacturers sell a lot of bikes this way, but that keeps many of us frustrated in a tantalizing search for that one perfect bike. Some bikes came close, but that was luck and those went through the ‘optimization’ process anyway.

For me that process starts with adapting the bike to me ergonomically:

Handlebars and controls: I want a choice of bars, levers (style and angle), grips,
throttle etc

Foot controls: Footpeg design and choice of location. Lever angle. Shift pattern.

Seat: Shape and height for me.

Assuming the bike’s performance and handling work for me I consider setting the bike up for my riding environment and personal style. This involves gearing, tire selection, chassis mods and any powertrain tweaks that yield USEABLE results. E.G. I don’t consider 180mph factory gearing USEABLE on a bike that isn’t being used for top speed endurance record attempts…you know WFO around the Monza bowl for 24 hours, or cruised on an autobahn at 100+mph all day, so I regularly lower the gearing a bit to gain the smoothest drive line and optimal gear selection. E.G. I have never spent $$ on increased power on a streetbike OR RACEBIKE unless I could already use 100% of its performance potential. I see no benefit from having even more potential than I will ever use!

So the Supersport is not the first perfect bike ever for me, but it has the potential for development into another great bike. Modifications are not for others to see, but to make the connection with my bike personal. That development process is when I begin to bond with the bike...to make it mine.

And so, it begins again! :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
So, ergonomics 101

The ergonomic ideal is a relationship between individually effective components that lets the rider naturally fall into a position that affords the best combination of comfort & control. That includes at a minimum considering handlebars and related hand controls, footpeg design and location, seat and their relationship to each other. This could be extended to include displays, and their usefulness and ease of use.

First I need to re-state that I think the SS is a cool bike with great potential, and that these are MY issues based on my peculiar anatomy and brain. :laugh:

Factory hand levers are at an angle that forces the wrists and fingers to bend backwards to operate. My anatomy isn’t designed to go that way very easily.

The standard Supersport seat feels secure and the position is good initially, but all the pressure is concentrated on a small area, so becomes miserable for me beyond a short distance. I can squirm around to choose bruising either the prostate or the coccyx for a long ride.

The factory grips are almost always a diameter for Trumpian hands. My hands are large, so fatigue is increased by small hard grips.

So…

Simplest free adjustment is angle of the clutch & brake levers. On low sporting handlebars, rotating them down from the factory angles, as in roadracing, takes the strain from the wrist allowing greater comfort and more precise control. Some impediments on factory controls, but easily hacked.

More freebies: Adjusting the freeplay of the throttle, clutch lever, brake lever position and shift lever angle.

Less free, but not too pricey: Grips that fit your own hands, and of a soft enough material that actually grips. Unless you enjoy simulating a racing crouch as you commute, if it’s not a full-time race or track bike consider installing conventional handlebar mounts, giving a nearly infinite choice of bar position: Low flat bars to Ape-Hangers! The comfy bar doesn’t impress the onlookers? Who are you doing this for anyway?

Seat: **** yes! I’ll spend serious money on this item (cheerfully ordered a ‘comfort’ seat, and if needed will have it tailored). I find for me that a firm flat ‘ample’ seating area allows me to distribute the weight between thighs and butt.

Notice the difference in lever angle in the first picture after the brake lever has been rotated down to natural grip position that allows me to comfortably operate it while still maintaining throttle control. Note the lock tab for the clutch adjuster has been bent to allow the clutch lever to be rotated down. This is a temporary solution until I find levers I like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's a great bike for me without many changes, but I suppose like the other 78,241 I'm easily pleased.
But is it PERFECT?**

We agree. It's a great bike, and therefore doesn't need defending. So I shouldn't need validation from a magazine or anyone else to feel good about my bike either. :cool:

Now I admitted that these concerns are my own, and I hope it didn't seem that I was prescribing the best way to set up the bike for anyone else. That's personal:

...First I need to re-state that I think the SS is a cool bike with great potential, and that these are MY issues based on my peculiar anatomy and brain. :laugh:...
**But is it PERFECT? Trick question. I've yet to have the perfect bike, but had some that were very near optimal for my needs at the time. It's a process I look forward to, even as I ***** and moan doing it. :grin2:
 

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For me, this bike borberlines "perfect" just as it came from the factory. Minus some cosmetic farkles and TWM levers. The lever position is great, but stock levers left a great feel, so TWM fixed that. Otherwise, good to go. To each their own, so make all the mods you see fit and, most importantly, keep us posted with pics. Inspection is mandatory. :nerd:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This thread is not to judge the bike, but to optimize it.

It's important to realize how the bike is to be ridden to determine setup. If this is to be used as a 'sporty' bike then the priorities will be different than for touring. There certainly are both better sportbikes and touring bikes, buy there aren't many prettier bikes, and does count for something to me. The adventure touring bikes are probably the best compromise bikes going, with 160+HP, all the bells and whistles and max comfort, but yet I didn't buy one. They haven't the feel I want, and God are they grotesque!

Right now the bike is a compromise, and that's not a bad thing, the limitations just need to be understood and accepted, or else modified. If a rider is operating in that perfect arena that avoids the Supersport's limitations then it WILL be perfect for that rider: for me that would mean not too fast, not too far, no passenger, clean dry roads, avoid city driving etc etc.

Unfortunately, I occasionally want to ride some distance, so my old body says "work on comfort". I will ride in the rain, and would rather not have mud all over the back of my jacket, and spend hours cleaning grime out of the crevices, so I will put on some sort of fender in back. :eek: I will occasional haul my wife, so would like a seat that encourages her to come back for more. I will frequently have to ride in town, so will lower the gearing a touch to address the horrendous drive line lashing below 20 mph, while removing slop from the throttle. The sporting performance is a little tame, but it's STILL more than I will ever be able to use on the street, so I won't spend a penny to try to make it faster, quite happy there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
For me, this bike borberlines "perfect" just as it came from the factory. Minus some cosmetic farkles and TWM levers. The lever position is great, but stock levers left a great feel, so TWM fixed that. Otherwise, good to go. To each their own, so make all the mods you see fit and, most importantly, keep us posted with pics. Inspection is mandatory. :nerd:
Is the Supersport a little like the sexy girlfriend/boyfriend whose irritating little habits are forgotten every time you look at them (...or ride them? :eek:), but then they open their mouth or eat crackers in bed, again? The good news is that the bike can be modified, that person can't be. :wink2:

To a great extent the right setup is subjective and personal...whatever works for that rider's body and the kind of riding he/she does. But there are some general principles that apply, and if the rider adapts too completely to the bike's initial setup the results can limit comfort & control.

It's great that many riders find everything on this bike just right for them...kudos to the factories for trying to tailor a bike for us. But I've personally never had a new bike remain stock for more than two weeks. That's probably because I'm an old fart and there was little specialization of models when I started riding, and the rider had to adapt the bike to its intended mission. Bikes had different shift patterns, some "1 up", some "1 down", some left side, some right side shift. So I'm used to it. Also when building race bikes I address this from the outset, because the bike will be ridden near 100% of its potential, and I have to be relaxed while doing it.

The rider may be comfortable with the setup because they will remain comfortably within those limits, but attempts to push beyond will be awkward - whether it's speed or endurance being measured. Look at how obsessively factory roadrunners and their teams tweak the bike ergonomically to accommodate the rider, while being careful to not compromise the bike's basic design. A racer needs to be hyper-aware of riding tensely or awkwardly while trying to go faster, as it has the evil consequence of both slowing you while increasing the odds of crashing. BTW, 100% is the limit. :laugh: When Rossi or Marquez crash they've probably exceeded 100%...when the average clubracer/trackday rider crashes they're trying hard at about 90% (and NOT 110% like they claimed :laugh:) of the bike's potential pace and are baffled as to why they crashed.

I can go to a trackday and watch a rider pushing harder trying to drop laptimes, yet going slower and scaring themselves in the process. Suggesting a few adjustments to controls, setting proper suspension, occasional chassis geometry setup tweaks (e.g. rake, trail, s/a droop etc) and gearing can transform a rider's experience. Of course it's much harder to adjust the rider than the bike, but that's another topic. :laugh:
 

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I think the perfect bike is a myth, some days when I get on my bike I have the feeling that on that day I am one with the bike, and that day it's very near perfect. On an other day I feel disconnected and have to take it easy, those days the bike is far from perfect.
The bike hasn't changed but for whatever reason I have. So the perfect bike? Not while people ride them.
 

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I can go to a trackday and watch a rider pushing harder trying to drop laptimes, yet going slower and scaring themselves in the process. Suggesting a few adjustments to controls, setting proper suspension, occasional chassis geometry setup tweaks (e.g. rake, trail, s/a droop etc) and gearing can transform a rider's experience. Of course it's much harder to adjust the rider than the bike, but that's another topic. :laugh:
When I tracked my Miata my first instructor had retired from endurance racing air cooled 911's. His words to me were "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." It's true too. Forcing yourself to slow down by 2% and do things correctly will ultimately pay dividends; in a slow car like a Miata, setting corner entry lines and speeds correctly netted higher exit speeds - important to carrying high speeds through the straights. I found that switching to a heavier flywheel was what I needed to reset my brain.

Ultimately, you want to do things in the correct order and at the correct times. Doing them fast is good, but doing them correctly is better.

I repeat that mantra every time I get flustered or find myself or the bike feeling nervous.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bike's closer to perfect than the riders, easier to change the rider.
Hard to tell if you're being ironic, or if you're serious. But I'd have to agree if by 'change' the rider you mean 'replace, race teams do it all the time. And if by 'change' you mean educating or training the rider I also agree. And a part of 'changing' or improving a rider once he has mastered riding the machine as it is, is teaching him/her how to improve the bike to allow its rider to continue to improve.

But if you're comparing modifying a bike to modifying a human, it seems to me that mechanical designers have more to show for their work than psychotherapists, prophets and all those who have tried to improve human nature.:wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When I tracked my Miata my first instructor had retired from endurance racing air cooled 911's. His words to me were "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." It's true too. Forcing yourself to slow down by 2% and do things correctly will ultimately pay dividends; in a slow car like a Miata, setting corner entry lines and speeds correctly netted higher exit speeds - important to carrying high speeds through the straights. I found that switching to a heavier flywheel was what I needed to reset my brain.

Ultimately, you want to do things in the correct order and at the correct times. Doing them fast is good, but doing them correctly is better.

I repeat that mantra every time I get flustered or find myself or the bike feeling nervous.
That's the most important thing I really learned from my first racing coach "Slow Down to Go Fast"
 
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