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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Installed my Ohlins NIX-22 front cartridges and Penske rear shock last week and got a chance to test them on some Texas (Houston area) backroads this weekend. I also switched my tires from the stockers to a set of Pirelli Diablo Rosso II in stock sizes. My riding consisted of about 350 total miles over two days, so I had a lot of opportunity to compare them to the factory components. I purchased the cartridges and shock from Jesse at YamahaR3racing.com. Everything was set up to my weight and I elected to send my forks in to have the cartridges installed. Transactions with Jesse are always smooth, he offers great advice and everything is delivered as promised. My forks were on their way back to me less than 24 hours after being received by the installer. If you are looking for someone to purchase a similar set up as this, Jesse is your guy.

Since there are a lot of newer riders on this board, my review is going to be slanted a little towards that group since I don’t think stating that the Ohlins/Penske setup is a great improvement over stock is telling people anything that they could not guess for themselves.

I have logged a lot of track miles over the past 10 years, and have used Ohlins components on a couple of track bikes. My preference on a suspension setup is something that provides excellent stability to give me confidence that I can push the bike hard. For aggressive street riding and/or track riding, the stock suspension is definitely a little soft. That said, the bike can be ridden fast on the stock components. The reality is that if you brought a MotoGP rider to a track day, put him on a bone stock R3 and let him loose on the track, he would easily whip over 90% of the track day riders riding the bike of their choice. I state that because the limiting factor in how hard we can push these bikes is often us, not the bike. A newer rider, or new to track days rider, needs to know that upgraded suspension by itself DOES NOT make the bike faster. The rider makes the bike faster – better suspension components just enable you to push the bike harder and faster before you run out of traction and become the reason for a yellow flag.

If you are thinking about upgrading your suspension, remember that there are trade-offs. The high speed stability of the bike is improved greatly in corners, but going over bumps while riding in a straight line caused much more jarring than I experienced with the stock suspension. A softer suspension is not a bad thing if you are riding down bumpy roads. The key point here is to make sure you are upgrading for the right reason. If this was just my daily commuter bike, I would probably leave the suspension alone. If I was a newer rider, I would probably leave the suspension alone until I developed enough skill to take advantage of the additional capabilities.

So what was it like to ride? The first thing I noticed when I started out on my ride was that the bike turned in much quicker. I had become used to the slight drift when turning - and that was now gone. Additionally, the stiffer front end makes it much easier to be aggressive on the front brakes. Not sure if the actual stopping distance of the bike improved (for example, if being tested by a pro rider), but I am much more confident braking hard on the front brakes when the suspension is not rapidly compressing down. The braking improvement was a big deal for me. I did not expect the improvement that I got. But the best part about this set up is how poised and controllable the bike is in high speed corners. Riding hard on backroads can be a dangerous thing. Even if the roads are clear of vehicles, guard rails, cliffs, etc. the presence of dirt, rocks, gravel, etc. can end your day in a bad way. I was able to adjust my lines even at a decent lean angle when I spotted something in the road that I did not want my front tire to run over. Additionally, I had no issue with the bike not going a direction that I wanted it to go.

Overall, this is a great upgrade for someone that wants to be able to get as much performance out of the bike as possible. Glad I did it, would probably be the first thing I would do if I was replacing the bike. My bike has a limited life as a street bike – likely will be track only after summer ends. I feel a lot better about taking this to the track with the added capabilities of the upgraded suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I forget sometimes that I am 170 pounds and bikes are typically well suited to me right out of the crate.
 

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Ooo, those are some **** sexy parts. Ohlins and Penske suspension. Tasty. Very thorough and detailed write up review.

For some of the reasons you stated, I decided against getting the Andreani or Ohlins fork cartridge kit and Penske/JRI rear shock and am going with some Sonic springs and the Ohlins rear shock. It'll save me a few bucks and as its primariy a road/commuter bike, those parts will work pretty wel in those scenarios.

Post some pics or it didn't really happen!
 

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but going over bumps while riding in a straight line caused much more jarring than I experienced with the stock suspension
This can be adjusted/tuned. Hmm, no wonder. Ohlins specifies a [email protected] oil which is rather too thick for the 'C' side. I would use a 14 and maybe even lighter (11). The Andreani has the same excessive jarring sensations and that can only be solved by re-doing the shim stack. I need to take the NIX apart to see what configuration they are using.

When I build forks with the NIX-30 I similarly use a 14cSt oil.

I've got 2 units if anyone is interested.
 

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Well said write up. I will be learning and doing more about BP and Throttle/Brake control before getting to the Suspension parts. When I become proficient in keeping the bike's front and rear at optimum level/balance (track conditions) and there is absolutely nothing more I can do, then yes, I see the justification in the upgrade. In stock form, the suspension talks to me , chopping throttle, moving in seat, too much brake... When I can InitialD the R3, then I will upgrade. For now I just want to break down all of my bad riding habits and build new proper skills.
 

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The jarring from the shock is also to be expected. Unfortunately with the R3s linkless suspension, you have a very narrow band of properly working rear suspension. The soft stock shock works well for lower speeds, and soaks up those road bumps nicely, but at higher speeds, you blow through the stroke and it's a mess. Same thing with the new Penske shock. I spec my Penske shocks for racers with light damping and a very stiff spring. This provides amazing support and feedback at higher corner speeds, but can leave the bike a little jarring if you're driving down the road at 55 and hit a pot hole. If a customer is buying a shock for street riding, like DPIW, they will get a lighter spring per weight than someone like Deddie who is buying it for racing, as the corner speeds are very different. But both will work amazingly well at keeping the bike planted to the pavement while cornering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I should clarify that the jarring was over rough surfaces - which would disrupt any bike. Normal roads were fine and slightly bumpy fine as well. It was meant to be an observation and not a complaint. I bought the Penske for the track, but I would street ride it without hesitation.
 

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I should clarify that the jarring was over rough surfaces - which would disrupt any bike. Normal roads were fine and slightly bumpy fine as well. It was meant to be an observation and not a complaint. I bought the Penske for the track, but I would street ride it without hesitation.
Of course, just wanted to make sure everyone knew that there's more of a trade off with suspension with the R3 than with other bikes because of the lack of a progressive link on the rear shock. To perform at it's best, it has to be tuned for a narrower speed band, for lack of a better term, than a lot of other bikes.
 

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I just installed my nix22. Some questions for you guys who already own it.

Did you find the oil level according to the Ohlins instructions a bit low? It asked for 130mm of air which seems like a lot. That ended up with around 400ml of oil. For servicing stock damper rods, you have an air gap closer to 100mm which according to jesse's install guide is around 473 ml of fork oil, which is pretty similar to what I did on my ninja 650.

The compression(left) side preload adjuster turns just fine and you don't feel any tension on it at all when making preload adjustments. The rebound(right) side definitely has tension on it. Just find it weird that one side feels the way it does compared to the other.

When installing, I barely had to pull up on the cartridge shaft to get my cartridge holding tool under the shaft nut. Every other fork I have messed with usually required significant pulling up on the shaft. There are compression tools just for this reason, so another unfamiliar experience.

Compression and rebound (just sitting on it, not actually on the road) actually feel lighter than the stock set up. Obviously I can adjust for more damping on both sides by it's just odd to feel this way following the set up recommendations for my weight sent from the manufacturer. I'm am wondering if the smaller quantity of oil is playing a factor in how the bike feels like.
 

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hmm, the preload adjusters (10mm hex?) should be ~same. If you mean the gold 3mm(?) allen key are you sure you pre-set the adjuster before putting the caps on?

Rebound speed should be dramatically different fully open vs fully closed. Comp is a lot harder to eyeball.
 

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The preload adjusters are 14mm. Everything was fully counter clockwise when installed.

Rebound speed is very noticeable from full open and full closed, I just thought that at the recommended settings, it would have more damping than my stock forks.
 

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> Everything was fully counter clockwise when installed

if you're referring to the gold adjuster, the install is wrong. unthread the cap off the rod, turn gold all the way CCW, then CW the recommended amount, probably 4 turns? THEN you thread the cap onto the rod till it seats - don't force it. Chase nut back up to cap and tighten against each other. turn gold adjuster back out say 2 turns. And then tune to suit.
 

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> Everything was fully counter clockwise when installed

if you're referring to the gold adjuster, the install is wrong. unthread the cap off the rod, turn gold all the way CCW, then CW the recommended amount, probably 4 turns? THEN you thread the cap onto the rod till it seats - don't force it. Chase nut back up to cap and tighten against each other. turn gold adjuster back out say 2 turns. And then tune to suit.
Is that a lesson learned from a previous install? Wondering why the Ohlins instructions are written as such? What are the effects of following the manufacturer directions? This applies to both sides yeah?
 

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For reference Ohlins sent me spring part number 08429-70 for a 70kg rider. Recommended settings were 8 clicks of compression and 12 for rebound. 7 mm (7 turns) of preload.
 

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**** it you're right. The Ohlins instructions do say to start with everything CCW. Sorry.
https://www.ohlins.com/app/uploads/world/2016/06/MI_FKS203_2_x.pdf

Personally I would still elect to do it the way I described it. Measure how much the thin plunger rod goes down from resting state, and turn in the gold adjuster by however many turns that equates to and maybe an extra 1/2 turn. Typically the pitch of the adjuster is 1mm per turn. Then thread the cap on till it seats. Check to make sure you have a goodly amount of rod thread engaged by the cap.

I like my way because you don't end up with the gold piece recessed so deep inside the cap that you end up with a mosquito pond.
 

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