Originally Posted by tottenham12712
The size of the fork has almost nothing to do with how it damps. That is purely the cartridge, there is some stiffness changes between sizes but most of us wont be noticing that.
Yes, I agree with that. But I wasn't talking about damping and feel in general - I was talking about getting feedback near the traction limit under braking (my bad for not having cleared that out). I found out that it was braking traction information that I had a lack for whereas cornering traction information was about the same. It was all about braking. It has an easy explanation: Braking is a longitudinal force that bends the forks backwards - turning creates a lateral force that is mostly handled by the telescopic function of the fork stanchions and the axle (so admittedly damping is more important here). There's a video by Keith Code that shows extreme flexion of a fork under extreme braking, and loss of traction - you can actually see the fork tubes bending and unbending as traction is gained and lost in quick succession. As I understand it, "information", when it comes to braking and fork flexibility, comes from tiny such loads/unloads of the fork that functions essentially like a forward-backward spring: as braking force is applied it bends, and at the moment traction is lost it unbends - then it gets loaded again etc. I'm pretty sure that very tiny such cycles create this feeling of "uneasiness", before the ultimate loss of traction occurs.
Anyway, a cartridge system supposedly offers more information and I experienced the opposite so the difference HAS to come from the increase in stiffness.
Originally Posted by tottenham12712
Im assuming you put 43mm forks from a larger heavier bike and did not re valve or re spring it correctly for your sv which caused it to feel and behave that way.
The fork I put on the SV was the "classic" modification of a 1997 GSXR 750 USD fully adjustable cartridge fork. Indeed the donor bike was heavier. Still, the springs were soft (actually softer than those I had previously installed in the stock fork) and damping plenty adjustable. The suspension worked like a dream: after some adjustments it became supple yet very controlled so it being wrongly sprung/valved for the bike is out of the question.
What is perhaps interesting about this modification, is that braking traction increased to an amazing +10/15%. Same wheel (had caliper brackets machined), same tyre... yet braking force was higher but the limit of adhesion was not felt as much! I had lots of opportunities to test this behavior, (some of them not planned!) and it was always the same. Another thing I noticed and is obviously due to the different damping curve, was that if I applied the brakes abruptly the bike would lose traction. With the old fork it didn't matter - I could slam the brakes, the bike would dive and brake. The cartridge forced somewhat more gradual application of the brakes.
Ultimately, I can not and so I do not claim that I know exactly what part of the lack of braking traction feel was due to stiffness and what part due to different damping characteristics. But I've ridden more than 20 bikes in my life, 4 of them pretty hard, and there's no way someone can persuade me that that lack of feel was only due to damping difference or mal-adjustment. As I told you, I am very careful and sensitive abou tall things suspension and the SV was fine with that fork. Besides, remember all the talk on the MotoGP world about how chassis stiffness alters feedback? So as the fork is in reality part of what connects the wheels and the rider together, it wouldn't be sensible to overrule fork stiffness as regards to information influx to the rider right?
Another thing for consideration: I remember from the SV650 forum I used to hang out at, many people who raced SVs and had the opportunity (class rules allowed it) to upgrade the fork, eventually got rid of USD forks altogether and instead installed cartridge systems in the stock fork (Matris was a company that offered them) as "the stock conventional fork offered more feedback". I was amazed to read that as I thought that stiffness would be imperative when racing yet still... those people did that.
To close my rant, I've come to understand that those now ubiquitous USDs, especially the 43s on bikes like Ducati Monsters are purely for looks and bling factor. It's the internals what matters the most - cartridges provide infinitely better ride quality. Conventional forks with adequate quality cartridges can be perfect for the street and maybe better in some cases.