Wayne Whitney

Wayne Whitney

On September 1st, I had GP Suspension do a full suspension upgrade on my 2001 Suzuki SV650. The SV has always been a fun bike, but its suspension is a weak point. I wanted to improve the vague and twitchy front end, and to cure its tendency to run wide in the corners. I also wanted to improve the pogo type ride, and tendency to bottom-out over road imperfections. A racing school at my local track really convinced me that the upgrade was in order!

I knew that I wanted a professional suspension setup, and heard about GP Suspension. So I decided to give them a call. Dave from GP was extremely helpful. We discussed my needs, options, and came up with an action plan.

Because of GP’s distance from Spokane, I needed to have all the work done at the same time. GP agreed to do the work for me at the Spokane track, during the WMRRA races over Labor Day weekend.

  • They rebuilt the forks with stiffer springs.
  • RaceTech emulator
  • 2002 SV preload adjusters and thicker fork oil.
  • Penske Sport Shock was brought in and fitted on the rear. All parts were speced, and/or adjusted for my weight and riding style (street: at about 8/10ths on the back roads). Once the bike was reassembled they set the sag for me.

They had me take a good long test ride to see how I liked it, and whether any fine-tuning was in order. What a revelation that first ride was! I sought out every twisty bit, and rough patch of pavement, to put the bike through its paces. After a good 30 min. flogging I returned to the track knowing I had made the right decision! As I told the two Dave's from GP, “I was going faster, but the bike felt like it was going slower”. It was that much more stable and connected to the road.

It has now been two weeks and almost 700 miles (out of 4200 total) since the work was done. I am just as happy now as I was after that first ride. Just about all this mileage has been on my favorite back roads. So I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how the suspension upgrade has improved my bike. The ride is firm, but not overly harsh. Turn in is excellent, and it holds a line like its on rails. The bike is no longer upset by mid-corner bumps or surface irregularities. Mid-turn course corrections are now as simple as point and shoot. Performance under braking is very much improved. But, by far, the most significant improvement has been in the increased front-end feedback. For the first time I can really tell what the front tire is doing, and that is a real confidence booster!

GP Suspension gets my highest recommendation! They transformed my bike into a real handling machine, at a cost comparable to normal shop rates. The guys at GP are skilled and professional, but go out of their way to be helpful. Anyone out there looking for professional suspension work, you can’t go wrong with GP! If you are a SV owner, do yourself a favor and give GP a call. It’s the best investment you can make in your bike.

Wayne Whitney

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