What’s up in the land of Z?

Well, first off, I never got the XT out of the garage last weekend; I wound up deciding it’d be more fun to catch a bad cold instead. That’s OK, though — it’s supposed to be sunny this weekend and hopefully I’ll be done sneezing by then.

Meanwhile, what’s up in the land of Z?

I did some research into the utter uselessness that is 6k RPM and have decided that That’s Just How The Bike Is. Again, this isn’t a power delivery uselessness — the Z actually has quite a delicious kick right in that rev range — but instead one of just plain ol’ practical riding.

It turns out that, because the engine is a stressed member of the frame, all that engine vibration goes right into the frame…and then, of course, into the footpegs, seat, and handlebars. Between 6k and 8.5k, that vibration is particularly noticeable.

So, what to do? The footpegs and seat are annoying but don’t really bug me all that much, unless I’ve been riding for over 60 miles at a time….and by that point, my butt gives up on the stock seat anyway. 😉

As far as the handlebars go, I’ve added to my Wish List a set of Salamander bar ends, about which I’ve heard good things on Teh Intarwebz.

I’m not actually anticipating running into this problem all that often — if I upshift through all the gears, I can get into 6th pretty quickly, and that’ll get me to just over 80mph before I hit 6k. It’s just more that I feel badly for not utilizing all of the powerband — especially such a yummy kicky party of it — so I’d like to do what I can to play in that midrange.

lowering my standards.
Well, one standard, at least.

I took the Z into Aftershocks Suspension today, and will return Friday with 1″ less motorcycle.

Phil explained to me that most of the back end of the Z is from the 636, but since the Z has its voltage regulator/rectifier right up behind the shock, in the wheel well (??), you can’t fit a 636 shock in there. The reservoir would smack up against the regulator/rectifier. Instead, he’d instructed me in advance, I needed to go onto Ebay and find a ZX-6R shock from ’98 – ’01. I won an auction for a ’01 ZX-6R shock for $20 and was good to go.

Below: The correct shock (’98-’01 ZX-6R). See how the reservoir sticks out? No bonking of R/R there.

Below: The incorrect (636) shock. The reservoir doesn’t stick up and there would be R/R interference.

So today, I brought in the bike and the ZX-6R shock. Phil had me sit on the bike in a normal riding position (an employee held the bike upright) while he took some measurements. I got off the bike; he took more measurements. He said that I had a good 2″ of sag (already, at 28! *grin*) so that he could lower the bike by a full inch. It shouldn’t affect the handling at all. They’ll also be cutting down the sidestand for me to compensate.

Anyway, I should be getting the bike back on Friday, and am looking forward to riding it this weekend! This is getting long, but I’ll make a separate entry later about why I decided to bite the bullet and lower the Z.

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