The front suspension of the FJ can be improved by various means to enhance the ride and adjustment. Here's some options:-
PROGRESSIVE SPRINGS - Universally agreed as a significant improvement over the original equipment. As the name inplies, the springs are wound progressively tighter at one end to the other, to give a variable rate to the spring. This gives a comfortable ride over minor bumps, but offer more resistance under major loading, such as when braking. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
OHLINS SPRINGS - These springs again offer significant improvements over the standard spring. In my opinion are a shade harder than the Progressive and more suited to a 'sporty' ride. RECOMMENDED
HYPERPRO SPRINGS - I've not tried these myself, but I have had good feedback on them. RECOMMENDED
RACETECH EMULATORS - Alternative way of controlling damping within the front fork.
See Jeff Hoffman's great article.
FORK BRACES - Information Needed (I have heard conflicting reports on the benefits of aftermarket braces on FJs)
STEERING DAMPERS - If you need one there's probably something wrong !
EXUP FRONT-END TRANSPLANT
Copied the idea from Jeff Earl, who grafted an Exup front-end onto his FJ sometime ago. The benefits are; a better construction of fork, 320mm front discs as opposed to the standard FJ 298mm and a wider front wheel rim. Though the wheel takes the same size tyre as the standard FJ, the wider Exup wheel gives additional support to the tyre walls giving a better ride. Mine came from an 1989 model (not upside down). The possible disadvantage is that the fork stanchions are about 25mm shorter. This is because the Exup mounts its handlebars below the top yoke (triple clamp) clip-on style. The FJ mounts the bars above, so the fork stanchions have to be slipped up through the clamps an extra 25mm. Personally I've not found this a problem and with uprated springs, there's no clearance problems. In fact it may help quicken the steering slightly, by the small change in geometry . It's a reasonably easy job if your well prepared. I'm sure there's more than one way of doing this, but here's the way I did it.
It's as well to note that the Exup front end differs in several less obvious ways to the FJ's. The width between the forks is about 10mm less than the FJ's. They are 43mm fork stanchions, as opposed to 41mm. The wheel spindle size is also smaller and the caliper mounting points are further up the fork legs. This all means that there's limited scope to use much of the original FJ components without modifications and I'm assuming your doing a complete swap.
Start by removing the entire FJ front end (no need to remove fairing). Basically the Exup front goes straight in, with the two models sharing the same head race bearings. The lockstops are slightly different, so that these need to be built up some, by the addition of a small plate welded to frame headstock. This doesn't mean that without this the handlebars will trap your hands or anything silly, as the fork stanchions touch the upper frame, long before this happens.
Due to a difference in the top yoke (triple clamp), the loop in which the ignition switch is housed, has to be modified. Essentially take one hacksaw, a flat and a round file. By reducing the 'loop' to about half its width and filing out some additional clearance, the yoke will accept the switch. The switch has to be modified by shortening its mounting legs and drilling and retapping the mounting holes. Sounds a little confusing perhaps, but once it's laid out in front of you, you'll know what you've got to do. Allow a couple of hours. I needed to make an adjustment, to the lower brake hose splitter. It needed packing out a couple of millimetres, to miss the lockstop. Finally the handlebars need to be bored out from 41mm to 43mm. If you can do this yourself, that's great, if not try a local engineer. Failing this try what I've done and get in touch with your friendly local model engineering society. Those guys are great at getting the most from their machinery and are most helpful. To speed things up, you may want to get a set already machined. Don't forget the original FJ front mudguard is not going to fit without extensive modification, so best get a cute little Exup one. There, job done!
Next stop Exup RU upside downies!
YZF600 THUNDERCAT TRANSPLANT
I believe this originally was Jon Cain's idea. These are 41mm cartridge forks lifted staright from the Cat. They've got the one-piece Thunderace/R1 brakes and usefully the bars are mounted above the top yoke/triple, so theres no problems raising the forks through the clamps and loosing valuable clearance.
The first two pictures are of Amy Hardwig's FJ in mid project. Hopefully I'll get more pictures soon, or check out Amy's site
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