By Richard Vohsing
One ongoing issue that I still had to face with my FZ was the leaking forks. I had already done a rebuild on them, and yet nothing I tried seemed to stop the gushing flow of fluid every time I compressed the fork. It wasn’t THAT bad, but it was still concerning. Even after only a few laps at Big Willow, I had already noticed a decent build-up of oil; another few laps and it might have built up enough fluid to start dripping – not a good sign.
So naturally, like any frugal man, the first thing I did was order some upgrades.
Shopping on Ebay can often feel like scavenging through a wasteland. Cheap knockoffs, thousands of listings for identical products, scams, improper listings, $3 items with $194 shipping – I could spend hours talking about the number of traps and annoyances, enough that I ask myself why I still shop there.
Well, all know why, it’s because despite all of this, we sometimes find those gems, those needle-in-the-haystack wins that we gush about to uninterested coworkers, and the friends who’ve already heard 14 times. Usually it’s a private seller, or a small dismantler looking to clear stock, but when it does happen, it makes up for all the hours of digging through crap.
In the ad that you can see above, I came across a full R1 front end for $500. I’d done my homework and discovered that these forks are a perfect bolt-on upgrade for my bike. Knock engineers for reusing designs all you like, but this turned out to be the biggest bang-for-buck upgrade that the FZ1 has seen so far. Even my front fender bolted right up.
I reached out to the seller, asked if he’d be willing to sell parts individually. I said, “I don’t need the wheel, or the triple assembly. How much for everything else?”
The seller responded a few hours later. $275 shipped.
A few days later, my new front end arrived, and with a few hours work, my little grandpa bike was growing more and more like a comfortable R1. Wheelies on command, without the broken spine or knee breaking seating position. Win.
The new brakes off the R1 required me to get playful with swapping lines around, but the effort was worth it. They grabbed better, the upgraded master felt nicer, and there was far less dive under hard braking.
That’s not all though. My “suspension guy” was on standby, and with a bit of his help, the new setup could shave some serious seconds off my lap times, and more importantly, I finally had a daily commuter that felt as razor sharp as a supersport, yet as comfortable as my office chair. It was ready for its next track day, where I could dial in the suspension, and sign off that my project was done.
That of course, meant I could set my sights on something else. An upgrade that was LONG overdue…