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The Stoltec Moto Tenere 700 Build Thread


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<Yawwwwwwwn>

 

Wakey wakey from the mid-winter's slumber.  Preoccupation with other projects has delayed this build thread for too long.  Despite 2+ feet of snow on the ground, spring isn't too far away, and it's time to kick this into high gear.  Plus, I need capture the things I've already done...before CRS settles in and I forget.  Posting on the internet has turned into a chore the past couple years for me, so please...engage with us on this post and keep the content flowing.  Lest I get sidetracked...again!

 

We'll start this thread with a minor history lesson.  Our Tenere 700 days actually go all the way back to the Tenere 1200 as-released here in the US back in 2011.  I had a couple friends at the time who fled from #sportbikelife to the big 'ol girl, and subsequently, fell in love.  Frankly, so did I.  Turns out, after we dialed in the suspension, that bike could really hustle.  Despite the 600 lb curb weight, it could run down much smaller/faster bikes on the right roads.  All the while being comfortable as hell.  I still dig it's purposeful good looks and the lack of a beak.

 

Fast forward a few years, we fell into the MT-09, XSR900, FJ-09, MT-10 hole - hard!  For good reason, too.  Yamaha knocked it out of the park on those bikes and they have been a (very) steady stream of business since 2013.  Tuning Yamahas has turned into our bread and butter, so as soon as the T7 was teased, we were instantly intrigued.  In fact, I'll admit, a little too intrigued.  We had a 'good' source within Yamaha who insisted that the T7 wasn't far off from a US release (-joke's on you, Stoltec!), so we sold our project FZ-10 in order to make room for the new project.  Turns out that was more than a little premature.

 

So when the Tenere 700 was announced for the rest of the world, I'll be honest - I was more than a little irritated.  From my self-centered point of view, I was miffed that our European and Australian brothers would have earlier access to the bike for development.  It's hard to remain in business when others have a substantial head start.  But be that as it may, we put a deposit down when the US pre-order was announced.  Figured it would still be a kick ass bike to challenge the orange wave from Austria.

 

And then COVID hit in March.  No one wants to relive 2020, so I'll spare the details and leave it at "things were uncertain".  Not so much for Stoltec Moto, but for motorcycling in general.  Leading up to 2020, motorcycle sales were (generally) cratering and aftermarket sales were waning (although lagging the sales curve).  Many theories abound, but that's a story for another day.  So, we did what any apocalypse-fearing motorcyclist would do, and we postponed our pre-order to re-evaluate at a later date.  And, as we now now, social distancing coupled with summer and an unprecedented in-flow of government stimulus boosted the motorcycle market.  2020 ended up blowing our projections out of the water...so what the hell, roll the dice with the baby Tenere!

 

Every post needs a picture, so here's an obligatory short on the first day.

 

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And for proof, note the mileage on the cluster...

 

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And like all good things, it'll never be this clean again.  I'd be lying if a little piece of me didn't die when the first spec of dust hit this adventure bike...

 

 

 

 

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Great story! Buried in snow or not,  below 0 temperatures or not, I’m pumped for spring!  Can’t wait for the 1st ride of 2021!

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On 2/10/2021 at 11:41 PM, DT675 said:

Great story! Buried in snow or not,  below 0 temperatures or not, I’m pumped for spring!  Can’t wait for the 1st ride of 2021!

 

It takes a special breed to live in MN.  I can deal with snow snow, but personally, I can't handle subzero temps.  20's are as low as I'm comfortable these days.  I have a Socal heart...

 

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Glad to see you are part of the game for the T7. Your Penske valves and associated bits turned my S10 into a canyon carving ticket maker! But I digress. Glad to see you have a T7 in hand and look forward to what Stoltec brings forth. 

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I've been around Yamaha's matte black paints enough to appreciate them for their pros and cons.  They look great in the sun with a subtle metallic flake.  However, they show every Godforsaken fingerprint, bug, and oily smudge.  More annoyingly, they scratch easily and fixing with the traditional compound/wax materials means the surface never looks the same again (i.e. 'polished').  So, you end up having to do everything to keep a uniform look.

 

At this point you're probably wondering why in the hell anyone would really care about a little wear and tear on an ADVENTURE bike.  Fair point, but respectfully, pipe down in the peanut gallery.  My German heritage and a touch of OCD won't let me adopt that way of thinking.  Until the bike takes its first dirt nap, anyway.

 

So, the solution:  Tech Specs!  No rocket science here, and because I'm late to the party, I didn't even have to make any patterns for this kit (as we've done on the various FZ-09 iterations).  And, frankly, the patterns are pretty good.  Everything fits and looks great on the bike!

 

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Opted out of the tail section bits - mostly because I have other plans and didn't want to add unnecessary weight.  But, yeah, it looks and feels good while riding! 

 

Normally at this point, I'd divert your attention to another post for some introductory pricing or a group buy.  Since I'm truly late to that party as well, we won't be doing that.  But...if there is demand, we'll entertain it.  So...post up if you're interested.  Otherwise, see here:

 

https://stoltecmoto.com/shop/yamaha/tenere700/20-tenere-700-tech-specs-tank-grips/

 

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I should have added this to the first post for those in the TL;DR camp (guilty as charged, at times): 

 

Either way, I'm still totally impressed with this bike even after a few months of ownership.  I've had the pleasure of owning a ton of bikes throughout the years, and we've had the luck of working on a good variety, as well.  Spoiled is a good descriptor.  And yet, this bike continues to meet or exceed my expectations in so many areas.  Ergonomics are great, the 21" front doesn't inhibit on-road handling AT ALL, the tires are a good great 'upgrade' to have from the factory, and the engine is really quite excellent.

 

Frankly, my opinion of the engine is was continues to surprise me the most.  As I mentioned in the video, I'm likely the only person on earth who didn't love the FZ-07.  It was more than capable, very well put together, and in general, very well sorted and balanced.  But still, our long-term project just never inspired me.  Coming into the T7, I was cautiously optimistic that the engine would be better in this chassis.  At least, that's what I convinced myself of when writing that $10K check.  Luckily for me, I was pretty much spot on.

 

Of course, the engine is more or less than same as the MT-07.  But the shorter final drive gearing is just what the doctor called for...and is responsible for my love.  Whether trolling around local backroads, the city, or loose surfaces, it just works.  My initial impression was that the gearing made the engine a little vibey for the highway, but I'm ready to rewrite that opinion.  Either the engine loosened up during break-in or I've gotten used to it.  Either way, I have no issues with it at 80 mph.  That says a lot considering this machine is down 75+ hp over my other bikes.  It doesn't hurt that the intake and exhaust sound great for factory parts.   Definitely a bit more soul than the -07 bikes have.  Not enough to be obnoxious (only Ducati has figured out how to make a loud factory bike), but soulful all the same.  Aside from dropping some weight, I personally wouldn't change the muffler for the sake of sound.  Good job Yamaha!

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Despite my best attempts, I've let the thread updates lapse.  Don't mistake that to mean that there hasn't been progress, though.

 

Firstly, and this wasn't recently, one of the things that drove me nuts from the very beginning were the stock levers - especially the clutch lever.  Yamaha has a bad habit of setting up their clutch levers for giant hands.  <cue the small hand jokes>.  But seriously, every Yamaha I've ever owned with a cable actuated clutch is too far of a reach for me.  It doesn't help that the levers aren't adjustable.  Fortunately, an easy fix.

 

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In my opinion, there are no better levers on the market than ASV.  They advertise ~180 clicks of adjustment, which to be fair, I've never counted.  But, gone are the days of being stuck between two settings.  That problem is a thing of the past!

 

They're also built to fold which helps limit the damage caused during a tip over.

 

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That's obviously not a Tenere, but you get the idea.  ASV levers + handguards goes a long way at keeping you mobile after minor tip overs and slides.  

 

These are now available on our website - any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

 


Stoltec Moto is proud to offer these adjustable hand levers from ASV. In our opinion, these are the best levers available on the market. More adjustability than competing CNC machined levers, these levers will be sure to fit a wide...

 

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Presently though, the bike is a little less than operational.

 

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Keen eyes can likely spot a few things going on, but I'll focus for now on the task at hand.  Brakes!

 

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Although the brakes have improved as the pads bedded in, I'm still not thrilled with the current state.  They work admirably in the dirt and gravel, but high speed road performance is less than impressive (granted, I'm a sportbike guy - so take that for what it's worth).  We'll be going through a few incarnations of upgrades to test improvements, but we're going to start with fresh lines in a couple custom configurations.  Rubber lines all eventually get squishy, so the braided stainless steel lines will be foundational as we move forward.  Too hard to hit a moving target...

 

If you haven't had the tank off to peak 'under the hood', take notice of this cute little ABS pump:

 

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My oh my how far we've come!  It wasn't long ago that ABS pumps were the size of a box of tissues and weighed 10 lbs.  By comparison, this pump is TINY.  We were going to weigh the pump for poops and giggles, but found a few concealed fasteners that would have been more work than made sense.  But after looking at the placement and size, I'm dashing the ABS delete project for a while (if ever).  Since the system can be turned off, and the pump is tiny, there's little reason to justify the time and expense to save a lb or so.  But who knows...maybe we'll circle back on that.  But back to the topic at hand...look how small this is!

 

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We'll be prototyping the replacement lines over the next week, so stay tuned for updates.  They'll be DOT-compliant, lighter than stock, and of course, much firmer at the lever.  Plus, we'll have a few configurations available that aren't presently available anywhere else.  :classic_cool:

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Jumping around a little on the timeline I suppose, but before it gets missed...does this box make my butt look big? 

 

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In a word, yes!  🤣

 

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It always pains me to ruin the lines of a bike with a massive trunk, but the truth is that I get over it pretty quickly.  I personally own my fair share of soft luggage, and it all works well.  But for for day-in/day-out operations, I can't live without a top case.  People will lament the location of the weight on the bike - and they're not wrong.  But again, the truth is that you get used to it pretty easily and you forget it's there.  The only time the top case will come off is when it snaps onto another bike of mine.  

 

I've had the case for years, and we had a Givi plate sitting on the shelf from a prior build so that's what was used.  However, I spent my own hard-earned money on the Givi racks since I've used them in the past and I have better things to sort out than reinvent the wheel.  The fit/function is good, but frankly, I was disappointed in the packaging.  The brackets were nicely packaged in the box, but a couple of them were bagged together without sufficient material to isolate them from each other.  So they arrived with missing powdercoat.  Ugh.

 

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There's a few other spots, but you catch the drift.  These parts will eventually chipped from rocks and mud off the rear tire, but the still disappointed.  If this is going to bother you, look elsewhere.  And don't bother contacting Givi USA.  While they sent replacement parts, they had the same issue - that they touched up with a black Sharpie!  Disappointed in the whole event, but then again, this is why we aren't (and won't) become a Givi dealer anytime soon.

 

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All the while, been working on this in the background:

 

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Like many others, I found the shock to be a bit of a dichotomy.  It was simultaneously too soft and too harsh at the same time.  There was excessive pitch while on the throttle and I struggled to hit my sag target.  As you can tell from the zip tie around the shock shaft, road riding blew through all the travel.  No trail riding there... and that was BEFORE the luggage and center stand was added.  I'm about 200 lbs in full gear ready to ride, so clearly, things can be improved upon for real-world conditions and real-world loads.

 

If only we knew someone to help out...

 

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First thing's first...verification of spring rate.  There have been times when Yamaha has shipped different configuration bikes around the world - which includes spring rates.  Though the part numbers seemed consistent, we always verify in the event the Yamaha fiches are incorrect (that happens more often than you'd guess - initially, anyway).

 

Drum roll please....

 

390 lb/in - which is consistent with what's been noted in other markets.  

 

Next up, baseline shock dyno to visualize valving.

 

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If you're not familiar with reading a shock dyno, it's not as complicated as it looks.  The x-axis depicts the shaft velocities (how fast the shock compresses or extends) and the y-axis shows the damping 'force' at any particular time. 

 

As far as shaft velocities are concerned, 10 inches per second is fast (very fast), but it is certainly possible to have higher velocities, especially in off-road type conditions (jumping immediately comes to mind).  However, there's a functional limit to what you can safely replicate off the bike on a shock dyno.  There are some very high end models out there to delve deeper into the high velocity regions, but they are six figure machines that are hard to justify unless you're racing trophy trucks.  For the rest of us, you do what can with what you have.  But to put things in perspective, if we hit a 10"/second input on a Tenere 700 shock, that would blow through the entire wheel travel in 0.25-.35 seconds.

 

The negative values on the damping force axis represent rebound damping and positive represent compression damping.  Think of positive as pushing and negative as pulling.  In this case, recollect your high school algebra days and consider the absolute value of these numbers (i.e. ignore the negative values).  Larger numbers are more damping and smaller numbers are less damping.  No rocket science here...

 

What we see is that there is a decent range of rebound adjustment for a stock shock.  Compression damping is a little weak, which when combined with a light spring rate (for most riders), will result in blowing through travel on normal roads and bottoming out on very high speed inputs (frost heaves or large sized off-road obstacles).  Also tends to mute feedback to improve comfort.  Remember, most manufacturers know customers make their initial purchasing decision after just SITTING on the bike in a showroom.  For the lucky few who get out on a demo ride, opinions are formed leaving the parking lot and over pot holes at surface street speeds.

 

Next up...respringing and revalving to develop a baseline.

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With the shock off the bike, it was time to measure/calculate the shock leverage ratio.  As part of that, it was time to verify min/max travel, check clearances, and determine the chain slack spec.

 

At full compression, there's about 2.5" of clearance between the tire and the undertray (at the closest point).  Plenty of clearance for muddy knobbies, and enough to handle a mild drop for the shorter inseam riders out there.  Of course, proceed carefully...

 

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And here's a shot of the axle aligned with the swingarm pivot and countershaft sprocket - the tightest chain condition.  Excuse the bad shot and the mess.  As should be no surprise at this point, Yamaha did a good job laying this out.  Unlike the chain slack on the MT bikes, the factory spec is pretty good.  Not too tight.  But importantly, the max chain tension occurs just before the shock travel hits the bump stop - meaning there won't be any 'tight' regions of wheel travel as a result of chain tension.  It sounds obvious, but this is not standard on all production bikes.  Nike job Yamaha!

 

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We're getting to the point where only keen eyes can tell what bike this is!

 

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Beyond doing suspension work for a living, I was keen on getting the forks apart.  While the forks never scared me (cue the MT-09 family), I was never smitten with them, either.  They worked well enough, but I found them to be very soft in the top of the stroke and rather harsh in the lower half.  In fact, I was never able to use the bottom 3" (75 mm) of exposed chrome slider, no matter what I tried, or how I rode.  On road, or off.

 

Springs out, time to check the 'bottom'.  Turns out, the lowest 1.18" (30 mm) of the fork is unreachable.  This shows the cartridge fully collapsed, metal to metal contact.

 

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But that only tells a part of the story.  Like most modern KYB forks, there is a hydraulic lock-out (but no rubber bump stop) on this fork.  Unlike the others on current Yamahas, the lockout fit is tight.  VERY tight.  The radial circumferential clearance between the lockout and the cartridge body is the tightest we've seen on any other Yamaha.  The lockout takes up the bottom-most 30 mm of travel and is only accessible under sustained high-load low speed compression (think race track braking at the end of the front straight).  High speed inputs will just lock out travel, effectively serving as a fluid bump stop.

 

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Now, interestingly, if you take a good hard look at the top face of the lock-out, you'll see a hair-like piece of debris.  No, this isn't sloppy cleanup on our part.  It's a razor thin metal sliver that happened during the factory swaging operation!  That's another first for us...

 

Here's the guts, minus the springs:

 

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Like some of the other lower-cost cartridges out there, the cartridge bodies are steel.  For reference, the Super Tenere cartridges are aluminum, which saves a substantial amount of weight.  This is cost cutting, pure and simple.  Though, functionally...there's nothing wrong with steel aside from the weight.

 

And the base valve:

 

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Unfortunately, KYB staked the assembly together - REAL good.  There's no easy way to take this apart to get at the factory needle.  Would have been nice (for us), if they used a circlip instead.  As it stands, we're going to treat this part as non-serviceable for now.  Won't dig any deeper unless we find a need.

 

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And here's the rebound assembly:

 

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As you can see, they gave us a standard high flow check valve in place of a mid-valve.  We're going to leave this in place with our revised pistons and shim stacks, but this might be a suitable place to get some additional tuning done...a little down the road.

 

Here's a better look at both shim stacks.  Note the two stage layout:

 

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Another surprising find are the rebound needles:

 

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From left to right:  14-16 FZ-09, XSR900, T7.  Knowing how far Yamaha has come over the years, I was totally surprised to see the short/blunt taper.  There's just not much range of adjustment here.  It's approaching an all-or-nothing adjustment.

 

Now for comparison's sake, here's one of the needles we have at our disposal.  Much more range of adjustment, and much better flow characteristics through the bleed port.

 

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The good news, obviously, is that there is enough room in the rebound holder to accommodate this.  I didn't expect it to fit (and function), but it does.  Odd choice on Yamaha/KYB's part, frankly.  They were so close...

 

On the pistons, here's a few shots of our baseline:

 

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Note the radiused inlets to the flow two flow ports.  These pistons add about 20% damping vs. stock, with better flow characteristics.  We've been using this design for years on our Super Tenere kits and have hundreds of happy customers romping around.

 

On the sides, you can see that the o-ring has been relocated to make room for a better entrance to the check valve passage.  Like the other side of the piston, this makes for a more laminar style flow, with a more gentle change of direction.

 

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Here they are, fully assembled and ready to go back in.

 

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As it turns out, I got sidetracked and forgot to take a photo of the spring rating event.  But not much to show, anyway.  0.56 kg/mm rate on both of them.

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Back on the bike, ready to roll.  If you look closely, you'll see we installed some SKF Green fork seals.  Coupled with some Slickoleum light grease, these are the lowest stiction seals on the market, and they last a LONG time in the muck.  Trusted by MX'ers and roadracers, alike.  

 

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Part of the long delay between these posts was the time to get some custom springs wound.  Don't have them on the site (yet), but will soon.  These are the  lowest cost fork springs on the market, the SAME length as stock to eliminate the need to make/modify spacers, AND made in the USA.  Fingers crossed that the COVID-19 supply chain issues are behind us now.  The wait was too long.

 

I'm sitting at around 200 lbs in full gear, ready to ride.  Given the upcoming addition of crash bars and skid plate, I'm now running a 0.60 kg/mm rate with a lower oil height.  Based on the calcs, this should firm up the top of the stroke and make the bottom of the stroke less progressive.

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And, as promised...

 

IMG_1033.jpg

 

 

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More details on those fork seals:

 

 

 

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Hot off the presses and in stock!  So much more convenient than thumbing through the manual...

 

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Little sneak peek of something we've been working on.  Just a small peek, though...

 

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More details to follow shortly...along with some other fun little tidbits!

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And while this isn't the main attraction, it's worth noting the clearance that exists at full compression.  This is one of those "measure twice, cut once" scenarios.  Be mindful of what you mount here...

 

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On 5/29/2021 at 9:00 PM, Stoltec Moto said:

We're getting to the point where only keen eyes can tell what bike this is!

 

spacer.png

 

Beyond doing suspension work for a living, I was keen on getting the forks apart.  While the forks never scared me (cue the MT-09 family), I was never smitten with them, either.  They worked well enough, but I found them to be very soft in the top of the stroke and rather harsh in the lower half.  In fact, I was never able to use the bottom 3" (75 mm) of exposed chrome slider, no matter what I tried, or how I rode.  On road, or off.

 

Springs out, time to check the 'bottom'.  Turns out, the lowest 1.18" (30 mm) of the fork is unreachable.  This shows the cartridge fully collapsed, metal to metal contact.

 

spacer.png

 

But that only tells a part of the story.  Like most modern KYB forks, there is a hydraulic lock-out (but no rubber bump stop) on this fork.  Unlike the others on current Yamahas, the lockout fit is tight.  VERY tight.  The radial circumferential clearance between the lockout and the cartridge body is the tightest we've seen on any other Yamaha.  The lockout takes up the bottom-most 30 mm of travel and is only accessible under sustained high-load low speed compression (think race track braking at the end of the front straight).  High speed inputs will just lock out travel, effectively serving as a fluid bump stop.

 

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Now, interestingly, if you take a good hard look at the top face of the lock-out, you'll see a hair-like piece of debris.  No, this isn't sloppy cleanup on our part.  It's a razor thin metal sliver that happened during the factory swaging operation!  That's another first for us...

 

Here's the guts, minus the springs:

 

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Like some of the other lower-cost cartridges out there, the cartridge bodies are steel.  For reference, the Super Tenere cartridges are aluminum, which saves a substantial amount of weight.  This is cost cutting, pure and simple.  Though, functionally...there's nothing wrong with steel aside from the weight.

 

And the base valve:

 

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Unfortunately, KYB staked the assembly together - REAL good.  There's no easy way to take this apart to get at the factory needle.  Would have been nice (for us), if they used a circlip instead.  As it stands, we're going to treat this part as non-serviceable for now.  Won't dig any deeper unless we find a need.

 

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And here's the rebound assembly:

 

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As you can see, they gave us a standard high flow check valve in place of a mid-valve.  We're going to leave this in place with our revised pistons and shim stacks, but this might be a suitable place to get some additional tuning done...a little down the road.

 

Here's a better look at both shim stacks.  Note the two stage layout:

 

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Another surprising find are the rebound needles:

 

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From left to right:  14-16 FZ-09, XSR900, T7.  Knowing how far Yamaha has come over the years, I was totally surprised to see the short/blunt taper.  There's just not much range of adjustment here.  It's approaching an all-or-nothing adjustment.

 

Now for comparison's sake, here's one of the needles we have at our disposal.  Much more range of adjustment, and much better flow characteristics through the bleed port.

 

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The good news, obviously, is that there is enough room in the rebound holder to accommodate this.  I didn't expect it to fit (and function), but it does.  Odd choice on Yamaha/KYB's part, frankly.  They were so close...

 

On the pistons, here's a few shots of our baseline:

 

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Note the radiused inlets to the flow two flow ports.  These pistons add about 20% damping vs. stock, with better flow characteristics.  We've been using this design for years on our Super Tenere kits and have hundreds of happy customers romping around.

 

On the sides, you can see that the o-ring has been relocated to make room for a better entrance to the check valve passage.  Like the other side of the piston, this makes for a more laminar style flow, with a more gentle change of direction.

 

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Here they are, fully assembled and ready to go back in.

 

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As it turns out, I got sidetracked and forgot to take a photo of the spring rating event.  But not much to show, anyway.  0.56 kg/mm rate on both of them.

So when will you be offering full suspension kits or tuning of forks and shocks sent in?

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14 hours ago, Liquidape said:

So when will you be offering full suspension kits or tuning of forks and shocks sent in?

 

My hope is within a month. 

 

The next prototype of our shock will be here this week.  Unfortunately, we'll be shut down the following week, so testing will resume the week after.  But the forks are coming along nicely, so it shouldn't be much longer.

 

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stoltecmoto.com | 610.252.7232

 

The Stoltec Moto Build Thread

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This is an exciting post for us.  Short and sweet:  the culmination of weeks of work.  Sometimes the smallest things take the longest!

 

 

We've been playing around with the rear ABS-delete option and are very happy with the performance.  We all know that Yamaha was on a budget when the developed the T7, but many of us REALLY would have liked the ability to switch off the rear ABS while leaving the front engaged.  So, we took matters into our own hands and jettisoned the rear ABS circuit altogether.  Of course, this doesn't make the rear ABS switchable...don't be stupid with the brake pedal!  You'll be rolling old school in the rear, so don't get too sassy.

 

Marketing aside, I have to say - honestly - that the lines did a nice job of firming up the lever on an already new motorcycle.  As rubber lines age, the improvement gets more pronounced.  But right out of the box, the level (and pedal feel) is much improved.  Between the ASV levers and the brake lines, things are finally looking up in the braking department.  Next up are some new pads...

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961362084_468x60Stoltec.png.007fa8bc922e0e30cea1cde037ff2aa2.png

 

stoltecmoto.com | 610.252.7232

 

The Stoltec Moto Build Thread

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