I would be mighty ticked off if I lost all rebound adjustability like you suffered. The solution is two fold:
1) get proper cartridge forks from say the ZRX which if memory serves are straight swaps (or another compatible donor), or
2) Put a GVE in one leg and leave the rebound alone in the other. With both damper rods drilled out to accept GVE's the one is working overtime true, but that's tunable with different GVE springs and such. And you'd still have full rebound control with the one leg being a bit more of a hassle to change is all. I got a new fork cap with the long rebound rod for like $10 from Ron Ayers. Or just hold the piece the shop cut off in a pair of pliers.
The idea is not mine - Kawi pulled the above arrangement in their new Z1000 because they were too darn cheap to put chartridges in both legs. Somebody smack the bean counters of all the big-4. No bike costing more than 6 grand has any business coming with damper rods forks.
I've done this since I have a ZR7 which has likewise junk suspension and trivially mounted ZX6e forks to it initially which are kissing cousins to your ZX11. I got fed up with the lousy rebound even so and modified the damper rods further so the orifices were a fraction of their original size, put shaved O-rings on the piston to make it at least try to seal against the tube wall (forcing the rebound circuit to do it's thing). Then I got a clue, spent too much money (got greedy/impatient on ebay) and got 95-97 ZX6R full cartridge forks and haven't looked back since.
Oh and you think DC roads have issues? Been to Chicago? I spent the last 10 years in NoVA but now live in this rotten place and the roads are many times worse. The lack of curves for 100 miles in every direction makes it motorcycle hell - we choose instead to kill ourselves on Interstates gong mach 1. But somehow IL bike registrations is near the top of the country. I don't get it.
well, now you... and my buddy (who just left my house) are gonna force me to get my old '71 Triumph 650 in running condition, although, I don't think it'll ever reach 130hp, more like 60? Oh well.. maybe I'll just wait another 25 yrs. (it hasn't run since 1979)
Hmmm maybe the '66 Yam 2 stroke twin has potential?
I loved the story, but feel the need to comment again regarding Corbin seats. I have owned many of that company's saddles, including seats for a F650, K11RS, ZRX11, DL1000 and VTR1000, K75S and no doubt I am forgetting about another one or two others. Over the years I noticed a decline in comfort with their seats although this is hard to quantify because the saddles for each model are so different. I have also noticed a decline in craftsmanship over time with my most recent purchase, a Dual Canyon for my K75S being the worst crafted by far. I noticed the photo of your new Corbin, a shot from the rear of the bike, and it looks like the Corbin you got is about as crappy a fit as my recent Dual Canyon. Mine also sits crooked on the bike and my seat pan is god awful looking, sloppy casting, the leather came with little white marks on it that can't be removed, truly shameful. The kicker is it is not even a small improvement over the stock seat's comfort. Corbin carries the edge (edge being the transition point between flat top and vertical side panel) too far forward so that said edge digs into you upper thigh right below your butt. Corbin's suggestion that you have to ride it for a year to make it comfortable is Bull Crapeola.
I just put a Sargent World Sport Griptex seat on my new R1150R Rockster and guess how many miles I had to ride to make it comfortable? You guessed correctly, zero miles, and the seat pan is better built than the factory BMW seat, and the Sargent seat is lighter than the factory seat, a trick that Corbin has yet to learn, and it fits the bike like a glove. Unfortunately Sargent does not make a regularly stocked seat for my above mentioned K75S, that is why I ordered from Corbin. I hate the Corbin so much, last week I decided to ship my factory K75S seat to Sargent and have them build a seat for my little K-bike. When it is returned it will immediately go on the motorcycle and the Corbin will be on eBay the next day, feel sorry for the poor sucker who gets it.
Another solution to the seat problem is to take the stock seat pan to a local place that can build a custom seat to your exact specifications. I did this last year and got a supremely comfortable seat for far less than any of the mail order companies.
Excellent article! While I of course enjoy the reviews of the latest bikes, real stories from guys willing to tweak a bike (of any vintage) go a long way to making me think the price of subscription was money well spent.
Good stuff, I just finished building a 1981 GS1100E, with a Falicon crank, Barnett clutch, fork brace, oil cooler, steel braided brake lines, etc, the original plan was to sell it, but after riding it for a while I decided to keep it, what with the prices of gas it made good sense, now I'm going to put a big tank bag and saddle bags on it and use it as a work horse, that way I can save the soft tires on my sport bike and my dual sport bike and still have a blast! And boy is this thing strong for an old bike.
Excellent Article. The ZX-11 has classic lines. This supports my contention that if a bike is designed well it doesn't need graphics or gimicks to look great. Also many say Japanese bikes are disposable (longride, Seruzawa). This article proves that they aren't. Your ZX-11 looks great.
Good article. I haven't bought a new bike since 1999. Recently, it has been too much fun picking up a bargain, spending too much fixing one up and getting it back in circulation. I read a good article in Motorcyclist, (sorry MO) about resurrecting CBXs. There are many such worthy bikes. Find one, fix it up, write it up and pass the story on for us to read.
Hate is such a strong word. Have you really put forth an effort to more thoroughly understand the issues behind your friends diminishing performance? I'm sure she is doing her very best to cope with today's stresses. Try investing a few hours and a few dollars and you will be rewarded with hours of blissful togetherness. If your honest efforts fail to halt the decline of the relationship, have the courage to set her free so that she can explore a fulfilling life with another partner.
I just bought a 1970 CL350 that hadn't been started since 1978. All I did was rebuild the carbs, change the earl, check the valve clearances and timing, and the damn thing runs perfect. Even idles. Here's what's in the "fleet":
1972 DT1F Yamaha 250 Enduro
1973 TM 250 Suzuki (basket case, new proj)
Get that old Trumpet running. Just ditch the Anal carb, stick on a Mikuni (or even a couple) and hit the road. '66 YDS1's were bad ass. Even better with the scrambler kit. Sell it to me!