Saturday, 20 August 2016

Suspension sorted: MT09 - the way it should be.

I am in no way associated with any vendors, workshops, product distributors or component manufactures cited in this Post. 
All components and workshop costs have been completely at my own expense. 

Like many others, I had suffered with the lack-lustre chassis dynamics of the MT09 for too long. It is universally understood that if you intend on pushing this bike - and want to attain the most giggles from the experience, rather than sheer terror - you will need to get rid of the pipe-cleaner fork internals and slinky shock.

For day to day riding, commuting, wheelies and a bit of blatting you can just get by if you're not too liberal with the throttle, you contain your enthusiasm and find inner Zen whilst channelling the persona of a Prius driver.......but, wait! That's not what an MT09 is for, Zen? No thanks.

Something had to be done.

The Parts

Researching potential upgrade paths, weighing up total cost, expected results and anticipated performance was not without its challenges. The choices ranged from cannibalising components such as a ZX10 or FZY-R6 shock for (custom) retrofitting, to complete disassembly, servicing, re-valving and general suspension Voodoo for both the front and rear.

My main issue with these approaches was that the minimal cost saving could deliver a haphazard, untested and ultimately less precise result. The Frankenstein contraption meter was getting too far into the red zone for my OCD. Nope, nope, nope.

Enter the Kit Advanced. A purpose made, specifically designed pairing (with joint R&D) between Andreani and Ohlins.

Oh yes, that will do just nicely. Farken nicely.

As noted, these components are a straight swap for the shock with no modification required and a fork internal drop-out and cartridge drop-in.

The Ohlins YA-335 (S46DR1) shock is a fairly basic emulsion-type unit with easy to adjust rebound damping and pre-load - compression damping is not available.


Up front, the Andreani cartridge offers pre-load adjustment and both rebound and compression damping. A huge improvement over the stock forks.

Installed - Compression leg

Installed - Rebound leg

The People

Being located in Melbourne, I was lucky enough to be able to call upon Phil Tainton Racing to have the suspension upgrade completed. For those who don't know who PTR is/are - they've been in the business for decades and Phil has developed bikes for road racing and factory teams.

So I just had to have the man work on my bike because...........overkill?

Phil is a bit of a Wizard and a bloody nice guy. He took the time to explain things and conducted the process formally requiring rider (that means me) weigh in, suspension dyno - before and after - and chassis set-up. All to ensure the results were not snake oil or due to positive-bias but were in fact measurable.

Documentation provided - the inner geek satisfied, OCD meter in a very happy zone - thanks PTR!

The communication from this workshop was exemplary - Lynne kept me up to date with parts delivery, progress and handled everything seamlessly. Stella work, rarely seen, ever required.

The Progression 

It's been just over 3 months since the PTR work. During this time the MT09 has been subject to upward of 6,000 kms of commuting, blatting, braaaarping and hooligan-ing. 

The results are night and day - seriously. 

Pogo be-gone. That familiar chassis wallow has been eliminated and I am no longer required to ride around the deficiency. I can trust the bike far more - it now has a footprint, it is planted and I am connected - think bare foot running as opposed to sprinting in gumboots.

Corner entry and exit speeds have improved and I am less fatigued after a hectic ride as the chassis is now doing what it should be doing. 

Fork dive under hard braking is greatly improved and trail-braking delivers swift turn-in without the fear of bottoming out. Furthermore, with both compression and rebound damping the fork action upon loading and unloading offers continuous feedback and compliance. 

High velocity compression can be a little harsh due to the valve-porting. Really though you only notice this after touch-down from a ham-fisted wheelie or hitting a pothole at speed.

Rear squat is gone. Just plain gone. 
When getting on the power at corner exit the shock remains taught and does not let the rear go light as it attempts to retreat towards the swing-arm pivot. The slightly longer shaft has also improved handling by lifting the rear, canting weight forward. 

Do not underestimate the impact a relatively small geometry change can have on chassis dynamics. By lifting the rear, the rake has been marginally reduced, while weight over the front axle has been increased - both factors delivering much better front-end feel and feedback. 


  • If you're thinking about suspension work for your MT09.
  • If you take you're riding seriously and enjoy the innate technicality of it.
  • If you've had a moment, more than once, where you wished you could open the throttle and trust it to stick. 
  • If you want to really get the most of the flickable chassis.
  • If you want more giggles and less terror
Get your suspension sorted. 
Done and done. 

-- Pogo be-gone. I ride a motorcycle, not a seesaw. 


  1. So fess up, How much to get it supplied and installed? Very Interested.

    1. Hi there,

      All up the cost of this modification was just under $2200 AUD, broken down as such.

      ~1600 AUD for the parts landed in Australia
      ~500 AUD for installation labour and setup.

      Feel free to ask any further questions.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read.
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  3. Did you order the parts and have PTR install and setup the suspension?

    1. Hi there,

      PTR were fantastic and dealt with ordering, installation and tuning.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Thanks for your informative write ups, clean understandable reading, appreciated, cheers

    1. Thanks for your kind words and for reading.

      If you have any questions, let me know.

  5. Really i am impressed from this post....the person who created this post is a generous and knows how to keep the readers connected..thanks for sharing this with us found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more updates..
    A Kit suspension