Bike upgrades introduction

Over the next few months, Superbike Freaks has a few upgrades planned which we will be featuring as individual articles. Upgrading the performance of a bike can be a bottomless pit, with so many different areas which you can focus on. In essence, the aim is to make the bike stop, go, or turn faster (or all three).

But what are the easiest things to improve without spending stupid amounts of money that will make the biggest impact?

To start with, we’ll be focusing on stopping and handling by upgrading the brakes and servicing the suspension. Unfortunately, whipping out the standard suspension and replacing it with Ohlins kit isn’t an option so the aim is simply to make the standard suspension as good as it can be and see where that gets us.


The standard Tokico brakes with aftermarket Hel braided lines on Superbike Freaks’ long-suffering CBR1000RR are great and there has never been a problem with them (except when I wore them down to the metal at Portimao and they stopped working).

As for the rear brake, well, it’s pretty useless. It’s been looked at and apparently meets the required level of braking power so there isn’t a fault, but compared to the 98 R1 I had, it might as well not be there. That said, it only really gets used very occasionally while leaning over or during slow-speed manoeuvres so isn’t really a concern.

Sometimes, towards the end of a trackday with heavy braking areas, the lever goes a bit spongy which I don’t like – I prefer it to remain pretty savage – so I’m planning a brake upgrade too.

Initially, I’ll be adding a Brembo 19RCS master cylinder and then also Brembo M4 calipers and Brembo pads which should transform the braking hugely.

These upgrades are planned for Feb for the master cylinder and then probably April or May for the calipers. We’ll be publishing a full before and after comparison here as soon as there is some progress.


Superbike Freaks’ CBR1000RR has been slightly neglected in suspension terms so we’re looking to put this right.

It’s on nearly 30,000 miles, which includes many trackdays, innumerable wheelies, stoppies, and a 3,000 mile ride around Europe in a week, without ever servicing the suspension. That means it’s on the same fork oil that it left the factory with in 2006… ooops.

So, that’s the next upgrade planned for this year. We have a Jerez trackday coming up so will the Blade will be taken to MCT in Stowmarket for their suspension gurus to strip it down and replace the front fork springs and oil. The rear shock will be serviced too, replacing the oil, seal and gas.

Jerez is mid-April so the suspension work will be towards the end of March with the full article coming shortly after.

SSR Suspension on-track set-up

Following this, Superbike Freaks will be spending a trackday with SSR Suspension to work on refining settings and suspension and will document this process too.

Watch this space for more updates as the work gets underway!


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