Cogent DDCs installed - and I can't tell a difference

dragonaut

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I've been wanting to make some suspension upgrades to my NC for a while. With nearly 33k on the odometer I knew the forks were more than likely overdue for service anyway (I've owned the bike since 15k and not changed the fork oil during my ownership) and I figured this would be the ideal time to add some Cogent Dynamics DDCs since I've heard so many great things about them. I called Cogent to order and they were very thorough and helpful in taking all the information and giving installation advice.

I installed the cartridges along with new springs and fork oil the other day. Everything went together without a hitch. I only had time to take my bike for a brief test ride and my initial impression was that the ride was maybe slightly better but not much discernible difference either way. Today I rode my approximately 20 mile commute to work, a route where I know quite well every bump and turn and I have to say my impression of the Cogent mods remains the same. I really can't feel a difference in ride quality or handling from stock. I am confident I installed them correctly and measured the specified oil level. Could it be that they may need further tuning via oil level or spacer length? I have not yet contacted Cogent for advice.

I am well familiar with the kind of placebo effect that can come with mods like this, where you find yourself trying really hard to feel a positive difference from the upgrade you just spent a bunch of money on but you're not sure if you really can tell any difference at all. I'm wondering if anyone else here has experienced something similar with these or other suspension upgrades.

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GregC

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When I replaced the rear shock with an ohlins set for my weight (230#) that was a big difference. I change the fork springs and oil to appropriate springs, but did not do the emulators. Some difference - noticeable but not like the rear.

I’ve not done the emulators mainly because of my perception of “bang for the buck.” Opinions will differ, but I feel like it got 80% of the potential benefit (for the kind of riding I do) with just the fork springs and oil.


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Lee Dodge

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I had the same experience. Couldn't tell a lot of difference. Put it back to stock with fresh oil and careful assembly and its actually more compliant than the DDC's. I think the issue is that the stock compression damping hole in the damping rods is too small to let the emulator perform like it should.
 

dragonaut

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I think the issue is that the stock compression damping hole in the damping rods is too small to let the emulator perform like it should.
Interesting. I know Cogent Dynamics says that no drilling or other modification of the damper rods is necessary but I wonder if some drilling would help?

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drdubb

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The Cogent DDC's require a thinner oil so that drilling out the damper rod is not necessary. I've used their system on two motorcycles. I find the suspension firm, but I don't feel the square edge as severely
 

dduelin

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I think they are the best suspension modification for the buck on the NC700X. They reduce the high speed compression (sharp edged bumps) but the most meaningful change is the rebound damping. I can brake hard deep into the corner, ease off the brakes, and the front end doesn't pop right up and cause the bike to bobble. On the 2012 I did spend some time on oil levels and getting the right spacer length to get the sag right with the OEM springs which made the 2015's install plug & play.
 

drdubb

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another plus....handles washboard much better. I was on some today and I was reminded to add that comment.
 

dragonaut

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I think they are the best suspension modification for the buck on the NC700X. They reduce the high speed compression (sharp edged bumps) but the most meaningful change is the rebound damping. I can brake hard deep into the corner, ease off the brakes, and the front end doesn't pop right up and cause the bike to bobble. On the 2012 I did spend some time on oil levels and getting the right spacer length to get the sag right with the OEM springs which made the 2015's install plug & play.
This does make me think of two things. One, having ridden some more since I wrote my first post, the area in which I do indeed notice the most difference is that brake dive is greatly reduced. I find that sharp bumps are just as jarring as ever, though. Two, your experience (and I studied your DDC and fork oil threads a bunch as reference, thanks!) makes me think I may need additional tuning either via spacer length or oil level (or both?). I intend to call Cogent Dynamics to discuss further. I doubt they're working tomorrow but I will do it later in the week.
 

dduelin

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If you have too much sag and a higher oil level like 130 mm the ride might benefit from reducing sag and going to 140 or 150 mm oil level. IIRC Cogent recommended starting at 130 but 150 works best for me.
 

DirtFlier

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Making only one change at a time to the forks is the only sane path to making them work better. :)
 

TacomaJD

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I feel like the forks on my 2013 aren't really that bad stock. On track, I could tell the rear def needs work, but the front end felt pretty good. If I keep the bike, I will likely upgrade the rear shock, but doubt I will mess with the forks.

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Griff

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On my former NC700X 2012 I found that the forks had too much high speed compression damping. As such over sharp bumps the action of the forks was too harsh. I decided to go down the Andreani route and had their units fitted by a competent suspension specialist. With the Andreanis I ended up with slightly less suspension travel and a fork action that had not improved in any way. The forks were returned to the specialist and several changes were made but they never succeeded. In short I regretted making the change. In the end I parted with the bike and moved on because the process was irreversible. Furthermore I had my eye on the new Africa Twin at the time.

I have however read on various threads on here that folks have had a good degree of success with various emulators and it might be well worth the trouble to read back over the various threads.
 

670cc

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I feel like the forks on my 2013 aren't really that bad stock. On track, I could tell the rear def needs work, but the front end felt pretty good. If I keep the bike, I will likely upgrade the rear shock, but doubt I will mess with the forks.

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People sometimes talk about their experience with suspensions, but don’t always specify the conditions of the roads they travel (or even rider weight). So much depends on the type of roads you frequently ride on. I believe down your way, road quality is decent. I know if I lived and rode in western North Carolina or southeastern Tennessee, the stock forks would be just fine. However, in northern states roads tend to be in bad condition, and with the stock forks, can result in a jarring ride.
 

TacomaJD

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People sometimes talk about their experience with suspensions, but don’t always specify the conditions of the roads they travel (or even rider weight). So much depends on the type of roads you frequently ride on. I believe down your way, road quality is decent. I know if I lived and rode in western North Carolina or southeastern Tennessee, the stock forks would be just fine. However, in northern states roads tend to be in bad condition, and with the stock forks, can result in a jarring ride.
Rural AL has some pretty terrible roads, but the majority are fairly good for the most part. I live near a really bumpy cut through road and ride it quite often. I was on that road when the hard bag fell off that Harley I had after hitting a hard bump running around 65 mph (45mph speed limit) lol. Talk about bad suspension, Street Glide = worst suspension ever made. I won't chase the "I hate Harleys" rabbit here.

The NC seems to take bumps similarly to how I remember all the sport bikes I've owned taking them, only noticeable difference is the NC seems to dive a bit more on hard braking. But it's not a dramatic dive. The forks seem to be set up pretty good for sport riding, which would not include bumpy road or offroad performance.

This doesn't mean that they are right or wrong. It's often difficult to find middle ground on suspension setup to please everybody on a diversely utilized bike, without spending alot of time and big money. Get it right for soaking up bumps, loses performance in the twisties. Get solid, planted feel out of it in the twisties, and it's too rigid to soak up bumps or do any offroading. Same thing could be said about the Africa Twin having plush suspension to soak up bumps, but performing poorly in sport riding. Higher end ADV bikes mitigate this with advanced electronically controlled suspension like Ducati's Skyhook active suspension. But it comes at a price.



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dduelin

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I rode the stock suspension for 25,000 miles and it was perfectly fine for me then I rode a Cogent equipped NC700X too fast on a twisty mountain road. I went home and ordered a set of DDCs for that 2012, which I sold 5,000 miles later. When I got the 2015 I ordered Cogent DDCs and a shock as soon as I got the bike home.
 

TacomaJD

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I rode the stock suspension for 25,000 miles and it was perfectly fine for me then I rode a Cogent equipped NC700X too fast on a twisty mountain road. I went home and ordered a set of DDCs for that 2012, which I sold 5,000 miles later. When I got the 2015 I ordered Cogent DDCs and a shock as soon as I got the bike home.

I've still got some studying and decision making to do before I dive into suspension mods on mine. I'd really like to have a Yamaha Tracer 900, but hate the thought of depending on an electric shift solenoid 100% all the time. I just feel like it will give me problems and that's something I don't need when out a few hundred miles from home. I'm holding off on replacing the NC for now. I will see if Honda drops anything cool in 2020 with the DCT, then make my mind up. Also considering upgrading to the NC750X DCT for the extra 1,250 rpm rev range, as that would be highly beneficial on the track and aggressive street riding. A few extra ponies and ft lbs of torque wouldn't hurt too, along with a hopefully more usable D mode for street, as the one on my 2013 is virtually unusable for me. Just not sure there would be enough improvement to justify the added cost to upgrade.

With the CTX700, VFR1200X, and VFR1200F discontinued now - all bikes with optional DCT trans - maybe 2020 holds something new.

I wish so bad that they would see the market for variations of the Africa Twin. For instance, Ducati makes several different models of the Multistrada. There's the Enduro that is set up more for offroading, the S model which is more for sport touring, the Pike's Peak which is a more race ready version, and seems like they make just a plain base model, can't remember. Anyways, they all have varying ride heights, rim types/sizes, fuel capacity, exhausts, and other odds and ends to top off each variation.

If Honda were to simply offer something like a Sport version of the Africa Twin, more people would consider that bike. Take a standard Africa Twin, throw on 17" wheels, re-tune suspension more toward street use, bang, not much money invested into selling an alternate model, but it might aqcuire far more interest in the AT line, thus increasing overall sales.

Or offer the NC with the AT engine and upgraded suspension and brakes. It seems the ADV style bike trend is really becoming more popular here in the US, so maybe the future will bring us more options from mother Honda.

I also realize I'm biased in wanting something that fits my particular needs, but the more options you have available in each lineup, the more likely you are to meet the needs of more customers. The Multistrada is one of, if not the most, popular Ducatis, because there is a version of it that is able to meet many different types of rider's needs. Whereas some might look at the Africa Twin or the NC and find it to be a bit too niche of a bike, then end up opting for another brand all together to get something that meets their needs.

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