Suspension settings for dummies

Discussion in 'CRF1000L(2) Wheels, Tires and Suspension' started by shantijourney, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. Greetings all .
    Been trying to figure out the various suspension settings for my new bike .
    Looking at the manual that the bike came with under each adjustment (preload , damping and compression ) the book says use the adjuster to suit load and road surface .
    Now coming from bikes where I have not been faced with these options , what am I looking at ?
    As the title says some help for this dummie in plain english would be most appreciated .
    Firstly what does each adjustment actually do in regards to load and road surface ?
    Secondly a real world situation or a few examples would be great .
    For instance lets take my example - I am 74kg - riding to work and back on tar roads what would be optimal settings ? ( for lack of a start point lets make this the start point , adjustments from here up and down )
    - If I add a pillion where would I look at adjusting - front and back -preload ,damping ,compression ( road riding ) ? lets call the pillion 60kg
    - If I intend to do dirt riding without pillion what adjustments could I make from my original road riding position ?
    - again the above but with a pillion
    - lastly pillion with +30kg camping and gear - road and dirt
    Possibly from here one could include adjustments for more technical terrain - rocks , soft sand etc
    Thanks and happy riding
    P.S why isnt there an African riders regional section ?
  2. Preload: This setting applies tension to your springs, effectively making your springs softer or stiffer.
    Compression damping: This setting increases or decreases the shock or fork oil flow resistance during the compression stroke of the shock or fork.
    Rebound damping: This setting increases or decreases the shock or fork oil flow resistance during the rebound stroke of the shock or fork.

    Suspension is very critical in a bike's handling characteristics. Ride height, spring rate, balance front to tear, damping, they all play their parts and getting them all balanced out for a given bike and rider is challenging. Get it right and you will ride with ease, get it wrong and your bike will bite you. Google motorcycle suspension and get ready to read, a lot.

    I've been setting my own suspension for years. And racing So Cal desert I've talked to a lot of people that wouldn't ride something that wasn't setup by one of the suspension shops, they say "have your suspension done and you'll never own a bike without professionally modified suspension". I got a chance to ride a bike with pro level suspension and initially I wasn't all that impressed, it was early in the day and I was fresh. Later that same day when I was tired I rode that same bike, HOLY CR@P!!!, I was able to go so much faster than normal after becoming fatigued. Did I have my suspension done after that? Well, no. I figured that now that I'm in my 50's I don't need to be going that fast when I'm tired.
    jjustj and breynolds63 like this.
  3. #3 Black99S, Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    First. Set your rider sag using preload -- on the rear to 33% of travel and on the front to ~25%. This is the most important thing to do to use the full range of suspension travel available. Lots of info on the web about how to set rider sag.
    Note that the preload adjustment does not make your spring softer or stiffer - that is controlled by the spring rate. If you cannot get the sag set properly with the range of preload adjustment available then for heavy riders / heavy load buy a stiffer spring.
    Second. Start with factory recommendation for compression and rebound dampening. Ride it, make some gross adjustments (compression first, then rebound, one at a time, front then rear, away from factory settings). Then ride the same road / off-road again to understand how each is impacting your ride. Then go back to factory settings and start tweaking until you are happy.
    Useful to bounce the suspension in your garage before / after adjustment to see if you can discern a difference and understand what you have done before riding it.
    The difference between a 150lb rider and a 180lb rider is mice nuts considering the largest mass the suspension is controlling is the 500lb+ bike.
    breynolds63 likes this.
  4. I wish there was a dummy chart with some basic setup values based on weight and on/off road preference. Someone must have compiled something by now

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  5. After almost a year on the AT I've figured that I need to have the suspension done. The springs are set to max preload, same with the compression damping, fork oil level + 5 mm and rebound about 1/4 out from max. I was going to start with springs, but my crash ate up all my AT mad money, maybe in a couple months.

  6. Oh, and I'm 6'1", 300 lbs without gear, and ride like an ass on and off.

  8. very helpful!
    thank you
  10. [QUOTE = "nixter, post: 4589, member: 2499"] Přál bych si, aby existovala fiktivní tabulka s některými základními nastaveními založenými na hmotnosti a na preferencích on / off road. Někdo už musel nějakou zprávu zkompilovat

    Odesláno ze zařízení Pixel XL pomocí funkce Tapatalk [/ QUOTE]

    Ahoj, už je tato příručka?
  11. put young fella on back abt 50kg nothing else wound preload right up and backed of 5 clicks front and back set all shock adjustments 3 clicks off the softest setting and best ride ive ever had on the thing
  12. Hi, just done my suspension settings and after a weekend on the moors can say there is a definite improvement. I have gone along the lines of @Graves: preload front and rear maxed out, then 10% off the max compression and rebound. I am 17st with my gear and do mostly off road riding. The rider sag is as close to what it should be now without changing the springs.
    Even for road riding I would err on the side of firming it all up from standard settings.

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