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Newbies and Suspension

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Mike9999, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. Hey guys,

    This is just a heads up to all the other newbies out there!

    I've been on the Ninja for 3 months now and only this week at the Tuesday night learners ride (which was awesome btw) CeeKill advised me to sort out my rear spring as the preload was adjusted to the softest setting ( 1 )! I'd noticed that i bounced around quite alot over bumps, but being my noob self i didin't really question it and thought it was normal. WRONG! Tightened it up to setting 3 and the difference was quite profound. A bit firmer, but not skull-rattling firm, and I feel alot more stable on the bike now. More connected to the road if that makes any sense...

    It was a pretty simple job, just had a look at the service manual for my bike online, and they dedicate a paragraph and a diagram to the process. The tool was in the tool bag underneath the pillion seat. The manual said that setting 1 was for an "average" rider weight of 65kg (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Being somewhere between 75-80 i tightened it up.

    So for other newbies out there, question if something doesnt really feel right about the bike! It may be nothing, or it may be something. Turned out to be something for me. Go out and check your rear spring, consult your service manual, and find out how heavy the rider of your bike before you was :p

    EDIT: Hmmm...should this be in the Technical section?? :-k
  2. Goog enough, Mike. Glad you got it sorted.

    [edit] Good! - you know what I meant.
  3. Glad someone, took the time to let you know, and that you took their advice.

    Now...the million dollar question - Did you set the preload by adjusting it per the correct method...or did you just tighten it up, so that it simply felt better than it used to?
  4. Hmm...well, I adjusted it using the correct tool in the way according to the service manual - by wrenching the adjustment 'ring' around the schock, which compresses the spring, making it tighter. It was a bit difficult to wrench but with a bit of force I got it to the 2nd and then the 3rd notch.

    As for whether I've adjusted it to the proper amount of preload, I just went by the fact that 65kg rider = softest setting (1), then tightened it to 3. I don't mind a bumpy ride, I'd much prefer that than the soft bouncing I was feeling beforehand.
  5. here a step by step with keith code on how to set your sag

  6. The vid doesn't work :(
    Most road bikes are set at 30mm rider on sag. It will depend on the length of your suspension travel and riding style. For a road bike 30mm is a good start.
    Use a metal part of the bike for measurements. ie the triple clamp for the front and the sub frame for the rear.
    Best way is to have a mate there to help you. It takes very little time but dramatically changes the way your bike will handle.
  7. having just getting hand to setup the suspension on my bike I must say it makes a very big difference to the bike when its setup correctly.

    I have been riding my bike for the last 6 months with how it came out of PS.

    When we checked the existing setup we found that the bike was not symmetrical in the front shocks. Right front was set to full hard and the Left front was set to full soft.

    The difference was immediate and inspired a lot more feel and confidence in the bike.
  8. You MUST set the sag correctly, using the correct method...just dialing it up is a waist of time whether it feels good or not.

    After that...you may choose to go a notch softer or harder to suit your personal preference, but at this point, how do you even know what your preference is?

    The correct setting sets things up so that at rest with you on it, the rear shocker is set to operate in it's correct range of travel. Same with forks if they can be adjusted for preload.

    It must be done and adjusted the correct way. This becomes more critical, once you get into more serious bikes, that will have fast and slow rebound and compression damping, that depends on the preload being set correctly, FIRST.

    Go to it... :)
  9. Mmm...sorry, but that's inexcuseable. Firstly, that PS, allowed a bike to leave their store WAY out of it's correct spec, but also because you falied to check it within a day or two, to ensure everything was correct. Had you checked the bike's preload, as you are supposed to, you may spotted the galactically stupid front fork settings that PS, had allowed you to ride off, on.

    To all new riders, if you have'nt checked the preload and compression/rebound settings (if available), at each end of your bike, go out and do so, NOW!

    Sorry for my edge, but this kind of neglect from dealers and worst of all, riders...is frustrating as all hell.
  10. link above fixed :

  11. Too right mate. It's not a hard job. But a very important one. And one you will need a mate to help you with. Doing it by yourself is a nightmare and I don't recommend it at all.

    First thing to know is what the manufactures settings are. This is so important and something you have to know before you even consider doing suspension adjustment. They spend countless hours getting this right with pro's who know what they are doing. You need to know this just in case you end up making the bike handle worse so you can GO BACK to the standard setting where the bike will be neutral again.
    Pity useless dealers don't do a full presale all the time. But to be fair they usually do.

    I see so many guys just dial up their preload and wind the clickers all the way in at the track and then wonder why the bike handles like crap.
    With the suspension on everything there is a window of working opportunity. Where it all just comes together and handles like a dream. For some bikes this is a very small window.

    Most all owners manuals will have your bikes standard clicker settings. When adjusting these they are set from all the way out. So if it says 16 clicks that is from the clicker in the wound out position. Lefty loosey. Righty tighty. If you are moving from the standard positions then do it one to two clicks at the most at a time or your just going to make it worse. And you will miss the window of niceness and waste your time.

    Preload front to rear is a balance of getting the power down to the bike turning in, and braking in a strait line. And rider comfort to a degree on the road.
    Getting the balance right from front to rear is the big key. And will differ from bike to bike and rider to rider. Because some shmuck says" Oh I wind my rear preload up to 90%" does not mean that will work for you or your bike. And will vary from road to track to another track.
    At PI I will use about 20mm F 22mm R rider sag on a hot dry day. If it's cold I will ease off to 25mm F 30 R . Wet 30mm F 33 R. Because it's reasonably smooth track and all about mid corner speed or being able to hold that speed.
    At QR I will use 25mm F 32mm R rider sag on a hot dry day as its about being able to haul that mother up and then get the power back to the ground. And the amount of bumps that track has. Mid corner speed is not such a point there.

    Use your standard setting and work a little at a time. If it's sagging in the bum it will get the power down well and brake in a strait line. But it will push wide on corners under acceleration. If it's to rigid in the ass it will spin up all day and wag it's ass like a dog when trying to brake. If it's too stiff in the front it just wont want to turn in. Too soft and it will want to tuck and use all the front tyre well before it should be.

    So what you need to do is set your rider sag to suit your weight, and the balance of your bike. And the conditions you are most riding in. Then use your damper clickers to fine tune it.

    Most road bikes ... not motards or road trails. But road bikes will use about one third of your total suspension travel. This is from both wheels being off the ground to when you are sitting on it in a riding position.
    You take this measurement from the axle nut. (No not the ground) To up on the front of your triple clamp. (Not the bars or clutch/brake lever) This is WHY you really need a mate to help you do this.

    On the rear it's from the axle nut to the sub frame or some other non moving
    metal part. I say metal as it is less likely to flex. You are working the suspension and don't want the seat flex or some other thing involved.

    You need to mark where you are using to mark and USE that same spot over and over. Exactly the same spot. MM make a big difference.
    To be honest I use under the axle nut. I turn it so it's flat and then easy to hold the tape measure to. To the mark I make on the sub frame or triple clamp. Make the mark where its easy to get to and in a strait line from the axle nut.
    Think it out well before you do it. Don't rush into it.
    Make small adjustments at a time. And go for a ride in between.
    What works for you is not for everyone. Or every ones for you.
    This is just the beginning of suspension dynamics. I love it. A well set up bike will smoke the most powerful one every time.
    Get out there and have fun groovers. But have your standard settings first. That is such a must.
    I could go on about this all day. It gives me a woody. But Fi Fi wants snapper in a miso broth tonight so I am off to the shops :) Sorry bout all the mistakes
  12. Thanks for the good discussion guys. I see I've probably unlocked pandora's box a bit by adjusting the preload, judging by bretto's post haha, at least for a noob like me.

    You guys are right, I have only adjusted it for comfort. I will watch the video then get a mate to help me out with doing this properly. Front aswell. I have to admit, I'm kinda enjoying all this tinkering with the bike...:D
  13. Fair point and yes its something I should have done....

    having said that when you have NFI about it things get left as they are..

    I had only recently started to notice the bike felt shit and had asked for help.

    I have no idea about how to set it up and even after having had someone help me I still got NFI... Yeah I can read and have read numerous articles on the net and also read my manual...
  14. That's great, and it is a good feeling when you can tell your bike is a bit off on cold mornings but is spot on, on a sunny afternoon. Then you can experiment with your tyre pressures, and how 2lbs front or rear or both, effects your grip.

    A rider may be a noobie, but having an understanding, if not a full comprehension of this stuff, is anorher aspect of riding that you will find to be very important the more experienced you become.
  15. http://www.youtube.com/user/OnTheThrottleTV

    This is not one video, it's a channel. It's good viewing. You can find a number of clips there where he's setting sag and explaining what he's doing and why. Very educational.
  16. Yeah, i hear you. It's an age old problem. If you don't know, then unless someone brings it up, how are you supposed to know?
    Just be glad that you know now, and still are'nt out there, doing the best you can with deck stacked against you, like thousands of others that don't.

    If your govt gave a shit, they would have a little brochure, that either they sent you directly (great publicity for them), or make the dealers hand out to all new bike riders, just to mention these important items that actually make a difference.

    Waiting to hear it through sites like this, is too late, IMHO.

    Setting up the preload is fundimental to everyone's riding. Just like tyre pressures are. But many car drivers may check their tyres once a month, on a bike it is far more critical, so once a week is a fair minimum.

    I guess the point is, there are important things to know, even before you plonk your arsk on the seat, yet rarely are they mentioned.
    Of course, some of the better dealers set your tyre pressures and suspension up, near where where it ought to be for your weight with gear on.

    Now PS, did what appears to be fine job of repairing my bike. I was quite impressed. Being the cynic that i am, i went out the next morning, to double check it slowly. I checked the tyre pressures... Front= 20lbs Rear= 22lbs.
    Both at least 12lbs under what one would expect to be in the ball park.
    Yet i was told by the manager that the alignment was all checked and road tested.
    If the mechanic took it for a ride, i don't believe that he would have known if it was right or not with those pressures IMHO, so i can only assume it was'nt properly test ridden.
    If that's the case, what else did they stuff up??

    Had i taken it to the hills for a good test ride, how might the day have ended, pushing it through corners with such low pressures. I like to think i probably would have picked up on it, and pretty quickly, but i'm experienced. What happens if i was a noob or noobie.!!?

    I'm lucky, and know enough, i hope, to sort the bike out myself AFTER a dealer has had a crack at it and stuffed it up.

    And so it goes...
  17. Makes you wonder if they even rode it. It would have felt really heavy with those numbers.
    I think these things (basic Maintenance and set up) should be part of the licensing program.
    And a definite for a dealer to do the rider sag @ first service. That way the suspension would have had time to bed in and be ready for it.
  18. Since the 250R is a cheap newbie bike, it doesn't come with front preload adjustments or any manual method that I know of. Sorry, gotta wait for your R6 to be able to do that. :)

    In regard to tyre pressure, I always keep it a few psi above recommended level, ie Front/Rear pressure is 30/34 psi instead of 28/32. Get yourself a tyre pressure gauge and a bicycle pump and check those tires regularly.
  19. @OP: suspension on the ninja is BS.

    Anything you do to the back is nullfied by the mushy front. It will help, don't get me wrong but the POS front end on the ninja will not allow you to ride very fast no matter what you do. As soon as you start to push the bike, you end up pushing the front end. And that isn't going very hard either.

    "Pushing the front end" is that lovely feeling you get when the front starts to move down and away from you.

    You can change the oil weight and put in a heavier spring, but it doesn't help. The front end setup is flawed and very, very cheap. Only real option is to entirely rebuild the front with something else or buy a different bike.