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Suspension issues?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by calgarychris, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Hi,

    Natasha dropped her bike this week in the rain coming to a stop. Very low speed, oggy knobs saved the day, except for her shift lever which got bent. The bike is rideable and appears undamaged (as is Natasha), but she's complaining that the suspension seems really bouncy and the bike feels like it's sliding on the road. She's on a VTR250 and since I'm on a CB400, I don't really remember what it was like before.

    Beyond checking tyre pressure, which is fine, I'm not much of a mechanic. Is there any way to check the suspension or anything I should be looking for (before we carefully ride it to a proper mechanic!)?

    Thanks guys
  2. bouncy suggests the shock absorber
    but could also be the preload being too low (knowing girly descriptions, it could be anything :))
    are there any adjustments on the rear shock?
    how many k's does the bike have on it... these things wear
  3. It might be worth tightening your suspension up a notch or 2. It may have dropped a few notches making it feel more bouncy.

    I'm in no way an expert but to tighten my bikes suspension you use these sickle shape tools that fit in below the spring and raise or lower the bottom of the spring. I'm sure someone with a lot more knowledge will come along.
  4. "Bouncy" makes me question the rebound damping rather than the spring preload. I wouldn't have thought a low speed drop like that would upset damping but maybe the fork oil got aerated or something.
  5. that is the preload which is used to compensate for heavier or lighter riders. (to an extent). the idea is that heavy and light riders alike should have the same ride height (after initial adjustment).
    this should not be used to stiffen the suspension, you would need a stiffer spring for that.

    have a (not so quick) read through here for setu: https://netrider.net.au/threads/basic-suspension-setup.67050/
    but for cliff notes:

    2 components in your suspension that do most of the work (i know there are more, this is basic basics)
    shock absorber

    spring is the helical metal thing and it allows the wheel to go up and down without bottoming out, but it also causes it to bounce

    shock absorber is the tube (that in most bikes) inside the spring, this works against the spring to stop it bouncing and helps the tyre keep contact with the road
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. If it's truly low speed I doubt much has changed with the bike, its possible yes, but unlikely. Ask her if its the front or rear that's bothering her, i.e. is it approaching a corner under brakes, in the middle of a corner, or is it when she takes off? My gut feel, without knowing anything about anything, is that sometimes a crash in the rain can make you overly aware of the road surface and feedback, and might be mistaking that feedback/vibration for sliding. Some tyres do it, as do smaller engines at certain rpm and also road surfaces, and combinations of the above -so it can make it hard to tell where the limit is if it feels like you are already sliding. Apart from inspecting it for missing pieces, e.g. nuts, bolts, wheel balance strips, and pulling it apart (making sure everything is straight, in spec, lubed and adjusted to ballpark), ask someone more knowledgeable to take it for a spin, or have it looked over properly.
  7. if she didn't actually HIT anything i suspect its probably just her nerves and the bike's fine.

    that said if you're concerned but happy enough to ride it, take it in to a mechanic and get them to check it....
  8. As far as I know, the suspension on the VTR250 is not adjustable in any way. Mine is pretty bouncy, but it's always been that way. The only thing I can think of would be to check the forks for any oil leaks?

    If you're not sure about the damage, take it to a mechanic and ask them to give everything a once-over...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. It's unlikely, but I assume you've had a look to check no linkages around spring/shock have been broken? Dark Angel could be right about aeration.
  10. Perhaps she has just lost her nerve? it happens to everyone after a fall.

    You also question everything... did the bike make that noise before? was the suspension this bouncy? is my left foot peg higher than the right? whats that vibration?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Thanks for all the responses guys - some great info...her bike's got about 21,000km on it and as mentioned above, I don't believe the suspension can be adjusted. We'll take it in to a mechanic I think but I suspect it's nerves. She did say she felt it more when braking and cornering...

    Thanks for the link on suspension, there's so much to learn!
  12. Glad she is not hurt.
    Suspension setup would not be effected by the fall at low speeds.
    When did she complain about the feel of the bike?
  13. The spring controls compression. How much and how fast the spring compresses is controlled by it's weight. How fat it is.

    The shock controls how fast it returns to it's original position. That's called dampening.

    Yes some bikes do have compression dampening. If you have that all the way up, your too fat, not fast for your springs or an idiot.

    I would be checking the forks still have some fluid in them. And or the shock, but forks are usually the first to go and the seals can be dislodged with a bang.

    Getting back on after an off can be daunting and yeah it can be hard mentally for a while. usually a great ride with mates fixes that pretty quick
  14. I think you mean damping, not dampening
    • Agree Agree x 1