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  1. After some decent mileage - my final update on the Bagster seats Does the front seat fit with the OEM rear? Maybe if you removed the chrome trim off the front of the rear seat but then you'd have a hole so no - not really. Seems like they don't want to sell just the front anyway. Does it cure the traditional Yamaha forward slope strain on the wedding tackle? Yes - about 70%. The spine of the seat is slightly raised and therefore more level just as Wordsmith's original photos implied. It isn't the complete cure that my ghastly looking upward sloping homemade foam overlay was but I can live with 70% just for its better looks. Is the sitting more comfortable? Oh yes! The Bultex foam option I chose (extra charge but while I was paying for a new seat, what the hell?) is very forgiving and feels ready for an epic trip or two. I suspect even that will improve a bit as the seat cover relaxes slightly with use. I could have added gel but I've tried gel in the past and was very disappointed. Gel felt plain hard. I believe it is supposed to mould itself to you but mine never seemed to. Is it worth the money? Nothing for a bike is ever cheap, especially Bagster products, but I'm very pleased with my purchase which does exactly what it says on the tin and looks good too. There may be other better seats out there but how the hell do you find out except by trial (not possible) or recommendation. I recommend it. Over to you.
  2. French company called Silverstone. The link is below. For whatever reason, the smartarse bulletin software won't let me just put in the weblink in text but insists on creating picture link. Just right click on the picture and select "open". The site is in English but some of the drop down menus are in French. The luxury padding is called Bultex. Anything else, use Google translate. All in, the seat, with Bultex padding, cost me £247 compared with UK prices of £320-340 with standard padding. Quite a saving. BAGSTER Yamaha TRACER 900 & GT 2018 2019 motorcycle comfort READY LUXE saddle - 5372Z ...
  3. I think I'll take your advice and shell out for the full two seats. Sorry to hear that your long distance trips may be a thing of the past. I can't contemplate the day when I can't ride any more; it is so much a part of my identity as I am sure it is for so many others out there. Motorcycling gets you that way - it's completely addictive even when it's sometimes not a good idea. Like racing; it's expensive, often frustrating and always dangerous but it took me 22 years to find out how not to do it. Actually I can't even take that much credit. My long suffering wife explained that I didn't do it any more as I lay in one more hospital bed. The irony with my vast road mileage is that I've never had an accident (a scary thought if you're superstitious) - I don't count toppling off when I missed my footing parking or doing the same at 5mph doing a U-turn in front of 2000 people in a grandstand at the IOM TT. To add to the shame I received a rousing cheer!
  4. Thanks Wordsmith for your helpful reply. I hope you recover from the bursitis quickly. It's a bitch getting older isn't it. Seat comfort becomes a lot more important and daily mileages harder. Just when you've got the time and hopefully the money to go on more trips, your body has other ideas. At 75, when I travel any distance I rely on anti-inflammatories and pain killers to get me by. All connected with worn out vertebrae probably not helped if not caused by racing crashes. Unfortunately, after an estimated 560,000 miles together on the road, my wife is no longer able to ride due to knee problems but I ain't ready to quit yet hence the new Tracer. I've done more research now and found a European site that was more helpful (and a bit cheaper). I have asked to buy just the rider seat as I don't carry a passenger (see above!) providing it fits with the factory back seat. It looks like it will. Otherwise, I'll just have to make my non-existent passenger more comfortable! Best wishes for future riding.
  5. Since I bought my GT, I've been thoroughly checking the accuracy of the various readouts on the dash and here's what I found: Speedo: 7-8% fast (about average for current UK bikes) Fuel consumed: because I thought this was a great double check on the fuel gauge, I was disappointed to find that it reads 7-10% low. Of course, I can factor that error in but be warned not to believe the readout as you will suddenly find you have far less fuel than you expected. MPG (UK): about 7-10% optimistic - not surprising if it uses the fuel consumed figure for the calculation. Still - I'm happy with the actual 55+ mpg I'm getting. Fuel reserve: I happened to be passing a service station at exactly the moment the Low Fuel warning started to flash. Pulled in, topped up and the fuel remaining had been EXACTLY the 2.7 litres that the manual quotes. Congratulations Yamaha. Odometer and trip meters vary a bit but don't seem to be too different to my SATNAV readings. Outside air temperature: generally matches other forms of measurement but has a tendency to read high in slow traffic or after being stopped. Probably heat soaking into the air box that clears on the move. Other readouts (rpm, coolant, instantaneous fuel mpg) are not easily checkable and not too important either. I'm happy with the information offered on the dash but does anyone reckon there's something extra they'd like?. A tip to make it more readable, especially the silly small print like the clock, is to run it on the black background night setting. Oh - and has anyone found a setting for the colour changes on the rev counter that is particularly useful?
  6. From the info available in the UK, the seat you have is a "Ready Luxe" which I think has a gel component. Can you confirm?From your side shots, it looks flatter than the Yamaha one which is exactly what is needed to help the downward slope problem which I find quite severe. Severe enough for me to try some extra foam under the centre/front of the air bag on my Air Hawk seat which has the same effect of levelling the seat and almost completely cures the crushed nuts syndrome while managing to look like crap! I've never been happy with the feeling of riding the air seat so your experience of riding the Bagster seat is eagerly awaited as I think it may be the one for me but it is so expensive I need to be sure..
  7. Yes, I've used the heated grips a fair bit. I love the ability to adjust the levels of the three settings. Mine is on 3, 5 and 10. Why do all heated grips fail to take account of the insulation from the metal bars provided by the twistgrip sleeve so that the left is way cooler than the right. It can't be impossible to adjust the heating elements to compensate or, as one aftermarket set I once bought, provide a similar plastic sleeve for the left side to balance things out. I read somewhere that an EU speedo regulation stipulates something similar to OZ i.e. a percentage above actual, but my Audi TT car and my BMW Mini are almost exactly right so go figure! I tested the reserve fuel remaining yesterday. The warning came on just as I was passing a service station so I refilled and found that there had been EXACTLY 2.6 litres still in the tank as specified in the handbook. Well done Yamaha. On the other hand, I am not yet convinced about the Fuel Used readout. It seems to be under-reading which might explain why the MPG is 4-5% optimistic.
  8. Handlebar Controls: The usual effective levers and switches. The cruise control is easy to use and the clutch is commendably light although it was a surprise to find a cable. I thought hydraulic clutches had become the norm now. Not a problem, just something else to keep well oiled. The exception is the so-called thumbwheel on the right. There isn't any known thumb that could reach that from the twist-grip and its operation as a push-switch is quite clunky. It is probably not something that you need on the move anyway. Engine mode switches - yeah, if you must but I rarely change the setting The instrument panel is another story. OK - it's in colour but it is just too small. It looks like they bought up the TFT screens from a long defunct small phone model. I thought that my Garmin SatNav took the biscuit for tiny, unreadable messages but this is even worse. What is the point of a clock that needs you to dip your head under the screen to read it and what is that tiny ECO word that appears now and then. Who the hell buys a high performance motorcycle and needs to be told if they are driving it in an ECO manner? Perhaps Yamaha salve their ECO consciences or get brownie points for including it. Fortunately the tacho and speedo are fairly clear although I'll never understand why manufacturers insist on their speedos reading fast. Mine is about 8% against my Garmin which I prefer to rely on. The instantaneous mpg feature ought to be illegal on any vehicle. As it is always changing, it's only interest is in observing how different throttle openings and loads change it. To watch this effect, you need to take your eyes off the road for far too long to be safe. I do approve of the readout of fuel consumed. I've never encountered that before and, used with the fuel gauge, it enables reliable judgements about when to refuel. I just wish they had forgone the colour novelty and fitted an LCD screen that used all the available space to give readable information. General Performance: The engine is a gem with a super-wide power band and plenty of go when asked. It is even a pleasure to ride in town! Fuel economy is better than I expected but lately I've been used to V-twins. Mid 50s per UK gallon seems usual. The gearbox is Japanese so it is predictably precise and reliable. I've already published my views on the gimmicky quick-shifter. The brakes are just the standard excellent equipment that come with modern bikes. The older among you may recall what truly inadequate brakes felt like in the 1960's and 70's. I haven't given the ABS a thorough workout yet but it works and I'm confident that it will not disappoint. Suspension and Comfort: Now I have set the suspension sag to sensible levels, the suspension seems to work quite well on the standard settings. I will try a click or two of adjustment but won't be disappointed if I end up back at the standard settings. The extended swing-arm probably helps the well-planted feel of the handling but the steering remains light and responsive and it maintains a unflustered line on long bends. The absolute best you can say about any handling is that you don't really notice it and that describes the Tracer so far. I am aware of claims of instability at high speeds which I haven't reached yet because the bike is so new. Nevertheless, I am a big rider ( over 210lbs in full riding gear) and that usually serves to "overwhelm" instabilities that bother other riders by putting more weight on the front - we'll see. I thought that the footrests were a bit rear-set at first but now I don't notice and this is the first bike ever that I haven't needed to adjust the position of the pedals. The seat suffers from a Yamaha peculiarity where, on either height setting, it slopes downwards toward the front meaning that I find myself with a sore "undercarriage" where I have slid forward under braking or spirited riding. My 1200 Super Tenere was exactly the same. Yamaha need to take a leaf out of the Italian's book. My Aprilia and my Ducati had very stylish looking seats that swung up towards the tank at the front and were very comfortable. My wife is no longer able to ride pillion so I can't comment on the rear seat. The standard screen is quite inadequate for me at 6ft 2. Just in passing, I have already used all the available tyre side grip and not touched those footrest extensions so it is scary to imagine what you need to do to grind them away. Maybe they only work to prove you've just crashed or perhaps they serve the same purpose as the 99% of knee sliders that have never touched the road; they just look impressive. Styling is in the eye of the beholder. I once had an Aprilia Futura which was styled in the angular way of modern bikes but was a sales failure because it was too far ahead of its time. I quite like the Tracer but I frankly don't care if the styling is plug ugly as long as it performs well. I'm sat on it not stood looking at it. The panniers fit easily, look like they belong and are well made with effective seals. They are big enough for solo touring but no way enough for two. You need to look for the larger FJR1300 cases or lids that will fit (see the forum thread) Accessories fitted so far: A home-made SatNav mount. This places it above the screen adjuster to bring the SatNav as near as possible to my eye line. It just needs a quick glance (safety again) instead of the supplied handlebar mount that needs you to lower your eyes too far. I have also re-fitted my home-made super-bright LED indicator warnings alongside the SatNav. I've used them for the last ten years. They totally prevent the indicators being accidentally left on and I am lost without them. A Vario touring screen with adjustable aerofoil which isn't silent but smoothes the air sufficiently to be comfortable. Probably the best I can achieve. A slim(ish) camera case type box that fits over the pillion seat and hinges at the back mount to allow access for seat removal. Somewhere to put the puncture goo, the pump and tools, etc. to leave the panniers free for travel gear. A Baglux tank cover to enable me to use my existing Baglux tankbag or map carrier. It is amazing how they mass manufacture these covers to fit so well. My Air-Hawk seat cushion which mostly cures the seat's shortcomings though the Air-Hawk isn't the complete answer some would have you believe. OK, I'm ready to cover some serious miles.
  9. Every forum I have used on every chain driven bike I've owned has a long thread about chain adjustment. Really? Come on guys - Its one of the absolute basics of bike ownership. If you haven't mastered adjusting a chain to manufacturer's spec by now, you probably ought to take it to a dealer. Co-incidentally, the owners manual on my Ducati Multistrada refused to give details on chain adjustment. "Take it to your dealer" was all they would offer. Judging by these threads, maybe they had a point.
  10. One of our local tyre store uses a similar argument for not bothering to balance the wheels. If its not important, why does EVERY bike manufacturer go to the un-necessary expense of balancing every wheel they fit? I agree that you sometimes can't feel any difference, especially on the rear, but that is probably just luck that your tyre and wheel ended up in balance. Besides, it is so easy to do. A few weights to choose from, the axle or a loose rod running on a couple of external lightly oiled bearings supported by a couple of auto axle stands and you'll soon find out if it needs balancing. The cure is then simply adding weight at the top of the wheel (heavy side goes to the bottom) until it no longer tends to stop in a particular position. Average time maybe 10 minutes. On the other hand, my favourite local tyre supplier/fitter has the necessary adapter for the auto balancer and does it automatically and for free.
  11. Surely you could get the lids re-sprayed, maybe more than once, for less money. Besides, a few honourable marks show that the bike has been earning its living. What the antiques trade calls "patina"!
  12. It's strange, isn't it, that with all the improvements in rider safety that have appeared over the last 20 years, a horn that does better than squeak a warning is generally not one of them. This despite it being something that could very well save your life just like ABS. It is also an owner upgrade that comes low on the list, well below the importance of a different exhaust, a fancy seat or carbon mudguards even though it is so cheap and easy to do.. Good move fitting the Denali but I am going to see if I can squeeze in the two tone pair. I can live with fitting a relay if I can make myself heard to a driver inside a sound insulated box playing music at 100db.
  13. Very good point! The answer is that it is a pointless sales gimmick. It's a road bike! You are almost never going to need a full throttle up-shift. In any case, the time saved even on a track day compared with no clutch/dipping the throttle (that's how we raced for twenty years before they invented quickshifters) is insignificant. There are an increasing number of gimmicks like this that sound impressive and are cheap to implement. Multi-level ABS and traction control for example. I prefer they spend the money on a proper fully adjustable rear shock.
  14. Now I think about it, you're right. Ducati's "skyhook" suspension is customisable and BMW's has various ride modes. It's either Aprilia's "we know best" arrogance or their cheapskate approach just like their so-called cruise control which is a simple button on the right that can't be reached with the throttle hand and just locks to the current speed - no adjustment. Shame - lovely engine and gearbox and a very comfortable seat but luggage lids that are too flexible to seal. That's why I've now got a Tracer!
  15. Just about to see what I can achieve on my brand new Tracer GT using the factory adjusters. Looking on my computer records, I found the following saved information. I can't remember where it came from so my apologies and thanks to the original author who has done a great job clarifying the dark art of suspension set-up. I have also included recommended sag figures in which you will see there is little absolute agreement despite them coming from various credible sources. They do offer a guide though and are all in the same general area. Hope it is some help. SUSPENSION SETTINGS Static Sag Recommendations from various sources OHLINS SOURCE 1 Without rider With rider Rear 5-10mm 35-40mm Front 25-30mm 35-48mm OHLINS SOURCE 2 Without rider With rider Rear 10-20mm 25-40mm Front 15-30mm 35-50mm SBK SCHOOL ROAD Without rider With rider Rear 15-20mm 30-40mm Front 30-40mm 35-55mm SBK SCHOOL RACE Without rider With rider Rear 5-10mm 20-25mm Front 12-25mm 25-35mm AUS SBK SCHOOL Without rider With rider Rear 0-10mm 25-35mm Front 20-30mm 25-35mm • Preload (Spring tension, based on your weight) • Damping (speed the spring squashes and returns to normal ) o Compression (advanced damping control, speed the spring squashes) o Rebound (advanced damping control, speed the spring returns to normal after been squashed) Note that compression and rebound are part of damping. After I had established what I can adjust on my bike and how to adjust it, I got a pen and paper and wrote down my bikes current settings so that I can return the bike to it if I make a mess of things. On my bike, this meant counting “clicks” as I turned the screws for the compression and rebound clockwise or anti-clockwise. Preload is easier to note and record as you can see what “notch” the rear spring is on and what “ring” the front is on. The manufacturer has spent a lot of time and money on research and development and they have a financial incentive to ensure that my bike handles well, therefore the manufacturers recommended suspension settings for your bike will not be that bad. Compare what your current settings are for your bike against the manufacturers setting. If they are different, and you think your bike could handle better, have a go at setting your bike to manufacturers recommended settings. You should be able to fiddle with your suspension and bring it back to the settings recommended by the manufacturer or your original setting before you go any further. Do not read any further unless you are competent with the above and acknowledge that this whole article is purely for information only. Please do not fiddle with your bike, then injure yourself and then blame me. ________________________________________ DAY 2 - SET UP BIKE TO YOUR WEIGHT (PRELOAD) To set up your bike you will require the proper tools as recommended in your bikes handbook, usually a long screw driver, spanner for the front and a funny looking tool for the rear preload and tape measure!!. You will need patience and time. It is best to set the bike up where you are most likely to use it i.e. on the roads or race track.. Ensure your bike is in good working condition, including replacing dodgy fork seals, lubricating linkage, and changing fork or shock oil and you have correct tyre pressure. Twiddling with setting randomly will not get you far. You suspension can be broken down to the following • Front wheel o Preload o Damping Compression o Damping Rebound • Rear Wheel o Preload o Damping Compression o Damping Rebound If your bike does not have some of these setting then you will have to compromise on the setting of your bike or buy aftermarket suspension if necessary. You really should set up your bike in the right order. It is best to start with the preloads, front and rear as this is based on your weight and relatively easy to set up, then work your way down. Rear Preload Whatever your weight, when you sit on the bike, you want the bike to squat just a little bit (about 30mm) but not too much. You want to ensure that the bulk of your rear suspension travel is available for when you actually ride the bike as opposed to supporting your heavy frame. At the same time you should have a little bit of sag left. If the bike drops too much then increase preload and if you are very light and the bike barely moves under your weight, then soften the preload. Below is a more detailed explanation. This is easy to set up but can be a bit confusing so just follow the steps one at a time. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 1: First find the fully UNLOADED length of your rear suspension. Put your bike on its centre stand. If you do not have a centre stand find a means of lifting the rear wheel up under the engine so that there is no weight (including the weight of the bike) on the rear axle and wheel. Measure the distance between the rear axle and a fixed point directly above like a bolt or mark. Note this measure measurement. Do not use a rear wheel bike stand as there is still the weight of the bike on the swing arm. Step 2: Find the NORMAL length of you rear suspension. This is amount the suspension drops under the weigh of the bike alone without the rider. Put the bike on level ground and bounce it up and down to free any stickiness. Measure between the same two points as above, i.e. the rear axle and the fixed point directly above. Step 3: Find the fully LOADED length of your rear suspension. This is the length of the suspension with the rear wheel on level ground and the rider seated on it in his normal riding position in full biking garb. First bounce up and down on the seat to loosen the suspension then get into your normal riding position with all weight on the bike and both feet on the bike. To prevent yourself from falling of (if you have not already) lean the bike against a wall and get your mate to measure between the same two points as above i.e. rear axle and the fixed point directly above. Next thing is to understand a couple of buzz words. “Static sag” and “Rider sag”. RIDER SAG is the difference steps 1 and 3. This is the amount the bike drops when your heavy arse sits on the bike. STATIC SAG is the difference between step 1 and step 2. It is how much the bikes weight acts on the rear suspension or how much you can lift the bike rear without the rider on it before it tops out. A top racing suspension company suggest that rear wheel rider sag should be around 30-40mm and static sag should be around 5-10mm. However this many vary depending on your bike and manufacturer. The more rider sag you have, the softer the bike suspension will be. I personally use 35mm for road and a few track days use. Therefore if your rider sag is less than 30 mm then your preload is too hard, if it is more than 40 mm, then it is a bit soft. Once you have set your rider sag as close as possible to 30-40 mm, next check your static sag. If you have more than 10mm then you may need stiffer springs. If however, if your static sag is less than 5mm or you have no static sag then your springs may be too hard for your weight. If you have to compromise then try to have at least a bit of Static sag in order to stop the bike from topping out. Note that books, videos, media and pub acquaintances will all have different opinions on the naming and figures quoted above (and below). I find that I get fewer complaints with the current labelling system than I would with other labelling systems. Avoid being obsessed with numbers and naming systems. I will try to explain the underlying principles of setting up your own bike. There are too many scenarios and permutations surrounding the effects of tweaking each setting that it would take me forever to cover them all. Therefore I will only touch on a few of the more common effects. Front Preload some people set the front suspension based on rider sag and static sag. This is especially useful in determining if you need softer or stiffer springs. Use the same system as above to determine Rider sag (35-48mm) and Static sag (25-30mm). However I prefer the below method to optimise my current original front forks. You want your bike to use as much front suspension "travel" as possible without "bottoming out" (no more travel) even in extreme conditions. So lets establish how much suspension travel you are currently using. Wrap cable ties around the smooth part (stanchion) of front forks near the rubber seal to the forks. Ensure that it does not scratch the stanchion and it is not too tight as to damage the rubber seals. With the cable ties in place ride your bike as normal using as many riding conditions (corners, braking, accelerating, wheelies and stopples) that you are likely to meet. Then increase or decrease your preload until the cable tie stops about 10 mm before “bottoming out”. Reducing preload should give you more travel. If the forks bottoms out, reset the cable ties and increase preload until the cable tie stops around 10mm above the limit. You should always leave about 10mm travel for emergencies like slamming into uncharted potholes. Done ________________________________________ DAY 3 - FRONT DAMPING The damping, both rebound and compression are best adjusted after riding your bike and feeling how it handles to you. You cannot use your mate’s settings. The reason why there is so much debate and controversy regarding suspension set up is because it is a personal experience and depends on how and where you ride your motorcycle. Some people, media and websites will charge or tell you what they think is best for you whilst amongst top racers it is a closely guarded secret. You have to find your own settings that you are comfortable with and take notes as you experiment with different settings. tyre profiles Setting the right amount of damping depends on the type of bike, how you ride the bike of bike, and shape and pressure of tyres you use. Also it depends on your riding style and how much suspension travel you want at any particular moment. This article will try to explain what to look out for and how to tweak it. If you can adjust the damping but cannot adjust the rebound and compression separately, then you will have to find a compromise between the two for your bike. If you run out of adjustment, then depending on if the damping, either rebound or compression, is too slow or too fast then you may need to change the damping oil to thinner or thicker suspension oil relatively. Note that your suspension will handle differently under different conditions i.e. high or low speed, wet or dry conditions, therefore experiment with setting up your bike under the conditions you would like to use them. To start with, set your bike damping rebound and compression to your manufacturers or your preferred setting. I do not know the exact terminology used in your manufacturers owners manual but note that Soft damping = little damping = decreased damping Hard damping = excessive damping = increased damping Nose Up Nose down Front Compression You need your front compression under braking and when riding over uneven humps. You want your front suspension to compress slowly and controlled when you break. As your bike “nose dives” under braking, it transfers more weight over the front wheel. This helps slow the bike quicker. If the front suspension compresses too quickly (too soft) you risk the suspension bottoming out and then your bike will feel vague and since it nose dives too quickly the back wheel may loose contact with the road and move sideways. On the other hand when compression damping is too high the suspension can't react quickly enough to compress over bumps and will skip and chatter. You will have an uncomfortable ride and your braking is compromised, especially in the wet. Another important aspect of front compression is when you brake just before a turn. As you brake before the corner, the bike will naturally “nose dive”, this will shorten the wheel base and alter the geometry of the bike making the bike turn quicker into the corner. It is important that your bike compresses predictably and safely in a corner/turn. SOFT: If your compression is too soft, your bike will nose dive too quickly, then as you turn into the corner, the bike will collapse into it and you end up having to compensate. HARD: On the other hand if you have too much front compression damping, do not get enough nose dive and the bike will be reluctant to turn and may drift wide on entry to the corner. Go for a ride on your bike and try braking and turning into corners at different speeds. This will cause a bit of nose dive so try different setting. If your bike bottoms out, increase the front preload. See preload notes above. Keep notes. Front Rebound Front rebound damping is to control the rate the bike “sits up” after the front suspension has been compressed i.e. from nose down position. If it is too soft, the front end will pop up too quickly after any situation causing the front suspension to compress e.g. braking or cornering causing the bike to "see-saw". This may result in lack of traction If rebound damping is too high you may have lack of “feedback” and in extreme cases where the suspension can't react quickly enough to extend again it will pump down until it bottoms out which is simply dangerous, An alternative to manufacturers setting for front rebound is to place your bike on level ground and have your mate or rear wheel stand support the back of the bike. Press hard on the top of the yoke without pressing the brakes and let go. The suspension should rebound to its original position within a second. If it takes more than a second then you need softer rebound but if it takes less than a second or it rebounds past its original position then you should make your rebound harder. This method may work but really it is too simplistic for real world riding. One critical area where you want your front rebound to work well is through them corners and turns. As you fly down the road and brake before or into the corner, the front suspension compresses, then as you let go of the brakes, the front wheel will rebound fully. You do not want your front end to sit up too quickly especially mid corner. It does not matter whether you brake before the turn but this is more critical if you brake into the turn. SOFT: If it rebounds too quickly in the corner your bike will sit up very quickly creating a longer wheel base. The front wheel “shooting” out also causes the bike to drift wide or a feeling of the front end “washing out” If this happens, increase (harden) your rebound to slow the rate the front wheel rebounds. HARD: On the other hand if the rebound is too hard, when you let go of the brakes and on to the throttle in a corner, because the wheel is compressed for longer you will have a shorter wheel base for longer. This may cause the bike to feel wooden in the corner and turn too quickly. Soften her up. To set up your front rebound damping you are going to have to go through a few corners a few times and it is best that you have sorted out the preload and front compression first. Basically you want to be able to 1. brake hard either before the turn or up to the apex of the turn, (whichever suits you) 2. let go of the brakes 3. get on to the throttle without the bike “see-sawing” i.e. sit up or dive by adjusting only the rebound damping only (remember that we have sorted the compression so don’t mess it up.) NOTES No advanced damping control if you cannot adjust the rebound and compression separately but you can adjust the damping, then you will have to go for a compromise. Since most accidents happen in a turn, then I will suggest that you set it up for cornering. Try to get the bike to enter and exit a corner with minimal rocking or seesawing to the front end. These setting should be ok for bumpy tarmac. Keep a record Keep a note of the settings you are using as well as the make and pressure of your tyres. Different tyres shapes, sizes and pressure can affect your readings and therefore you may want to keep a record of all your setting especially if you are a track addict or racer. Also keep a note of the weather and cooler temperature will thicken the oil in your forks while on a hotter day, your fork oil may thin a bit. You do not want to go through all this again Counting Clicks If your bike uses clicks to adjust damping, and you want to adjust your damping settings, do not simply turn it a few clicks till you think you have the right new settings. Fully count the clicks in to ensure you were on the right old settings then count it out to the right new settings. Example you think your front compression is on 5 clicks out and you want to try 7 clicks out. Do not simply turn it 2 clicks out. Count the 5 click in, and then count the 7 clicks out. Set Up Do not adjust more than one setting at a time unless it is to a previously recorded set up as you will not know which setting cause the most effect. I commute to work and I used to make one small (a click) adjustment a day. Sometimes I would leave it for a week because the conditions where not right to feel the new settings in action. On the track, I would suggest one setting change per session, minimum. Altering Bike Geometry You can alter your bikes geometry by sliding your front forks up through your front yoke.. i.e. your forks will stick up through the yoke a bit more than standard thereby causing your bike to have a more nose down bias. This makes the bike turn in faster, it doesn't increase the corner speed and you will loose ground clearance I will not recommend moving your front forks more than 5 mm ________________________________________ DAY 4 - REAR DAMPING Kick Up Squatting Once you are done with the preload and front wheel damping let move onto the rear wheel. You can set it based on comfort and uneven road using the same methods as you would with the front wheel. Also you could try to do what’s called: Suspension Balance Take the bike off its stand onto level ground and stand next to it. While holding your motorcycle upright, put one foot on the foot peg next to you and press hard on it. The front and rear of the bike should squash down and raise at the same rate. If not adjust rear damping compression and rebound to compensate Now you have a comfortable bike with adequate suspension balance. Now let’s fine tune it a bit. Again there are no tricks to setting up your rear wheel suspension, you have to understand what causes your rear suspension to work. Since rebound occurs after compression we will deal with compression first. Rear Compression Like with the front wheel; if your rear compression is too hard you will have an uncomfortable ride because the rear wheel simply bounces off bumps and ripples in the road also giving a vague “feel”. Conversely, if it is too soft, you may get excessive “squatting” under heavy acceleration causing the bike to feel lethargic or even “bottoming out” on those rough roads. When you accelerate, you need a bit of rear end squatting to give the tyres a chance to get some traction and absorb excessive power to the back wheel. However, it is that squatting action under heavy acceleration that can cause problems when coming out of corners. SOFT: Let’s imagine that you are exiting a corner on your motorcycle, and the bike is leant over and you start to accelerate smartly. If the compression damping is too soft, you will get too much rear end “squatting” causing a “nose up” situation. This will cause your bike to drift wide on exit of the corner. This is not the same as a too much of front compression damping which causes the bike to drift wide on entry to the corner. HARD: On the other hand if your rear compression damping is too hard, you will not get enough “squatting” and therefore may not get enough traction. This will cause a bit of rear wheel spin, or the rear wheel suddenly “kicking up”. You can imagine what can happen in extreme circumstances. To set your rear compression damping up properly, it is best to have the front end sorted out first. That way you know you that your entry into the corner is as smooth as possible. Then you want to be able to put on the gas as you exit the corner and your bike should hold its line and inspire confidence. Rear Rebound Nearly the end of this setting up drivel. You have exited the corner and the bike is now flying forward in a straight line. At this point you want the rear rebound damping to keep the rear wheel in contact with the road, thereby giving you maximum traction SOFT: However if it is a long corner then your rear rebound will come into play mid-corner. If your rear wheel kicks up too quickly, it will unsettle the chassis of the bike making it “wallow” and “lurch” mid corner. A lot of people wrongly try to cure mid comer “wallowing” by increasing rear preload. This may "stiffen" the rear end but you may loose a bit of suspension travel. The cure is to increase (harden) rear rebound. HARD: However if your rear suspension is too hard, your back wheel will not sit up quick enough. This will cause you the have the back end squatting causing a “nose up “situation for longer. This may cause you to drift wide similar to the effects of soft compression. Also since the rear shock does not extend quick enough, you may get a feeling of vagueness or loss of traction If you have reached this point and found out that your original set up was the best then oops sorry. At least you have a few more buzz words to drop in the pub with other bike mates. ________________________________________ SUMMARY First get your owner manual out and familiarise and compare your current suspension settings with the recommended settings in the manufactures hand book. Still not satisfied? Then set-up your preload, front and rear, so that you can use as much suspension travel as possible when riding your bike. This is based on your weight, so if your weight fluctuates then keep an eye on it. Next adjust your damping so that your suspension does not compress or rebound too fast or too slow to upset the bike and be uncomfortable. I believe that if you can get your bike suspension set up for cornering then it should be OK on a straight line. 1 - Front compression This is when you want your front compression to control the "nose down" effects of braking so it turns in to corner properly 2 - Front rebound You have let go of brakes, adjust front rebound so that the front forks extend at a controlled rate allowing you to keep your line. 3 - Rear Compression You want the rear end to squat a bit as you apply the power. Make sure that the rear rebound setting keeps the rear wheel in contact with the road. Note: this image is only for illustration only. Your braking, turning and exit points and lines may vary, especially in the wet. CONCLUSION The point of this article is to educate you on how your suspension works so you can attempt to sort it out yourself. You should be able to feel the bike through the handle bars and the bike seat and be brave enough to note down the current settings and have a go at altering it to suit yourself. I found that it is difficult to set up the bike for all condition. I recently changed my front brake pads and they were biting harder which made the bike nose down quicker. As summer approaches, I like to ride a bit faster. My weight is fluctuating. All these scenarios have caused me to change my setup. Top racers alter their setup at every track. However if you are not competent with DIY, remember that if it isn't broke, don't fix it