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Offline Beetlejuice

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Rear Suspension
on: May 08, 2018, 04:25:55 PM
Before I go into any detail, can I just say I know nothing about suspension setups  :003:

I was out at the weekend with the wife as pillion and on some fairly uneven roads at times where I was constantly feeling the rear suspension bottoming out. Considering we had no luggage on, I'm concerned about this for when we come to do some touring hopefully next year.

I know there's some adjustment on the left hand side as the dealer wound this 'up' when I originally test rode the bike (which was 2 up too). With no understanding of how things work, can anyone explain if there's anything I can do to stop this without going to the expense of replacing parts. I've looked on Youtube but it all goes over my head.

Cheers for any advice

Offline v8guy

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #1 on: May 08, 2018, 10:08:25 PM
Have you adjusted the rebound/compression damping screw at all? It's on the bottom of the shock absorber, accessed from the left side of the bike. This is the adjuster that affects the stiffness of the shock and is the first thing to tweak when riding with addition load like a pillion, or heavily loaded boxes. I would suggest, depending on you and your wife's weight, turning it clockwise to the max. You'll feel it is much stiffer and should hopefully avoid bottoming out as you've described. If the max is too much, back it off a bit and see how it feels.

The preload adjuster by the pillion footpeg is only to adjust the ride height to compensate for the extra load (so your headlights are pointing at the correct height and to maintain the wheelbase when the shock is more compressed). You should adjust this when carrying a pillion, but it's not essential and will not affect the symptom you describe.

If the bike is still bottoming out with the rebound/compression adjuster at the max, you're faced with at least two options; losing some weight or starting to look into a replacement (or rebuilt) shock being the first two!
Current: BMW R1200RS, 2003 Yamaha TDM900
Past: Honda CLR125, Honda CB500, Triumph Sprint Sport, Honda VFR750FS, Suzuki DRZ400SM, 2001 Triumph Speed Triple 955i, 2015 Honda VFR800X

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Offline Si Click

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 10:21:58 PM
I had the same issue as you and while the above advice is absolutely correct, these adjustments are fiddly to do and handling a C Spanner to adjust the pre-load will scrape knuckles. It is certainly not easy or quick to switch shock adjustment between solo and pillion settings.  Apart from a better quality of shock and the potential to rebuild, the main benefit to an aftermarket shock is that you can specify remote hydraulic adjusters for both pre-load and compression/rebound.  Once you have experimented and know how many clicks is best for each load it takes only seconds to switch.
I went with a Nitron setup and am very happy with it.
Best Regards Dave
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Offline v8guy

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #3 on: May 09, 2018, 07:51:09 AM
*Originally Posted by Si Click [+]
I had the same issue as you and while the above advice is absolutely correct, these adjustments are fiddly to do and handling a C Spanner to adjust the pre-load will scrape knuckles.
Not so fiddly on a 2015+ bike though.. preload adjuster is remote, and the rebound/compression adjuster only requires a flat head screwdriver. The one in the tool kit is a bit short for doing it, mind.. with a longer one it is much easier.

Agreed on C spanner and knuckles tho.. I never bother adjusting preload on my TDM for that very reason!!  :151:

*Originally Posted by Si Click [+]
I went with a Nitron setup and am very happy with it.
Agreed! I have one on my TDM and it was the best thing I added to it (despite not paying the extra for remote preload!). I would've bought another for the CR but Nitron didn't make one at the time.. Thanks to NotGotOne of this forum for doing the groundwork with Nitron, they now do!  :028: :031:
Current: BMW R1200RS, 2003 Yamaha TDM900
Past: Honda CLR125, Honda CB500, Triumph Sprint Sport, Honda VFR750FS, Suzuki DRZ400SM, 2001 Triumph Speed Triple 955i, 2015 Honda VFR800X

"Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube" - HST

Offline Notgotone

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #4 on: May 09, 2018, 08:09:46 AM
And it is good no very good when compared to the original now waiting for the new front end to be fitted later this month and so looking forward to having a bike that does not jump all over the place on rough (standard) UK roads 
Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 09:01:33 AM by Notgotone

Offline Notgotone

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #5 on: May 09, 2018, 09:15:42 AM
Beetlejuice the good news is that more companies are now offering upgrades for our bikes from complete new shocks like mine to revalve /gas and springs as others have posted, but it is not cheap my set up works out around £600 for the rear but you get a custom spring to better suit your needs ride height adjustment remote preload and 2 year warranty and it's fully serviceable, the Honda shock is over £400 and from my experience rubbish as is the front. It will be worth a visit to a local suspension specialist to get the bike set up properly and they will be able to guide you on the best way forward.
Good luck 

Online Skids

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #6 on: May 09, 2018, 09:39:16 AM
*Originally Posted by Notgotone [+]
Beetlejuice the good news is that more companies are now offering upgrades for our bikes from complete new shocks like mine to revalve /gas and springs as others have posted, but it is not cheap my set up works out around £600 for the rear but you get a custom spring to better suit your needs ride height adjustment remote preload and 2 year warranty and it's fully serviceable, the Honda shock is over £400 and from my experience rubbish as is the front. It will be worth a visit to a local suspension specialist to get the bike set up properly and they will be able to guide you on the best way forward.
Good luck

I was going to recommend MCT Suspension who replaced the suspension on my 1200 and transformed the handling but as they are based in Stowmarket, Suffolk and the OP lives up north, I dare say it might be better to find a more local specialist, if that's what you choose to do.
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15 VFR800X - 44,000 miles (sold)
18 VFR800X - 9,000 miles

Offline v8guy

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #7 on: May 09, 2018, 10:00:32 AM
*Originally Posted by Notgotone [+]
Beetlejuice the good news is that more companies are now offering upgrades for our bikes from complete new shocks like mine to revalve /gas and springs as others have posted, but it is not cheap my set up works out around £600 for the rear but you get a custom spring to better suit your needs ride height adjustment remote preload and 2 year warranty and it's fully serviceable, the Honda shock is over £400 and from my experience rubbish as is the front. It will be worth a visit to a local suspension specialist to get the bike set up properly and they will be able to guide you on the best way forward.
Good luck
Agreed - find a local suspension specialist and have them either setup and re-valve the shock according to your needs, or buy a replacement. Nitron shocks really are very good, although, IMHO, the biggest factor in feeling the improvement is entirely down to having one built to suit you and your usage.

From past experience I'd suggest you address the front end at the same time.. the two systems should be balanced. Thankfully, there is much you can do to improve the front end without replacing the internals - replacement oil and springs (and maybe valves) that are matched to your weight and riding style will make a huge difference to your riding enjoyment and safety.

I did all of the above within a few months of having the bike, at a total cost of around £1000, and haven't regretted it for a moment - I have a plush, well controlled ride that will last me for years. Provided I don't get fat, of course... :031: :016:
Current: BMW R1200RS, 2003 Yamaha TDM900
Past: Honda CLR125, Honda CB500, Triumph Sprint Sport, Honda VFR750FS, Suzuki DRZ400SM, 2001 Triumph Speed Triple 955i, 2015 Honda VFR800X

"Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube" - HST

Offline Beetlejuice

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #8 on: May 09, 2018, 12:10:55 PM
Thanks everyone.

What does preload do please?

The preload adjuster is wound almost all the way in as per advice from the dealer when I bought it as i'm usually 2-up riding but what in really simple terms does it do  :001:

I've not touched the rebound/compression screw at all so will look at this but if i make it harder will that cause it to try and kick me off if it's hard? Or is this the whole idea to adjust it a small bit at a time to find the sweet spot?

Thanks again for the help  :152:

Offline Notgotone

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Re: Rear Suspension
Reply #9 on: May 09, 2018, 12:58:16 PM
It puts more tention on the spring to adjust ride height when the load changes ie pillion and luggage, if the spring load is changed then hydraulic damping needs to adjusted to compensate as the dealer has already set spring or load to max it would indicate that the spring is not capable of dealing with the current load as is a new spring and or shock would be needed to make this right. Then the front will need work to balance out of the rear.