Suspension adjustment

Old Scratch

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I don't know how, when I got the ST, I suddenly forgot everything I knew about suspension.... 30 years of riding and roadracing, using everything from Ohlins, Penske, and even White Power, out the window.

I'm about 220 lbs nekked. I left the suspension at stock settings. While I originally thought I'd be doing maybe 80/20, I'm closer to 50/50. Got bounced around quite abit in the off-road sections and bashed my plate good. Then I took the advice of someone, and turned down all my preload because they said it would soften the ride and it'd handle better in the rough stuff, which I did. I then quickly nailed a rock which has a huge long gash the length of my skid plate cause I bottomed.

After communicating with Jaxon and Stoltec, who reassured me what I did know about suspension was correct and following some recommendations on this site, like cranking the rear preload all the way down and leaving 2 lines on the front, and 6 turns from full stiff on all other adjustments, the bike is totally transformed! Took it out on a quick dirt road by the house and intentionally hit washaboards potholes, sand and gravel.... In the word of George Takai, "oh my".... Night and day from stock settings. Felt almost like a completely different motorcycle. I wasn't bounced around and jarred. Where on this particular dirt road I was comfortable only doing 40ish with the stock settings, 60 was now comfortable

While there is still not enough preload in the rear, it's way better.

So do yourself a favor and adjust that stock suspension!!!!! Of course YMMV....
But do you ride nekked?
 

Boris

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Dec 21, 2013
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midlands. UK
I dropped the front of my Gen1 after the first season of riding on this bike. Three riding seasons later and I still prefer this set up as it now turns in a little quicker, and I also found that the bike holds a line better through corners, when pushing on.
 

D_money

New Member
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Mar 17, 2012
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Louisiana
Should have made this adjustment years ago. Really made a difference on some uplift seams in the asphalt. Before the adjustment it felt like I was about to get bucked off. The Tenere is much more compliant now.
 

magic

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Jul 6, 2015
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MENASHA, WISCONSIN
And. . . . what adjustment would that be? :)
The adjustment is to drop the front end by moving the fork tubes up in the tripe clamps. This changes the weight bias by putting a little more weight on the front end. They wind up with about 8-10mm of fork tube sticking through the top triple clamp. Some claim handling improvements.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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Nov 15, 2012
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I would be very careful when changing the geometry of the steering. I have went down the road of raising the forks in the tubes to quicken the turning. Too much and the front end will tuck and spit you off the bike. I learned the hard way. Thankfully it was on a 250lb dirt bike.

Just by raising the back of the bike with less sag, stiffer spring, or raised link affects the handling dramatically.
 

D_money

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Mar 17, 2012
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My adjustment had to do with the original thread post. 6 clicks out on the front compression and rebound and 6 clicks out on the rear as well. I failed to make that clear as others were also talking about raising the forks. That I haven’t done.
 

Niterunnr

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Jul 2, 2019
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Irvine, CA
So everything in life is a compromise.
I got the ES because of a sweet deal and love the bike.
After many years of riding, I will admit to not routinely adjusting suspension for a pillion or road conditions.
For this reason, the ES is quite nice.
The troubling part after reading ALL of these posts and the manual is that the ES doesn’t adjust front preload; this seems really bad. Luckily I’m closer to the design rider weight, but what about loaded up with pillion and bags?
If my static sag is in range, I would think fully loaded would have the front end diving with no ability to add preload.
Guess I’ll have to load it up and check, then maybe adjust the fork tubes to level out the bike?
 

Sierra1

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Ride more, worry less. :) Seriously. I'm 300lbs solo, and 450 with the wife. Going, stopping, or turning. Absolutely no issues. I set the preload to the two helmets & luggage, and adjust the rebound/dampening to suit the road. Which due to our roads, is frequent. I don't set the bike per a bunch of measurements. I know what is the right "feel", and I know what's not. But, everybody has their preferences on that "feel". There is learning curve with the E-suspension. So, yes, load her up, and go ride. Adjust until you get that right "feel", but be aware of the surface and any changes. It's not a "set and forget".
 

Niterunnr

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Ride more, worry less. :) Seriously. I'm 300lbs solo, and 450 with the wife. Going, stopping, or turning. Absolutely no issues. I set the preload to the two helmets & luggage, and adjust the rebound/dampening to suit the road. Which due to our roads, is frequent. I don't set the bike per a bunch of measurements. I know what is the right "feel", and I know what's not. But, everybody has their preferences on that "feel". There is learning curve with the E-suspension. So, yes, load her up, and go ride. Adjust until you get that right "feel", but be aware of the surface and any changes. It's not a "set and forget".
Nothing wrong with enjoying life, but all too often I hear people say “I wish I knew this long ago!”
I’m glad this thread exists, because suspension is an often overlooked, critical component.
The proper setup not only makes us faster or the bike more enjoyable, but also safer.
These bikes are developed by 140 lb riders for everyone up to the max weight and often beyond.
Every rider should at least understand how preload, compression and rebound damping affect comfort and stability.
Tire pressure and load is another critical and often overlooked/misunderstood area.
Learned how to wrench in high school and still learning each day.
I love knowing how stuff works. The internet is amazing for this.

On my ES I ride two up slab in full soft setting (-3). I add stiffness for canyon carving, to keep the wheels on the ground.
When you dial it all the way up to Hard (+3) it feels like a different bike!
 

Niterunnr

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Re: Do Yourself a Favor and Adjust Your Suspension.

I've been pestering Bushy over this and have been doing some digging. I found this link from Touratech on setting SAG.

They say you want it at 30% of entire travel. Per the Touratech page S10 has 190mm of travel, Yamaha site claims 7.5". These numbers tie out.

http://www.touratech-usa.com/Adventure/Blog/cAwZHo/How-To-Setting-Suspension-Sag

So SAG should be 2.25" or 57mm.

They say to measure it on the center stand with rear wheel off the ground, then with you & gear on it. Goal is to get the SAG to 30% of total travel with you and gear on it.
So I decided to check out all four settings and was rather surprised.
Took off my top case, (plastic givi). I have ten pound crash bars, no skid plate.
2018 ES, 165 LBS without gear.
Rear loaded sag
1 helmet = 79mm 41.5% sag
1+ bags = 73mm 38.4%
2 helmet = 60mm 31.7%
2+ bags = 54mm 28.4%
 

jrusell

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Aug 23, 2017
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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
So I decided to check out all four settings and was rather surprised.
Took off my top case, (plastic givi). I have ten pound crash bars, no skid plate.
2018 ES, 165 LBS without gear.
Rear loaded sag
1 helmet = 79mm 41.5% sag
1+ bags = 73mm 38.4%
2 helmet = 60mm 31.7%
2+ bags = 54mm 28.4%
Thanks for posting numbers for a lighter rider. Max preload setting required to just make proper sag for rider only.
Sucks they put such a soft spring, but for a lighter rider like yourself you can likely go up 2-3 spring rates and fix the problem.
Stock Damping adjustments will likely accommodate that 2-3 spring rate increase as well.

For someone heavier the massive increase in spring rate to get it fixed, will likely require a large rebound valving change to control the spring.
Or just ignore it and like many try to convince themselves the ES is perfect as is.
 

Niterunnr

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Irvine, CA
Thanks for posting numbers for a lighter rider. Max preload setting required to just make proper sag for rider only.
Sucks they put such a soft spring, but for a lighter rider like yourself you can likely go up 2-3 spring rates and fix the problem.
Stock Damping adjustments will likely accommodate that 2-3 spring rate increase as well.

For someone heavier the massive increase in spring rate to get it fixed, will likely require a large rebound valving change to control the spring.
Or just ignore it and like many try to convince themselves the ES is perfect as is.
Would only slightly higher spring rates accommodate two up? Just a spring removal and swap?

Now I know why the bike didn’t feel springy with -3 damping, because I was sitting so low in the stroke with one helmet setting.
At two helmets I’m closer to proper sag, but with -3 (minimum damping) the bike feels very springy and uncomfortable; zero out the damping (medium firm) and the feeling improves.
 

jrusell

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Just a few days ago there was a similar discussion with another rider but his bike was a nonES version. He is a lighter guy 170lbs approx.
One of the issues is the installed preload with the stock spring is only 5mm when preload is backed off fully. This is much too small and should be at least 15mm. (spring free length is 210mm long, installed length is 205mm)
I suggested to make a 10-12mm spacer and install above the stock spring. This will give a much better installed preload and allow the factory preload adjuster to accommodate solo and 2 up riding.

I do not have an ES version, but I would guess Yamaha might have done the same thing with the ES.
Set your preload setting minimum, put the bike on the centerstand and measure the spring length.. Maybe someone on here who has removed the stock ES spring can measure it's free length and post here.? Or search around maybe it is posted on the net or in another post on the site.

If the installed preload is between 5-10mm, I would make a spacer to sit above the stock spring. I would aim for at least 15-18mm of installed preload when at the minimum setting. This way you get proper sag for one up while set on 1-helmet and your 2plus bags might actually work for 2 plus bags.

For someone lighter this might be a very simple fix to the problem. See post #52 in this discussion.
https://www.yamahasupertenere.com/index.php?threads/xt1200z-suspension-settings.28372/page-3#post-422565

there are a couple of pics of the suggested spacer I would make.
The big benefit is you are not changing spring rate and the rebound damping will not need to be affected.

I will search around and see if I can find spring length numbers somewhere.

Spring swap would also fix the issue, but spring length is a major part of the issue. Get some measurements and make sure you will end with the proper installed preload.
 
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jrusell

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Here is a link to a discussion on spring swap on es version.
Spring measurements are there. as well.

index.php

Looking at his numbers I would still try a 10mm spacer above the stock spring . Should work well for someone lighter. For heavier rider I would certainly go to stiffer spring.

Good luck.
 

Niterunnr

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Here is a link to a discussion on spring swap on es version.
Spring measurements are there. as well.

index.php

Looking at his numbers I would still try a 10mm spacer above the stock spring . Should work well for someone lighter. For heavier rider I would certainly go to stiffer spring.

Good luck.
Thanks J
I came across this thread and decided to comment, but hadn’t really started to research it yet. The thread you shared is amazing info. I’m starting to worry that the ES motor might not be up to the task, but i still have lots of pages to read from that thread. Another revelation I’ve made is between watching Dave Moss and reading these threads, suspension is just something that will need replacing on most bikes I acquire from here on out, otherwise I’m not enjoying the machine as designed.
Hopefully manufacturers will start offering different springs for new bikes so buyers can take full advantage. Cars used to come with crap sound systems until makers realized they could profit by offering something we were all buying anyway. Bikes are getting so advanced; suspension needs to catch up at it’s most basic level to accommodate a wider range of riders.
 
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