Sunday, April 21, 2013

Improve your Sports Bikes Handling - Setup

 Talking about motorcycle suspension to your biking mates is a bit like speaking in a foreign language that you both only know the odd word of.
 Everyone knows you need suspension to make the ride more comfortable on bumpy roads and it makes the bike handle better when its done right, but what the adjusters actually do and the words actually mean normally brings on vacant stares.

At the bottom of this page are the setups we use on our bikes. 

 Heres a basic guide to setting up your bike 


Your motorbikes handling will improve quite noticeably just by having the tyres blown up. Col likes his tyres set to the manufacturers recommended pressures as it makes the bike feel light and quick to respond in the corners, where as I like my front tyre 5 psi down and the rear 2 down from the recommended pressures. This way I think the front grips and give more confidence in the corners and the back rolls from side to side better as it gives a larger contact spot. Jon always seems to have a flat middle section and rarely does anything to his tyres and Rich has not got any preference as of yet.

 Suspension Settings

Before you start do this:- Get a pen and paper and write down the settings you are currently using so at least if you like how your bike feels you can go back to that setup if your adjustments or messing's don't go to plan.
 The front adjustments are done on the front forks and the rear adjustments done at the rear shock.

 The Suspension has 3 adjustable parts:-
 Compression -
This is when the suspension first moves, such as when braking,accelerating or going over bumpy surfaces
 Rebound -
This is the movement when the spring has peaked and is returning to its usual position
 Preload -
This is how much the spring needs to be loaded before it can compress.
Preload (gold bit with hex head) rebound (flat screw part in middle of gold bit)
 Compression is a screw head at the bottom of each fork leg.

Rear Shock Preload (Threaded collar above spring), Compression screw head at top of picture,
Rebound (screw head below the spring at the bottom of the shock)

To adjust them, you will need a flat screwdriver and the rear preload spanner that comes in the kit with the bike.

 Front adjustments  
      Preload is normally determined by how many lines are on show at the top of each fork leg.
      Rebound and Compression are determined by how far from full in you turn the screw out (anti clockwise), eg. 1 and a quarter turns means turn the screw 360 degrees then a further 90 degrees.

Rear Adjustments
        Preload is determined by which position the lug is located in starting from the lowest (softest) position.
         Rebound and Compression are determined by how far from full in you turn the screw out (anti clockwise), eg. 1 and a quarter turns means turn the screw 360 degrees then a further 90 degrees.
 Some more modern bikes have clicks when you turn the adjusters so they may suggest 5 clicks out from full in, again anti clockwise.
 There is no one right or wrong setup, the default is closest to that as it has to suit a plethera of situations, however when making adjustments be aware that what suits you may not suit your mate, you may like the front to steer quickly where your mate may not, you may like the rear to dip as you accelerate but someone else will not. Also you may not be as heavy as your mate so it may be set perfectly for you but its no good for your mate, so theres lots to think about.

Do your home work before making any changes, you can learn lots from magazines and advice and opinions form the owners forums for your bike.
Remember, always take it slow for a few miles after making adjustments until your happy with the way the bike handles and be prepared for the bike to feel unpredictable if you didnt get things right.

  But when it is set just right your ride is sorted!

Our Bikes Settings

Bike  / Year                                Front                                                      Rear
                         Preload    Rebound    Compression Tyre      Preload    Rebound    Compression Tyre
Yamaha R1 '02'     2 lines   3/4 turns      1 turn          31psi      6th          3/4 turn       full in           42psi

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