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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to start this thread to compare set ups and just talk about suspension in general. I know a bit about suspension but there is so much information out there, I am looking to pick up more from you guys who are knowledgable. If anyone wants to add their set up, please use as descriptive of a format as you can.

Rider info
Height:5' 11"
Weight: 140/155 in track gear

Set up
Ohlins NIX22 w/ .70 spring (recommended spring weight by ohlins)
Oil is the one recommended by ohlins, @130mm oil height
8 clicks of compression
12 clicks of rebound
7mm preload

With this set up, I feel there is not enough compression damping. It still dives quite a bit under regular braking. Will mess with it when I find the time.

I actually found the time to take some measurements and using a Total Control work sheet, came up with some pretty bad numbers.

Measuring from the bottom of the lower tree to top of dust seal, I got 150mm.
Measuring free sag, it sagged from 115mm to 126 pushed down/pulled up= 29mm free sag. This was alarming as my worksheet has the ideal free sag to be from 5-10mm. Something is not right here. I could add more compression but there is no way I will get that number down to 5-10mm

I measured rider sag at 150mm - 110mm= 40mm sag. I took another reading and was able to get 35mm of sag.

I have not messed with the back other than measuring an arbitrary number to see what the distance is between the axle and a fixed point. I have a K Tech shock being shipped to me from Computrackboston. Got it at quite a discount.

I'm really hoping a few suspension tuners can chime in. Not sure what is going on with my free sag numbers with the recommended spring rate and preload settings. Should I take the forks apart and throw in longer preload tubes?
 

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There are no magical numbers for optimum settings. It's very much based on preference however there are some known baselines/ball park values that people tend to start from. On most sport bikes, the typical sag that most people want to start with is 35-40mm for the front for street riding and 30-35mm for track riding. For rear sag it's usually 30-35 mm for street and 25-30 mm for track riding. Again, this may vary from bike to bike as well.

If you feel like your front end dives a lot when you're on the brakes, that likely means your springs are too soft. One thing that I should ask is...have you actually ever bottomed out the forks when braking hard? It would be interesting to see how far you are from bottoming out if you haven't, however I'm not even sure how to do it with standard non-inverted forks. These don't have a mark or edge on the outside that you know that's where it bottoms out at, so it'd be a bit harder to do when on most other sport bikes that have inverted forks. Usually if you get within about 10-15 mm from bottoming out, that's pretty good and you should just leave it alone. If you've bottomed out, then your forks are definitely too soft.

If you need just a bit of fine tuning, you can always add more compression damping and/or add a bit more oil in the forks (go in increments of 10 ml). But if it's more than just fine-tuning you might be better off going up in size on the spring rate. Then there's the addition of the shock and how that's setup. A dive on the front end can also happen as a result of having too stiff of a shock spring and too much rebound. It's usually best if both the front and rear are tuned at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
i was under the impression that the springs are actually too hard. Don't they need more preload? Yeah I know it seems backwards at first, but when the correct amount of preload is applied and the correct amount of free sag achieved, I believe the front will start to behave correctly.

I don't think I have bottomed the forks out. Only way I can figure if you bottomed out conventional forks is to see if the zip tie has moved the full 130mm up the inner fork tube.
 

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I think this is a 2, maybe 3 step process.

1. Make sure you get the springs right - no bottoming; use zipties (front) and nylon washer (for shock if it an aftermarket shock). Also, if possible, use a gopro to watch front and rear fork/suspension use. Ideally, you want to be mostly in the midrange of suspension travel.
2. Verify that damping (rebound and compression) are keeping the wheels in contact with the roads where you ride. Don't mess in this area until you get the spring right.
3. if needed and you cannot get #2 dialed in, make some changes back in step #1 , than back to step #2 2.

Some other Spring thoughts:

You have to clarify the statement the "springs are too hard". If you are not using the complete suspension travel (95% of available suspension range), then your spring rates maybe too high. In that case, you could go down a rate or shorten the preload spacer - don't add more preload via a longer preload spacer! If you do, you will only use less suspension. I would try less spacer length as that is cheaper (free really). Work in small changes, say 0.25" changes. note how much more suspension travel you are using after making a 0.25" preload spacer length change. If you still are not bottoming out after a 0.75" change, then your springs are too stiff (actually you might only be able to reduce 0.5" before there is no more preload on the spring), in that case, your spring rate is too high.

Now what I'm going to tell you goes against all that is out there concerning sag. The prevailing guidance is all about setting up proper sag front and rear. I feel it is more important in setting up your springs so you don't bottom out; that means you should be interested in the top end - not the bottom end (sag). Now, if you have the right spring rates, then setting the proper sag will keep you from bottoming out at the top end. But as some of you may know, you can add a lot of preload to set proper sag, but that does not mean you don't bottom out. this is why you have to check suspension travel use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm just trying to figure out why there is so much free sag with the recommended springs. Here's the handy dandy little sheet I filled out. I will redo everything when the weather gets better.

 

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How did you set the oil level when you replaced the springs? I see you used the 130mm fill height but how did you verify this? Did you completely disassemble the forks? Di dyou pump the forks after adding oil - then check fill height? You used the same procedure for both forks?

Tell us again what you mean by the statement: "i was under the impression that the springs are actually too hard"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
How did you set the oil level when you replaced the springs? I see you used the 130mm fill height but how did you verify this? Did you completely disassemble the forks? Di dyou pump the forks after adding oil - then check fill height? You used the same procedure for both forks?

Tell us again what you mean by the statement: "i was under the impression that the springs are actually too hard"
I pulled th forks, pumped it till the leaking oil seemed too boring to sit there and watch, so I left them upside down for about 30 minutes each. Came back to them and pumped some more. Both were filled using a motion pro oil level syringe. Both were pumped after filling, allowed to settle, and then some more. Ohlins recommends pumping 10 times. I allow it to settle and and probably pump 2-3 times more than recommended.

I feel like the forks may be too hard/stiff/whatever based off what the rcommendation of that sheet says, that if you have too much free sag, you may need to go to a lighter fork and use more preload instead.

Edit: syringe was used to measure, not actually fill lol. That would be torture, to fill fork legs with one of those.
 

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Personally I don't even pay much attention to the free sag. I care more about the total sag (with me on it). The numbers I gave you represent that. But, no if you're forks feel soft, and you get a lot of dive and the sag is pretty high that clearly indicates soft springs, not stiff.

If you haven't bottomed out under hard braking then you're probably fine as far as spring rate. The rest is mostly based on rider preference. Some people like a softer front end, others like a stiffer one. I've seen someone run only about 10-12 mm of rider sag on the front on his track bike and he was pretty fast, whereas most people use around 35 mm, give or take a bit. Like I said, there isn't a right and wrong for sag values, there are just some values that are known to be decent baselines and from there you can adjust based on your liking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Didn’t want to start a new suspension thread. I still have the k Tech after the rebuild but it’s been replaced with an ohlins for now. I didn’t have any raised ( or if there was, it went nearly as bad as this) edges with the nix22 front and K tech rear.

Nix 22 .7 spring
Compression: 6 clicks open
Rebound: 12 clicks open
Preload: 8 mm

K Tech Razor rr shock 185 nm spring
Compression: 10 clicks open
Rebound: 16 clicks open
Preload: 10 mm
—————————————————————
Factory recommendations
Ohlins ya467 190 nm spring
Compression: 12 open
Rebound: 12 open
Preload 5 mm




So with the new shock, I am getting raised leading edge on the tread. This indicates it’s its rebound is too slow according to

https://lifeatlean.com/motorcycle-tyre-wear-guide/

My question is, is this due to the new spring on the shock being heavier than the old spring and not allowing the front end to rebound as fast as before? Is that theory way off? Do I adjust rebound on forks, or mess with settings on the new shock?

Also, would you still run these tires on the track? 7000-7200ish kilometers, 13 track days and daily commuting. Plenty of meat left, and they were installed early 2017.
 

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Get slicks so you don't have to look and worry about those edges! :D

And yes by the looks of that one it looks like it still has a couple of days left in it for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Get slicks so you don't have to look and worry about those edges! :D

And yes by the looks of that one it looks like it still has a couple of days left in it for sure.
I still gotta commute though lol. That’s funny you mention that though. Do with slicks that don’t have tread, how would you know if your rebound is too fast or slow?

I’m asking about the life of the tires in the pic because Aufitt was surprised I had that many track days on them. I also don’t run nearly as hard as you racers. I shouldn’t have to worry about heat cycles on a street tire yeah? I have a spare set waiting to to be installed, bt I also don’t want to install those and only have them on for 3 months before the bike sits for literally 6 months while I am on deployment. Problem with that idea is if I don’t install them, they sit inside for about a year ( I bought them in December) lol. So, either sit inside the house uninstalled for a year, or get installed this weekend, see maybe 6 more trackdays, and every day commuting, then sit outside from mid-end of this year.
 

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I still gotta commute though lol. That’s funny you mention that though. Do with slicks that don’t have tread, how would you know if your rebound is too fast or slow?
By feel. It should always be by feel not by what the tire looks like. If you listen to Dave Moss where he talks about reading tires, he mentions that if you see those raised edges or the opposite, that doesn't necessarily mean you should make an adjustment, unless you're going for absolute best tire wear you can get, but best tire wear does not mean fastest lap times or best grip or best suspension setup. Sometimes you may have to sacrifice a bit more tire wear in order to improve the feel of the bike and to go faster.

I’m asking about the life of the tires in the pic because Aufitt was surprised I had that many track days on them. I also don’t run nearly as hard as you racers. I shouldn’t have to worry about heat cycles on a street tire yeah? I have a spare set waiting to to be installed, bt I also don’t want to install those and only have them on for 3 months before the bike sits for literally 6 months while I am on deployment. Problem with that idea is if I don’t install them, they sit inside for about a year ( I bought them in December) lol. So, either sit inside the house uninstalled for a year, or get installed this weekend, see maybe 6 more trackdays, and every day commuting, then sit outside from mid-end of this year.
That many miles on a street tire on an R3 at novice pace...not totally surprised. I remember a few years ago when I had a CBR600 with Q2 tires on, and I was at novice or slow intermediate pace, I got like 1500 street miles on them and like 7 or 8 track days, and they still had some rubber left. In 2016 on the ZX6R, when I was at my peak, I would go through a rear tire in just 2-3 track days. Aufitt is in a whole different league. He races at a national level and I think he mentioned he's only about 3 seconds off the lap record. At that pace, he's definitely going through tires way faster than us.

When/where are you getting deployed? If you can store the tires inside during that time, they'll be fine. During the winter when my bike sits for like 6-7 months, I usually just take the wheels off and throw them inside in a storage room.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
By feel. It should always be by feel not by what the tire looks like. If you listen to Dave Moss where he talks about reading tires, he mentions that if you see those raised edges or the opposite, that doesn't necessarily mean you should make an adjustment, unless you're going for absolute best tire wear you can get, but best tire wear does not mean fastest lap times or best grip or best suspension setup. Sometimes you may have to sacrifice a bit more tire wear in order to improve the feel of the bike and to go faster.



That many miles on a street tire on an R3 at novice pace...not totally surprised. I remember a few years ago when I had a CBR600 with Q2 tires on, and I was at novice or slow intermediate pace, I got like 1500 street miles on them and like 7 or 8 track days, and they still had some rubber left. In 2016 on the ZX6R, when I was at my peak, I would go through a rear tire in just 2-3 track days. Aufitt is in a whole different league. He races at a national level and I think he mentioned he's only about 3 seconds off the lap record. At that pace, he's definitely going through tires way faster than us.

When/where are you getting deployed? If you can store the tires inside during that time, they'll be fine. During the winter when my bike sits for like 6-7 months, I usually just take the wheels off and throw them inside in a storage room.
It’s going to be “our turn” mid this year. Deployment for us involves ballistic missle defense in the middle of the ocean.
 

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It’s going to be “our turn” mid this year. Deployment for us involves ballistic missle defense in the middle of the ocean.
Off topic but anyway slow day here:
We are house hunting in the Puerto Vallara, Jalisco area and last Friday we saw the USS San Diego #22 parked in the bay. A troop transport ship that can carry 800 Marines along with 5 or 6 helicopters. Very impressive. They came to PV on a friendly good will mission and some much needed vacation days. Lots of happy sailors in the streets along with the locals.


OK, back on topic "suspensions". Always select the proper spring rate first then proceed forward.
 

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Off topic but anyway slow day here:
We are house hunting in the Puerto Vallara, Jalisco area and last Friday we saw the USS San Diego #22 parked in the bay. A troop transport ship that can carry 800 Marines along with 5 or 6 helicopters. Very impressive. They came to PV on a friendly good will mission and some much needed vacation days. Lots of happy sailors in the streets along with the locals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-UdWDDccuQ

OK, back on topic "suspensions". Always select the proper spring rate first then proceed forward.
This forum could definitely use some more videos like that! >:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Off topic but anyway slow day here:
We are house hunting in the Puerto Vallara, Jalisco area and last Friday we saw the USS San Diego #22 parked in the bay. A troop transport ship that can carry 800 Marines along with 5 or 6 helicopters. Very impressive. They came to PV on a friendly good will mission and some much needed vacation days. Lots of happy sailors in the streets along with the locals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-UdWDDccuQ

OK, back on topic "suspensions". Always select the proper spring rate first then proceed forward.
She’s definitely got the correct spring rate.

@sbk: you trying to make this the wera forum?
 

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She’s definitely got the correct spring rate.

@sbk: you trying to make this the wera forum?
Maybe a little miniature version of it. It's never going to be on the same magnitude lol

.. but more damping. it bounces like a pogo stick. lol
Yeah needs, a few more "clicks" on the bra adjustment.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Anyone know where to purchase something like this?

https://www.shop.kyleusa.com/Ohlins-Shock-Spring-Changing-Tool-0624.htm

I have seen a few used on the Wera forums a while back but pretty rare. The Kyle racing one has been listed as out of stock for a while. I might have seen one by Ohlins a while back but can’t remember the site.

While I know it sounds like an expensive tool, I don’t have tools or the time to build a metal one, and those wooden ones you see in a google search look pretty crappy lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just finished changing out fork oil. Roughly 7000km, give or take a few hundred, along with 13 trackdays and this is where we are at. Forks look nice and shiny, but sadly my headers look like **** lol. I ended up breaking my oil measuring tools tip on accident lol. So yeah, where to get a shock compression tool? The cup shows how clear a new bottle of ohlins fork oil is.







 
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