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Desert Sled suspension settings.

44408 Views 72 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Javerhammar
Hi all.

Has anyone else tweaked their suspension settings?

OK I have not had the DS long and not that many miles but straight off I have found the front forks really hard and not compliant or confidence inspiring at all.

So after two days riding I thought that it was time to read the manual and start to play with the adjustable suspension...

Firstly, I am no expert.
The rear is pretty soft, not too much sag but nicely sprung and damped so I have left it alone for now. No "chicken strips" on the rear tyre so it must be doing its job ok. I was surprised to see this when I looked at the rear with so few miles on the clock and me taking it easy. ;)
The front.... Every bump, pot hole, drain cover was a torture. The roads around Surrey are sh1te so I can't avoid every little imperfection. It was actually a big reason for choosing this bike.
There was negligible sag on the front so I started by turning the front preload off a half turn which equals half a mm of preload, I will probably try another half turn in time. I think that it has helped but not a huge difference. Little steps work best...
I softened the compression two clicks and the rebound by one click during today's ride. Overall these changes have made a huge difference, it doesn't feel like riding a piece of 2 by 4 with no front springs anymore.
Anyway, it's great to be able to adjust it. For the record I weigh about 90kg (198 lb).

Oh, nearly forgot, I love this bike, great fun and a little bit of character. I must take some photos too but I just keep riding it.....
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True, but it automatically makes you ride in a different part of the shock's stroke.

Let's assume you don't have long legs, and you weigh 240lbs, then you'd bottom out too easily....
I weigh less than average...160 with gear on...so I need to make it softer...I won't be wearing full gear during the test ride...so I need to soften it.
In that case, you could be lucky. Try winding down the preload until the rider sag is about 25-30% of total available travel. Odds are you'll end up with the seat just low enough.

Make sure you adjust the front accordingly. You could even slide the forks a few mm's through the trees.
The spring's preload depends on your weight. Less weight less preload, (longer spring ).
But, with a correct adjustment, the seat height must be the same with 160 or 240 p.
The preload is not a "setting"; the spring always must work with the same elasticity coefficient and you need to adjust the preload to your weight in order to find the correct coefficient.
Settings are rebound and compression speeds, using the hydraulic controls.
You can find expensive shocks with bike's height adjustment, but I think they are fot professional use because changing height you change the weight distribution and that's a little bit dangerous.
I know that, but given the (progressive) rear spring the DS comes with, he could just be lucky.

How do I know this? When I adjusted the rear spring for my weight (185 lbs geared up) I noticed the spring left very little static sag (10mm) to get me to 50mm (=25%) dynamic sag. So with a lighter rider you could wind back the preload a bit to around 20mm static sag and still be at around 50-60mm dynamic sag. Could be just enough to get a foot down or get on the bike.

In my opinion the stock spring is too soft for any rider over 210lbs or so.
Thank you all. How do I wind back the preload? which direction do I turn? anti-clockwise or clockwise?
It's regular threaded. Unscrew the locknut 2 first, next you need to unscrew the preload collar 3. In my experience this goes best if you spray some WD-40 on the threads of the shock first, and then grab the spring itself and twist it in the right direction.

Once done tighten the locknut 2 back against the collar.

(this is in your manual btw)
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I'll add that a little bit goes a long ways. A 1/4 of a turn can be felt.

And you don't need to tighten the jamb nut very hard.
Your arse is better than mine when it comes to preload changes, but yes, it doesn't require much.
I don't have an owners manual. I will have to set the test ride bike.
One of the best moments in the riding life is reading the owners manual just after you bought the new bike...
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One of the best moments in the riding life is reading the owners manual just after you bought the new bike...
It does give it purpose for sure.

Some of these new manuals are crazy thick with endless config/setting options etc.

As you may have read, I needed to go back to the manual and even then ask for a bit of assistance from the good folks here about turning the ABS on/off. It's not too hard once you wade through it a couple times and realize the dwell time for pressing a button might vary.
Although mine came with a manual, I never touched it. Instead I use a PDF version of it, which makes searching for keywords much easier....
Thank you all. How do I wind back the preload? which direction do I turn? anti-clockwise or clockwise?

Clockcwise the springs gets shorter, more preload.
Anti-clockwise, longer, less preload.

For hydraulics, screw, you close the pipe, less hydraulic fluid speed.
Unscrew, you open the pipe, more speed.

In our DS, summarizing, (Rear suspension)
Preload, depends on your weight. When sitting on the motorcycle it should lower a little, but not in an exaggerated way. The spring must support the weight of the bike and yours.
Hydraulic (rebound), if you notice the rear wheel insecure when braking, open the hydraulic, if you notice bounces, close it.
Thank you, Pmedina. I read the manual and the pics helped. Winding clockwise is making it more tight so it gets shorter. going anticlockwise it expands...I will check the test ride bike rear preload and I will set it accordingly. I guess the special tool that is used to set it must be underneath the seat in the small tool bag.
I never used it tbh. Always afraid it will slip off cutting up your knuckels.

Instead, I unlock the locknut with a few gentle taps on a big screwdriver, and rotate the complete spring to change the preload.
After riding the bike for a while in different conditions and trying different settings here are what I've pretty much settled on for solo riding with minimal luggage, maybe just a tail bag with day ride stuff.
I've tried this in the dirt and various pavement conditions and it's about the best compromise I've found and seems to work well overall, at least for my tastes which leans towards the suspension working more not less, ie on the softer side vs stiffer. Obviously preload and the rest will change if running luggage or a passenger etc.

For reference I'm about 210 or so geared up.The bike has a little over 1,500 miles on it now.

Preload ~5.5 lines showing
Compression 13 clicks out
Rebound 13 clicks out

Rear shock
Preload measured from the shock body to the top ring 0.200" (~5mm)
Rebound 1.0 turns out.
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Thank you danketchpel for sharing your infos.
I tried your settings, and although the fork seems now softer when braking strong, the bike feels much more comfortable, and that is noticable at all speeds.
The homogeneity of front and rear is much better. When I "jump" on the seat, both react accordingly, whereas before the front would react with a delay, and not give in as much as the rear.
My settings were untouched, but way off yours, since I had 5 clicks out on both compression and rebound.
I'm probably taller than you, and 250 instead of your 210, so may be I'll try a little harder setting, since I mostly drive onroad.
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