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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've lurked for a while but this is my first post. The information here is great and thank you all in advance for any advice that may be given.

Just FYI I have ridden for many years (59yo) and am a MSF Rider Coach (#167382). Currently have an FJR and the Sled. I had a Multitrada and KTM 1190 but this is my first smaller 'naked' dirt rated bike and I'm lovin it. Plus I simply love Ducati's :)

I would like to ask some general input on what a good Sled suspension setting would be for my type of riding. I know this is a loaded question but I would at least like to get to a good starting suspension setting if possible please.

Here is info that I'm assuming would help:

- Bike is 100% stock other than crash bars and other engine / frame protection options.
- I'm 180lbs , 6' even
- Riding is 90% in the Smoky Mountain switchbacks of which a good amount is on fire service roads. The other 10% is urban street riding here in Knoxville. So I could be categorized as a fire service road ADV type (for now). Typical route is Knoxville > Mountains > Knoxville (rinse, lather, repeat).
- Riding is with little to no cargo except the occasional camping stuff. Nothing aggressive unless the fire road gets squirrely or I take a wrong turn (happens more to me as I have the affinity for maps and no GPS........my mind is changing though as I end up in the middle of Appalachian dead ends !)

I think that's about it and should give a good idea of where I am at. In the meantime I will poke around in the manual and see what it says but actual Sled rider input would be more relevant in my opinion :)

Could you all provide some suggested 'starting' suspension settings based on the above info?

Thanks much !
 

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Wish I could help as it takes guts to come out of hiding only to have your first post met with crickets. Regrettably I don't have a DS and the only "settings" I will change on my Icon will be to replace the entire rear (and possibly front) suspensions entirely.

Hopefully one of the experts will weight in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wish I could help as it takes guts to come out of hiding only to have your first post met with crickets. Regrettably I don't have a DS and the only "settings" I will change on my Icon will be to replace the entire rear (and possibly front) suspensions entirely.

Hopefully one of the experts will weight in.
No worries, I realized that it was a loaded question (little suspension humor there). Fortunately I was at the Honda rider education center last week and was given some good education regarding SAG. Sometimes it’s good to get real life input from experienced riders of a specific model.

I had a great ride on some awesome trails in the southern smokys over the weekend. People really like to comment on how good looking the DS is even when it’s all full of mud :)

I’ll crawl back to my lurking corner now . There is a lot of good info on this board.
 

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Have you looked in the owner's manual that shows the offroad setting suggestions? I would start there and then experiment for your own personal preference on what feels good. I set my Sled to the Ducati suggested offroad settings, and added a little extra preload to the rear spring. The bike honestly feels better on road to me using the offroad settings, but it certainly handles the forest roads, dirt and gravel that I ride on just fine with my current settings.
 

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wolfpackpaul that took most of the harshness out of the front? Which tire pressures are you running? I ride solo only (~190 lbs geared up) and found tire pressures over 34 PSI front and rear make the ride notably harsher.... I'm keeping them between 32 and 34psi.

I got my bike back from the dealer once with 40psi front and rear, and oh man, I thought my forks were broken...
 

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I'm in Arizona, so lower tire pressures are typically recommended out here anyways. Obviously, the Sled isn't a dirt bike but that said, it can do some pretty surprising stuff. I was honestly shocked (no pun intended) when I went riding through Tonto National Forest in March (see below for google photos of the road I took). The bike got me in and out of there and never at one point did I feel like I was thrashing it too hard or that it couldn't do the job. I learned a lot about the bike and my riding from that trip. I have considered doing that triple tree solid washer mod, but I don't know if that will actually make it worse for off-roading. I could upgrade the front shocks....or I could consider a totally separate dedicated offroad bike (read: dirtbike). You have to take it all with what the Desert Sled really is. It's an on-road motorcycle that's made to look offroad and has dual sport tires, and really can push the limits of what a motorcycle can do. But the limitations become apparent quickly to folks looking for more. I'm still going to enjoy riding the bike offroad because I have fun on it, and it looks cool, and people don't expect to see it doing things that it probably shouldn't be doing lol

While a lot of the road was hardpacked dirt and looked like this. . . :


. . . .There were sections that looked like this:


And this:


And it did me just fine. The larger, loose rocks is where I begin to get a bit uncomfortable.
 

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The Sled is my first go around with Ducati. I found the factory settings to be much too firm, almost harsh. The good news is that the suspension did respond well to adjustment. Try making small adjustments until you find your comfort zone. It didn't take long once I started tinkering to get things set up nicely. We are all different heights, different weights and we all have our own style of riding. It makes sense that each of us have different suspension requirements.
 

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For off road use, first set the springs (fork and rear) to match your weight, but as long as possible within the manual measures.
Then, compression, soft, very soft.
But It's a road bike, and i love It.
 

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Here's the settings I'm currently running. For reference I'm 5' 9" about 200 - 210lbs geared up and prefer a more "working" suspension. I have run my Sled off-road a few times and it feels harsh, much of that is the stock tires and kinda heavy wheels. The stock tires are rather low profile and the sidewalls don't give very much, even with lowered air pressure. I run no more than 30 psi on pavement and in the dirt closer to 20 psi. I plan to change my tires to a taller/narrower profile soon. I will go 150/70 rear and 110/80 front. The taller sidewalls should help with tire give, plus it will lighten up the feel of the bike. The wide tires aren't helping matters at all, style over function here.



My settings for the forks;
Preload approx 5.5 lines showing on the adjustor
Compression 13 clicks out (if doing fairly rough off-road, I'd back that out some more, maybe 14-15)
Rebound 13 clicks out (same if rough off-road back this off to 14 at least)

Rear shock;
Preload measured from the top ring to the step on the shock body 0.200" I haven't taken a sag measurement, but it's probably around 2.5 - 3" or so
Rebound 1.0 to 1.1 turns out (no clicks) You can go a little more off-road but it starts to pogo pretty quickly if you get near 1.5 turns out. It's a pretty sensitive adjustment.

A big part of the problem in the rear is the wind on the spring is goofy. There's a short section of very soft, then almost no transition to the straight rate which is rather stiff. So you blow through the initial soft section almost just sitting on the bike, then you bump right into the hard section very quickly, there's almost no progression to it. You can feel the transition just bouncing up and down a bit while stationary.

Please post back what settings you find to work well for you.
 

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You say 15 clicks out , but my DS only goes 13 1/2 rounds out. i finally took all preload out of the rear to get some up and down and not seem to jump off the ground. i think I have 6 lines showing in the front
 

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Did you try the settings as per the manual to start with? Especially damping? If you close the rebound too far the bike won’t even come back up (front or rear).
 

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I understand what you are saying Max, but my rear spring is just stubborn about breaking in. i got so pissed that I almost traded it in on a 2014 BMW GS800 adv.. But as you know when trading you loose your ass and I hope if I keep this bike long enough it may hold it valve better than a BMW. So i got rid of all the preload and now the rear has a little floation to it.
 

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Every time a suspension question comes up I chime in with my 6 penerth . I know quite a bit about suspension and so do others on this forum. None of us will be able to tell you how to set it up as it’s very subjective. I don’t do my own anymore as for very little money an expert will set it up for you and it will be like chalk and cheese.
Leave it to the pros.
 
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