Suspension and Springs

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The real key to suspension set-up is that you tailor the bike to you and your riding style and abilities. What works for one rider or racer may not work for you, so don't pay too much attention to the pub expert and his "perfect" suspension settings.

Your springs are your suspenders. Let all those hydraulics alone (by the moment). These only control your spring. if you have a too hard or soft spring for your weight or the springs are with wrong preload, you will be messing around with rebound, compression, oils... without results, thinking about "... 3 more clicks" instead riding your bike. So, lets go to adjust our springs.

Previous steps

First you need to put all the damping settings to minimum so the spring can fully extend without the damping holding back. However, take a note of your original settings.

Front end: Extend the fork completely and measure from the dust seal atop the slider to the bottom of the triple clamp, or front the front axle to the triple clamp. This measurement is FEB (front end basic). See photo

Rear end: Extend the suspension completely by getting the wheel off the ground. On our FJ, the bike can be carefully rocked up on the stand to unload the suspension. Measure the distance from the axle vertically to some point on the chassis. I have chosen the bottom of the helmet lock and the rear axle. Mark this reference point because you'll need to refer to it again. This measurement is REB (rear end basic). If the measurement is not exactly vertical the sag numbers will be inaccurate (too low).

Setting static sag

You need to see how much the bike settles under its own weight. This is the basic static sag. 

Now let the bike back down, bounce the front and rear ends a couple of times to let it settle and measure again.

Front end: This measurement is FESS (front end static sag). Ok, get the difference between FEB - FESS. This is your front static sag

For a road bike you should look for 30 to 40 mm

For a race bike you should look for 15 to 25 mm

Rear end: This measurement is RESS (rear end static sag). Get the difference between REB - RESS. This is your rear static sag

For a road bike you should look for 15 to 25 mm

For a race bike you should look for 5 to 10 mm

Setting rider sag

This time you will need someone to steady the bike while you get on board and someone else to take the measurements

Bounce the front and rear ends on the footpegs a few times. Allow the bike to settle with you adopting your normal riding position. Don't hold the front brake on while doing this, as it will stop the bike from setting fully.

Now repeat the measuring for both the front and rear taking the figure away from the base measurement.

Front end: This measurement is FERS (front end rider sag). Get the difference between FEB - FERS. This is your front rider sag

For a road bike you should look for 35 to 50 mm

For a race bike you should look for 25 to 35 mm

Rear end: This measurement is RERS (rear end rider sag). Get the difference between REB - RERS. This is your rear rider sag

For a road bike you should look for 30 to 45 mm

For a race bike you should look for 20 to 25 mm

Conclusion

If you can't get in the rider range, then the springs needs changing:

- If you can get in the static range but outside the rider range (i.e. over 50mm front and 45 mm rear, road settings) the spring is too soft

- If you can get in the static range but inside the rider range (i.e. under 35mm front and 30 mm rear, road settings) the spring is too hard

Once you have got into these ranges, or as near as possible, it's time to put your lid on again an go and ride. Previously, set your compression adjustment knob at 1/3 from maximum force (normally screw out from fully in)  more or less and your rebound adjuster to 2/3 from maximum damping force. These are basic hydraulic settings. Go and ride. How you know your springs are setting well, you have only to adjust the hydraulics to your tastes. Go step by step, changing only 1 thing each time (i.e., 2 rebound clicks more or less only, without touching compression at the same time), and go and ride again.

Luggage and passenger: adjust the rider sag with passenger and carriage fully in.

Take a good ride