Suspension setting advice? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Suspension setting advice?

The front suspension of my '17 650 seems to be super-firm. I've already backed off the rear preload a couple of turns, and the rear seems better & fine now. But I have no idea how much, and on which adjustment, to tweak the fronts. My objective is a slightly softer ride. Most of my riding is on straightaways so twisty handling is NOT my priority. I weigh about 240. Any recommendations on how to tweak the front? TIA!

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'16 VW Golf R
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 05:16 AM
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You cannot change how soft is the spring by changing preload.
At 240, even with preload fully in, you are not topping. So if you think you have a softer ride, you are being fooled by placebo effect.

Same for the front, since there is no compression damping adjustment, only rebound damping. Lighter fork oil would reduce compression damping, but that's a couple hundreds $ job for undefined results (could end up being too fluid, and have to do the job twice...).

The crude test is to stand up on pegs and bounce hard while rolling. If you are not bottoming nor topping, it's a good start.
Then go find a speed bump somewhere and see how well you can absorb that.
This is by no means a good tune up, it only to detect if your preload is way out of spec.

I'm 220lbs with 30lbs luggage, and I find the factory on my '15 pretty good. Just added a bit of preload to limit bottoming actually.

Last edited by dddd; 08-12-2018 at 05:18 AM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 08:02 AM
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The front has 2 adjustments. I have to run out to work so I don't have time to look it up, but one side is compression and the other is rebound, at least on the 2015 model year. It made a noticeable difference for me, though I don't recall in which direction I changed it.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
The front has 2 adjustments. I have to run out to work so I don't have time to look it up, but one side is compression and the other is rebound, at least on the 2015 model year. It made a noticeable difference for me, though I don't recall in which direction I changed it.
I have 2015, and there is no compression adjustment.
it's rebound damping one side and preload the other, that's all.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I have 2015, and there is no compression adjustment.
it's rebound damping one side and preload the other, that's all.
dddd is RIGHT.... rebound damping right fork and preload the left.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 04:43 PM
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i know you have a '17, but if you're good in the garage, changing to a lighter fork oil (5w) and increasing the air gap a bit can make a big difference in ride comfort, even with the stock spring. then play with the preload (given your weight) to fully use your fork travel, and then your rebound damping. then dial in your rear shock. on my 2008, the front was harsh, but i didn't realize how bad it was until i made those changes. wish i had done it sooner. really compliant ride now. i weigh 160 lbs.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 04:17 PM
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The Owner's Manual for the '15 describes the left fork adjustment thusly:

"Turn the adjuster clockwise to increase spring preload and stiffen the suspension. Turn the adjuster counterclockwise to decrease spring preload and soften the suspension".

The table on page 133 describes the spring action as varying from "weak" to "strong", "soft" to "hard".

Without having a good mechanical diagram of the physical layout available, and only going by the words/table provided, the preload adjusts the firmness of the front suspension. I certainly notice much less dive when using the front brake with it adjusted a few turns stiffer.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
The Owner's Manual for the '15 describes the left fork adjustment thusly:

"Turn the adjuster clockwise to increase spring preload and stiffen the suspension. Turn the adjuster counterclockwise to decrease spring preload and soften the suspension".

The table on page 133 describes the spring action as varying from "weak" to "strong", "soft" to "hard".

Without having a good mechanical diagram of the physical layout available, and only going by the words/table provided, the preload adjusts the firmness of the front suspension. I certainly notice much less dive when using the front brake with it adjusted a few turns stiffer.
You know, I tripped over that in the early months. I 50% wished it could be also adjusting the compression damping, but the other 50% is that it would be a major annoyance if one couldn't change the preload without affecting the damping.

It would actually make more sense if the rebound and compression damping were joined instead, since a strong asymmetry in those damping would cause the front to either dive or rise upon repeated bumps.

Kawa specs are clear. Specs on some sites are wrong and claim rear shock rebound damping. Manual is subjectively and poorly describing the effect.

Anyhow, if the preload moves the spring down by 1/2 inch, the front dives less by 1/2 inch (unlike the rear preload where there is a mechanical multiplication of the displacement)

Last edited by dddd; 08-13-2018 at 05:24 PM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-30-2018, 08:23 AM
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Be sure to adjust sag first.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-30-2018, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CochiseKev View Post
The front suspension of my '17 650 seems to be super-firm. I've already backed off the rear preload a couple of turns, and the rear seems better & fine now. But I have no idea how much, and on which adjustment, to tweak the fronts. My objective is a slightly softer ride. Most of my riding is on straightaways so twisty handling is NOT my priority. I weigh about 240. Any recommendations on how to tweak the front? TIA!
I weigh 290 and it was firm at first for me as well. Adjust your preload front and rear for sag (grab a friend) and then adjust your rebound damping on the right front fork. Mine had to little damping at stock settings causing the front to "kick" back over sharp bumps, increasing damping fixed that. It's still firm but not harsh. You can't hurt anything by adjusting and can just turn it back to baseline settings in the manual and restart at any time.

This is the ONLY bike I've ever purchased that wasn't too soft from the factory.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-30-2018, 12:48 PM
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Here are a FEW "How-to's" for suspension set-up:

setting ‘sag’


setting “rebound” damping

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=jj2BRE0Unck

setting “compression” and “rebound” damping


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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 06:28 AM
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Unhappy Bouncy ride after adjusting front

Bouncy rear suspension after adjusting front suspension and rebound damping

Hell, this is not nice

My bike: V-650 2018.

My weight: 110kg/240lb.

My usage: mainly commuting but sole vehicle so allround transport.


Previous settings:

At around 800km, before the 1000km service, my mechanic helped me adjust

rear suspension.
Result:
Rear Preload: +14 clicks clockwise.

I attempted several settings of the front with final setting feeling good.
Had the settings at:
Front Preload: +16 turns (towards H) (out of total 24 IIRC)
Front Rebound damping: +3.25 (clockwise) (out of total 4 IIRC)

Although the rear suspension started to feel awfully bouncy also over bumps
but mostly during cornering up/down road interchanges (at 30-60 km/h).


I reduced the rear preload by 2 to +12 - no improvement.

Then suddenly I had a lightbulb moment - reduce front damping to factory

settings.

My reasoning: if the front shock doesn't re-extend quick enough, the down
movement in the front is putting my weight towards the front and reducing at
the back, thus letting the back shock and spring extend but then the spring
wants to return after extending and visa versa - bouncy effect.
My reasoning may be wrong and I may be talking total crap, though.

Current settings:
Front:
Preload: +16 turns (towards H) (out of total 24 IIRC)
Rebound damping: +2.5 (clockwise)
Rear:
Preload: +13 clicks clockwise.

Feels a lot better now. Need to further test. Later today.


I'll be back...
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 07:00 AM
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As in the title , something is wrong, wait!! Now one post is duplicate and needs deleting.NP
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 07:06 AM
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test work in progress

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Checked to see if regular members can see a moderated post; NO they can't
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 08:35 AM
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that intermediate message was too quick. just managed to catch that my post will not be published...therefore reposted. NP mates.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CochiseKev View Post
The front suspension of my '17 650 seems to be super-firm. I've already backed off the rear preload a couple of turns, and the rear seems better & fine now. But I have no idea how much, and on which adjustment, to tweak the fronts. My objective is a slightly softer ride. Most of my riding is on straightaways so twisty handling is NOT my priority. I weigh about 240. Any recommendations on how to tweak the front? TIA!
A quick look at a parts finder, it looks like the 17 has the same forks as my 15.

So your options are few. The fast tweak is preload and rebound damping adjustments, which you have already done.

The more involved route would be a softer spring and or lighter fork oil.

I find it interesting that the front is too firm for your liking. I am a bit lighter than you at 190 pound riding weight and found my front to be too soft and under dampened. I increased the preload a couple of turns to get proper ride height and also went with heavier oil. I think stock fork oil is 5 wt or 7.5 wt. Initially tried 20 wt but that was overkill. The sweet spot turned out to be using 10 wt fork oil.

Good luck in your search for the plush ride.

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 12:51 PM
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Smile Re: Bouncy ride after adjusting front

Just came back from a test ride.
I am feeling a considerable improvement.
It is a public holiday, so the roads to work are relatively free of traffic.
Tried the usual route and voila! - a great improvement and reduction in rear bouncyness. Felt this both on bumpy straight riding asphalt road and the 260 degree better condition asphalt interchange turn off.

My conclusion based on this case - there is a correlation between increased fork rebound damping and rear bounce effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackrobinson View Post
Bouncy rear suspension after adjusting front suspension and rebound damping

Current settings:
Front:
Preload: +16 turns (towards H) (out of total 24 IIRC)
Rebound damping: +2.5 (clockwise)
Rear:
Preload: +13 clicks clockwise.

Feels a lot better now. Need to further test. Later today.


I'll be back...
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 01:09 PM
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MY suspension(s)

Both my '08 and '15 V650s have R1 shocks (13.8 kg/mm springs), while the fronts are 'running' ATF in the forks (I've done this on every bike I've had since doing that on my 'enduro' bikes, back in the '70s). I weigh ABOUT 200 pounds when ATGATT (180 'soaking wet'), and I've NEVER had 'bouncing', and I've ridden MANY different types of terrain.


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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-11-2018, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkerjet View Post
A quick look at a parts finder, it looks like the 17 has the same forks as my 15.

So your options are few. The fast tweak is preload and rebound damping adjustments, which you have already done.

The more involved route would be a softer spring and or lighter fork oil.

I find it interesting that the front is too firm for your liking. I am a bit lighter than you at 190 pound riding weight and found my front to be too soft and under dampened. I increased the preload a couple of turns to get proper ride height and also went with heavier oil. I think stock fork oil is 5 wt or 7.5 wt. Initially tried 20 wt but that was overkill. The sweet spot turned out to be using 10 wt fork oil.

Good luck in your search for the plush ride.
We probably ride a lot harder than the OP, living in places with plenty of twisty roads and just deal with the stiffer ride on the straight stuff.

I'm 270 and even I don't run full stiff on anything, but the V650 is a fairly stiffly sprung bike.

I run 5 turns out (out of 14) and 4 clicks (out of 7) rebound on the front and position 5 (of 7) and 4 clicks (of 7) rebound on the back on my 2009. With the rear preload at position 4 (the default) I was bottoming the rear shock on some bumps. These settings give good control and feedback, while being just plush enough that bumpy corners don't upset the bike.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-11-2018, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mrvwbug View Post
We probably ride a lot harder than the OP, living in places with plenty of twisty roads and just deal with the stiffer ride on the straight stuff.

I'm 270 and even I don't run full stiff on anything, but the V650 is a fairly stiffly sprung bike.

I run 5 turns out (out of 14) and 4 clicks (out of 7) rebound on the front and position 5 (of 7) and 4 clicks (of 7) rebound on the back on my 2009. With the rear preload at position 4 (the default) I was bottoming the rear shock on some bumps. These settings give good control and feedback, while being just plush enough that bumpy corners don't upset the bike.
I had to change the rear shock as it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over sprung for my weight. Went with a Nitron and it is perfect.

Front forks preload is right in the middle and rebound is about a half a turn out from all the way turned in. 10 wt oil really helped too.

Cookin Wid Gas

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