It sounds like you are talking about 2 different adjustments.... preload using the shock collar and rebound using the clicker
Preload = Adjusting the spring collar using the spanner wrench. If you look at the collar, there are "steps" that work to compress or "preload" the spring. Preload adjusts the ride height of the rear end which can effect the handling of the bike. In theory adding preload should not make the ride more firm... but I'm not so sure on the Versys... I think the stock spring may be a bit progressive and adding preload does seem to make the ride more harsh. (insert: R1 shock upgrade here... *grin)
Rebound = Adjusting the rebound on the shock (i think that is the only adjustment on the stock shock) effects how quickly the shock returns after compressing. Not enough rebound and the shock might "pogo" and bounce the seat up on a sharp hit (basically returns in an uncontrolled fashion). To much rebound and the wheel can lose contact with the ground by not dropping down fast enough after a sharp hit or packup on successive hits.... I think this also makes the ride harsh because the bike "falls" back to the ground abruptly instead of easing back down on the spring.
I adjust the stock shock rebound to the factory settings and leave it, then adjust the preload based on how much weight I'm carrying to keep the tail of the bike up and steering sharp. The stock shock will always be harsh which is why many of us have swapped over to the R1 shock or an aftermarket shock.
As always, YMMV, I'm not a suspension guru but I have pulled apart and reshimmed the suspension on both my KLX250S and Versys and am happy with how they ride (so I'm not a total noob...lol)
'08 Versys.. Givi rear rack, JCW trunk and E21's, Givi shield, Madstad bracket, Speedy peg and mirror brackets, lowering kit, SC Seat, R1 Shock.. other stuff. '09 KLX250 setup for singletrack. 2011 Xterra, '80 CJ-7
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Last edited by abramsgunner; 05-24-2018 at 10:51 AM.