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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a lightweight (55kg -> 121 lbs) and definitely find the suspension bloody hard over any bumps - if I happen to run over an ant I feel it. Went around a corner the other day and just about nutted meself on a dip in the road.

How do I soften the suspension just a tad? Is it via the preload on the rear spring? And how? Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but I've never had a super-sports before, only sports-tourers and didn't have this problem. Next question is how is this going to affect handling. I love the handling, but if I hit a bump the bike gets very unsettled.


Red 2002 ZX-6R 636
It's not the speed that kills, it's the sudden stop...
 

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It's not a stupid question at all... I know people who are afraid to ask suspension questions and since they don't know, they ride a bike that isn't set up well AT ALL...

However, I recommend you do some reading of your manual or search the web a little bit for a quick read on how suspension "works". The main terms you will need to know are REBOUND, COMPRESSION, PRELOAD and DAMPING (and possibly sag, which is kinda self-explanatory). Tuning your suspension to your weight and riding style will only make your bike handle BETTER for you, so don't be afraid to play around.

"Preloading" the shock (ie/ increasing initial tension on the spring) will push it down further into its stroke in order to set "sag" to the proper amount (and more advanced- enter a different portion of the progressive stroke of the suspension)...

"Damping" "Rebound" and "Compression" are all related. Picture your forks absorbing a ride over a speed bump in the road. The sudden force on the forks forces them to "compress", and internals of the fork then counteract this force and cause them to "rebound". Think of the up stroke as compression (forks compress) and the down stroke as rebound. Damping is the control you have over the rates at which each of these occur.

Basically, it sounds like you're right, you need to soften up your compression a bit right now if bumps are jolting you that bad, but keep in mind that you want a balance for the overall riding you're doing - in other words don't make it mushy to absorb bumps on rough roads to the point it's at the expense of the canyon-carving you're doing this weekend. I'm ALWAYS tweaking and fiddling with mine to try to find the perfect mix. Rob Lee will probably have his dialed in like an art form, and make changes for track days instinctively.

Here's a guide that was posted on another forum I visit, kind of a simple troubleshooting guide for setting up your suspension:
http://www.ansusa.com/SuspensionGuide.htm

"Keep yer feet on the pegs and your right hand cranked."
 

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I'm a lightweight aswell.
I will try my best to be as detailed as possibly to help you out. This will be the easyest way to do it.
First warm up the suspension with a little ride. (Make sure you write down all your settings) Will start with the preload then you can get back to me and let me know how it feels. Your going to need two other people to help you out. Ask your friends to extend the front forks by pulling up on the clip-ons to the piont where it looks like the front wheel will come of the ground. Take a measurement from the top of the fork seal to the bottom of the triple clamp. Then get one friend to steedy the bike while you sit on it. Bounce the shocks a few times. Then get one friend to remeasure. I'm going to suggest that you have about 35mm of sag. Turn the preload collar (not the screw) on top of the front fork counter clock wise adding two rings of preload. Remeasure and adjust until you have a measurement of 35mm. The same goes for the rear shock. This time you are measuring from two other pionts which you can choose, but make sure you use the same points for both measurements. I might have missed something so if you have any questions let me know. Have fun.:D


www.bothendsup.com
 

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Beware I have known lightwieghts to soften compression settings so much that the suspension actualy bottoms out, giving the impression that it is to stiff.
Just something to be aware of if you have been playing with settings.

Confidence and Ability should not be Confused
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the assistance guys, very good info. I will try out your suggestion soon as I can muster a couple of mates to help out both ends up, and then I'll let you know the current settings.

Brian, the settings are currently factory, I haven't touched them since I bought the bike new 2 months ago. I only want to soften it just enough to get the bike to settle, not destroy the handling - otherwise I might as well have bought a tourer [:p]


Red 2002 ZX-6R 636
It's not the speed that kills, it's the sudden stop...
 

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For what it's worth, Kawasaki usually sets up the bike outta the crate for a "typical rider" of approx. 150 pounds... how 150 pounds is "typical" I have NO idea - they gotta come riding with my group of riding buddies I think... ;)

"Keep yer feet on the pegs and your right hand cranked."
 

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Kawi’s are notorious for there underachieving suspension. Even on the new 03' the cycleworld shootout the testers noted the bike's tendency to "buck" before & after the bump. Even with a kawi tech on hand to fine-tune the bike, it settled the bike better but was still noticeable. That was the main reason why the bike wasn’t #1 overall. The R6 took the honors.

My 2001 does the same thing no matter how much I test & tune. IM not about to alleviate the problem by shedding a grand or two to Öhlins for springs & shock absorber. Unless it’s a deal I can’t refuse.

I found this the other day. Maybe it will shed a little light for everyone.
http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/howto/suspensionadjust/


"Winning is not a sometime thing: it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do the right thing once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." - Vincent Thomas Lombardi
 

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150 pounds....hahah

add about 50 lbs for my group or riding buddies ;)

My Drinking Team Has a Racing Problem!
 

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Is the 150lb rider with or without gear? For the best results I read that the rider should adjust the suspension with all their riding gear to get the most accurate settings.


Hell was full...so I came back
Friends don't let friends drive Hondas
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Went for a ride in the mountains today, and frankly I think I'm happy to accept the rough ride on the less than perfect roads around town. The handling is just plain awesome when you get into the twisties!

:D


Red 2002 ZX-6R 636
It's not the speed that kills, it's the sudden stop...
 

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There ya go... sounds like you found your balance, but once you figure out how to fine tune it, a little tweaking here and there might only make it better... it's why they give you all the little knobs to play with ;)

"Keep yer feet on the pegs and your right hand cranked."
 

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Originally posted by jerky808

Kawi’s are notorious for there underachieving suspension. Even on the new 03' the cycleworld shootout the testers noted the bike's tendency to "buck" before & after the bump. Even with a kawi tech on hand to fine-tune the bike, it settled the bike better but was still noticeable. That was the main reason why the bike wasn’t #1 overall. The R6 took the honors.

My 2001 does the same thing no matter how much I test & tune. IM not about to alleviate the problem by shedding a grand or two to Öhlins for springs & shock absorber. Unless it’s a deal I can’t refuse.

I found this the other day. Maybe it will shed a little light for everyone.
http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/howto/suspensionadjust/


"Winning is not a sometime thing: it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do the right thing once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." - Vincent Thomas Lombardi

I changed the fork oil to 15wt in my 01...night and day difference...before I was maxed out on comp, rebound settings...now I'm about 1/2 thru the comp, and 3/4 way thru rebound...overall the bike handles way better, and believe it or not feels better riding down the road too
 

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HEY I GOT THE SAME BIKE AND THE SAME PROBLEM. BUT HERE IS THE SOLUTION. WELL SO I THINK. IF YOU LOOK NEAR THE SHOCK IN THE BACK YOULL SEE A LITTLE KNOB THAT LOOKS LIKE A SCREW. AND TO ONE SIDE IT HAS A "S" AND TO THE OTHER IT HAS A "H" AS YOU TURN WITH A SCREWDRIVER YOULL HEAR IT CLICK. GO TOWARDS THE "S" ONE CLICK AND RIDE IT. I ONLY HAD TO ADJUST THE BACK A LITTLE BIT.. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE FRONT FORK YOULL SEE IN THE TOP OF THE TWO FORK POSTS THE SAME SCREW ADJUST AS U NEED. THATS WHAT I DID.. HOPE IT HELPS
 

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Actually, there's TWO of those "thingy's" :D

The one on TOP is the compression damping adjuster, the one on the bottom is the rebound damping adjuster.

Read the guide link I posted above to understand how they both affect handling, because if you just set one out of whack with the other, your rear suspension may be surprisingly off... playing around with it is a good idea, just make sure you understand how the changes you're making are affecting the way your rear suspension is functioning...

"Keep yer feet on the pegs and your right hand cranked."
 

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dj,

The '03's have the compression on top and rebound damping on the bottom? Is that how it is with USD forks?

My J1 has compression damping adjustment on the fork leg and rebound adjustment on the top, the other way around. It's probably the same up to 2002?
 

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Poch, that post was specifically for the REAR end... regarding shock adjustments...

The FORKS have the rebound on top, the compression on the BOTTOM...

Sorry, I should have been clearer... I was answering to Alexdelapaz's post...

"Keep yer feet on the pegs and your right hand cranked."
 

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No worries, dj -- just got a sudden "Twilight Zone" feeling: you know, that episode where the guy wakes up and everyone is talking English, but the words all have different meanings.

Suspension fettling has been on my mind a lot lately, after I raised my J1's rear about 11 mm [}:)] -- taken me a few weeks and a few hundred kilometers of varied roads, but I think I finally have a set-up that works 90% of the time on the roads where I do my riding [^]

Found out that the "recommended settings" on sites like SportRider have more value on the track than the street, and given that Kawasaki suspensions are a bit on the stiff side, and I'm not a lightweight, called for less compression damping (to allow the wheels to better track the road variances) and more rebound damping as necessary (one click back at a time ...) to smooth out a ride that starts out bouncy.

Took me a while, but the readings and the on-road experience -- resulting in dialed-in settings -- give additional confidence that the bike is totally for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hmm, went for another ride on the weekend on a different, rougher road. Definitely going to start playing I think, was very uncomfortable and the bike was bouncing me off the seat.

Seems to me to be too much compression both front and rear based on the article you posted DJ. Read my manual, know how to adjust rebound and compression now. How much do people suggest turning the adjustment screws each time before going for a ride and testing it? 1/2 a turn? 1/4 a turn?


Red 2002 ZX-6R 636



It's not the speed that kills, it's the sudden stop...
 
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