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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I have a new 959 w/ 150 miles. Am I correct that the front spring rates are .90kg? Is the shock spring rate 78nm/8kg? Anyways, the front suspension seems overly harsh out of the box, even w/ the compression, rebound, and preload dialed all the way out (I weigh 145 lbs w/ gear). Do the forks take time to break in and soften up? The rear shock seems great and compliant right out of the box. Please let me know your experience. I felt like the demo I rode that had 7000 miles felt way more compliant in front. Hope it doesn't take that long.
 

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Yeah they take time to do their thing and break in... I'm waiting to hit about 1K miles before I even think about adjusting them. I'm at about 700 now...
 

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Hello. I have a new 959 w/ 150 miles. Am I correct that the front spring rates are .90kg? Is the shock spring rate 78nm/8kg? Anyways, the front suspension seems overly harsh out of the box, even w/ the compression, rebound, and preload dialed all the way out (I weigh 145 lbs w/ gear). Do the forks take time to break in and soften up? The rear shock seems great and compliant right out of the box. Please let me know your experience. I felt like the demo I rode that had 7000 miles felt way more compliant in front. Hope it doesn't take that long.
Hi, Flowbrook. I've heard of breaking-in an engine but this is the first time I've ever heard of breaking-in suspension components. If the suspension feels "different"without your intervention, then it's a warning. You didn't say that this was the case, so we'll have to look elsewhere. What are your settings versus the settings on the bike you demoed at the dealer? If you don't know, ask. This might solve all your problems, UNLESS your dealer didn't measure your sag or they did and this is the result. Then this may be the reason for the stiffer feeling. If you weigh 145 with gear, then you're going to have a stiffer ride set than a heavier person. Let's keep it simple and not get into a discussion of what suspension is and what it does (unless you want to :wink2:). Let's assume you have incorrect static sag (likely) and as a result, your compression damping is messed up (probably both front and rear). From your description, it sounds like you have excessive rebound and compression damping. With rebound damping, because the suspension is held down in the stroke, it can't rebound fast enough and each bump creates more compression until you lose traction. That would explain the harsh ride. With compression damping, the suspension causes the wheel to deflect off bumps on impact because there isn't enough resistance to movement. Again, this would account for your rough ride. Also, when I say bumps, I mean any irregularities in the road surface. These will cause problems like tank slappers, high sides, traction loss, inability to complete turns, etc. Just my 2 cents, but I's go back to your dealer and ask if your sag was checked (you'll know if it was - you'll have had to sit on the bike while the bike was held upright and measurements were taken). If not, go to another dealer. I'd also get my suspension at least looked at by a suspension professional, like Dan Kyle at Kyle Racing - Roadracing Motorcycles (Dan is one of the best in the business. He helped me set up my 1198, and spent just as much time getting me dialed in as he does with his pro customers) or your local RaceTech center RT Centers . Good luck! :smile2:
 
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Yeah they take time to do their thing and break in... I'm waiting to hit about 1K miles before I even think about adjusting them. I'm at about 700 now...
I think the suspension is stiff also but like you, will wait awhile before I adjust it. I'm at 700km right now. BTW, I just weighed myself at 165lbs and 180lbs with full riding gear.
 

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Mine feels pretty good but I weigh 220 lbs sans riding gear, so that's most likely the difference. As mentioned in a prior post, it's time to set your sag and dial in your suspension, preload, rebound and compression damping for your weight.
 

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Mine feels pretty good but I weigh 220 lbs sans riding gear, so that's most likely the difference. As mentioned in a prior post, it's time to set your sag and dial in your suspension, preload, rebound and compression damping for your weight.
Suspension tuning will be addressed during my first service coming-up within the next two weeks.
 

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I haven't heard much about the stock spring weight ratings on these bikes, but if you're unable to get it dialed in, you may want to look into getting softer fork springs. 145 lbs is probably on the light side for stock springs as mentioned above. What did you ride previous to getting this bike?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My last bike was a 2006 749 w/ 27000 miles. Not sure the front forks had ever been serviced. But it worked great for me with the super bumpy canyon carving roads right by my house. Even with the 749 being sprung w/ .90kg springs like the 959, I had the compression set at 11.5 from fully closed and rebound 6.5 from fully closed, and it felt great. To clarify, on the 959, w/ the preload all the way out, I can still get 36mm (rider + bike) sag which is pretty good. And the springs feel about right. They don't feel overly harsh. What I'm concerned about is the valving and/or shim stacks, because the valving seems a little harsh right out of the box, even w/ the compression and rebound dialed all the way out. Would the valving (or potentially any other moving parts that I don't know about) potentially loosen up? I'm thinking about just running the bike back and forth on some super bumpy roads to really just start breaking in the front forks. Otherwise, if 80% of time I'm just commuting as a daily driver, they may take forever to break in. I also have a zip tie attached to one fork and I have about 1.5 inches of fork left. How much fork should still be showing when it mechanically bottoms out? Thanks, Chris
 

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Does this resemble your situation?

 

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Discussion Starter #10
That looks like my situation. How come your bike has so much travel left? Is your bike new? How many miles? How much fork tube should still show when it bottoms out?
 

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That looks like my situation. How come your bike has so much travel left? Is your bike new? How many miles? How much fork tube should still show when it bottoms out?
Flowbrook - I posted this picture to get your response. It tells me a lot. This is a picture of a 2015 899 with the exact same forks. At the time, the bike had about 2K miles on it. I never did a thing to the suspension. It has that much travel left because I never encountered enough force to drive them closer to the bottom that day. Did you ever go back to your dealership and compare settings? If you didn't, you should have because you probably could have stopped right there. Who knows how much fork tube should be left showing? And why does it matter to you? Nobody knows the “should be left” answer for all bikes under all condition. For that matter, nobody knows the answer to that question as to the 959 because suspension tuning isn't a one-size-fits-all deal. It's all situation-dependent. Besides, your forks probably came with different settings on each tube, so each side would bottom differently. Again, it's all about force and how it's applied and that's personal to you - only you know how you want your suspension dialed in. Setting up suspension is not something that you can do based upon looking up something in a manual. It's as much an art as it is a science. There is no "right" answer on setup, it's very dependent upon what you're trying to get out of the bike. The only part that is fairly standard is setting the spring preload to compensate for the rider's weight, which is commonly referred to as "Setting the Sag". From your earlier posts, I don't believe you've ever done this, correctly at any rate. You HAVE to do this, and do it correctly before you even start to begin to think about mucking around with your suspension. You also said that you were running, or had run the compression, rebound, and preload dialed all the way out. I assume you meant fully closed. Never run any damping adjustment in the fully closed position, you should always be at minimum 1 click or 1/4 turn out, to avoid hydraulic locking of the circuit. This may have been happening to you, without going to full lock. Who knows? Not me and not you. So, from your last set of questions, IMHO : Q: What I'm concerned about is the valving and/or shim stacks, because the valving seems a little harsh right out of the box, even w/ the compression and rebound dialed all the way out. See hydraulic locking above. Would the valving (or potentially any other moving parts that I don't know about) potentially loosen up? A: No. If they did, then they wouldn’t suddenly stop loosening. They’d continue until the suspension no longer functioned. Why are you trying to change your suspension anyway? It sounds like you have no clue as to what you're doing, which is a great reason to not touch it! Oops, too late. Are you having problems with how the suspension performs and are trying to rectify those problems? You can really screw up your bike messing with suspension settings if you don't know what you're doing, so I'd suggest taking it to an expert and explaining your issues to them and have them sort it out. I promise I’m not trying to be a jerk here. I just want to see you get out of the rabbit hole that is suspension tuning. You’ll be there forever and not enjoying your bike! Just get it set up how you want it by an expert and don't worry about it, you're WAAAYYYYY overthinking this.
 

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Find a local suspension shop to properly setup your suspension to your weight. It'll make a big difference on how confident you feel on the bike. If you can't find anyone, go to a local track day around you, there will be for sure someone there who sets up or knows of a place to properly setup the suspension of your bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
First off, I weigh 145 pounds with gear. The maximum front sag I can get is 36mm w/ the preload all the way counterclockwise... Thus, I run the preload all the way counterclockwise because 36mm sounds like the minimum I'd want to be at for street sag (rider + gear). The sag and the spring rate aren't the issue (although I'd probably benefit in getting a bit more sag or compliance by throwing a .85 spring in one fork). The issue is that the forks are valved harsher than what I'm used to. That's why I have to run the rebound and compression all the out/open (counterclockwise) to make the bike even rideable for me. This isn't a track bike, it's a canyon carver. There are lots of bumps and quick turns where I ride in my county. It's easy for me to dial in a suspension w/ roads like this. However, on these forks, there is so much damping (even w/ the clickers all the way counterclockwise), that my bike pretty much plows over bumps rather than absorbs them. Who knows, maybe this particular bike is over sprung for me at .90kg? But on my 749 w/ even heavier spring rates (9nm / .917kg), I run the damping clickers right in the middle of their ranges (11.5c/6.5r) and the bikes feels amazing over uneven surfaces. Maybe it's just me? Maybe I'm used to really worn-in forks? My point it, if the damping on these forks isn't going to loosen up, I'm going to have to do something. Some people on this thread believe the damping on these forks will loosen up over time as they 'break-in'. If that's true, how much time? I can't be waiting around forever for the damping to soften up. Thus, I was thinking either my suspension guy can rework the shim stack for high-speed compression for my type of riding on these stock cartridges, or drop the oil level or oil weight, see the effect of dropping a .85 spring in one fork, or perhaps just go the NIX30 route as I'm sure that will yield a much more plush and compliant suspension than trying to mess and invest considerable money into the stock forks. If I go the NIX30 route, if my suspension guy thinks the shim stack 'out of the box' will work well for my riding style, great, if not, I'll have him tune the shim stack for my needs. And for the record, I'd probably be able to get my zip tie even lower on the fork however there is so much damping that it's inhibiting my springs from moving through it's full range. Does anyone know of any replacement drop in springs for these forks that come in .85kg or 8.5nm? Seems the lowest rate I can find is what's already in there. Open to constructive feedback. To summarize: 1) The sag is set correctly, 36mm front and 30mm rear. 2) Even with the rebound and compression all the way counterclockwise it still feels quite harsh. Thanks, Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The more I think about it, I could probably benefit from dropping the fork oil weight from 7.5w to 5w. Gives me the best of both worlds, lower high-speed dampening (which I absolutely want because high velocity bumps are overly jarring) and I'll probably be able to actually use my clickers for low-speed dampening rather than keep them fully opened counterclockwise. Seeing that I have about 28mm left of travel, I might switch from .90 forks springs to .85nm (.867 kg) in both forks. However, I suspect a simple change in fork oil weight contributing to decreased dampening may give me the extended (more plush) travel I'm looking for without having the need to switch to lighter springs. We'll see. Thanks.
 

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...I suspect a simple change in fork oil weight contributing to decreased dampening may give me the extended (more plush) travel I'm looking for without having the need to switch to lighter springs...
A quality suspension tuner should know the answer to that thought without putting a wrench to the bike. I know a quality guy in Greenwich, CT if you're in the area.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
For what it's worth, and with more experience, I now know that new, stock forks, don't just soften! While the spring rates were close to correct, the stock fork valving was just way to harsh and 'race-spec' to work for my street riding needs. I could've just had my suspension specialist tune those stock shim stacks, by trial and error, but I just figured it was easier to buy the Ohlins NIX30 cartridges where valve tuning (in case he didn't get it right the first time) would be a much easier process (time, energy, $ wise) to get it just perfect.
 

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The Showa forks are good units for OEM type. They are better than the Base model marzocchi ones (thou these are much lighter)

The Springs are pretty light and are setup for a tiny 85kg Italian. So if your heavier than this then you need to swap out springs for something heavier. I have Racetech 1.0kg springs as im come in just over 100kg with gear.
The OEM Shell 7.5w oil is get old very quick. I swaped out with Ohlins oil (22cst) and SKF green fork seals.
I didnt touch the shim stacks at the time.

I ride street and plenty of track days and while slow speed bumps it is a little "hard" I still can ride 500kms in one day and be ok. OEM comfort settings for everyday use, and I have a Race setting use for track days

Rear I have a 1299 base Sachs shock which has been re-valved and still has the OEM 90nm spring (thing the 959 is 85nm) form dyno readouts this is pretty much now the same as a ohlins TTx shock yet cost me a 3rd of a new Ohlins.

While it would be nice to have a full set of gold ohlins on bike, the OEM gear is pretty ok with some little mods. But this doesnt help at the local cafe.....
 
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