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Suspension Setup

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  • Suspension Setup


    I have been riding for years now but I have never had the adjustability in the suspension dept as I do on my 02 TLR. I want to have detailed information on what feeling is changed by what adjuster. ie if I adjust the compression dampening what does that feel like and what should it feel like.

    Please help me get my bike dialed in and I will be a happy guy.

    thanks to all in advance
    I'm so slow I think I'm first!!!!!!!

  • #2
    Here's an idea for suspension from SportRider mag...


    • #3
      This one's got some pretty good stuff if I remember correctly.
      Bye Bye Tiller


      • #4
        Steve and Tillerboy!

        Great links!!
        TL1000R -99. Yellow/Black.
        M4 Full system(Alu), K&N Filter, TRE mod, removed Pair valve. Yoshimura clutch cover, removed Scissor gears, Carbon fibre hugger, carbon fibre rearhugger, HammerIt TLR/R fairings, Gilles Toolings rearset. Pazzo racing levers, shorties, Íhlins rear, Brembo front brakes, ET79 undertail, blah blah blah...


        • #5

          I checked the settings they suggested:

          TL1000R ('98) 10/98 8 lines showing 4 clicks out 8 clicks out 1.25 in. sag stiff fulll soft
          TL1000R ('98) 12/98 2 lines showing 4 clicks out 8 clicks out 1.25 in. sag stiff 6 clicks out
          TL1000R ('00) 6/00 5 lines showing 7 clicks out 10 clicks out 5mm thread showing 5 clicks out 21 clicks out
          TL1000R ('00) 10/00 1 line showing 2 clicks out 10 clicks out 17mm from top of spring to top thread 5 clicks out fulll soft
          note: set fork tube height to 13mm above top triple clamp, with Dunlop

          Ehmm, maybeeeee, IM stupid or what.
          But, the settings are very different, and still no comment on the them. So, which one to use? And when?

          (I have Jamies "Road" at the moment, tho, it fells a bit soft in the front sometimes)
          TL1000R -99. Yellow/Black.
          M4 Full system(Alu), K&N Filter, TRE mod, removed Pair valve. Yoshimura clutch cover, removed Scissor gears, Carbon fibre hugger, carbon fibre rearhugger, HammerIt TLR/R fairings, Gilles Toolings rearset. Pazzo racing levers, shorties, Íhlins rear, Brembo front brakes, ET79 undertail, blah blah blah...


          • #6
            Try running some CBR 954 front springs at .95 They are a direct fit. That will tighten up the front for ya.


            • #7
              Spring Rates...


              Spring rates you should run are dependent on how much you weigh as you are looking for certain amount of rider sag (& also within a range for free or static sag). That's why I have serious issues with most glossy magazine articles I have read over the years. I know you have a TLR, but I understand that the R's are also weakly sprung with the S models very weakly sprung.

              How can these magazine guys recommend where to set the spring preload if this setting COMPLETELY depends on your rider's weight (& what spring rates you are running if you get new springs)? Sorry folks, this is not rocket science but it is also not voodoo, "one size fits all & we have found the sweet spot for you" crap either. There are good sources for what spring rates you should run, Racetech, Lindemann Engineering are but a few of the many out there. Without knowing your weight in full riding gear these guys have NO business telling you where to set your spring preload. To make matters worse, without knowing your weight they suggest dropping the clamps (or raising the fork tubes in the clamps). The TLS is weakly sprung (even at my 150 lbs) & dropping the front end down & putting more weight on it while reducing the trail is just absurd. That will make it steer a little quicker but will make the front end very unstable especially if your springs are way too soft to begin with. I tried this kind of stuff when I first started running the TL on the track & I developed a very scary front end weave while traveling in a straight line down Willow Springs front straight. The more I leaned my body up & over the tank the more controllable the weave became & the front end started to "feel" planted. So I figured keep dropping the front down like the "know it all's" said or lift up the rear end higher to do the same thing (to try to settle down the front end). This only made matters worse. The bike handled like a high speed pogo stick & scared the crap out of me through high speed turns fully leaned over (like the very fast & ripply turn 8). And people were passing me on the outside while I hung on for dear life!!!

              Finally hooked up with a club racer who owns a TLS, someone who knew what they were talking about. He guided me though the process & taught me a lot (thanks Dave D.) He told me first get the right rider sag dialed in & then start playing "a little bit" with geometry if after setting up the compression & rebound you can't iron out some of the problems at speed. Getting the proper springs first, then setting up the rider sag with a friend helping you make the measurements is a VERY critical first step.

              The Sportbike magazine writers are pretty cool & actually are pretty good riders (I have ridden in close proximity with them at both Willow Springs & the California Speedway) but their suspension advice is virtually useless as it is basically flawed. What really bothers me though as I have talked to a few of them while working the pregrid @ the Cal Speedway is that THEY KNOW BETTER yet still insist on publishing this stuff!!! Why? 'Cause those that are looking for answers gobble this stuff up as I did before I was steered in the right direction. Call Lindemann Engineering or Race Tech & they will tell you what rider sag numbers to use & will assist you with comp & rebound settings / advice. That's what they do for a living & they are damn good at it. And no, they are not just trying to make a buck by selling you stuff you don't need.

              Race Tech includes a very good info sheet on how to properly measure sag that they include with the sets of fork springs they ship out. It points out the importance of getting the "average" of the sag numbers in order to properly set the spring preload correctly. Most magazine articles I've seen instruct you to "bounce" the suspension up & down & let it settle before checking sag numbers. This is also a no - no as it doesn't take account the amount of stiction in your forks & you have no idea what position the bouncing is allowing the front end to settle in. The stiction in my TLS forks was 11mm which is fairly typical I have heard. So if you don't use the following technique when measuring rider sag your settings will be off by around plus or minus 6mm or so depending on your suspension's stiction!! Race Tech recommends lifting up the front of the bike & then slowly setting it down (with the rider sitting on the bike) & having the person who lifted up the bike measure the resulting sag. Then the guy measuring the sag should push down on the front end of the bike (with the rider again sitting on the bike, both feet on the pegs) a few times & let the front end settle back up again slowly. Remeasuring the resulting sag & averaging the two numbers will give you "true" sag numbers. And of course dial out all the compression & rebound damping before doing this so they don't distort your measurements. On my S model I set my front rider sag to 30% of total travel (which on my forks was 119mm of travel so rider's sag was set at 35mm) & 4mm of rear "free or static sag" or right around 30mm of rider sag. These figures are within Race Tech's recommendations. If you want a guide to set compression & rebound damping using your particular bike let me know & I'll post it as well (note: this also depends on what wt. fork fluid your bike has in it & in what shape/how old your fork fluid is so just giving setting numbers from maximum is a little vague & inaccurate).

              No, I'm not a "know-it-all" I've just have had the luxury of having been coached by some pretty knowledgeable people who have taught me some pretty cool stuff...
              Last edited by Gerhard; 10-29-2003, 06:52 AM.
              Thieves, Liars, Thieves, Liars - Inside, Outside, Whichside We Don't Know!


              • #8
                marry me
                Jack DeAndrade
                Bad Karma Racing


                • #9
                  How Merry are you??

                  te, he, he, he !!!!!!!
                  Thieves, Liars, Thieves, Liars - Inside, Outside, Whichside We Don't Know!


                  • #10
                    it was pretty funny


                    • #11

                      thanks for the input. I like what you are saying here and I am interested in your experiences. I am also interested in seeing the guide to set the different settings for my bike. I have a new 2002 TLR with 1900 +/- miles on it at this point.

                      Also can you explain what you feel when you adjust compression dampening, rebound dampening, and spring preload?

                      I just dont know what to expect or feel when I change them. and if I do what should good feel like.

                      I know this is a hard question but I dont know how to get the right answers.

                      anybody else please chime in if you have input.

                      Oh yeah I will be away tomorrow so I wont see this until Friday.

                      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
                      I'm so slow I think I'm first!!!!!!!


                      • #12
                        Suspension set up

                        If you want you can shoot me a PM email with a mailing address & I'll send you out a copy of the Race Tech inforrmation sheet. It tells you how to set your sag & has a graph outlining the proper spring rates given total weight of the bike + rider. Most of this "how to set sag" stuff is available somewhere online but I have found the Race Tech sheets to be particularly helpful.


                        Maybe why this information is at a premium because people can earn money using their particular techniques. Also I witnessed my buddy get flamed away ad nauseum after "starting" to post this stuff on an email list a few years back. His attitude became "why friggin' bother to try to help people with this." My friend & fellow TLS owner/WSMC roadracer taught me this stuff & as a Fastrack Rider's staff I have helped a few TL riders set up their bikes at Willow Springs & the California Speedway successfully using this info. And yes, your mileage may vary.

                        After playing around with tearing down the front forks a few times I like the feel the 15wt oil has that I am now running on the non-revalved forks. At 175 lbs with full riding gear I am running 85 kg springs. Though I used the below techniques with the stock fluid in there & it gave me some good results.

                        Regarding the compression & rebound set up info I can walk you through this as well but it is very important to set the sag on your bike first & get it into the range recommended. Otherwise the stuff below will get you results that will not work. TL's are weakly sprung & the factory sets them up with lots of compression damping to make up for this. If you don't set the sag first (& go & buy new springs if the old ones don't get you within the recommended sag range) & set your bike up this way it will bounce & jerk around even more than it does already as the springs are not really doing their job right.

                        AFTER you set sag front & rear you can use these techniques for setting comp & rebound which work great on a race track & work well on the street with adding a little more comp & rebound to them. First record where your settings are at now. Click in (clockwise) maximum comp & rebound settings to find out how many clicks or turns you were out from maximum to start with. Now dial out ALL comp & rebound from both the front & rear suspension = no comp or rebound dialed in.

                        After doing so sit on the bike & hold the front brake lever on & bounce the front suspension up & down by pressing on the front brake & leaning your weight over the bike. Do this a few times & rest & then do it again. By doing this you are trying to get a feel for what the front end does with zero compression damping dialed in. Do this enough times so you can remember the feel. Then added compression damping (1/4 or 1/2 turns, but probably 1/4 turns is better) at a time & keep doing the above exercise. Right when you feel the front end "slowing down" your pumping it down you have found the point where the suspension is starting to add comp damping to your suspension. This setting point depends on fork oil levels, how fresh your fluid is & what weight fork oil you are running. As you do this record the number of turns you moved the adjuster in. This number is important as you will want to replicate what you just did to really see if you were feeling extra resistance to your pushing or if you were just getting tired doing it!
                        To replicate this (when you think you've found that spot) turn the comp adjuster clockwise & count the number of turns until it stops. That's the number of turns from maximum your comp kicks in at. Record that number. Then go back & dial out the number of turns from minimum see what the bike front end feels like & go back to the setting where you felt the comp kick in & see if it is indeed kicking in. This may take a few times & depends on your level of feel or if you are getting tired. Hang in there this is usefull info.

                        If you have indeed found that spot this is a very good baseline for running the bike at race speeds (where the suspension needs to keep that tire on the road as much as possible for it to handle right). For most street riding this setting may feel a little strange & feel a little harsh so I encourage you to add 1/4 or 1/2 turns of comp damping to make the ride more "plush." If you take the bike up in the mountains for a good flogging though you have a good setting to set it back down to. I ended up running the track settings on the street as I know what the bike is capable of with that track setting & feel more confident riding it that way on the street (even with a little less comfort).

                        To set the rear comp damping use the same technique as you did up front, but do so while sitting on the bike & bouncing up & down. Then I also double check my work by getting off the bike & putting it on the rear stand & checking for this point by pushing down on the rear seat. For me it's harder to get a feel for the rear suspension's comp damping to kick in so I do this both ways.

                        Once again record the number of clicks your at when the comp starts kicking in & just like the front suspension add one or two clicks from that number for general street riding purposes if you feel the need.

                        Rebound Damping: Do this after you find the comp setting numbers but do yourself a favor & back out the comp damping to minimum both front & rear prior to doing this. To get a feel for what no "additional" rebound damping is like dial out rebound to minimum, sit on the bike, press down the front brake & put your weight over the front end. Watch how the bike pops back up after you move your weight back. Do this a couple of times to remember how that feels. Now dial in rebound damping one or two clicks at a time & do the above again. What you want the suspension to do is lift back up "SLOWLY" when you get your weight back off of it. The suspension should take about a second to pop back up (count "one thousand one") & when it does it should come up all the way & NOT settle back down. If it does settle back down keep adding more rebound as you haven't gotten enough in yet. Play with this for awhile & go a little more rebound if you think you have found this "right" spot to double check your work.

                        On the rear suspension I like to do this while standing next to the bike with the bike on a sturdy centerstand. Once again record your numbers as you go & when you have found this "sweet spot" you have found a good baseline with which to go up or down with. For the street I used to run one click more rebound front & rear from this number and depending on track conditions run right at this "sweet spot" number or one sometimes even two clicks less rebound on the front end.

                        And just like I said on my first post these numbers will change even on the same bike over time as the suspension fluid deteriorates & picks up contaminants. Each bike is different so when articles give you "these are the numbers I've found & they will work for all TL's" it is just B.S. That's why you get the differences in numbers in the chart for the different year's bikes. It's like the authors got the story half right but didn't know the correlation between what was causing the numbers to be different. Saying that it is just year dependent is an easy cop out for them, something they would have found out was wrong if they retested the same year bike a year later. From my understanding the forks over these years are the SAME units, no different valving or fluid changes occured.

                        I'm pretty good at figuring out when the bike has too much rebound dialed in, less good at when it has too much or too little compression damping. That's probably due to the bike handling very well with those comp damping settings @ the tracks I ride at. Rebound settings seem to be way more sensitive so I'm dialing more in or less in depending on conditions. I ride my 97' TLS regularly at Willow Springs & the Cal Speedway & found the best place to give me feedback on rebound is the high speed & ripply turn 8 @ Willow. You enter the turn at around 130 mph & right after you get it leaned over you hit a series of relatively small bumps or ripples. The front end always protests a little over these guys but can hold a line pretty well when the rebound is set right. When there is too much rebound the bike's suspension just starts to oscillate & results in a weave that makes you drift to the outside of the turn. This is due to the bike running over a bump or two, the suspension compresses over the first bump but does not snap back in time before hitting bump 2 & 3. Some people call this packing down, but for my purposes it is easier to feel the bike weaving & then not wanting to hold a line & drifting wide (this happens BEFORE the exit of the turn mind you). When I feel this come on I head into the pits & back out one click of rebound off the front & head back out. Usually this cures the problem, but when it is cold out there or very windy it requires two clicks less rebound to cure the problem. Then the bike just tracks through the ripples; yes the front end moves around on you but it holds the line without feeling like it's weaving.

                        Regarding comp damping settings: If you have too much comp damping the bike will want to run wide at the exits of turns. This can only be figured out after your sag is set as too weak springs or having too much sag will give you the same result. I have no problem with the TL doing this after setting up the suspension like I outlined.

                        Hope this helps, YMMV & flame away if you feel an overwhelming need...

                        So. Cali

                        Last edited by Gerhard; 10-31-2003, 08:20 AM.
                        Thieves, Liars, Thieves, Liars - Inside, Outside, Whichside We Don't Know!


                        • #13
                          I thought my TLR handled perfect. Heck I haven't even touched the settings at all. But I don't see any track time so for the street mine is perfect. Better than my '89 Katana, which feels a lot like a big fluffy couch.

                          So Gerhard, you want a son?
                          Don't know how it works? Take it apart and find out!


                          Here's how it sounds.


                          • #14

                            It's definitely a step up from a Kat. When I first started playing with my TLS front suspension the cartridge forks felt so much stiffer than the conventional forks I was used to I thought they were just fine. There was so much compression damping though I thought the springs were probably too stiff. Took me quite a long time & hooking up with the right people to find out they were too soft!
                            Yes, for the most part the stock set up & settings will do just fine on the street. Most people I know end up riding these bikes harder than that & that's when the bike starts doing weird things. Some when they get to that point give up & buy a gsxr & complain TL's are not good bikes to ride hard. I was close to that point when I hooked up with the people who steered me straight. One thing you will find though if you set the rider sag properly front & rear and then the front & rear of the bike are in "balance" is that the bike will steer quicker, fall into turns & hold a line. I used to like setting up street bikes softer up front & firmer in the rear which is comfy on the street. But even at street speeds this will bike will feel strange when turning or moving in & out of freeway lanes compared to a bike that has the proper springs on it & they are set up with the proper sag.

                            Naw, I don't need a son, thanks. I just had a rather nasty tumble at the Califonia Speedway back in March & flew into an unprotected steel guardrail leg first at speed. I suffered multiple, serious lower leg breaks that have not been healing very well among with several sprains & dislocations. No riding since then & I'm suffering from withdrawl symptoms. Yes, I was out in the garage riding the wheelchair working on the TL a few weeks after getting out of the hospital. So I have been out of work since then & have plenty of time on my hands to write up this stuff. TL is heading out to HyperCycle for frame work & then I will slap it all together...

                            Hanging out on the hot pit wall with my Fastrack Riders co-workers (cool gals)...
                            Thieves, Liars, Thieves, Liars - Inside, Outside, Whichside We Don't Know!


                            • #15
                              what settings would you use for a 208lb. old guy`s TLS?