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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have a favorite rear suspension setting (stock) when loaded up pretty good with camping gear for a few days? I know trial and error and personal preference etc... but I haven't messed much with the pre-load on the rear shock, and I am gonna load it up pretty good for a short 3 day trip this weekend and just wanna hear what you all have to say about it...
 

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Well, some real helpful information would be a guess at the amount of weight you plan on carrying. Also, which generation bike [Gen I or Gen II], any suspension modifications, or is it factory stock? What type of terrain do you anticipate riding in? All of this would play a factor for me in shock adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Probably about 300 lbs total including me. Suspension is stock and I have a 2009. I'll be travelling mostly backroads of Gifford Pinchot National forest in Washington, with some FS roads thrown in as well. In short, not much if any, super slab.
 

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jlmoore-

That's about the same amount of weight that I ride with.

In short, I found the stock shock inadequate.

My setting was 5 on the preload. I set the rebound by riding on washboard. The rebound was adjusted until the shock started to pack up, then backed off a bit. A shock packs up when the rebound will not allow the shock to return to length after a bump. The sensation is that, as you go over washboard, the bike sits down in the rear.

That was about the best I could do with the stock unit.

I'm convinced that Clysdales such us us should have the Moab shock built for our needs.the Progessive 465 is now out and reputed to be better than the company's previous offering, the 420, but I have no experience with it.

Tom
 
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jlmoore-

That's about the same amount of weight that I ride with.

In short, I found the stock shock inadequate.

My setting was 5 on the preload. I set the rebound by riding on washboard. The rebound was adjusted until the shock started to pack up, then backed off a bit. A shock packs up when the rebound will not allow the shock to return to length after a bump. The sensation is that, as you go over washboard, the bike sits down in the rear.

That was about the best I could do with the stock unit.

I'm convinced that Clysdales such us us should have the Moab shock built for our needs.the Progessive 465 is now out and reputed to be better than the company's previous offering, the 420, but I have no experience with it.

Tom
Tom, would you give a step by step to adjusting both settings on the shock? I know a few folks that are nervous about messing with the settings, as there were some adjuster failures in the early Gen II models, if I understand correctly.

I'd like to throw this into the mix also:

http://www.topgunmotorcycles.com/KLR_springs/klrsprings.html

I have been around these springs on Gen I bikes, and have noticed a huge improvement. I do not know how well they do on Gen II set ups. For the Gen I bike, it is a great improvement for a low amount of money.

Top Gun motorcycles sets up rally bikes and RTW, SA and other long distance multi-surface motorcycles. Their goal seems to be more along the lines of reliability over high performance and high maintenance.
 
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Yes, some words on that might be a good thing.

On all KLRs the preload adjustment is done by turning an eccentric cam via a 12mm bolt at the top of the shock. The cam has 5 settings, 1 being the least amount of preload, and 5 the most. There are markings on the top of the shock body and the eccentric cover’s edge will line up with the marking that denotes the setting.

Now, on the Gen1 KLRs we were advised to turn the adjustment only in a clockwise direction, proceeding from 1 through 5 and back to 1. The ramping on the eccentric was, apparently, such that undue force was required to go backwards. When the adjustment was taken from 5 to 1 there was a loud ‘bang!’ as the preload was released from the highest setting to the lowest setting. It scares a lot of people, but does no harm.

On the Gen2 bikes the shock was changed for an (allegedly) more robust unit. The eccentric was changed as well, though it is unclear why Kawasaki couldn’t have left well enough alone. The early Gen2 units had a tendency to break during adjustment. It was fixed under warranty, but was a real bummer. Later in production the thing was changed and the reports of breakage seemed to have faded away. At one point I tried to poll people as to the color of the adjustment nut to try and determine if the color of the nut indicated the production change. There were black nuts and white nuts. Never did figure it out conclusively.

Also on the Gen2s, we’re now told that we can rotate the nut in either the clockwise or counter clockwise direction, indicating that the ramping configuration of the eccentric has been changed to allow that.

On my stock Gen2 shock, I sprayed some chain lube into the top of the adjustment mechanism to lube the eccentric to help prevent possible breakage. It didn’t seem to hurt and may have helped, so seems a good idea.

Here’s a video that makes it pretty clear – it’s on a 2006, but the process is the same on the Gen2s:

The rebound adjustment on the Gen2s is different from the Gen1. The Gen1 shocks had a dial dealie-bob up under a plastic cover. On the Gen2 it is a dial dealie-bob down low on the shock, on the clevis.

Now, ‘rebound’ adjustment is actually incorrect. The adjustment affects rebound and compression, so it is actually a ‘dampening’ adjustment.

On the Gen1 bikes, this adjustment was a 5-click thing. On the Gen2 it is stepless. The dampening adjustment is simple on the Gen2, because it is easy to get to and it is not covered up.

Essentially, you adjust the dampening until you are happy. There’s not a lot of science to it, since it affects both directions of shock travel. For me, finding a heavily wash-boarded road and decreasing the dampening until the shock packed up, then adding more dampening in was the best I could do. Frankly, I cannot remember if the dampening is increased by going clockwise or counter-clockwise. It should be fairly evident, though, by adjusting it way to one extreme, then bouncing the bike, then going to the other extreme and bouncing the bike. For the terribly clever, it's also in the manual, which I don't have at my elbow as I write this.

Here’s a picture of the KLR shock, and wouldn’t ya know it, it’s the only one I have and the dampener adjustment is on the other side. Look for it on the right hand side of the bike, on the lower clevis.



I once said that everything I know about motorcycle suspension could fit in this space > |_|.

That is still true…

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the great info VA and Tom. For all the stuff I read about motorcycles, I am still one of those folks who don't know the difference between pre-load, rebound or dampening (sp?). The video was very helpful. So just to clarify for me, what does the dampening adjustment do again? Is it vary how fast the shock returns to its normal pre-load adjusted setting? Also, what do you mean the shock "packed up"?
 

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Does anyone have a favorite rear suspension setting (stock) when loaded up pretty good with camping gear for a few days? I know trial and error and personal preference etc... but I haven't messed much with the pre-load on the rear shock, and I am gonna load it up pretty good for a short 3 day trip this weekend and just wanna hear what you all have to say about it...
I made "insert" pcs for coil shock,,made out of coil shock insert pcs for cars that you can get at auto parts store. No more sqash and sinking at rear when you get on it. Put in 2 per side,,evenly spaced. Cost: 4$
 

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jlmoore-

Yes, dampening controls how fast the shock returns to it's original length. In truth, the fluid inside the shock, and the orifices it goes through, dampens the action if the spring. Without that the spring would just boing up and down until its own internal friction stopped it.
The dampening adjust ment controls how fast it is allowed to return to length.
Now, imagine if you set the dampening to be very slow, or perhaps 'stiff' is a way to describe it. If you were to ride the bike over a washboard surface the shock would compress when you hit a bump. With the dampening set to stiff or slow, the shock could not extend after you had passed the bump, so it is compressed when you hit the next bump. The shock would compress a bit more. Rinse, lather, repeat until the spring rate won't let the shock compress further. In other words, it has stopped working. That's a 'packed up' shock. The sensation would be, as you ride over the first few bumps, that the rear of the bike has sat down. Sort of like a dog that has a poo stuck to its butt, and it's dragging its ass across the carpet to wipe it off.

Tom
 

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There is a bit more I should add, and then I think we shall have exhausted my knowledge of rear suspension.
I mentioned earlier that I found the stock shock inadequate.
The reason for that was setting the static sag at the rear. For proper suspension performance, the rear sag should be set at about 30% of the suspension travel. If the bike has, say, 9 inches of travel in the rear, then the suspension have settled (compressed) 3 inches when you and all your stuff is sitting on the bike.
With the stock shock at a pre-load of 5, mine was compressed more than that.
The Moab shock cured that.

Tom
 

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I think I may be reading something wrong or my idea of how it works is wrong, are you softening up the dampeners or tightening it up? The way I read it sounds like your going softer but I was thinking more snap would make for better traction?
 

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Red Burrito -

In the above, where I describe how to induce packing up in a shock, I am talking about firming up, tightening up, slowing the damping, making it stiffer, whatever description works for ya. The opposite of soft.

In setting up my suspension, I got it to the point where it packed up, then soften up the rebound a bit so it wouldn't pack.

I think we're agreeing - it's set as stiff as it can be without packing up.

The thing I have to express a note of caution on - I did it that way because I really don't know any better.

Tom
 

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Coolio thank you Tom! I tend to over think things and if I am not looking at it in action I will end up confusing myself. I will for sure give this a try since I will be doing everything else to it this weekend.
 

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Over the years, I have put the stock shock on it's tightest settings and just left it like that for it's entire service life. (both preload and damping)


Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaap
 

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This is a good thread and I'm doing my best to try to understand it. I'm going to adjust my sag in the rear of my gen 1 with a cogent moab. I understand the gen 1 rear travel is 9.1 inches and I want almost exactly 3 inches of sag. However, my bike has eagle mike raising links (the RL1). Does this have any effect on the numbers I need to calculate to get the ideal sag?
 

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IMO, No. You still want about 30% sag.
 
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IMO, No. You still want about 30% sag.
Thanks again fro your insight and help, Mr. Westman! I have a couple more questions. If you or anyone knows I'd appreciate the help!

When adjusting the cogent shock preload collar, should the rear wheel be off the ground? I adjusted it a little last summer and the stiction I encountered when the wheel was on the ground was a little worrying, I wasn't sure if I was harming the threads by doing it that way.

Also, I use the raising links because I use the KLR as a camping platform and usually carry quite a bit of gear. Plus, I'm 220 lbs. I have the cogent moab adventure shock which means it doesn't have adjustabe damping. Last year I was tearing up a steep hill with washboard gravel and the rear tire wasn't hooking up as well as I'd like. Granted, I didn't have my sag set perfectly, just by feel. Which I'm going to remedy now with adjusting the sag to spec.

My question is, would the raising links have a detrimental effect on rebound damping or the bikes ability to stay planted on terrain like that? If I understand correctly, the raising links REDUCE the amount of rear travel, correct? This year I have gone with a much lighter luggage system (dropped about 25 lbs from my loaded weight) and I'm thinking before I set the sag, maybe I should put on the stock links. The cogent shock does have the heavy duty spring. Any thoughts on doing that?
 

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Good questions that I don't really have definitive answers to!

I think lowering links consume available shock absorber travel Quicker, so Rising Links may Increase total rear axle travel, marginally.

I'll suggest that one should clean & dry shock threads and then lube with WD-40 or the like. And elevate the rear wheel when attempting to re-adjust pre-load.

In the grand scheme of things, it is what ever feels good to your butt and handlebars, not the measured inches of sag.
 
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Thanks again fro your insight and help, Mr. Westman! I have a couple more questions. If you or anyone knows I'd appreciate the help!

When adjusting the cogent shock preload collar, should the rear wheel be off the ground? I adjusted it a little last summer and the stiction I encountered when the wheel was on the ground was a little worrying, I wasn't sure if I was harming the threads by doing it that way.

Also, I use the raising links because I use the KLR as a camping platform and usually carry quite a bit of gear. Plus, I'm 220 lbs. I have the cogent moab adventure shock which means it doesn't have adjustabe damping. Last year I was tearing up a steep hill with washboard gravel and the rear tire wasn't hooking up as well as I'd like. Granted, I didn't have my sag set perfectly, just by feel. Which I'm going to remedy now with adjusting the sag to spec.

My question is, would the raising links have a detrimental effect on rebound damping or the bikes ability to stay planted on terrain like that? If I understand correctly, the raising links REDUCE the amount of rear travel, correct? This year I have gone with a much lighter luggage system (dropped about 25 lbs from my loaded weight) and I'm thinking before I set the sag, maybe I should put on the stock links. The cogent shock does have the heavy duty spring. Any thoughts on doing that?
The shorter raising links decrease leverage on the shock, effectively increasing
both springrate and damping. The links move the suspension arc but have a negligeable effect on total suspension travel.

As far as the other questions; if it was me I'd probably use the raising links when fully loaded and the stock links when travelling light.....either that or get the adjustable Moab (and yes, raise the bike off the ground to make preload adjustments easier.....Cogent also has a needle bearing preload collar that helps)

...in any case, set your sag up for the load

Cheers,
Dave
 

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This is a good thread and I'm doing my best to try to understand it. I'm going to adjust my sag in the rear of my gen 1 with a cogent moab. I understand the gen 1 rear travel is 9.1 inches and I want almost exactly 3 inches of sag. However, my bike has eagle mike raising links (the RL1). Does this have any effect on the numbers I need to calculate to get the ideal sag?
Is the rise from the RL1 very noticeable? I was thinking about buying them for my bike, but wasn't sure about RL1 or RL2. I'm a big guy, so even without gear I sag the bike but I'm planning to do a top gun spring or something on the rear as well to help get that stuff dialed in. All that being said, with the OEM suspension and configuration I haven't had any issues off road or on the road. I just have a feeling it could be a lot better if I dialed it in a little more.
 
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