Finally got it!
April 8, 2011 at 5:43 am #29455
That would be Barry of KFG, right? If so, he’s a great guy, though I can’t speak to his presentation abilities.
If you really want to work on your own suspension, so be it. I’ve actually found that, given the amount of time I want to put into it, it’s too dangerous to try messing with it myself. There are so many variables in setting suspension that, even with a solid understanding of theory and a clear sense of what the bike is doing “wrong,” I’ve only ever managed to make things worse. Ha! For people like me, a $40 set-up from Barry is waaaaaaaay better an investment that hours and hours screwing up your suspension.
I guess it’s worth noting that if by adjusting your suspension you just meant setting your sag, that’s a deterministic process you can obviously do without paying anybody. Beyond that, it gets real tricky real fast.
Like you suggest, if you really want to figure suspension out (not that I have), the pros tell me you just have to spend hours and hours riding, then tweaking, then riding, then tweaking, then riding, all to develop a good sense of exactly what a given combination of settings means on your bike.April 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm #29456
I can imagine a BMW focused suspension seminar being something less then totally useful for many, BMW motivation would be slightly bias to developing consumer interest in their unique suspension design concepts with monoshock front ends and paralever shaft drive having little relavence to mainstream motorcycle applications.
When I get my MV I thought about imposing on a friend for free assistance with the suspension set-up, but strangely I’m having slight reservations over watching my brand new F3 being ridden to it’s limit by a top racer
I agree with eternal that suspension changes are something that requires experience through experimentation. I would like to post a few pointers that almost anyone might find useful, but best to initiate a new thread for a lengthy discussion on suspension modification.April 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm #29457
Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Since I know very little about suspensions, my post will be fairly short.
Almost all bikes come with a back shock adjustable for preload- how stiff the spring is when you are sitting on the bike. Adjust it stiffer for more weight on the bike or for faster cornering, but the bike will be bouncier on bumps and less comfortable for smooth straight pavement. If the preload is set too low, the back shock will bottom out sooner on big bumps, and the bike will wallow through turns and feel less stable. I experimented with my back shock preload, and a middle setting was best for my 200 pounds, and a higher setting would be best for a big passenger added for a long trip. A 100 pound rider would probably be best off with one of the lower settings for normal street use. My back shock came from the dealership set at 2, with 1 the lowest and 7 the highest- this setting is probably best for a person weighing about 150 pounds. I moved it to 4, a compromise between comfort and better cornering.
Most bikes are greatly improved by having an expert rebuild the back shock or shocks, or getting a newer used shock from someone with a sportier bike, when they replaced their stock back shock before it wore out for track days. Here is one company that rebuilds back shocks:
The front forks on a cheap bike have no adjustments. For more weight on the bike, you can buy stiffer springs, add spacers to compress the stock springs more, or add heavier and more fork oil. I used the cheapest and easiest method, more and heavier fork oil, after my bike had 2,000 miles on it and the new springs started to sag more. A bike with preload adjustment for the front forks can have the sag set, but all of the sag and damping adjustments will vary depending on a rider’s style- pros have a range of settings that are typical, and it is up to the individual to do any fine tuning for more comfort or more speed in corners.April 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm #29458
If my guess is correct, it was not a BMW employee giving the talk, but a visiting suspension expert given an opportunity to use the dealership as a venue (obviously with the intention of attracting BMW clients as well). All I mean is that I’m guessing that the suspension info was not in any way tailored towards BMW motorcycles.April 9, 2011 at 12:29 am #29460
…wish I could attend.April 9, 2011 at 6:03 am #29463
You are correct. Ride West BMW here in Seattle has many such events, nothing to do with BMW but all to do with getting bodies in the door and building a “family” feeling. They are pretty good at it and I have good feelings towards them even though it may be some time before I’m ready to buy a bike from them. Can’t say I have the same feelings towards the Kawasaki place I actually bought my bike from. This place (if not BMW in general, I’m not sure) certainly has a handle on the “social” aspect of business.
And to answer your earlier question, yes it was KMG who did the talk. Not sure who exactly was speaking but he was a local racer who learned about suspension through racing at Pacific Raceways.
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