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Old 06-03-2017, 11:18 PM   #1
kuksul08
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Fully adjustable suspension is a curse

You might think that fully adjustable suspension is a cool thing to have. Low and High speed compression, rebound, and spring preload. Lots of shiny anodized adjusters and 32 clicks of range. However I've found that it is actually a curse, and it comes down to a mental thing.

When I ride a bike with too many available adjustments, I constantly think about how to change them and what could need adjustment to fully optimize the setup. It's a never-ending game of clickers and tweaking things back and forth trying to achieve perfection on a variety of road surfaces.

However, with a non-adjustable bike, I must accept that the suspension is the way it is and learn to ride around it. That way, I am focusing on my riding techniques rather than the machine. It's somehow nicer...


I was reading a review on the S1000XR vs Multi and they said despite the Multi having 10 adjustable settings for all the suspension features and traction control, the BMW's 3 or 4 settings really simplified things and worked fine. Too many options, and it gets overwhelming... how do you know what is the best?

Anyone agree?
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:59 PM   #2
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I think it was Kenny Roberts who said that a bike with infinite adjustability just means that there is an infinite number of wrong settings.
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:05 AM   #3
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But having said that ,no I don't agree.
When I bought my Aprilia Futura it had only preload and rebound adjustments on both the forks and shock. Compliance was good but ultimate control was lacking. After I installed Preload/rebound/compression adjustable forks from a Falco and a Wilbers triple adjuster on the back, the bike was transformed. Comfort was still great but control was vastly improved. It did take a while to get it dialed in. I never got any great instruction on how to optimize the low speed circuit on the rear, but eventually I got a usable setting. Hopefully there is more written up on that now.
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:23 AM   #4
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It just means you shouldn't mess with it once a pro has set up your stuff correctly...
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:55 AM   #5
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It just means you shouldn't mess with it once a pro has set up your stuff correctly...
Then buy $$ customized components, not $$$$ fully adjustable components.






I can see where 3-4 electronic presets that you can select on the fly would be more useful than 1245000 possible combinations.
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Old 06-04-2017, 05:36 AM   #6
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... I've found that it is actually a curse...
I know what you are saying but I'd rather have the adjustments than not have them. Back a long long time ago, it was said the adjustment range went from bad to worse. My GSXS was WAY over sprung, I'm glad I was able to fix that with just a few turns of a wrench.

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It just means you shouldn't mess with it once a pro has set up your stuff correctly...
Unless that pro has fully instrumented your bike, you are still the test rider and you will need to learn to adjust the suspension yourself.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kuksul08 View Post
You might think that fully adjustable suspension is a cool thing to have. Low and High speed compression, rebound, and spring preload. Lots of shiny anodized adjusters and 32 clicks of range. However I've found that it is actually a curse, and it comes down to a mental thing.

When I ride a bike with too many available adjustments, I constantly think about how to change them and what could need adjustment to fully optimize the setup. It's a never-ending game of clickers and tweaking things back and forth trying to achieve perfection on a variety of road surfaces.

However, with a non-adjustable bike, I must accept that the suspension is the way it is and learn to ride around it. That way, I am focusing on my riding techniques rather than the machine. It's somehow nicer...


I was reading a review on the S1000XR vs Multi and they said despite the Multi having 10 adjustable settings for all the suspension features and traction control, the BMW's 3 or 4 settings really simplified things and worked fine. Too many options, and it gets overwhelming... how do you know what is the best?

Anyone agree?
Shades of "back in the day" eh'? Had to disassemple the forks/shocks to make adjustments =little changes that got you closer was REALLY appreciated. Make you really think about changes b4 u did it...

I somewhat agree on the new bikes w/huge-combos of adjustments; f/the newbs this could be difficult w/o help f/experienced people...
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:36 AM   #8
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When humans have more than 3 choices, they invariably make the wrong one. Scientifically proven fact.

I make sure I get my suspension set properly, and then I leave it. The only time I change the suspension is on my Triumph and that's when I have a pillion. And I have the settings written down for that, somewhere.

But, I've only had a few bikes with insanely adjustable suspension.

3 of the 4 bikes I own right now, only the rear is adjustable.


youtu.be/ZtzTyCKh5fY
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:43 AM   #9
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However, with a non-adjustable bike, I must accept that the suspension is the way it is and learn to ride around it. That way, I am focusing on my riding techniques rather than the machine. It's somehow nicer...
My sister-in-law learned to drive on a manual-transmission 1983 Volvo 240. She struggled with it, and struggled with it, and struggled with it. The car just would not take off from a stop smoothly, and she never knew what gear to be in, and was just generally having a horrible time of it. She thought she was a bad driver, and got really down on herself (and her bratty little sister mocking her didn't help). That is, until her mother drove the car. Turns out the clutch was fucked. She couldn't start smoothly because the clutch would slip-and-grab. She couldn't pick the right gear because the clutch would slip under load and mess up her senses for when to shift. Once the clutch got fixed, she spent another day re-learning how to drive, and never had a problem again.

What's the moral of this story? Learning how to compensate for poor equipment takes mental energy that you should be using to learn the mechanics of the activity. I prefer equipment that I can trust, and that gives me confidence. What's the difference between "shitty stock unadjustable suspension" and "nice suspension badly configured"? One can be tweaked and tested...
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kuksul08 View Post
I was reading a review on the S1000XR vs Multi and they said despite the Multi having 10 adjustable settings for all the suspension features and traction control, the BMW's 3 or 4 settings really simplified things and worked fine. Too many options, and it gets overwhelming... how do you know what is the best?

Anyone agree?
No.

As far as suspension, I get setup help from someone like Dave Moss then rarely have to touch anything. If I do make an adjustment, it's usually a minor change.

My SuperDuke, like the S1000XR, only has ride modes that are essentially non-adjustable. I hate that! "Street" mode has the smooth throttle response I enjoy, but ABS and TC are overly intrusive. "Sport" mode has near-perfect ABS and TC, but the throttle becomes super-abrupt. And don't get me started on "Rain" mode, which is completely useless... Not being able to tweak the mode setup, like I can on the Multistrada, is frustrating! Don't get me wrong: I'm not constantly adjusting the settings for each of the Multistrada's four different ride modes. Rather I've tweaked them once and now have four modes that are setup for exactly how I want the bike to operate...
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:52 AM   #11
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I mostly agree with OP. Even if it is mostly working, I get a case of the "what ifs" and then if there is a major change in riding conditions, well then what is a tinkerer to do with numerous settings for a long 2 up or loaded ride, a super goaty road followed by a track day, etc.
I am constantly monkeying with my MTB settings too. Long xc ride? Rocky DH ride? Every damn day #firstworldproblems
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kuksul08 View Post
I was reading a review on the S1000XR vs Multi and they said despite the Multi having 10 adjustable settings for all the suspension features and traction control, the BMW's 3 or 4 settings really simplified things and worked fine. Too many options, and it gets overwhelming... how do you know what is the best?

Anyone agree?
I disagree as well. I was going to get an XR but the crappy suspension settings really turned me away from it.

Why does some engineer in Germany decide that I need a firm suspension if I want to have quick throttle response and access to all the motor's power? Pass.

All roads are different, all riders are different, and the suspension config/setup on the Multi is worlds ahead of the BMW XR, simply because it means you can adjust it for the riding style and roads that you ride.
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:14 AM   #13
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I guess i haven't spent much time on the new electronic suspension bikes where all adjustments can be made from the seat while riding. That must be fun to throttle through all the modes to see what is best at that moment with such ease.
I would probably constantly mess with it though.
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:56 AM   #14
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I disagree as well. I was going to get an XR but the crappy suspension settings really turned me away from it.

Why does some engineer in Germany decide that I need a firm suspension if I want to have quick throttle response and access to all the motor's power? Pass.

All roads are different, all riders are different, and the suspension config/setup on the Multi is worlds ahead of the BMW XR, simply because it means you can adjust it for the riding style and roads that you ride.
You can adjust the suspension independently, as long as the "coding plug" is installed.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:08 PM   #15
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1 3/8th's of a turn can make all the difference in the world.

Or you could just ride your hooptie bike with no adjustments... When the front end pops off the ground mid corner you compensate and do stuff and things to go fast.
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