Concours Owners Group (COG) Forum

Concours 14 Discussion (C14 / ZG1400 / 1400GTR) => Tires/Suspension C14 => Topic started by: JimA on June 02, 2012, 01:18:55 am

Title: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: JimA on June 02, 2012, 01:18:55 am
When I picked up my 2011 C14 last month, I wasn't sure how best to set up the suspension. I read as much as I could and used a nice write-up to write specific instructions for the C-14. I figured it may help out others in a similar situation. Feedback welcome!

Adjusting Suspension on a Kawasaki Concours 14

The steps provided below were summarized and adapted for the Kawasaki Concours 14 using the excellent instructions provided on the Go Star Racing (How I set up my Motorbike) website:

http://www.gostar-racing.com/information/motorcycle_suspension_set-up.htm (http://www.gostar-racing.com/information/motorcycle_suspension_set-up.htm)

I would highly recommend reading through those more-detailed instructions before simply using the distilled instructions I have provided below.

When setting up the suspension, you will adjust the rear preload, front preload, front damping, and finally the rear damping – in this order.

The Kawasaki Concours 14 does not allow for separate damping of compression and rebound. Therefore, a compromise must be made between the two, as explained in the following set-up instructions.

A. Setting the Rear and Front Pre-load

I.   Adjusting the Rear Pre-Load

1.   Put the bike on the center stand allowing the rear wheel to be suspended in air.
2.   Find a point on the bike directly above the rear axle and measure the distance in millimeters from the axle to this point (The point selected is not important. It is only important to be consistent in measuring from both locations). This is the UNLOADED Distance =_____ mm
3.   Put the bike back on level ground (off of center stand) and bounce up and down a few times. Re-measure from the two points used previously. This is the NORMAL Distance = _____mm.
4.   Sit on the bike in full gear and bounce up and down a few times. Get in your normal riding position with feet on the pegs. Measure the distance between the two points used previously. This is the LOADED Distance = ____mm.
5.   Calculations:

Static Sag = UNLOADED  - NORMAL  = ____mm. This is how much you can lift rear before topping out the suspension. GOAL = 5-10 mm
Rider Sag = UNLOADED – LOADED = ____mm. This is the amount of compression of suspension with bike wt and rider wt. GOAL = 30-40 mm (Ideal – 35mm)
6.   Adjust the rear preload by turning the black knob on the left side of the motorcycle near the passenger peg. Turn clockwise to increase preload (reduce amount of Rider Sag) or counter clockwise to decrease preload (increase Rider Sag). Record total Rear Rider Sag = ____mm.
7.   Re-check the Static Sag (although not adjustable) to see if it remains between 5-10mm. If greater than 10mm, you may need a stiffer rear spring. If less than 5mm, you may need softer springs for your weight.
8.   If Static Sag is less than 5mm, you must compromise and re-adjust the pre-load to give 5mm – to prevent topping out.
9.   To record the final pre-load setting, either rotate the pre-load adjustment knob fully in or fully out while counting the number of clicks to reach either extreme. Return the knob to the adjusted setting and record the number of clicks. Preload = ____clicks from max (fully clockwise) or ____ clicks from min (fully counter clockwise).

II.   Adjusting the Front Pre-load

1.   Method #1: Stationary Static/Rider Sag Method (not recommended)

A.   A. Put the bike on the center stand allowing the front wheel to be suspended in air.
B.   Find a point on the bike directly above the front axle, along the angle of the fork, and measure the distance in millimeters from the axle to this point (The point selected is not important. It is only important to be consistent in measuring from both locations). This is the UNLOADED Distance =_____ mm
C.   Put the bike back on level ground (off of center stand) and bounce up and down a few times. Re-measure from the two points used previously. This is the NORMAL Distance = _____mm.
D.   Sit on the bike in full gear and bounce up and down a few times. Get in your normal riding position with feet on the pegs. Measure the distance between the two points used previously. This is the LOADED Distance = ____mm.
E.   Calculations:
Static Sag = UNLOADED  - NORMAL  = ____mm. This is how much you can lift front before topping out the suspension. GOAL = 25-30 mm
Rider Sag = UNLOADED – LOADED = ____mm. This is the amount of compression of suspension with bike wt and rider wt. GOAL = 35-48 mm
F.   Adjust the front preload by turning the screws (with rings) on top of the forks. Turn clockwise to increase preload (reduce amount of Rider Sag) or counter clockwise to decrease preload (increase Rider Sag). Record total Front Rider Sag = ____mm.
G.   Re-check the Static Sag (although not adjustable) to see if it remains between 25-30mm.
H.   If Static Sag is less than 25mm, you must compromise and re-adjust the pre-load to give 25mm – to prevent topping out.
I.   Record the final pre-load setting, by either recording the number of rings on the adjustment screw or the length of the screw protruding from the forks. Preload = ____rings or ____mm from _________ to _____________.

2.   Method #2 (Recommended “Real World” Method)

A.   Wrap cable ties around the smooth part of the forks (clip off excess). Do not make too tight to avoid damaging the rubber seals.
B.   Slide ties up against rubber seals and take the bike out for a road test.
C.   Ride in normal driving situations making sure to involve cornering, braking and other “typical” driving conditions for the driving you routinely do.
D.   Stop and measure the distance of the tie from the bottom of the fork tube.
E.   If the ties are less than 10mm from the bottom (bottomed out), increase the pre-load by turning the lined nuts on top of the forks clockwise. If the ties are more than 10mm, decrease the pre-load by turning the ringed nuts counter clockwise. Adjust in small (one line) increments, slide the ties back against the rubber seals, and re-test. Always set the forks at the same setting.
F.   Record the final setting. Preload = ____rings or ____mm from _________ to _____________.

 
B. Setting the Front and Rear Damping

I.   Damping – Compression and Rebound (Overview)

A. General Information
-Unlike pre-load, damping really comes down to personal preference – with some safety considerations as well. Overall, it depends on the bike, your riding style, the tires, the tire pressure, the tire shape, etc.
-On the Kawasaki Concours 14, damping is a compromise between compression and rebound, since they can not be adjusted separately.
-If you run out of damping during adjustment (max in or out), you may need to change fork oil for your style of riding.
- Among other things, the bike will handle differently under high and low speeds and wet and dry roads. Damping may need to be adjusted for different conditions.
B. Compression
-The goal is to compress the front in a slow and controlled fashion. The forward weight transfer helps slow the bike quicker.
-If too hard, the bike will skip or chatter over bumps. You can’t compress fast enough, which results in compromised ride and braking – especially in wet conditions.
-If too soft, the bike feels “vague” (poor feedback) and the suspension may bottom out.
-When set correctly, the front compresses in a controlled, predictable manner, which shortens the wheelbase and allows for faster, more predictable, cornering
C. Rebound
-Controls the rate at which the bike “sits-up” after compression. Proper adjustment is critical in corners and turns.
-If set too hard, the rider experiences a lack of feedback and the suspension can continue to “pump down” until the forks are bottomed-out, which is extremely dangerous
-If set too soft, the front-end will pop-up resulting in a loss of traction.
 

II.   Adjusting the Front Damping

- If the front damping is not done correctly, the bike will either sit-up too quickly (too soft) and drift out (washes out) or turn in too quickly (too hard) and feel “wooden.”

1.   Method #1 (Simplistic – not recommended)

A.   With the bike held level, press on the steering yoke, without holding the brake, and then let go.
B.   Observe the distance the yoke travels and the time it takes to return to the starting position.
C.   If it takes longer than 1 second to return to the starting position, decrease the rebound (black knob on top of forks counter clockwise).
D.   If it takes less than 1 second or goes beyond the starting position, increase the damping (black knob on top of forks clockwise).
E.   To record the final front damping setting, either rotate the damping adjustment knob fully in or fully out while counting the number of clicks to reach either extreme. Return the knob to the adjusted setting and record the number of clicks. Front Damping = ____clicks from max (fully clockwise) or ____ clicks from min (fully counter clockwise).

2.   Method #2 (“Real World” Method)

A.   Take the bike out and find a good road for cornering (Sweeping back roads).
B.   Since most accidents happen during cornering, we are going to set-up the suspension for cornering. Goal is to get the bike to enter and exit corners with minimal rocking or see-sawing.
C.   When set-up correctly, the rider will be able to brake hard before a turn or at the apex of a turn, let go of brakes, and get back on the throttle without the bike see-sawing (Sit-up or Dive)
D.   Ride through a series of turns making note of the bikes tendency to rock or see-saw. Adjust the damping one click at a time (some do this over days of riding) to see how the change affects the handling and comfort (feedback).
E.    Once you find the handling and comfort that fits your riding style, record the final front damping setting, by either rotating the damping adjustment knob fully in or fully out while counting the number of clicks to reach either extreme. Front Damping = ____clicks from max (fully clockwise) or ____ clicks from min (fully counter clockwise).


III.   Adjusting the Rear Damping
A.   Background

a.   Compression
-   If the rear damping is not done correctly, the bike will be too bouncy (too hard) or will exhibit excessive squatting (too soft) on hard acceleration.
-   Some squatting (compression) under acceleration is required to ensure good traction, but too much leads to poor exiting from corners.
-    Too soft and the nose will come up and cause the front tire to drift wide on exiting.
-   Too hard and the rear wheel will spin and slip (kicked-up) 
b.   Rebound
- When adjusted correctly, the rear wheel remains in good contact with the road for optimal traction.
- When too soft, the chassis will feel unsettled making the bike wallow and lurch mid-corner
- When too hard, the rear wheel will not sit-up quick enough resulting in the nose up and the bike drifting wide, with a vagueness and loss of traction.
 
B.   Setting Rear Damping on a Concours 14

1.   Stand the bike on level ground
2.   Press hard on the foot peg nearest to you.
3.   The bike should compress equally front and back
4.   Adjust the small screw (straight blade) at the bottom of the rear shock (screw faces toward left side). Turn clockwise to increase.
5.   Once the bike is set to compress equally, the suspension adjustments are complete.
 
C.   Notes

-   These instruction were written by a novice (non-professional) and simply represent my attempt at understanding and applying instructions for adjusting the suspension on a Kawasaki Concours motorcycle.
-   An improperly adjusted suspension can result in an accident causing injury or death.
-   Adjustments to the suspension should only be made by someone qualified to make such adjustments
-   Anyone following the instructions provided in this document is doing so at their own risk.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Mad River Marc on June 02, 2012, 02:04:31 am
Nice write up!! 
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Cap'n Bob on June 02, 2012, 07:50:06 am
That looks like a nice write up for the COG WIKI.  ;)
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Stewart on June 06, 2012, 03:47:10 pm
Jim,

I used this methodology and guidance on the weekend, its too early to comment if the bike rides better, but I have a track day coming up where I hope to refine it more.

But I had a question about the front end pre-load. I tried the recommended approach with the cable ties and found my current setting after a 200mile ride via some straight and twisty roads was about 20mm from bottom. It seems using this method I need to back off on the pre-load so I get closer to 10mm.

So my questions is. If I do this what should I expect beyond a softer ride. Should the bike turn in quicker and hold the line, or the reverse. Is seems front and rear suspension settings are so connect...I just get confused on the outcomes.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: JimA on June 07, 2012, 04:52:14 am
Jim,

I used this methodology and guidance on the weekend, its too early to comment if the bike rides better, but I have a track day coming up where I hope to refine it more.

But I had a question about the front end pre-load. I tried the recommended approach with the cable ties and found my current setting after a 200mile ride via some straight and twisty roads was about 20mm from bottom. It seems using this method I need to back off on the pre-load so I get closer to 10mm.

So my questions is. If I do this what should I expect beyond a softer ride. Should the bike turn in quicker and hold the line, or the reverse. Is seems front and rear suspension settings are so connect...I just get confused on the outcomes.

The pre-load or sag adjustment is performed first to set the springs in the "sweet spot" when riding - not fully extended and not fully compressed. By adjusting to 10mm from the bottom, you prevent the forks from bottoming out during your normal riding and braking, while also allowing them the flexibility to do thier job (keep the tires in good contact w the road). The adjustment that affects turning, holding your line and feedback is the damping. The article I referenced does a nice job of explaining the damping - rebound and compression - and its affect on cornering. They are the settings that are very individual. 
With your bike at 20mm from bottom, did you re-check the front static sag?
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Stewart on June 13, 2012, 04:28:36 am
I'm not sure if this deserves a new thread but came across these vid's and it help to cement my understanding.

Setting Suspension Sag - setting suspension sag (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjGgq1z9zbo#ws)
Correct Rebound Settings - Correct Rebound Settings (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXDL_jREhEE#ws)
Rebound Damping in the Forks - Rebound Damping in the Forks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJV-jhEtjz4#ws)

This next site was very insightful

Unsprung tire wear analysis - http://www.onthethrottle.com/howto/dave-moss-unsprung-tire-wear/ (http://www.onthethrottle.com/howto/dave-moss-unsprung-tire-wear/)
Two Clicks Out - http://www.onthethrottle.com/howto/two-clicks-out-9-wera-racer-gets-a-tune/ (http://www.onthethrottle.com/howto/two-clicks-out-9-wera-racer-gets-a-tune/)      (this one actually made a lot of sense building on the previous)

Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Slybones on June 13, 2012, 11:40:56 pm
From the rear section, front is similar and same question applies....

Quote
Static Sag = UNLOADED  - NORMAL  = ____mm. This is how much you can lift rear before topping out the suspension. GOAL = 5-10 mm
Rider Sag = UNLOADED – LOADED = ____mm. This is the amount of compression of suspension with bike wt and rider wt. GOAL = 30-40 mm (Ideal – 35mm)

As I read the article I understand that static sag is the amount of sag from the bike only, and the rider stag is the amount of sag from the bike and the rider.  What I dont get is how one equates to the topping out limit. I am thinking that in either case each is the amount of compression based on the weight applied, and that same amount of compression is the amount it can be lifted before topping out.

IE if I sit on the bike and I have 35mm of idea rider stag, then I also have 35mm of travel the suspension can lift before topping out while I am sitting on it.  The same, if the static sag is 10mm which is the sag of the bike only, yes this means the suspension can lift this much before topping out, but this to me also means if only compressed this amount.


They way I understand the article they want you to set the rider sag, and then check the static sag. The recheck of the static sag has two purposes. One is to see of you need a different spring rate. This I get and have a comment. The one I dont get is them telling me I need to readjust preload to get at least 5mm of static sag so that I dont top out.  I am sitting on it while its going down the road. So I would think I have 35mm of top out distance since the suspension is comressed that much while I am sitting on it going down the road. True it does not have that much when I am not on i, but how many bumps does it hit when I am not on it. Hopefully not very many. This part I dont get.

When I watched the video on setting the sag that was posted, they show the measurement for the rear, and show how to measure both static and rider sag, but did not cover this part about readjusting for topping out. This is still strange to me.
 
Still overall it seems to me we care about setting the rider sag, and the static sag is for informational purposes about spring rates.

My comment related to that. I know of a guy who works for one of them racing suspension companies. His comments were if you need to apply more that 10mm of preload to the spring in order to get your 30-35mm of rider sag, then you need a siffer spring. -- Note the difference. He is not talking about the amount of sag from the weight of the bike versus the amount of sag from the rider and the bike. He is taking about the rider sag and the physical length you have to preload the spring in order to get the ideal rider sag. If you are cranking down on the preload adjuster such that you apply more than 10mm of preload to the spring in order to get 30-35mm of rider sag, you need a stiffer spring.

One thing I did catch in the video I have not heard before was related to the top out springs in the front. If you have to apply more than a few millimeters of preload to get your sag numbers, then that also effects the internal top out spring which changes the length of the fork. So you have to go back and remeasure your initial fully extended lenght as it just changed.

Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: GF-in-CA on June 14, 2012, 02:43:03 am

One thing I did catch in the video I have not heard before was related to the top out springs in the front. If you have to apply more than a few millimeters of preload to get your sag numbers, then that also effects the internal top out spring which changes the length of the fork. So you have to go back and remeasure your initial fully extended lenght as it just changed.

Fred, this really only applies to some newer bikes.  Apparently some of the manufacturers now install long, soft top-out springs, much longer and softer than traditional ones, so the top-out spring has much more of an affect on the length of the fork when the main spring is installed.  Older forks, like those in the C10 and earlier cartridge designs have very stiff top-out springs that deflect very little with the initial force from the main spring.

I will also say that the compression damping can have a significant effect on the travel, depending on the type of surface, so if you choose to do the "real world" method of setting the front preload, and you want the "optimum" setting, you will need to do a few iterations between setting preload and setting damping.  The static method should get you very close to the right preload without iterating between setting preload and setting damping.

Also, just to reiterate, setting the preload does not have any affect on the stiffness of the front suspension, so you should not expect a softer ride by backing off on preload.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Fred_Harmon_TX on August 20, 2012, 06:42:53 pm
I'm not sure if this deserves a new thread but came across these vid's and it help to cement my understanding.

Setting Suspension Sag - setting suspension sag ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjGgq1z9zbo#ws[/url])


I don't agree with something he said about setting the front sag on the forks. Unless I heard wrong, it sounded like he said you should have about 30mm of static sag on the front forks and then another 15mm on top of that with the rider on board. This would bring the total front sag to about 45mm. That's way too much sag.  The generally accepted numbers for front sag with rider on board are 25-30mm for a sport/race bike and 30-35mm for a street bike. A touring bike may want a little more, so you might want to go as high as 38-40mm, but that would be the max.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: byob on September 21, 2013, 05:58:46 pm
Man ,am i confused
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: PeteTN_zgtr on October 04, 2013, 11:33:29 pm
  Something that appears in error is that the initial write-up above is implying the C14 compression damping can be adjusted. As far as I can tell from reading the owners manual only rebound damping is adjustable. Sound reasonable?

thanks,
Pete
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Tundra Tom on April 02, 2014, 01:06:57 pm
Here's a chart to give you some base line settings. The "just right" worked well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf (https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf)
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: WingCon on June 05, 2014, 02:53:10 pm
Here's a chart to give you some base line settings. The "just right" worked well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf (https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf)

What about if you weigh more than 150 pounds?  I assume look at the different amount of clicks for the preload in the manual for different weights and add the difference to the chart option setting?
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: denver6 on August 02, 2014, 07:11:30 pm
Here's a chart to give you some base line settings. The "just right" worked well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf (https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf)

For fork pre-load, what exactly is being measured?  I see a range of 14 - 16 mm in the spreadsheet for recommended settings, but I am not sure what is being measured.  Total exposed adjuster from the top of the black damping adjustment knob to the bottom the exposed pre-load adjuster?  Just the pre-load adjuster (the part of the adjuster that lines on it)?  Both of those measurements seem to be at the extremes - one is almost all the way in and the other is almost all the way out.

Is it something else?  Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: JimH_PA on August 02, 2014, 08:31:29 pm
  Those Ohlins videos were great!
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: JC on December 19, 2014, 09:43:45 pm
I tried the recommended approach with the cable ties and found my current setting after a 200mile ride via some straight and twisty roads was about 20mm from bottom. It seems using this method I need to back off on the pre-load so I get closer to 10mm.
That logic has to be wrong IMO. If you're compressing the forks 20mm (more than 10), you need to INCREASE preload (clockwise), or it'd be even worse with less preload (meaning more suspension travel). That was the only error I noted on the initial write-up, but maybe something is different with the upside-down forks. I've had BMW bikes for more than a decade, so didn't have to mess with that since the telelever suspension wasn't adjustable (and the duolever was electronically adjustable). Comments welcome.

EDIT: Now I understand why Kawi stiffered the rear suspension on 2015 C14s. Having to turn 12 clicks for a 150# rider is ridiculous. I'm 155#, and am probably at the 5 percentile, if not less. The new Harley Street Glide Special has the opposite problem: 0 clicks for a 185# rider, so it's stiff as hell for me. The good news is the rear shock should be fine for me, even if I like the suspension firm (might have to crank it up more than 12). BMW also designs its suspensions for a 190# rider, now that Americans have gotten fatter and fatter :D.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: caveman on January 06, 2015, 09:08:55 pm
I caught the same "apparent" error in the original thread. Is JC correct? Clockwise on front fork preload to shorten travel?
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: connie_rider on January 09, 2015, 09:04:37 pm
Did not get to review everything yet. But,,,, Interesting discussion.
I will review everything in detail...

Thank you for the information!

Ride safe, Ted

Update: My eyes are starting to bleed from all the reading and watching. 
             At this point I feel that I've learned just enough to be dangerous...
                     But I'm learning!!!
             (Breaks over) Back to the reading/watching....
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: haWHYnXX on August 25, 2015, 09:01:18 pm
I tried the recommended approach with the cable ties and found my current setting after a 200mile ride via some straight and twisty roads was about 20mm from bottom. It seems using this method I need to back off on the pre-load so I get closer to 10mm.
That logic has to be wrong IMO. If you're compressing the forks 20mm (more than 10), you need to INCREASE preload (clockwise), or it'd be even worse with less preload (meaning more suspension travel). That was the only error I noted on the initial write-up, but maybe something is different with the upside-down forks.

Comments welcome.

You're reading it wrong and may not be understanding the issue exactly because they are USD forks. The goal with this method is to get the cable ties to 10mm FROM THE BOTTOM. Cable ties against the seals on an USD fork will travel down the tube (toward the bottom) as it compresses. Stewart's issue is that under compression, he is only getting the cable tie to 20mm FROM THE BOTTOM (not "compressing the forks 20mm"). That's too much preload - needs to DECREASE (counter-clockwise).   :beerchug:
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: wario on March 27, 2016, 03:05:50 am
great information!

Has anyone translated any of their experience into a recommendation as a place to start...?

eg: 220 rider  = 4 lines showing +3 clicks out (front), and 10 clicks out (preload) and 3/4" out from the bottom (rear)

Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14 "Softer"
Post by: KevinMulvey on July 05, 2016, 06:46:20 pm
Any chance we could KISS. (keeping it simple...)
If we just desire a "softer" kinder ride over bumps (Rider 140 lbs., no bags and always solo) do I turn each shock more to S or H? Thank you very much.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: connie_rider on January 23, 2017, 02:26:41 pm
I'm assuming your bike is too hard for you?
You will have to start with sag..

If so, spring preload,,, more to soft. (More sag)

Saying that; I suspect you might need softer springs for your weight.
                   I think the damping will also need adjustment.
                        (I'm clueless at this point)

NOTE: Just guessing. Trying to understand this myself.

Other's that know. PLEASE correct me guess..

Ride safe, Ted
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14 "Softer"
Post by: mattchewn on February 12, 2017, 09:59:29 pm
Any chance we could KISS. (keeping it simple...)
If we just desire a "softer" kinder ride over bumps (Rider 140 lbs., no bags and always solo) do I turn each shock more to S or H? Thank you very much.

Ted,
Sag will NEVER change the damping effects of the factory setup. EVER.
Kevin,
Here is the underlying problem with the concours suspension: It is sprung too softly for almost everyone. At the same time it is damped far too much for all but the absolute LARGEST of humans. I mean over 400LBS.
You can soften up the rear somewhat by adjusting the screw out a little on the bottom of the factory shock. That is the best you can do for the factory setup. A Penske shock will change your life as far as ride comfort and handling is concerned.
Matt
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: curt1480 on March 22, 2017, 07:07:28 pm
It would be nice if there was a chart for 160 lbs, 180 lbs, 200 lbs, 220 lbs, 240 lbs.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Staylo on March 22, 2017, 08:30:27 pm
While the OP's write-up is good as far as the instructions on how to set your suspension, it ASSUMES that the bike is properly sprung for your weight.  As Matt said, unless you're a tiny Japanese man it isn't.  It is likely multiple spring weights off of what is should be for average Americans, and even more so for large Americans, and in that case you will never get the sag numbers you need because the spring will not be capable of supporting that much weight. 

I can't speak to the damping rate, as to whether it is too heavy from the factory or not as I only had a few miles on my 2011 before having the suspension upgraded, but that would make sense if the factory intentionally under-sprung the bike.  You would need all that extra damping to keep the bike from bouncing up and down on the wimpy springs.  I assume it's a decision by the factory to create a 'cushy' ride, ignoring entirely the handling aspects of the SPORT tourer.  The irony is, a bike that is properly sprung needs very little preload, so it feels nice and cushy over low speed bumps(low speed meaning how fast the suspension is traveling up and down, not how fast the bike is travelling forward) like rolling bumps, yet can handle the high speed bumps like potholes well because the spring is strong enough to absorb the hit without upsetting the chassis.

A properly set up suspension, and by that I mean proper springs for each rider's weight, is one of the best modifications anyone can make to any motorcycle.  Without the proper springs you're wasting your time trying to 'set up' the suspension.  The best you can hope for in that scenario is to make it the least bad it can be.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Staylo on March 22, 2017, 08:52:53 pm
I should also add that often people who think they need a softer spring actually need a stiffer spring.  If your spring is too soft you have to put a lot of preload into it to get the sag numbers that you need, but that in turn increases the amount of force required to move the shock, causing it to feel stiffer than it actually is.

Example(stolen from online): Using a 100 pound linear-rate spring, preloaded one-quarter inch, you have preloaded 25 pounds of force into the spring, so it would take more than twenty-five pounds of force before it would further compress. In other words, the spring will not compress until 26 pounds of force were applied.

So, in our example, if you are traveling down the road and apply less than 25 pounds of additional force though bumps then the spring(and shock or fork) will not move, and feel very stiff.  BUT, by moving to a stiffer spring you would require less preload, and therefore the spring would react to inputs of less force making the suspension(and spring) feel softer.

Your best bet is to find a suspension tuner that you can trust and have them check your current springs against your weight.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: connie_rider on March 22, 2017, 09:03:05 pm
I'm beginning to understand better, but still too poor to buy the aftermarket shocks.
Would buying a stiffer spring help the stock suspension, and (if so) what spring would I need?
I'm 210 lbs. with gear.
Occasionally have the wife with me.
Seldom carry a lot of gear, but do carry tools etc. (mebbe 20 lbs)

I assume I should set the sag to my weight, and (mebbe) adjust for 2 up.

Ted
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Staylo on March 23, 2017, 12:46:12 am
I'm beginning to understand better, but still too poor to buy the aftermarket shocks.
Would buying a stiffer spring help the stock suspension, and (if so) what spring would I need?
I'm 210 lbs. with gear.
Occasionally have the wife with me.
Seldom carry a lot of gear, but do carry tools etc. (mebbe 20 lbs)

I assume I should set the sag to my weight, and (mebbe) adjust for 2 up.

Ted
In my opinion, I wouldn't bother spending any money respringing that stock Kawasaki shock and forks. They're just not very good units to begin with. Plus, if you haven't had them serviced in a long time, or ever, then their performance is already degraded because the oil has probably lost its viscosity and is no longer providing the proper damping anyway.  I do understand money being tight, but you would be much better served to keep the money you would spend on re-springing the stock parts, plus labor to have them done if you don't have the tooling or knowledge to do it, and save that money towards a new Penske shock, which would come ready to install straight out of the box, and the Traxxion kit. Putting new springs on your stock equipment will make an improvement, but is just not going to get you all the way to where you want to be.  As Matt mentioned earlier, the valving in the forks and the shock are not set up very well and will not give the proper damping to go along with the new spring, so you're spending money to "upgrade" your suspension with new springs, and afterwards still having an improperly set up suspension.

Regarding determining the proper spring rate, your best bet would be to speak with a suspension company like Traxxion or Penske and let them advise you on the spring rate that would be correct for your application. As far as how to set the bike up regarding weight, etc.,  you're going to have to make a compromise. Going from one-up riding to two-up riding is a humongous difference in weight, and no single spring is ever going to be able to properly handle those two loads, so if you ride 90% of the time alone then set the bike up for that situation, understanding that when you are two-up the bike is not going to handle as well because of the additional weight. If the majority the time you ride two-up, then set the bike up for that scenario, understanding when you are riding solo it's not going to handle as well. If you ride 50-50, then I don't know what to tell you.  ;)
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: curt1480 on April 14, 2017, 10:26:50 pm
It would be nice to watch the video for all of us non talented people
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Doc on November 08, 2017, 01:45:30 am
Here's a chart to give you some base line settings. The "just right" worked well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf (https://www.dropbox.com/s/gf9rw08qwk83x35/C-14%20Suspension.pdf)


It’s been a while but the link to pdf is disabled - could you repost?
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Daytona_Mike on November 08, 2017, 04:00:23 am
I should also add that often people who think they need a softer spring actually need a stiffer spring.  If your spring is too soft you have to put a lot of preload into it to get the sag numbers that you need, but that in turn increases the amount of force required to move the shock, causing it to feel stiffer than it actually is.

Example(stolen from online): Using a 100 pound linear-rate spring, preloaded one-quarter inch, you have preloaded 25 pounds of force into the spring, so it would take more than twenty-five pounds of force before it would further compress. In other words, the spring will not compress until 26 pounds of force were applied.

So, in our example, if you are traveling down the road and apply less than 25 pounds of additional force though bumps then the spring(and shock or fork) will not move, and feel very stiff.  BUT, by moving to a stiffer spring you would require less preload, and therefore the spring would react to inputs of less force making the suspension(and spring) feel softer.


Sorry to tell you that this is totally not correct. Preload can never  change spring rate.  Preload cannot  make a spring softer or harder or feel softer or harder.
Preload only raises and lowers the chassis ride height or SAG.  Again,  increasing preload does not compress a spring and make it stiffer - ever- it just raises the bike. Chassis geometry or Ride height or Sag settings (all the same)
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: mike on April 02, 2018, 06:08:09 pm
I have 2014 C14.  My manual says I adjust the rear dampener by turning the screw on the bottom of the shock X clicks.  However, mine does not click.  Just picked up the bike used so I don't know if this is normal.  Any thoughts on this?  TY  Apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong place.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: JDSCO on April 02, 2018, 08:28:33 pm
I have 2014 C14.  My manual says I adjust the rear dampener by turning the screw on the bottom of the shock X clicks.  However, mine does not click.  Just picked up the bike used so I don't know if this is normal.  Any thoughts on this?  TY  Apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong place.
My 2016 stock shock DOES NOT CLICK on the Rebound Dampening, what your calling rear dampener

My 2016 Spring Preload DOES CLICK
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Deepsea on April 24, 2018, 04:38:42 am
Sometimes the "Click" can be very subtle. Especially if the spring loaded ball detent is frozen due to corrosion. If that happens you will often feel some resistance when initially turning the adjuster as the ball & spring are compressed but then they will not "Click" back into the detent but remain compressed. Not much you can do about it since the system needs to be disassembled to correct the problem.
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: Semiquick on July 03, 2018, 10:09:20 pm
I loosened up spring preload front and back on my c14. I took all the rebound out of the front and back. It still rides like a tank. I have only had the bike for a month, but I have had 25 other bikes. My zrx was more compliant. The bike has 22k on it and I weigh 210. Is this anything close to normal for factory suspension? It all looks stock to me. Any comments?
Curt
Title: Re: Setting the suspension on the C14
Post by: BadgerApaches on January 12, 2019, 08:58:26 pm
Copy/paste perhaps for suspender tweekers here to share their info..

Concours Year;

Aftermarket Suspension; Y/N

Stock suspension; Brand shock Abc with black spring marked Xyz.

Rider Weight w/gear;

Tires/pressures;

Forks adjusted to;

Shock adjusted to;

Comments; I noticed my rear tire brand Abc was wearing too fast at pressures Xx PSI, and the front was cupping at 2200 miles from new, etc....started to look at suspension settings and found .....