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I need to know the softest/squishiest rear shock settings for an 05 800ss with stock shock. Please speak in laymans terms due to the fact that I get all dyslexic trying to figure out suspension terminology. I want to start from the softest setting then tinker with it from there.

Thanks for the help.
 

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At the top of the shock, towards the vertical cylinder, you'll see that the shock body is threaded and at the top of the spring are two rings with a series of notches around them. You can use a long screwdriver and a hammer, if you don't have a proper preload adjuster tool, to knock the upper most ring loose (knock it counterclockwise). Once you loosen it, you can then thread it upward and space it away from the other ring. Now you can soften the preload on the spring by turning the other ring counter clockwise. You may also be able to simply grab the spring and turn it to raise the ring on the shock body and ease up the preload on the spring. Your softest setting will be reached when the spring is fully extended and there is zero tension placed upon it by the threaded ring. This does not soften the spring rate because that is a fixed number based on the spring itself, but it does soften the initial movement of the rear suspension by taking the spring out of tension. This also will lower your ride height and static (unladen) height of the motorcycle, which could dramatically affect the handling, possibly for the worse. You can further soften the rear suspension by turning the compression and rebound damper adjusters to their softest settings. At the top of the shock you'll find an adjuster that is turned with a flat blade screwdriver. Lefty loosey, righty tighty, as they say. Counterclockwise will be softer, clockwise will be tighter. At the bottom of the shock you will either find another adjuster that you turn with a flat blade screwdriver, or you will find a knob surrounding the shock shaft, just above the shock mount, which you can (usually) turn by hand, again counterclockwise for soft, clockwise for hard. Full soft on both adjusters, combined with zero preload on your spring should give you the absolute softest settings available on the stock shock. It may also give you a wallowing scow in the handling department so beware.
 

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I wouldn't run it to the top. I would set your sag at 35- 40 mm and start from there. Front and rear.
 

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I have a button.. BITCHES!
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Discussion Starter #4
At the top of the shock, towards the vertical cylinder, you'll see that the shock body is threaded and at the top of the spring are two rings with a series of notches around them. You can use a long screwdriver and a hammer, if you don't have a proper preload adjuster tool, to knock the upper most ring loose (knock it counterclockwise). Once you loosen it, you can then thread it upward and space it away from the other ring. Now you can soften the preload on the spring by turning the other ring counter clockwise. You may also be able to simply grab the spring and turn it to raise the ring on the shock body and ease up the preload on the spring. Your softest setting will be reached when the spring is fully extended and there is zero tension placed upon it by the threaded ring. This does not soften the spring rate because that is a fixed number based on the spring itself, but it does soften the initial movement of the rear suspension by taking the spring out of tension. This also will lower your ride height and static (unladen) height of the motorcycle, which could dramatically affect the handling, possibly for the worse. You can further soften the rear suspension by turning the compression and rebound damper adjusters to their softest settings. At the top of the shock you'll find an adjuster that is turned with a flat blade screwdriver. Lefty loosey, righty tighty, as they say. Counterclockwise will be softer, clockwise will be tighter. At the bottom of the shock you will either find another adjuster that you turn with a flat blade screwdriver, or you will find a knob surrounding the shock shaft, just above the shock mount, which you can (usually) turn by hand, again counterclockwise for soft, clockwise for hard. Full soft on both adjusters, combined with zero preload on your spring should give you the absolute softest settings available on the stock shock. It may also give you a wallowing scow in the handling department so beware.
This is what I wanted. Now, I would not have messed with the spring adjusters cause I know I would've been getting over my head. I just needed the shock adjustments and go from there. I just get so damn confused reading about damping and compression that I just can't seem to get it. I understand what I need the bike to do, suspension-wise, I just needed a starting point. For idiots.

Thanks a bunch.
 

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Hey Metalhead, find someone with a MX bike that they will let you mess with that has fully adjustable suspension. Zero each parameter front first then rear, ride after each change , and you will soon see what each does.
Mark, trust me it is worth doing.
 

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I have a button.. BITCHES!
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Discussion Starter #6
Hey Metalhead, find someone with a MX bike that they will let you mess with that has fully adjustable suspension. Zero each parameter front first then rear, ride after each change , and you will soon see what each does.
Mark, trust me it is worth doing.
Sound advice. But, my bike is all I've got to tinker with. Now, just for info, I'm not gonna start fiddling and then go out full bore, but I'm just gonna play with the shock on my local 35mph roads, not jamming, just riding and feeling it out. I weigh 165 lbs, so I'm starting out squishy and then dialing it in. It sucks being puny.:D
 

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One bit of advice that mxwinky gave regarding the preload adjustment is off base (sorry). There is no way to reduce preload until there is "no tension on the spring", unless the bike is being supported by the engine or something with the swingarm hanging down with the shock fully extended. If the wheel / swingarm is holding up the bike, reducing the preload will just cause the bike to sink lower and lower on the rear suspension, and the tension in the spring will remain exactly the same - it needs to compress as much as it needs to compress to support the weight of the bike.

The idea that reducing preload "softens" the suspension is the most common misconception going. The purpose of the preload adjustment is to get the suspension operating in the desired part of its stroke (i.e., either closer to topping out or bottoming out when it is supporting the weight of bike and rider). A normal recommendation is to set it so the rear of the bike directly over the axle sinks 25 to 35 mm from the fully extended position when supporting the weight of the bike and rider.

Read the first two sections on this page:

http://www.promecha.com.au/tech_talk.htm

Indeed, to get into it a bit more, the SS has a slightly progressive linkage I believe, meaning that the leverage that the swingarm has on the spring decreases as the shock compresses. Or, in other words, the swingarm has greater leverage against the spring when the suspension extends. So, as you add preload (and therefore extend the suspension), you actually make it a tiny bit softer, not stiffer - the exact opposite of what you might intuitively think.
 

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With respect to damping, my experience is that the stock settings tend to have too much compression damping and not enough rebound,at least for my tastes. When you press down hard on the rear of the bike and then release it so the spring can extend the shock naturally, it should take something like 1 s for the suspension to come back up. Usually, with the stock settings it comes up much more quickly than that. Add some rebound damping (lower adjuster clockwise) to slow the rebound return to 1 s or so, and see how that feels while riding. You can then increase and decrease it parts of a turn from there to see what you like.

Compression damping is tougher. I suggest starting at about 1/3 of the way from full soft (based on total number of turns). Actually, try the two exreme settings first just sitting on the bike and bouncing to feel the difference. Then, ride it in the 1/3 from soft setting, and try adjustments from there. If there is too little compression damping there will just be "too much going on" over the bumps - too much floaty suspension action. Too much compression damping and it will feel quite harsh over the sharper bumps.

This is all pretty subjective, so don't be afraid to just play with it to find a setting you prefer for your type of riding on your type of roads. There is no "correct" setup.

FYI, there are some extreme setting combinations that can do wierd stuff. For example, with way too little compression damping and way too much rebound, the suspension can "pack down" over a series of bumps, possibly even to the point of bottoming out. With the opposite extreme combination, it can rise up progressively over a series of bumps. In both cases you can typically feelit happening, as the suspension sinks or rises noticably.

Have fun!
 

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Thank you Yellow Duck!

My front end was setup at a track day, and does everything I need.
But the back end is harsher than my ex-wife.

Time to tinker!
 
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