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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

im just wondering what fork height above the upper triple clamp people are setting their forks. There seems to be a discrepancy between what the Ducati manual states and the Ohlins installation manual. For some odd reason the gold portion of the top of my forks were flush with the triple clamp. I noticed the handling was not that responsive and was fighting a little with the counter steering tipping in the corners. After reading another thread and looking at some manuals I dropped my forks by 10mm. This made quite a big difference to the handling. I’m now feeling I want to go some more. However I’m a wee bit reluctant and don’t want to compromise stability too much. I know I could just drop it more and see for myself but just wondering why there is such a large discrepancy between Ducati and Ohlins.
ive attached a few photos for reference. You can see from the Ducati manual to drop them to the required 286.6mm I am going to have drop a further approx.5mm which would be a total of 15mm above the triple clamp. Does this seem too much? What kind of heights are other riders dropping their forks on a Multistrada 1200 S Touring (Ohlins).

thanks in advance for any feedback.
Cheers
Johnny
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I was 6mm beyond stock on my monster for a little while...while turn in was never quicker...braking stability was a distant dream...the rear was a bit to twitchy for my taste...a little goes a long way in this department...I moved it 2mm and allswell

Your still 5mm from stock and if you like ripping through corners you will love moving it another 10mm...while it is a massive change from where it once was...your in what I would consider the window of operation in regards to geometry...too low and you will feel it on the brakes...once you get accustomed to the new height small changes in preload can help figure out if you want to go lower or higher in any further adjustments


And I would go with the 268mm measurement as a base setting...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok thanks, I’ll drop it another 5mm to that stock setting and see how it feels. I did feel yesterday that I needed some more so the dimension from the manual seems correct.


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Your first picture looks about right-10mm from the top of your triple clamp to the bottom of the silver fork cap. That is stock for the front and if the rear spring sag is right-the bike will handle like a dream. I have the stiffer front and rear springs on my 2012 along with the Mechatronics ECU(I'm 245lbs now.) The bike handles as well as any that I have ridden(since 1991 and 5 years racing novice with WERA) for a tall dirtbike! PS-from racing experience, if you drop the front too much, you will "turn-in" faster and have less straight line stability until you tuck the front end. You should be safe up to about 5mm if you want to play around with it. I would stick with stock front height and adjust the rear spring pre-load until you get the "turn-in" that you like. If you weight over 190-200lbs then you are going to fight stock spring rates. If you weigh 165lbs, you can make this bike turn-in and handle as good as most sport bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I also have the Mechatronics Ohlins ECU installed. I set my sag up the other day-
Rear- Static Sag 567mm
Free Sag. 550mm
Rider Sag. 515mm
That’s a calculated Sag of 52mm. I read from another post that it was recommended to be 55mm from a tech. at Ohlins. I’m at max pre-load at the rear ie 2 riders and luggage. My weight is 195Kg’s (209lbs). So it’s in the ball park.
Front- Static Sag. 170mm
Free Sag Average 133mm
Rider Sag. Average 114mm
Calculated Sag of 56mm. Also from the Ohlins Tech recommendation is should be 55mm which is approx. 30% of the travel. So just about bang on. I’m two turns away from fully clockwise with both blue pre-load nuts, so still some pre-load in the bag if required.

So my plan is to try drop the forks a further 5mm this will set the forks to the stock setting of 268.6mm and re-check the sag. I did feel in the last ride that in slow corners I was still fighting a little with counter steering, faster corners felt great.
The 10mm you state is from the Ohlins kit installation guide. This is the whole reason I opened this discussion to find out what riders have their respective forks dropped too and feedback as to the handling characteristics.

appreciate your feedback and it does look like I am on the limit with the rear shock. I’ll look into upgrading the rear spring. Cheers!

This is the resource I took the sag settings from.....



Ducati Multistrada 1200 DES Suspension Primer
By Ducatisti.co.uk member ‘Torxhead’ (aka Scott) 02Aug2010
I spoke to Ohlins USA rep Matt Sage (828.692.4525 x308) on July 30, 2010 to learn what I could about the Ducati/Ohlins DES suspension system. Matt was extremely helpful; I’ve been searching the web for information on these particular units, but he said that because DES is a Ducati product there is no Ohlins manual. He also said that Ducati probably wouldn’t be able to offer much information.

Forks
The DES forks employ one leg for rebound damping and one for compression damping, necessitated by the fact that it would be overly complicated to control adjusters at both ends of the fork. Ohlins refers to this system as NIX on their own products (they have no complete retail NIX unit, but all of their cartridge fork kits are NIX as are most of their racing units), and per their convention right is for rebound and left is compression. In compression, fluid flows up through the compression spring stack on the left leg and up through a bypass valve on the right leg. On rebound, fluid flows down through the rebound spring stack in the right leg and down through a bypass valve in the left leg. The resistance of the spring stacks is adjusted by actuator rods driven by servos mounted under the fork caps in accordance with the desired damping level set by the handlebar switches and displayed on the instrument panel. Fork travel is 170mm (6.7 in)

Fork preload is adjustable over a 15mm range by turning the blue hex nuts at the top of the forks. One turn equals 1mm of preload, and to adjust, first disconnect the adjuster servo wiring by pulling back the rubber cover over the electrical connector at the top of the fork and using a small screwdriver to depress the connector’s locking tab. It should be obvious upon inspection. The adjusters have no indicator lines as do some bikes; they remain flush with the fork caps and are internally threaded, mating up with externally-threaded “preload tubes” atop the springs. There’s a stop at both minimum and maximum preload. DON’T force the adjusters (they should turn easily) as doing so can distort the preload tube, causing friction on the damping actuator rod that passes through the tube to the valves located deep within the fork tubes. The adjuster servos produce very little torque and can’t overcome any such friction. Because the forks are relatively long travel (for an Ohlins road fork), Matt suggested that 55mm of loaded sag (about 1/3 of the 170mm total travel) is a good starting point for adjustment, vs. the more common Ohlins suggestion of about 30mm.

The longer travel of the DES fork compared to a normal Ohlins R&T unit also means that the standard fork spring has a relatively low rate of 6.0 N/mm (34.26 lb/in), compared to a common rate closer to 10Nm/mm; because there are TWO fork legs, the front spring rate is 12.0 Nm/mm (68.52 lb/in). Optional springs in 7.0, 7.5, 8.0 and 9.0 (and maybe higher) N/mm are available from Ohlins at about US$135 per pair. I’m in the process of calculating what the initial spring compression is with the adjusters backed out completely based upon comparing the bike’s weight with the static sag, but I’m not there yet – stay tuned! Matt said that the actuator rods are popped off the servos to change the springs, and snapped back in upon reassembly. He cautioned that dropping them into the fork will require a front end disassembly to retrieve them, and that care should be taken to not bend them while they’re out lest they bear against the preload tubes and overpower the servos. It would seem that one could remove the fork cap, servo and actuator rod as a unit after disconnecting the wiring, but perhaps this raises the risk of bending the actuator rod while it’s out of the fork since it could not then be laid flat. Not having actually done this I can’t speak with authority, and I didn’t think to question him about this.

Fluid level in the forks is not so critical that if must be reset if the springs are changed; only reasonable effort is required to drain the old springs of fluid. Any fluid that remains on the old springs will have negligible impact on the proper operation of the fork. The fluid itself is critical, not as to its viscosity but as to its composition. Ohlins strongly recommends that only Ohlins fluid be used for its particular lubricating qualities which they claim greatly reduce stiction. As to viscosity, Ohlins forks all use the same fluid, as compression and rebound damping adjusters obviate the need to change viscosity to alter damping.

Shock
The DES shock is an Ohlins TTX unit, which stands for “twin tube”, er, “X”, I guess). The shock piston is a solid unit, with the spring stacks contained in the head of the unit. On compression, the piston (which is solidly mounted to the shock shaft) rises in the inner tube pushing the fluid above it through the compression stack, after which it circulates down through the outer tube to fill the void left by the rising piston. On rebound, the descending piston pushes the fluid down and out of the inner tube and into the outer tube, where it flows up to the rebound stack and then into the inner tube to fill the void left by the descending piston. Because the fluid flows in a continuous circuit, the remote reservoir requires only about 1/3 of the pressurization of a single tube shock, whose reservoir pressure must be high enough to prevent cavitation downstream of the spring stacks. Shock stroke is unknown by me as of yet, but I’m working on it!

As with the forks, the resistance of the spring stacks is adjusted by servos in the shock body in accordance with the desired damping level set by the handlebar switches and displayed on the instrument panel. Unlike the forks, because both spring stacks are in the shock body it would appear that the servos act directly upon them without the need for long actuator rods.

Shock spring preload is adjusted by another servo on the shock body which, I presume, is geared to a threaded adjuster on the upper spring perch. Again, adjustment is in controlled by handlebar switches and displayed on the instrument panel.

The standard shock spring rate is 85 N/mm (much stiffer than the fork springs because: a) there is only one spring; b) there’s more weight on the rear of the bike (approximately 45% front, 55% rear with rider, by my calculations); and c) the swingarm has a certain leverage ratio, meaning that one inch of wheel travel moves the shock only some fraction of an inch. More weight divided by less travel equals a higher spring rate. Since many Ohlins shocks seem to have a stroke length of about 55mm, I’m guessing that the ratio is at least 3:1 (calculation in process; stay tuned for this as well). An optional spring of 100 N/mm is available from Ohlins for about US$90.

The DES shock does not have a ride-height (overall length) adjustment as is common on other Ohlins shocks. Those shocks typically have a threaded coupling where the piston rod meets the lower shock mount which can vary the length of the shock itself independent of preload adjustment. Oh well, I guess we can’t have everything! Matt suggested that 55mm of loaded sag was also a good starting point for rear preload adjustment.
 

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If you do replace the rear spring, the stock is longer than the replacement. You need to adjust the collar to take up the slack. I adjustment mine to put a lot of pre-load on the spring at the lowest DES preload setting-meaning that number 2-3 pre-load on the DES setting puts me at the right sag(55mm) at a lower setting so that with luggage and/or passenger I can dial it up and still have a close "weighted" setting. From experience, sport setting with the stiffer dampening works great for fast riding. I also like a rear rider sag of 50mm. Set it at 55mm and then add 1-3 more pre-loads until you get it to turn-in like you want. At 55mm rear, on touring DES, it still tends to wallow in faster turns than with the 50mm setting. Without going into suspension set-up details(google that), too much pre-load on the already softer spring gets you the right rider's sag but leaves you with very little free sag. Dampening rates are way off and the suspension tops out under deceleration. This only really pertains to high speed riding! Don't get mad but at 210lbs the stock spring rates are undersprung and you will not get it to handle great(maybe ok) with those stock springs. It will never handle good/great with any extra weight back there!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok great info thanks. I won’t get mad, promise. Everything you wrote understood. My Africa Twin and all my dirt bikes have all had stiffer spring as you know this for the pre-load gets it into minimal spring compression and works easier.

So you are running with only 10mm of the gold portion above the upper triple clamp? I just dropped mines another 5mm for a total of 15mm which relates to the stock setting in the manual. Looks visually high to me but I’m just going by what is says in the manual (photo attached).




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I'm at 10mm-stock. You are getting very close to the wiring harness at 15mm. I doubt that the engineers had that in mind. That being said-slightly different tire heights, even though they may be 120/70x17 could make up any difference in that drop. I doubt that you will see a big improvement with 5mm.
 

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As far as the AT goes-spoke wheels and a big front tire+super soft suspension had me scared on the street to try and ride at more than 50% of what the MTS is capable of! Yes, I have ridden both and that thing was a pig. The Suzuki V-strom 1000 was a lot better road bike in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Comparing apples to oranges. I use the AT off-road quite a bit, it’s quite capable for a pig. I’ve took the Multistrada off-road and would never venture there again.
 

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If you want it, here is my set-up on a 2012. I'm 225-240lbs depending on my workouts. My bike handles like a razor according to my friend with a 2017 Multi(Skyhook/stock springs/longer wheelbase.) I started like you with stock and could get single rider sag numbers very close with a lot of pre-load. I changed the rear shock first, to 100Nmm spring=better all around but transferred more weight to the front and made the front nose-drive and bottom out under hard braking. Needed to rebuild forks and replace fork seals at 25,000 miles so I installed 7.5 N/mm springs and brought fork oil level up to 160mm from the 170mm level recommended by Ohlins. Use their recommended fork oil with these electronic forks. According to the Ohlins guys(Kyle Racing Engines)-it is very thin and not as temperature sensitive as the cheap oils. They told me that the electronics are set up to use this thinner oil. They are FG 8603 forks. I started at 54mm front rider sag and 50mm rear. I like the turn-in and handling better with 45mm rear rider's sag. I would never try to ride this bike offroad. It is very comfortable in touring and sport. I basically wanted a comfortable sport bike with my set-up. I can ride at extreme pace with fully loaded luggage. This is my best set-up for a 85-90% sportbike replacement ride. I take the 2010 Harley street glide on the long trips!
 

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KTM are for dirt my friend-the old 525 EXC-hard to beat for that kind of riding. Had some of those too 15 years ago! Like I said, I don't ride offroad at all with the Multi.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
For sure as you mentioned I need stiffer springs front and rear as I am at the pre-load limit with only me onboard. Any luggage and a pillion and my sag would be out.

I replaced my fork seals also back in 2015. I can’t remember if I altered the level. Just followed the Ohlins service guide. The 5W Motul was the best fluid I could get a hold of where I live.



The main reason I started this thread was to see if any others had set their fork height at the 268mm height as stated in the manual. I agree with you that Ohlins states it should be set at 10mm. I’m going to give it a try and see what it’s like and probably revert back to 10mm and just put it down to the Ducati manual diagram is completely wrong and misleading.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
KTM are for dirt my friend-the old 525 EXC-hard to beat for that kind of riding. Had some of those too 15 years ago! Like I said, I don't ride offroad at all with the Multi.
I’ve got a KTM200EXC and a WR450F for real off-road. However the KTM is now retired in my man cave as it kept booking me appointments at the hospital!




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How about a street legal 2004 KTM 525 sx converted to a 6-speed trans, 17" wheels and 540 big bore kit! That was one of the funnest bikes that I ever owned. Dave Hopkins(Mr KTM) did most of the engine work. About 230lbs wet, kickstart only and right at 65hp at the rear! I loved beating up on the big bikes in the mountains.
ktm.jpg
 

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How about a street legal 2004 KTM 525 sx converted to a 6-speed trans, 17" wheels and 540 big bore kit! That was one of the funnest bikes that I ever owned. Dave Hopkins(Mr KTM) did most of the engine work. About 230lbs wet, kickstart only and right at 65hp at the rear! I loved beating up on the big bikes in the mountains. View attachment 990109
Wow yes, very nice. I had a friend with 525EXC converted to Supermoto. I also at one time had my WR in Supermoto trim. Yep loads of fun and super bike killers on the twisters for sure




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My forks (2010 multi S), look like the original pic, about 10 mm. The bike corners like a dream, and is extremely stable at high speeds.I am pretty sure that is the stock setting, and I never even considered changing it, it's too good.
 

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My forks (2010 multi S), look like the original pic, about 10 mm. The bike corners like a dream, and is extremely stable at high speeds.I am pretty sure that is the stock setting, and I never even considered changing it, it's too good.
Thanks- do you know your sag settings/rider weight etc? Have you replaced your fork/shock springs? I’m still struggling to find confidence with mines tipping into the corners. I’ve backed my fork position back to 10mm from 15 and it’s def an improvement. My front tyre ((Pirelli Rosso Corsa) could be the culprit. It’s getting to the end of its life. I’m just about ready to install the new Pirelli Angel GT 2’s.
 
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