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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

New here and new to Ducatis (but not new to biking). I just bought a Streetfighter S and I'm totally at sea about suspension settings. Does anyone have any suggestions about what might be reasonable suspension settings for a rider that weighs about 160-165 with gear? Or where I might find them? Are the factory settings about right for someone of my weight? Thanks in advance for any info or advice.

Larry

2010 Streetfighter S
2009 Road Glide
1999 VFR
1967 CL77 (2)
 

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Blame the universe not the tank!
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3,234 Posts
My stock settings were too stiff. And as it turned out, the rear compression was not set at all and full stiff. The owner manual has settings for "base" settings. First thing to do is get a pad and pencil, note the stock settings, then get your allen wrench or screw driver and check to see what the bike is set at. Typically I will take the settings from stock and adjust each (compression/rebound) equal amounts so you don't end up with a lop sided deal of too much of one and too little of the other. I recommend Lee Parks Total Control book. It covers the why and how better than I could post. Weight has some bearing on setup, but how you ride changes it from one person to the next.

What I did, backed off stock settings by 2 clicks, backed off the front preload, and backed off the rear preload a ton. When I got the bike, it was a brick, now it's a little better... need to spend some more time tweaking it more. Just keep notes so you can go back to a previous setup.
 

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Old Wizard
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Ducati designs their bikes with spring rates to accomodate riders having your exact weight so no changes needed there.

You need to be honest in assessing your riding skills. As they improve over time so will your suspension needs change to match your riding technique. Your particular riding technique will play a big part in refining your suspension settings. If you are an average rider, sticking with the factory recommended settings will probably be best.

But feel free to experiment. One change at a time. First reset everything back to the stock settings stock, and try a different single setting until you develop a feel for the differences resulting from each change and the sensitivity of the bike to each click on the adjuster. Always use the same road to evaluate your changes. This seat-of-the-pants testing is highly subjective so don't be surprised if your feelings about the changes are different the next time you ride. Even without any interim changes, there are days that you know that you're riding well and the suspension is just right, and days that you're not in the groove. Given that you're not an experienced test rider, you'll find that YOU are the biggest variable.

Consequently, you should probably avoid using suspension settings developed by other riders for themselves, specifically motorcycle magazine test riders who commonly tweak each new bike's suspension settings in an attempt to improve on factory settings, and then publish the results. These settings may actually be an improvement for one particular rider on one particular track but the factory settings are still the best overall comfort-performance trade-off for the average rider on an average road.

For example, a review of a dozen magazine tests of Ducati superbike compression and rebound damper settings showed that even though there is a wide variation between riders, their settings average out to the factory recommended settings.

So it looks like Ducati knows its business.

Here's how Kevin Cameron puts it ...

"The motorcyclist wants to do the right thing, but simple tables often push aside common sense. Too often, magazine reviews say things like: 'When we got to Donington, we cranked up the damping at both ends to full-rigid with max spring preload, and got down to some serious lap times.' This implies it's always best to run the hardest possible settings.

Reverse logic also implies that if you run hard settings, you must be a good rider. Like it or not, we're all a bit status conscious, so this kind of things sucks us in. Believing harder is better, all these riders are jolting around the highways with suspension set on magazine-max, when in fact they would benefit from considering the word compromise. You need traction to go fast, and on any but the smoothest surfaces, that means the suspension has to move.

A crew chief of a recent MotoGP team, once said that the rider really needs four different bikes.

1. During braking, he needs a machine with its full weight to the rear, to allow the full grip of the front tire to be used without lifting the back wheel, with firm enough front suspension to keep it from bottoming.

2. During turn-in, he needs a machine with a very short chassis for quick steering, with no suspension at all to delay the action.

3. In the turn, he needs a balanced weight distribution that doesn't overload either tyre prematurely. He needs ground clearance, but with suspension soft enough to maintain grip.

4. When acceleration begins, he needs a chassis with its weight forward, to keep that front tire loaded enough to steer without pushing.

There is no way to combine all these separate and conflicting requirements in the bike as it now exists. There is no rule that reveals the best compromise, which is why assertions like 'harder is better' are nonsense. The more you work with suspension, and the more combinations you try, the more you learn about how to achieve a suitable compromise
."

Reference: Cameron, Kevin, How Suspension Works
 

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Blame the universe not the tank!
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3,234 Posts
Well put... I should have noted also, im 155 lbs, not a very aggressive rider. Also when testing you should note certain roads that are good for certain tests, like a patched up road that really needs to be repaved, but serves well to see how well the suspension is reacting to abrupt road surface changes.

And like Shazaam noted, each rider has to find his or her settings through trial and error. Just remember each setting effects the other, hence stock settings are always the starting point and the safe place to return to when you are not sure.
 

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Hi all,

New here and new to Ducatis (but not new to biking). I just bought a Streetfighter S and I'm totally at sea about suspension settings. Does anyone have any suggestions about what might be reasonable suspension settings for a rider that weighs about 160-165 with gear? Or where I might find them? Are the factory settings about right for someone of my weight? Thanks in advance for any info or advice.

Larry

2010 Streetfighter S
2009 Road Glide
1999 VFR
1967 CL77 (2)

The single most important thing you do is set the SAG front and rear. Until you do this, the suspension will not work within its optimum range (unless it happens to be set right for your weight already, which is unusual) or no turning of the dials will be sufficient. This is a must first! Its easier to have someone do it that knows how or you will at least need to read up on the process and have one buddy to hold the bike up (with you on it/in full gear) and one buddy to make the measurements. Then you will need to know what the optimum range is based on your riding style and needs, i.e. roads.

So bottom line, if you don't know about this, take it and have it set up for you. Be honest when they ask your riding style and level. This is often overlooked by motorcyclists and is easily the one thing that can completely change the way your bike handles and brakes. Then ride it for a while and see how if feels. If you need to make small adjustments from there, you can. Always write down where everything is set before you turn anything so you can go back. It gets real confusing real fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All great information. Looks like I'll be going with ther factory settings with tweaks from there. I don't consider myself a very aggressive rider, but I do like to blast a bit at times (I didn't opt for the DTC for nothing!). And I have the perfect road for tweaking. Thanks again for all of the information.

Larry
 

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Do you by chance have a link that tells what sag to have?

Chris

The single most important thing you do is set the SAG front and rear. Until you do this, the suspension will not work within its optimum range (unless it happens to be set right for your weight already, which is unusual) or no turning of the dials will be sufficient. This is a must first! Its easier to have someone do it that knows how or you will at least need to read up on the process and have one buddy to hold the bike up (with you on it/in full gear) and one buddy to make the measurements. Then you will need to know what the optimum range is based on your riding style and needs, i.e. roads.

So bottom line, if you don't know about this, take it and have it set up for you. Be honest when they ask your riding style and level. This is often overlooked by motorcyclists and is easily the one thing that can completely change the way your bike handles and brakes. Then ride it for a while and see how if feels. If you need to make small adjustments from there, you can. Always write down where everything is set before you turn anything so you can go back. It gets real confusing real fast.
 

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Do you by chance have a link that tells what sag to have?

Chris

The GENERAL rule is more sag for street, less for the track. The median is usually around 30mm. For the track, sag is typically 25 to 30mm. Street riders usually use 30 to 35mm. Bikes set up for the track are a compromise when ridden on the street. The firmer settings commonly used on the track are generally not recommended (or desirable) for road work. Again this will all depend on how you ride and what type of track/roads you ride.

I'm not an expert, I'm just plagiarizing from my suspension guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The GENERAL rule is more sag for street, less for the track. The median is usually around 30mm. For the track, sag is typically 25 to 30mm. Street riders usually use 30 to 35mm. Bikes set up for the track are a compromise when ridden on the street. The firmer settings commonly used on the track are generally not recommended (or desirable) for road work. Again this will all depend on how you ride and what type of track/roads you ride.

I'm not an expert, I'm just plagiarizing from my suspension guy.
This is a nicely informative article in Sport Rider about setting up suspension - including sag:

http://www.sportrider.com/suspension_settings/146_0402_suspension_setup_guide/index.html
 

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I weigh about 230lbs with gear on, and I had my suspension set up at an in-house suspension seminar my local dealer had. The sag front and rear did not need to be touched, and fell right in the middle of the parameters. He made some clicker adjustments and that was it. My bike is the S model, so could these be sprung for heavier riders?
 

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I'm about 210 with gear and they had to add preload to my front, but the rear was OK. So I'm thinking there may be some variability in how the factory sets things - probably best to double check it.

I'm with srleadjb - get someone experienced in suspension work to set you up right. It will cost $30-50 and probably be the best investment in rideability you can make for that kind of money. If you possibly can, find a place that'll make adjustments after you ride it a while.
 

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Yeah it cost me $40, and spring adjustment would have been included, but I supposedly didn't need it.
 

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The Engineer (Tell your mom hey)
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I checked the preload on my bike.. the front is about approx 32 mm and the rear was closer to 25 mm (not too bad because it squishes really good when accelerating)
I weigh 180 lb and ride pretty spirited mostly.. some cruising but mostly as fast as I can everywhere (probably not a great habit) on the street.
anyway.. I haven't checked the dampening but it really does well for most of what my riding is. the only time it's a little too stiff is hitting washboard sections of road with patches and such... the tire will skip over some of the bumps but it's not too bad because it takes a fairly bad section of road to cause this.
so my assessment is that the stock settings are fine for me. I would say if you were lighter then you might reduce the preload in the rear a little and then if you want to adjust the dampeners.. do it little at a time.
 

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HI Guys,
What type of wrench and where can I get do I use to adjust rear spring preload? As I want to check to see how close the sag is to 30 mm.

Chris
 

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Blame the universe not the tank!
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I bought a "rear shock spring adjustment tool" from a local bike dealer, not sure it will fit... I used a very beefy extra long flat head to do my initial loosening of the lock ring, then again for the adjuster. The tool is for spinning the adjuster, you still have to use a screw driver type tool to lock / unlock the top ring.

This link is an example of the type of wrench... The wrench I bought has a hinge at the midpoint so it's supposed to be usable for different sized rear shocks.

http://store.barracudacustom.com/Victory_Rear_Shock_Preload_Spring_Adjustment_Tool_p/vt-101.htm
 

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HI Bill,
Thanks! I bought one on ebay today!

Chris


I bought a "rear shock spring adjustment tool" from a local bike dealer, not sure it will fit... I used a very beefy extra long flat head to do my initial loosening of the lock ring, then again for the adjuster. The tool is for spinning the adjuster, you still have to use a screw driver type tool to lock / unlock the top ring.

This link is an example of the type of wrench... The wrench I bought has a hinge at the midpoint so it's supposed to be usable for different sized rear shocks.

http://store.barracudacustom.com/Victory_Rear_Shock_Preload_Spring_Adjustment_Tool_p/vt-101.htm
 

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Hi all,

New here and new to Ducatis (but not new to biking). I just bought a Streetfighter S and I'm totally at sea about suspension settings. Does anyone have any suggestions about what might be reasonable suspension settings for a rider that weighs about 160-165 with gear? Or where I might find them? Are the factory settings about right for someone of my weight? Thanks in advance for any info or advice.

Larry

2010 Streetfighter S
2009 Road Glide
1999 VFR
1967 CL77 (2)
Finally got my suspension done today in prep for some track days. Wow was it off for my weight from the factory! The bike had almost no sag at all in the front or rear for my weight of 180 with full leathers and gear. Also it was carrying way to much compression. Rebound was good.

Rode about 125 miles in the canyons to test it out and wow is it better. So much so I'm not sure how I was riding it before. Now it turns in, doesn't run wide and actually absorbs bumps.

Just a reminder to those who don't or haven't changed their set up for their weight, its an absolute must! Get it done.
 
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