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Old 08-23-2010, 01:04 PM   #1
FastLine
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Lightbulb Is Your Bike Properly Setup?

All too often, we get caught up in the thrill of the ride, and neglect the most important parts of our motorcycles; tires and suspension!

We've all read the countless rider down threads. You know, the "I don't know what happened, I was just turning in and bam!" threads. These aren't just limited to the noob riders or squids, but to the more experienced riders too. Whether on the street or track, it happens all too often. Sure, some of those accidents were the result of lack of skill, rider error, or even the fault of a cager, or other rider. I'd like to offer another possibility, and that is bike setup.

How many of you honestly check your tire pressure each time you ride? It would be a safe bet that 99% of you don't. Why? Perhaps you just checked them the other day, or maybe you kicked them, and they felt fine. Did you know that a 10 degree in ambient temperature could change your pressures up to 2 psi? Air is a gas, so as it heats and cools, it will expand and contract. Did you leave for your ride early in the morning, when temps were cooler? Did you check your tire as the day heated up? riding will also increase your pressures, by up to 4-5 psi.

Have you ever gone on a weekend ride and the 1st day, the bike felt awesome, the roads were great, and the day was zin like? How about the second day? The roads were the same, but you just weren't feeling it. Something seemed off. It was likely your tires, or a combination of too much beer the night before.

To a racer, 1 psi can mean the difference between a podium and a dismal finish. To a street rider, it won't feel noticeable. But a 4-5 psi difference sure will, and that's how much it can change in just 1 day! I've seen guys too many times riding around with 45 psi in their tires because that's what the dealership who just mounted their tires set the pressure at, or that's what it says on the side of the tire. Or to the opposite extreme, I've seen just as many guys riding around with 20 psi becaues they haven't checked the pressures in a very long while. Both extremes will land you in a ditch, very quickly! Too much air, and your tire will deflect off of mid corner bumps, and too little air your bike will handle like a truck. These are both very plausible reasons why we read so many rider down threads. Each bike should have an air gauge under the seat. Check your pressures, and check them often. If you don't know what they should be at, ask.

Now lets talk about suspension. The majority of riders will buy their bikes off the show room floor, and ride off into the sunset, never touching the suspension for the life of the bike. Bikes come from the dealerships with the spring rates so far out of whack it's just stupid. Having just your sag set will make a significant difference. So much so, it will be like riding a new bike.

Did you change your tires lately from the OEM to a different brand? Is the circumference the same? Most likely not. That will drasticaly change how your bike turns in and steers out of a corner. If the front is too high, it will steer slowly. Too low, it will turn in too sharply.

I strongly recommend that each of you go and visit my good friends at Motorcycles Unlimited and let them set your suspension for you. It only cost $25, and it will be the best $25 you'll spend on your bike. If you can't make it by Motorcycles Unlimited, go and see another reputable shop who can help you set your bike up properly, so that you never have one of those moments that ends up a thread on a local forum.

These are just a couple of basic principles that are all too often overlooked, and will not only increase the pleasure of your ride, but could potentially save your hide, or life!
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:11 PM   #2
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Great post and should be required reading!
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:26 PM   #3
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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sticky in the making?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:46 PM   #5
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.....and the day was zin like?




Great post duder!
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:49 PM   #6
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i read somewhere that the tires you use could also have an effect on how your suspension should be set up. is that true?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tri View Post
i read somewhere that the tires you use could also have an effect on how your suspension should be set up. is that true?
I could see how that could happen. Different tires have different profiles and shapes, side wall stiffness, etc...


It sucks for the guys with non-adjustable suspension though (like my Street Triple). Gay bike...
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:54 PM   #8
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heres a question..btw just got my new pirelli rosso rear mounted saturday, doin the other one next week, thanks Motorcycles Unlimited! Anyway, the warranty guy that comes to our car lot has been telling us to put nitrous in our tires, as they hold pressure better. Anyone done this on their bike yet?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by triumphant675r View Post
heres a question..btw just got my new pirelli rosso rear mounted saturday, doin the other one next week, thanks Motorcycles Unlimited! Anyway, the warranty guy that comes to our car lot has been telling us to put nitrous in our tires, as they hold pressure better. Anyone done this on their bike yet?
You mean nitrogen?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri View Post
i read somewhere that the tires you use could also have an effect on how your suspension should be set up. is that true?
Yes it is. The bike geometry was basically designed around the OEM tire. Different manufacturers each have different profiles, circumferences, and carcass stiffness. All of that plays a part in your bikes handling.

You don't have to be a racer or track junkie to benefit from a good suspension setup.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:00 PM   #11
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Nitrogen is the biggest of ""air"" molecules and it has less moisture in it. They say it leaks out slower and has a few other benefits but I would assume it's still subject to the same thermal expansion/compression as all other gases.

Besides, I've got an air-compressor at my house....
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triumphant675r View Post
heres a question..btw just got my new pirelli rosso rear mounted saturday, doin the other one next week, thanks Motorcycles Unlimited! Anyway, the warranty guy that comes to our car lot has been telling us to put nitrous in our tires, as they hold pressure better. Anyone done this on their bike yet?
Nitrogen. ..and yes, auto racers regularly use it, and it is catching on with bikes somewhat I hear.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
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You mean nitrogen?
yes, nitrogen...i can't believe I said nitrous lol
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:05 PM   #14
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yes, nitrogen...i can't believe I said nitrous lol
No worries.


I'll stick with air. In most cases it's free and easy to get.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:09 PM   #15
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I have always had my suspension set up by Motorcycles Unlimited. Each time I have bought a bike, it got new tires and setup to me, it was like night and day on each of my bikes.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:10 PM   #16
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as a matter of fact.. My bike is setup properly.. Its just undersprung for my weight, but Motorcycles Unlimited has it as close as it will ever be with the current equipment..
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:11 PM   #17
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as a matter of fact.. My bike is setup properly.. Its just undersprung for my weight, but Motorcycles Unlimited has it as close as it will ever be with the current equipment..


I'm currently in that boat with the Triumph and the Gixxer.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:19 PM   #18
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/\ same here with mine /\, ive got it dialed in as good as it can get without new springs
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #19
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I'm too fat to ride stock springs. Kinda solves that issue.

But I could stand to check my tire pressures more often.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:48 PM   #20
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wow, this is a interesting thread.

My bike will be going to Motorcycles Unlimited for a suspension check and just a general look over next week.
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