'Wrong' sag turned out to be a big improvement

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10/17/2018 10:55 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/17/2018 11:02 AM

Well today was interesting, I was messing around with my setting a little bit and I never really touched the rear preload since I set the sag and replaced the spring. But I always felt like my kxf felt slow on the rear, hard to describe. So I made it much more 'harder' today and wow, it felt so much better. It feels like it brings the power now much better to the ground. Yeah especially in the jumps it pops me really out in the air instead before it felt like a really slow take off and that with much more effort. Also I feel like whips was easier to do so. Only my hands/fingers had more pain but thats because my front now needs a change, too.
Anyone else had this experience? I didnt messure it but no way the sag is correct now, so I was really surprised how well it turned out to be..

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10/17/2018 11:15 AM

What does "much more "harder"" mean? More preload? More compression damping is what I'd normally associate with "harder". Any chance that the sag was wrong before? Or you may have a spring that is too stiff so getting the right race sag number gives you way too much static sag, so by putting more preload on the spring you've now got more suitable static sag that puts enough tension on the spring for it to react properly.

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Current rides: 2016 KTM 250SXF, 2017 KTM 350SXF

10/17/2018 11:22 AM

MPJC wrote:

What does "much more "harder"" mean? More preload? More compression damping is what I'd normally associate with "harder". Any chance that the sag was wrong before? Or you may have a spring that is too stiff so getting the right race sag number gives you way too much static sag, so by putting more preload on the spring you've now got more suitable static sag that puts enough tension on the spring for it to react properly.

I get that its not harder, I shouldve said more preload, thats what I did. And no it was set correctly before (100mm) and 30mm free sag. Its the right spring rate for my weight.

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10/17/2018 11:24 AM

There is always a give and take on suspension. I have done the same and noticed decreasing sag increases the load on the forks and may need some adjustments as well to compensate.

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10/17/2018 11:28 AM

I bet she turned great, didn't she?

Remember, for every action, there is a reaction.

You shifted a lot of weight from the back to the front, so you're forks probably felt soft, even harsh. Get proper fork springs, set your sag and she will feel like a new bike.

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2017 RMZ450
2005 YZ250-sold :,(
1998 YZ250
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10/17/2018 11:33 AM

MPJC wrote:

What does "much more "harder"" mean? More preload? More compression damping is what I'd normally associate with "harder". Any chance that the sag was wrong before? Or you may have a spring that is too stiff so getting the right race sag number gives you way too much static sag, so by putting more preload on the spring you've now got more suitable static sag that puts enough tension on the spring for it to react properly.

matze wrote:

I get that its not harder, I shouldve said more preload, thats what I did. And no it was set correctly before (100mm) and 30mm free sag. Its the right spring rate for my weight.

Interesting. I guess that’s why recommended settings are best seen as a starting point from which to fine tune to your preference.

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Current rides: 2016 KTM 250SXF, 2017 KTM 350SXF

10/17/2018 11:59 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/17/2018 11:59 AM

mattyhamz2 wrote:

I bet she turned great, didn't she?

Remember, for every action, there is a reaction.

You shifted a lot of weight from the back to the front, so you're forks probably felt soft, even harsh. Get proper fork springs, set your sag and she will feel like a new bike.

Oh yes! Thats why I tried that in the first place.

Yeah I know, I replaced those 2015 showa sff forks with 2009 kyb USD forks, it was a good decision I can tell you that. But youre right, on those forks I still need the proper springs, already ordered tho. Although I still need to set them up correctly they are already better than the sff forks and there was everything set for me.

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10/17/2018 1:57 PM

Sounds like maybe your forks are too soft, if more preload on the shock balanced the bike.

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10/17/2018 2:02 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/17/2018 2:10 PM

BikeGuy321 wrote:

Sounds like maybe your forks are too soft, if more preload on the shock balanced the bike.

it may sound like it but nope, they are definetly not too soft
Its probably my riding style

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10/17/2018 2:18 PM

Right on. If you still feel like 100mm sag is the "correct" setting, you can probably get 100mm to feel stiff enough off of jumps by adding more high speed compression to the shock.

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10/17/2018 2:22 PM

People always state "I want my bike to squat"

But this usually lends itself to harshness on real acceleration bumps - the shock bumper comes into play much sooner than people realize....It always makes a bike hard to corner in good ruts - as the rear drops too much under load and rakes out the bike.

I had a similar experience on my kawis. MXA said get a link! I rode it 20 hours - got a link - and thought - wow that's a mistake after trying all manners to make it work - it just didn't work better.
I started with OEM rear spring (Oversprung for me) - went to "correct" rate, tested a ton of valving settings, then tried back to OEM and found I was flat out happier there - despite my free sag at 50mm


first and foremost - there is no "proper spring for my weight". Do a lot of research here if you like into spring mass theory - but the reality is as follows:
You can make a WIDE range of spring rates work with varied damping changes - and still achieve proper race sag numbers (the more important sag number of the 2 IMHO)

The stiffer the spring rate - the FASTER the frequency response your suspension can have - so the age old "spring for weight and valve for speed" isn't entirely true (although a good starting statement to get people away from thinking springs do all the important work)

softer rear springs will be have a STIFFER setting under heavy braking. AKA the rear will feel MORE stinkbug with a softer rear spring at a given race sag number. On the yzf - this was HELPFUL to get it to turn. We ran lighter than "suggested" spring rates on those to get LOW free sag numbers.
on bikes where you want a "lower feeling rear" under braking - you may be surprised what a stiffer spring does for you.

The faster you go - the more spring rate you will want to help get the suspension to recover quickly enough.
For G out loading situations - more spring rate will always help you - it's hard to use purely shock damping for this.

All in all - you do need to check your sag. If it's 80mm - maybe you should consider much firmer valving and back to a normal number
If it's 95mm - maybe you just prefer that...and it's fine for you. every rider is unique - and just because a "spec" is suggested - doesn't make it the golden rule.

Aftermarket springs aren't always accurate - and OFTEN times the end effects of the spring make the early parts of preload/spring rate much different. Often even through "free sag" numbers don't fall in correct - it's due to the way a spring is made - and the fact the rate isn't "linear" for the whole spring rate.



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10/17/2018 2:42 PM

Derek Harris wrote:

People always state "I want my bike to squat"

But this usually lends itself to harshness on real acceleration bumps - the shock bumper comes into play much sooner than people realize....It always makes a bike hard to corner in good ruts - as the rear drops too much under load and rakes out the bike.

I had a similar experience on my kawis. MXA said get a link! I rode it 20 hours - got a link - and thought - wow that's a mistake after trying all manners to make it work - it just didn't work better.
I started with OEM rear spring (Oversprung for me) - went to "correct" rate, tested a ton of valving settings, then tried back to OEM and found I was flat out happier there - despite my free sag at 50mm


first and foremost - there is no "proper spring for my weight". Do a lot of research here if you like into spring mass theory - but the reality is as follows:
You can make a WIDE range of spring rates work with varied damping changes - and still achieve proper race sag numbers (the more important sag number of the 2 IMHO)

The stiffer the spring rate - the FASTER the frequency response your suspension can have - so the age old "spring for weight and valve for speed" isn't entirely true (although a good starting statement to get people away from thinking springs do all the important work)

softer rear springs will be have a STIFFER setting under heavy braking. AKA the rear will feel MORE stinkbug with a softer rear spring at a given race sag number. On the yzf - this was HELPFUL to get it to turn. We ran lighter than "suggested" spring rates on those to get LOW free sag numbers.
on bikes where you want a "lower feeling rear" under braking - you may be surprised what a stiffer spring does for you.

The faster you go - the more spring rate you will want to help get the suspension to recover quickly enough.
For G out loading situations - more spring rate will always help you - it's hard to use purely shock damping for this.

All in all - you do need to check your sag. If it's 80mm - maybe you should consider much firmer valving and back to a normal number
If it's 95mm - maybe you just prefer that...and it's fine for you. every rider is unique - and just because a "spec" is suggested - doesn't make it the golden rule.

Aftermarket springs aren't always accurate - and OFTEN times the end effects of the spring make the early parts of preload/spring rate much different. Often even through "free sag" numbers don't fall in correct - it's due to the way a spring is made - and the fact the rate isn't "linear" for the whole spring rate.



This is really useful info! I just ordered a Pro Circuit link for my 2013 350 sxf. I find it feels less stable than my 2016 bike. I’ll soon find out if getting the rear to squat is really what I want. I do ride primarily on sand so I may be looking for more stability than is typical.

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Current rides: 2016 KTM 250SXF, 2017 KTM 350SXF

10/17/2018 2:56 PM

mattyhamz2 wrote:

I bet she turned great, didn't she?

Remember, for every action, there is a reaction.

You shifted a lot of weight from the back to the front, so you're forks probably felt soft, even harsh. Get proper fork springs, set your sag and she will feel like a new bike.

matze wrote:

Oh yes! Thats why I tried that in the first place.

Yeah I know, I replaced those 2015 showa sff forks with 2009 kyb USD forks, it was a good decision I can tell you that. But youre right, on those forks I still need the proper springs, already ordered tho. Although I still need to set them up correctly they are already better than the sff forks and there was everything set for me.

I bet the Showa to KYB swap is what you're feeling and why you like the reduced sag!

KYB forks are 10 mm longer than the Showa SFFs, you you raised the front of the bike up by 10mm and screwed the bike geometry up.

Set your sag back to standard, and raise the forks in the clamps 10 mm. You'll be much happier.

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10/17/2018 3:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/17/2018 3:12 PM

Jbulz wrote:

I bet the Showa to KYB swap is what you're feeling and why you like the reduced sag!

KYB forks are 10 mm longer than the Showa SFFs, you you raised the front of the bike up by 10mm and screwed the bike geometry up.

Set your sag back to standard, and raise the forks in the clamps 10 mm. You'll be much happier.

first I have to check where the sag is right now. I already raised the forks, and that slow rear feeling was also with sff forks! So im sure the 'problem' doesnt come from the front as I dont see a problem here anyways. Bike feels awesome now. I may have to change things if the sag is way off tho

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10/17/2018 5:33 PM

I had my forks all the way down the clamps, and realised my spring had come loose and I was riding on 135mm of sag. Worse days riding I've ever had. I've raised my forks 10mm in the clamps and set my sag at 102mm so I'm excited to ride again this weekend.

I've heard having less sag on the Kawis is the way to go

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I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not too sure.

10/18/2018 5:35 AM

Gandorlf wrote:

I had my forks all the way down the clamps, and realised my spring had come loose and I was riding on 135mm of sag. Worse days riding I've ever had. I've raised my forks 10mm in the clamps and set my sag at 102mm so I'm excited to ride again this weekend.

I've heard having less sag on the Kawis is the way to go

that must have felt very strange and oddly soft/slow, on fast braking bumps propably even harsh.

Never heard that before but I guess I found out myself.

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10/18/2018 6:15 AM

112mm of sag on both my kx250 & 450 feel the best tbh.

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10/18/2018 6:26 AM

matze wrote:

Well today was interesting, I was messing around with my setting a little bit and I never really touched the rear preload since I set the sag and replaced the spring. But I always felt like my kxf felt slow on the rear, hard to describe. So I made it much more 'harder' today and wow, it felt so much better. It feels like it brings the power now much better to the ground. Yeah especially in the jumps it pops me really out in the air instead before it felt like a really slow take off and that with much more effort. Also I feel like whips was easier to do so. Only my hands/fingers had more pain but thats because my front now needs a change, too.
Anyone else had this experience? I didnt messure it but no way the sag is correct now, so I was really surprised how well it turned out to be..

Matze, stuttgart, roczen Photo.

Frick?! grin cool hey man!! You know where this picture is from?tongue Photo

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10/18/2018 7:43 AM

Kawasaki-rider wrote:

Matze, stuttgart, roczen Photo.

Frick?! grin cool hey man!! You know where this picture is from?tongue Photo

Sorry but I have no ideawink

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10/18/2018 11:36 AM

Derek Harris wrote:

People always state "I want my bike to squat"

But this usually lends itself to harshness on real acceleration bumps - the shock bumper comes into play much sooner than people realize....It always makes a bike hard to corner in good ruts - as the rear drops too much under load and rakes out the bike.

I had a similar experience on my kawis. MXA said get a link! I rode it 20 hours - got a link - and thought - wow that's a mistake after trying all manners to make it work - it just didn't work better.
I started with OEM rear spring (Oversprung for me) - went to "correct" rate, tested a ton of valving settings, then tried back to OEM and found I was flat out happier there - despite my free sag at 50mm


first and foremost - there is no "proper spring for my weight". Do a lot of research here if you like into spring mass theory - but the reality is as follows:
You can make a WIDE range of spring rates work with varied damping changes - and still achieve proper race sag numbers (the more important sag number of the 2 IMHO)

The stiffer the spring rate - the FASTER the frequency response your suspension can have - so the age old "spring for weight and valve for speed" isn't entirely true (although a good starting statement to get people away from thinking springs do all the important work)

softer rear springs will be have a STIFFER setting under heavy braking. AKA the rear will feel MORE stinkbug with a softer rear spring at a given race sag number. On the yzf - this was HELPFUL to get it to turn. We ran lighter than "suggested" spring rates on those to get LOW free sag numbers.
on bikes where you want a "lower feeling rear" under braking - you may be surprised what a stiffer spring does for you.

The faster you go - the more spring rate you will want to help get the suspension to recover quickly enough.
For G out loading situations - more spring rate will always help you - it's hard to use purely shock damping for this.

All in all - you do need to check your sag. If it's 80mm - maybe you should consider much firmer valving and back to a normal number
If it's 95mm - maybe you just prefer that...and it's fine for you. every rider is unique - and just because a "spec" is suggested - doesn't make it the golden rule.

Aftermarket springs aren't always accurate - and OFTEN times the end effects of the spring make the early parts of preload/spring rate much different. Often even through "free sag" numbers don't fall in correct - it's due to the way a spring is made - and the fact the rate isn't "linear" for the whole spring rate.



thats so true, finaly someone thats thinks like me !

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10/18/2018 4:20 PM

Gandorlf wrote:

I had my forks all the way down the clamps, and realised my spring had come loose and I was riding on 135mm of sag. Worse days riding I've ever had. I've raised my forks 10mm in the clamps and set my sag at 102mm so I'm excited to ride again this weekend.

I've heard having less sag on the Kawis is the way to go

matze wrote:

that must have felt very strange and oddly soft/slow, on fast braking bumps propably even harsh.

Never heard that before but I guess I found out myself.

It was crap, my ass hurt like hell and acceleration bumps/chop we're horrid. I did notice the change but I put it down to my shock needing a service. Someone told me to stand up more so I thought it was that. Scratching my head at home I noticed both rings on the shock had come loose and undone themselves all the way so there was 0 tension on the spring, it was sort of just sitting there. I could wobble it by hand with ease.

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I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not too sure.

10/19/2018 2:01 AM

Imo it sag numbers are personal to each rider . I tend to run a ton of sag on my bike and I like it way more .At least 115 to 120 mm .always turns better for me .even tho everyone will say opposite. I feel all modern bike s feel sooooooooo sink bug .which is a feeling I hate

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