F800S/ST spring preload chart - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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    F800S/ST spring preload chart

    94 Comments by danham Published on 08-27-09 04:34 PM
    I could swear that I found a link in this forum to a very nice chart (pdf maybe?) which shows how many clicks to the right from full counter-clockwise you should turn the preload adjuster for what rider/passenger weight.

    I did write down some that would be useful to me, such as 14 clicks for 220 lbs and 21 for 331, but now I need to give a ride to a friend who is a large guy. Our combined weight will be 400 lbs. Trying to extrapolate I get 25 clicks, but it would be nice to go back and review the chart.

    I have searched and searched here and can't find it again. Does anyone have the link?

    Many thanks,

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport.

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  3. #2
    DaveC's Avatar
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    Hi Dan, I can't help you with a chart, but here's something you might try: sag. Sag is comparison of how much of the rear suspension is compressed when you're sitting on the bike compared to having no load on the bike. If you prefer a firm ride (as I do), you might opt for 25% sag (if I remember correctly that's 35 mm out of a total of 140 mm travel). If you prefer a softer ride, you can go more. The trick is to load the bike the same as when you will be travelling. If that means with gear, passenger, luggage, and full of fuel, so be it.

    I measure the sag by fixing a rod across the bike above the rear axle with the bike parked next to a wall. With the bike unladen and level (I use a spirit level to make sure) I mark the wall where the rod touches it. Then I make another mark 35 mm below that one. Next I sit on the bike, all geared up, letting my weight compress the suspension. When the preload adjuster is correct, the rod will align with the lower mark. If you do this for various loading conditions you can make your own chart specific to your loadings and your bike.

    Cheers, DaveC
    Take it out and play with it 

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    danham's Avatar
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    Thanks, Dave; I'll definitely use your method for setting up the bike for solo.

    But it'd be nice to have a handy, quick ballpark estimate of clicks for when I give my friend a ride - I won't have the opportunity to do all that work at his place and just want an idea of how hard to crank things for a short trip, then it's back to solo.

    Thanks again,

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

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    Hi....

    I believe I can help you.

    I saw this chart too a while ago and saved it on my computer. For whatever reason, I cannot get it to "paste" into this text box.

    Anybody who would like this chart.......send me a PM with your email and I will fire it over to you.
    What feels better than banking a motorcycle over into a corner? 

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    For over two years I have been working on 0.0642 clicks for every 1 lb of rider + luggage weight. Perhaps not as user friendly as the chart, but derived from basic figures in BMW manual.
    I had one WTF ABS incident on a bumpy road a few days after receiving my ST. Found pre load was set way too high. Adjusted in line with above and no further ABS fright in 19,500 miles.

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    Got all your PM's, friends.

    I will email you tonight when I get to my home computer where the chart is at.

    Time to get back to work now!
    What feels better than banking a motorcycle over into a corner? 

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    Hi friends...

    I answered to all your PM's

    I forgot to add a title, but there will be an attachment.

    If you get an email from "Sandro", its safe to open and you will see the chart.

    Please post on here if you can, cause I couldn't!

    Cheers!
    What feels better than banking a motorcycle over into a corner? 

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    Calgary, Alberta, Canada olive is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnY View Post
    Please post on here if you can, cause I couldn't!
    Thank you Sunny!

    The chart is below....

    Veni, Vidi, Vroom
    (I came, I saw, I rode away) 

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    Beat me to it with the image by 60 seconds [g].

    In any case, many thanks to all.

    -dan
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    I'm not sure where those figures in the chart came from, but my opinion is the upper end of the chart has spring settings that are too stiff. I'm at about seventy Kg. (155 lbs) and I prefer the spring at 7-8 clicks rather than the 10. At 10 I find the ride to be harsh and bouncy, not good for handling in corners with rough pavement or for riding on concrete roads.


    .............shu
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    2007 F800ST-gone but not forgotten. 

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    Clearly these are guidelines to get us started on dialing in the shock and spring, not ironclad benchmarks.

    Wouldn't "bouncy" be more a question of damping, not spring preload?

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

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    The suggested damping setting for a setting of 12 clicks pre-load is 1 1/2 turns out from closed. All the way clockwise then counterclockwise turn and 1/2 out.

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    I took the chart and put it into excel so I could easily convert the kg to lbs. I also added a column showing the 0.0642 clicks/lb method, and it matches perfectly with the chart.
    Last edited by darth_b; 08-30-09 at 11:19 PM.

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    Thanks, darth_b. In my browser, the table does not appear in your post, but it did show up in the notifier email, so here it is pasted in as text:

    From Full CCW,
    lbs, kg, Clicks, Calc Clicks,
    154.32, 70, 10, 10
    176.37, 80, 11, 11
    187.39, 85, 12, 12
    198.42, 90, 13, 13
    220.46, 100, 14, 14
    231.49, 105, 15, 15
    242.51, 110, 16, 16
    253.53, 115, 16, 16
    264.55, 120, 17, 17
    286.60, 130, 18, 18
    308.65, 140, 20, 20
    330.69, 150, 21, 21
    352.74, 160, 23, 23
    374.79, 170, 24, 24
    396.83, 180, 25, 25
    418.88, 190, 27, 27
    440.92, 200, 28, 28

    -dan
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    I tried over and over again to get the table to paste, trying html tags, table tags, etc. Finally just edited it out.

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    Flopp is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Based on that info - divide the total rider/passenger/gear weight by 15.4 and you are pretty close. Measuring the sag is best but the calc method is a quick fix.

    Now on to rebound
    ST - all options from the factory, sport panniers, stock screen Vario, "tank" mount Zumo, Throttlemeister, Stebel Nautilus, Hyperlites, Hyperpro fork springs, Centech AP-2, Evos, misc farkles and yes, it is Black and Yellow 

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    For me, @ 175 lbs. plus a little fudge factor for gear and stuff I carry in the bags, such as tools, the suggested chart figures are darn close. Twelve clicks gives me about 30% sag as measured by my lovely assistant (take a bow).

    As Flopp said, on to rebound. I'm open 1.5 turns (I found it very handy to mark one "ear" of the knob with a small dab of paint and forget trying to find the elusive clicks) and need to do more riding before messing with it any further.

    -dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flopp View Post
    Now on to rebound
    Well, how about some data points from people, and I'll volunteer to do the math to fit a curve to them. At least give people a starting point for experimentation.

    What is your spring preload set at, and your damping setting?

  27. #19
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    OK: body weight 175, 12 clicks preload (to account for some gear), 1.75 turns open on damping.

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

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    I made this web page based on values from the owners manual.
    http://www.uthd.com/jeremy/f800st_config.html

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    kwarr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    I made this web page based on values from the owners manual.
    http://www.uthd.com/jeremy/f800st_config.html

    wow, impressive. Thanx

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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    I made this web page based on values from the owners manual.
    http://www.uthd.com/jeremy/f800st_config.html
    Thanks. Useful tool indeed.

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    Any change in the calculation or settings if you have the low frame?

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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    I made this web page based on values from the owners manual.
    http://www.uthd.com/jeremy/f800st_config.html
    Nice, thanks!
    If you don't mind, how did you calculate the correct damping value?
    My manual is a bit fuzzy on that....
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrwooden View Post
    Nice, thanks!
    If you don't mind, how did you calculate the correct damping value?
    My manual is a bit fuzzy on that....
    Right. The manual gives you exactly one data point. On page 55 and 56 it gives you the settings for a 187 lbs (85 kg) rider. And it is 12 clicks of preload and 1 1/2 “clicks” of dampening. Here’s where some assumptions come in. My damper screw doesn’t click so; I assume they mean half turns because the preload setting clicks on every half turn. On page 129 of the manual it states that maximum load is 443 lbs (201 kg). I counted 40 clicks of preload adjustment and of course, maximum dampening is with the screw all the way in (clockwise). So, now you have two data points and I assumed that the adjustment would be linear across the range. So, with that information interpolated linearly, I came up with this handy chart.
    http://www.uthd.com/jeremy/F%20800%20ST.pdf
    Then I just programmed a simple web form to do the same. Weights for the luggage came from the BMW web site. Also, I made these things for myself and I’m in the USA were we measure our weight in pounds instead of our mass in kg. Crazy, I know, but that’s what I’m used to. I may add kg’s to this in the near future if any of you think that would be useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalJC View Post
    Any change in the calculation or settings if you have the low frame?
    The manual does not mention anything about different adjustments for the low frame. You might want to turn the preload handwheel counterclockwise all the way. Then count how many clicks you get turning it clockwise until it stop or it feels like the tension comes off of the handwheel. If you do that please post your answer back here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olive View Post
    Thank you Sunny!

    The chart is below....

    What is the source for this chart? Just curious as it differs from the web form and chart I made so if yours is more authoritative, I'll use your values. Thanks!

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  38. #28
    SunnY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    What is the source for this chart? Just curious as it differs from the web form and chart I made so if yours is more authoritative, I'll use your values. Thanks!
    I got it from this forum a while ago, and saved it on my computer.

    There is the original post with this chart on this forum somewhere, but I couldn't find it. Maybe the original poster of the chart can shed some light on where they got it from.


    .
    What feels better than banking a motorcycle over into a corner? 

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    Is it possible to adjust the spring preload with out the special tool?

  40. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ercanj View Post
    Is it possible to adjust the spring preload with out the special tool?
    Yes. But you'll need tiny hands and rather strong fingers.

  41. #31
    danham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnY View Post
    I got it from this forum a while ago, and saved it on my computer.

    There is the original post with this chart on this forum somewhere, but I couldn't find it. Maybe the original poster of the chart can shed some light on where they got it from.


    .
    I seem to recall that the OP provided a conversion "formula" of 0.0642 right clicks of preload per pound of total weight carried on the bike.

    At least that's what I have in my notes for my trip checklist.

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

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    I made that chart! Glad it was useful.
    Still have a copy stuck on the inside of my top box.
    Think I have it in excel if anyone wants it.
    For damping I just adjust it by feel now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quarel View Post
    I made that chart! Glad it was useful.
    Still have a copy stuck on the inside of my top box.
    Think I have it in excel if anyone wants it.
    For damping I just adjust it by feel now.
    I've seen several comments about your chart being accurate. I'm strongly considering doing some measurements with my motorrad to see what preloads with different weights result in the same amount of sag as the setting in the manual (85 kg @ 12 clicks). How did you arrive at the numbers in your chart?

  44. #34
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    Well i'd love to say I spent weeks working it out experimenting... but I did a bit of maths in excel based on the "normal setting" in the F800S operating manual.
    Could be it's different for the ST and other variants, or maybe I just ballsed it up - LOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quarel View Post
    Well i'd love to say I spent weeks working it out experimenting... but I did a bit of maths in excel based on the "normal setting" in the F800S operating manual.
    Could be it's different for the ST and other variants, or maybe I just ballsed it up - LOL.

    Ok. I read somewhere yesterday that the best way to set one's preload is to measure the amount of suspension sag with a known setup, then add/remove weight and adjust the suspension until you get the same amount of sag. So what we're really talking about is maintaining ride height as weight is added. So, here is what I did last night in my driveway. I set the preload to 12 clicks and loaded my 2008 F800ST with ~185 lbs. (83.9 kg) (that's the closest I could get to 187 lbs. / 85 kg). I balanced the bike (off of the stands) bounced the suspension and measured the height of the bike at the rear of the luggage rack. I bounced and measured three times and got 37.25 inches, 37.5 inches and 37.25 inches. Then I set the preload to 28 clicks and loaded it with 437.5 lbs. (198.4 kg). (That is as close as I could get to maximum load with out going over weight). I measured twice and got 36.0 inches both times. Then I set the preload to 40 clicks and I got 37.0 inches twice. So, I geuss that validated my chart and web form somewhat, at least for the US F800ST. According to the manuals I downloaded yesterday form BMW Motorrad Danmark (http://www.bmw-motorrad.dk/dk/da/index.html), the S, ST, and R versions of the F800 all us the same suspension and preload / damper settings so I think the suggested settings should be good for everything but the GS. And by "good" I mean they should get one close but, you may want to tweak to your personal preference.

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    Vacaville, California Ghan is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by ercanj View Post
    Is it possible to adjust the spring preload with out the special tool?

    I like to adjust my rear preload freqently. When I have to drone 100 miles to get to a favorite riding area I reduce preload for a plush highway cruze. When I get to the hilly curvy parts of the world I crank the preload back up. So, not wanting to keep stopping and fiddling with that ridiculous little knob I bought this luxury item.



    I know it's way over priced, but I use it so often it's become a necessity now. You can easily adjust the preload without getting off the bike.
    "Lock the door...and hope they don't have blasters" Han Solo 

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    The spring preload is not intended to adjust for "cushy ride." It is to keep the ride height correct under different load conditions, not road conditions. If you wish to have different "cushiness" on the slab vs. the twisties, use the rebound damping knob instead and you will get much better results.

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

  49. #38
    rx35285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    The manual does not mention anything about different adjustments for the low frame. You might want to turn the preload handwheel counterclockwise all the way. Then count how many clicks you get turning it clockwise until it stop or it feels like the tension comes off of the handwheel. If you do that please post your answer back here.
    I got 37 clicks - about 18 3/4 full turns. On mine the tension comes off when the knob is turned counterclockwise to the limit.

    Hope this is enough information to get the same kind of handy chart available for the standard suspension.

    Dave

  50. #39
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    Dumb question - on Daddyo's web page, what is "live weight" for the various items such as the top box, side cases, etc?

  51. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidaid View Post
    Dumb question - on Daddyo's web page, what is "live weight" for the various items such as the top box, side cases, etc?
    Sorry for the engineering jargon. Dead weight is the weight of the top box, side caes, etc. and Live weight is the weight of the contents of those items. I'll add an explanation to the web page.

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  53. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by rx35285 View Post
    I got 37 clicks - about 18 3/4 full turns. On mine the tension comes off when the knob is turned counterclockwise to the limit.

    Hope this is enough information to get the same kind of handy chart available for the standard suspension.

    Dave
    Your bike has the low frame? The chart is correct for the standard suspension/frame. The question was wether the low frame bike has different settings/range of adjustment.

  54. #42
    BicycleBoy's Avatar
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    Page 55 of owner's manual has different rear wheel spring preload settings for a lowered bike: 4 clicks for lowered bike vs. 12 clicks for standard suspension. Or am I interpreting the manual incorrectly?

  55. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by BicycleBoy View Post
    Page 55 of owner's manual has different rear wheel spring preload settings for a lowered bike: 4 clicks for lowered bike vs. 12 clicks for standard suspension. Or am I interpreting the manual incorrectly?
    Right. So, we've got the one data point. Need someone to experiment with their low frame bike. Does it have 32 clicks of preload instead of 40? Probably does but, I'm reluctant to publish that without some verification.

  56. #44

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    Hi, thank goodness I finally went ahead and did check my settings! It was set to about 2 clicks... with my weight of 120 kg's that was hopelessly to soft. I checked on the website there and it suggested 24 clicks but the other list provided suggested 20. Firstly I set it to 22 to see how it felt. That was still to stiff so I went down to 20, this is now perfect! Can't imagine the difference it has made. My bike was feeling so uncomfortable in corners... I just could not get into a comfortable lean! Now it's like silk... love it!

    Thanks so much for all the info and hard work you guys put into getting it all together for us.
    "'Enough Bullshit, man. Let's ride.' It's that easy. Riding my bike - this is all I really want to do. Because it's the only thing in the world that makes me feel awake, properly awake, and alive, really alive." - Dan Walsh. 

  57. #45
    Southern Germany AlanI is offline Volunteer Moderator - Recreational Vehicles
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    Intrigued with this entire suspension set-up business, and the lack of any official guidance from BMW in their handbook (F800GS) other than the factory standard settings, I recently sent BMW (Germany) an email expressing my surprise at the lack of any official guidance and requesting additional information.

    The essence of my email was that whilst I accepted that recommended settings could not be provided for every riding situation it was my belief that BMW, in keeping with other manufacturers, at least provided guidance for the most common scenarios. For example, whilst they stipulate recommended (also ex factory default) settings for a solo rider of 85kg with a full tank of fuel it would have been appreciated had they thought to give advice regarding other everyday and common riding situations i.e. (1) rider + passenger (combined weight 170kg)+full tank and (2) as previous but also carrying BMW standard cases loaded to maximum allowable weight and finally, (3) rider only plus cases.

    This is the reply to my email:

    Unfortunately we have to disappoint you. There is no information available concerning
    the suspension adjustment for our bikes depending on the drivers weight or fully loaded
    apart from the standard settings. We think that the right setting always has to depend
    on the individual driving and operational conditions. Beyond it there is big influence
    of personal sympathies and likings.
    For this reason we can only ask you to refer to your
    local BMW motorcycle dealer. He will be able to give you some recommendations out of his
    daily experience.


    Concerning only the text that I have highlighted in bold, I wonder how it is that BMW in their wisdom first determine what the 'standard settings' should be.

  58. #46
    danham's Avatar
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    It seems to me that it is the rebound dampening adjustment that is most likely to be influenced by "personal" preferences.

    Spring preload is pretty cut and dried: the bike is designed to operate with x amount of ground clearance and suspension travel and the more weight you pile on, the more tension the spring needs to keep the static ride height where it belongs.

    Put another way, if you know the correct ride height, all you need is a tape measure (and perhaps a helper) to set spring preload properly for any condition. There are several good guides to suspension setup floating around on the Interweb that explain this.

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S & SR10, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

  59. #47
    rx35285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    Your bike has the low frame? The chart is correct for the standard suspension/frame. The question was wether the low frame bike has different settings/range of adjustment.
    Sorry I wasn't clear. Yes, that is the way I understood the question, understand that the chart is for the standard suspension, and would like to have a similar chart for the low suspension. I have the low suspension and counted 37 clicks. HTH. Dave

  60. #48
    rx35285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyo View Post
    Right. So, we've got the one data point. Need someone to experiment with their low frame bike. Does it have 32 clicks of preload instead of 40? Probably does but, I'm reluctant to publish that without some verification.
    I counted 37 clicks on my low suspension bike. Is there a reason it should be 32? Could be some operator error on this end.

  61. #49
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    My low suspension has 39 or 40 clicks. Bought my bike used, rode it for a month and then discovered it was set to something in the high 20s or low 30s (can't remember exactly), as though someone had screwed it in full and then backed it out 4 or 12 clicks. It was stiff as a board. I changed the preload to full out and then 3 clicks in and full in and 2 turns out on the damper to fit my weight of 150 lbs. I'll try that out for awhile...

  62. #50
    rx35285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furagwa View Post
    My low suspension has 39 or 40 clicks. Bought my bike used, rode it for a month and then discovered it was set to something in the high 20s or low 30s (can't remember exactly), as though someone had screwed it in full and then backed it out 4 or 12 clicks. It was stiff as a board. I changed the preload to full out and then 3 clicks in and full in and 2 turns out on the damper to fit my weight of 150 lbs. I'll try that out for awhile...
    That's really interesting since the standard suspension guys are also counting 40 clicks and daddyo's note above mentions 32 clicks. I guess I'll stick with my claim of 37 on a low suspension for the time being.

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