Ohlins tuning - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Ohlins tuning

I was going to PM LDH, but decided that it'd be good to have as a thread so others might benefit/offer advice.

I have had the HO201 shock from Ohlins and have been having trouble getting it dialed in.

Straight out of the box (sag set to 25mm) the ride was harsh and bounced me out of my seat a bit on the bigger bumps. I took it for a 100 mile ride and found a good high-speed setup (on a sheet at home, don't remember it off the top of my head), but I have been struggling to come up with a commuting setup. I've been getting bounced in the seat, and by the time I adjust that out, it's nothing but mush (too little compression damping). My commute consists of 25-35 mph zones over mediocre streets and one set of train tracks.

Disclaimer: I am brand new to dealing with suspension. I have a firm grasp on exactly what each form of dampening does physically, but I'm struggling with correlating adjustments in the suspension to the corresponding behavior of the bike.

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post #2 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 10:09 AM
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25mm of rider sag is something we would use on a ZX-10R for race use. You need to be running closer to 30 or even 35mm of sag.

The luggage you carry way out over the back of the bike which is behind the rear axle will throw off your feel a bit because that acts as leverage on the swingarm especially when loaded, but overall you should never have to deviate more than 2 or 3 clicks of compression ever and unless you are on a super smooth ribbon of asphalt I wouldn't touch the rebound at all.

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post #3 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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I actually don't commute with my hardcase, so that's not a factor. The case was the reason for the sag adjustment; I didn't realize that sag could have that much of an impact so I set it to the low end of the range to allow me to throw my case on without messing with preload. I will readjust my sag to 35 and put the settings back to factory spec (12 compression and 15 rebound).

This is going to sound dumb, but I'd rather sound dumb than do something dumb. The manual says to turn fully clockwise to reset: clockwise on the rebound is relative to being above the bike and looking down, correct?

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post #4 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 10:30 AM
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That's not dumb at all. Clockwise on the black rebound adjuster would be as if you were laying on the ground looking up at the bottom clevis on the shock.

When you fully seat them closed do it lightly. You do not want to jam the needles into the seats with a lot of pressure.

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post #5 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDH View Post
That's not dumb at all. Clockwise on the black rebound adjuster would be as if you were laying on the ground looking up at the bottom clevis on the shock.

When you fully seat them closed do it lightly. You do not want to jam the needles into the seats with a lot of pressure.
Well damn, I'm glad I asked. I'll report back after I get some miles on it with the factory specs and new sag. I appreciate the help.

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post #6 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 11:00 AM
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Nice, this is handy info to have!

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post #7 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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On a related note, since this thread is about all aspects of adjustment, when would you advise changing damping or preload? High speed, rough roads, gravel,...? I know that somewhere you said that you take a bit off the preload when it rains. Any other tips for suspension newbies?

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post #8 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 12:01 PM
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Even at the track, and I run a pretty stout pace most of the time, I rarely if ever change my damping settings once I have them figured out unless I have an extremely specific issue with tire wear from the track surface or one that manifests itself as the tire wears down and starts to lose grip where I can iron it out a bit with a small adjustment or two, but again those are rare changes. Preload I only adjust when I have to ride in wet conditions and that is just to soften things up a bit.

On the street I NEVER change my damping after the initial set-up and change the preload only to accommodate a passenger and/or luggage.

I do run into guys both at the track and on the street that are constantly twiddling the knobs and adjusters every single time the bikes comes to a rest and I can never figure out if they are anal retentive or just retarded. I mean I see professional racers who are 7 or 8 seconds a lap faster than I am go out first thing in the morning and turn those same consistent lap times all day long without ever touching their suspension settings and they just make it happen. Meanwhile mr ricky-racer pitted next to me who is 20 seconds off the race pace at any given track is constantly screwing around with his suspension and taking tire pressure readings or tire temp readings with a thermo-gun and I just have to laugh.

I'm not saying there is not a place for those kinds of antics because there is, but when you make it to that point you will have people that do that stuff for you instead of you having to do it yourself.

For what we do and the reason I both personally use and sell Ohlins is because it is simple. Bolt it on, set the sag and go ride. Very rarely do I have to go trackside and provide support for my customers to get their bike dialed in properly and when I do it is usually a riding technique issue causing the problem rather than the suspension or if is the suspension it typically comes down to a spring rate issue not a valving issue. Every rider has their own set of dynamics in terms of how quick they are, what tires they use, their trailbraking technique, how far they lean off the bike, how quick they pick up the throttle, how they drift or force the bike around the track etc. Those variables sometimes make it more than just a mathematical equation to figuring out proper spring rates especially on the front forks. The forks can be a little more tricky and some intimate knowledge of the bike is sometimes required when we start using less oil with more coil spring to fine tune the ride quality and geometry under trailbraking conditions, but I digress.


The biggest issue in my opinion is making sure the spring rate is correct for the needs of the rider. A lot of riders find that 30-35mm of sag on a rear shock with little preload is ideal for street use, but inadequate for the track where 25-30mm is needed and that difference of 10mm makes a big change to the overall feel & feedback from the bike on end of the spectrum versus a lot more ride compliance on the other. Sometimes this means putting a spring rate on the bike that is outside the normal range so that the rider can be on one end of the range instead of the other. More spring with less preload versus less spring with more preload. Adding to that issue is that street riders don't always wear all their gear all the time so their weight with and without gear can fluctuate to a large degree altering the sag settings on the shock as can added luggage etc. Forks can range in sag numbers from 35-45mm in the same way.


Something I don't talk about much outside of my classroom is proper riding technique. OEM suspension is designed to work to a minimum satisfactory level with any range of rider weight that the motorcycle is rated for regardless of whether you weigh 120lbs or 360lbs or carry a passenger etc. When a rider puts suspension custom fitted to their weight on the bike then they are fine tuning that suspension for them and narrowing the window it is designed to work in. In exchange for this you get a much higher level of performance within that window. Luckily the 919 has no progressive linkage on the swingarm and uses a really stout spring which encompasses a much broader range of rider weight with just one spring making it much easier to find those sweet numbers that a lot of other sportier bikes. One thing that must be mentioned though is if a riders technique is poor and they spend most of their time coasting into the turns instead of being on the brakes or immediately back on the gas etc which unloads the suspension and unsettles the chassis then the upgraded suspension is not really going to work in their favor under those conditions any better than OEM suspension. Don't misconstrue better suspension benefits the novice rider or the professional rider just the same, but you kinda gotta do your job to insure the suspension gets to do its job.

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post #9 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 02:41 PM
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What does my breath stink or something... We were having a good conversation and everyone just left.

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post #10 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 02:45 PM
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post #11 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDH View Post
What does my breath stink or something... We were having a good conversation and everyone just left.
Sorry, worked picked up and had to run. Apparently I'm not getting paid to be on WT...

I see your point, and it mostly makes sense. I guess I can't really comment until I actually find the right settings and try them across the range of riding conditions to see how it handles.
In my mind though, wouldn't it be worth changing at least the preload for gravel roads? Sadly I have experience with neither suspension tuning nor dirtbikes, so I don't even know which way to turn things. I would assume that a softer setup would be better, but we all know what happens when one assumes...

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post #12 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 03:06 PM
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I fiddled with the preload until it didn't feel nose heavy or twitchy, then backed compression damping one click, works smoother than unicorn farts now for my comute


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post #13 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 03:44 PM
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LDH, do you preset the sag when you sell ohlins here? If so what is it set at?

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post #14 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogunoogun View Post
LDH, do you preset the sag when you sell ohlins here? If so what is it set at?
To properly set the sag it requires the bike be on flat level ground without the aid of any type of stand or support, you need at least 2 extra people to assist and at a minimum a 6-Pack of good Beer. OK kidding about the beer, but no really you need beer and none of that Heineken crap...

The real answer is we select a proper spring for the weight of the rider to get them into the usable range, but the dynamic sag (rider sag) can only be set with the actual rider on the bike so we cannot do that without both the rider and the bike in front of us. There are specs supplied with the shock for initial collar preload that is preset from the factory and there are certain shocks along with rider weights that we will alter that preset initial collar preload to help tailor the spring to meet the riders needs, but setting the sag has to be done with the rider onboard.

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post #15 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 07:28 PM
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Here's the list of common screwups that LDH has nicely sketched out for you:
Too much spring.
Too much preload.
Too much damping force.
Too little instead of too much, but error is more so of the too much variant.
Improper sag determination, let alone the setting selected to target.
Chasing settings without knowledge or system, worse yet, all at once and not individually.
Chasing settings instead of concentrating on seat time, seat time technique, seat time consistency and steady improvement.
Rediscovering the wheel instead of getting some good help, especially early on.

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post #16 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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After several weeks riding on the Ohlins factory settings with lower preload, I can finally say that I feel like I'm getting the most out of my (significant) investment. If anybody else is in doubt, take LDH's advice: set damping to factory and forget it.
I have not yet 'properly' set the sag; I just backed off the preload by a turn or two with each ride until I was no longer getting bucked on bumps. The bike now soaks up even the larger bumps with hardly a complaint while still staying completely behaved in the corners (- for commuting. I'd definitely bump the preload up for hard running). I might follow voodooridr and back the compression off a click, but his description of "smoother than unicorn farts" is already quite applicable.
Thanks for the help LDH.

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