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View Full Version : 2009 SXV 550 Suspension/Sag Settings...front end nervousness



oalvarez
05-16-2010, 03:20 PM
Friends....have ridden the SXV more than a handful of times now and i just don't like the nervousness of the front end. it almost feels as though the tire is barely on the ground, or that you need to hold onto the bars with both hands. i've read many reports from some suggesting steering nut tightening, to new fork internals or lowering the forks (i don't have any rings showing) and maybe even a different triple clamp (i'm sure they all do make a difference). as for the type of riding i'm speaking of it's approx 6/7 tenths in the canyons, and the faster i go the less fun it becomes. i should also include that my Husqvarna SM610 handled in such a manner that was so much more confidence inspiring than my SXV. so out to the garage i went, and with the help of my spouse and a front wheel chock i got to work on taking down the required sag measurements. the rear measurements seem somewhat worrisome or perhaps the culprit of what i am feeling.

rider weight 178lbs no gear
no rings showing at the top of the fork tubes

F1 = 11.125"
F2 = 8"
F3 = 8.625"
RIDER SAG = 2.8125 " or 71mm
STATIC SAG = 1.375 " or 35mm

spring = 5.6kg
R1 = 25.5"
R2 = 21.375"
R3 = 21.25"
RIDER SAG = 4.1875" or 106mm
STATIC SAG = .375" or 10mm

4.1875"/106mm rear rider sag seems like a lot....am i wrong here? i've spun the locking ring down (adding preload) and it's starting to get to the point where i just can't crank the ring around any further (19mm from top to spring). so is the nervousness/non-planted aspect of the front end a function of the rear preload being a bit high? or in other words, am i weighting down the under-suspended rear causing the front end to have less weight applied to it than it should? or is it not the sag and perhaps something else, or a combination of things? should i start with a stiffer spring and go from there? if so, perhaps a 5.8kg? should the forks be lowered a bit as well at this point?

any thoughts and or helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Amauri, are you out there sir?

thanks in advance :)

marc1
05-17-2010, 01:31 PM
i had a lot of problems with mine initially. i dropped my forks down to the 4th ring or as close as i could with the ice parts clamps
this helped the bike become more settled and made it a lot easier to ride
try dropping the forks would be my first step, as would it be with many others

Surfingbuddhist
05-17-2010, 06:40 PM
Great info!

I've been dealing with this same issue on my 300 mile '09 550.

Thanks.

oalvarez
05-17-2010, 07:34 PM
know the films all too well at this point, and have found them very educating :).....the most important item at the moment is to purchase a spring for my weight which the oem one is most definitely not. once received, and the moto is in for its 300 mile service, i'll have Pro Italia install the spring and double check the torque measurement on the steering nut/ring. will also speak to them about the forks being set where they currently are (top, no rings showing) and possibly adjust them at that time. then ride, ride, ride until we get the proper damping dialed in. if it's not to my liking at that point (which it should be), then i'll consider a shock kit for the rear and possible springs/oil for the forks.

thanks again everyone, and a special thanks to Green

antigrav
05-17-2010, 11:27 PM
Some good info so far (but almost too much)...The only thing I recommend is taking it one step at a time. I know BroMike says you guys ride for fun, not to go racing through the canyons, so you should be able to get a fine set up stock... first things is drop the triples to 3rd line. I weigh 184 no gear, 207 w/gear and found it to be a very nice stock bike. Not sorted perfectly, and underspung for my wieght but still a confidence inspiring bike in the twisties and fine for fun riding. Pushing fast is when it starts needing extra parts. Good Luck.

Mike said you bike was leaking oil? Where?

oalvarez
05-18-2010, 06:50 AM
Hi Scott, sorry I missed you guys at Willow, loved the pics. I agree with you which is why i ordered a rear spring (5.8 oem, 6.0 race tech) to get things started. Will also start maybe at 2 rings and go from there. The front sag measurements seem ok if I'm not mistaken, but man, the ride is really not all that confidence inspiring right now, even at non-race speeds. Mike rode the bike up on the crest and didn't like it much either. We will get it sorted, that much I know. The oil weep was near the oil cartridge but I didn't notice it after this weekend's ride.

Talk soon

Teacher
05-18-2010, 08:28 AM
Since you guys are discussing the rear shock, I am trying to find out what blue hex adjuster with the screw in the middle of it on the shock does.
I have not fond anything which identifies both of them.

In the owner's manual it only says to set the blue adjuster to open, but then it gives a number of clicks for the screw setting.
So are the blue adjuster and screw high and low speed adjusters or fine and course adjusters or what???? THANKS

antigrav
05-18-2010, 12:58 PM
Hi Scott, sorry I missed you guys at Willow, loved the pics. I agree with you which is why i ordered a rear spring (5.8 oem, 6.0 race tech) to get things started. Will also start maybe at 2 rings and go from there. The front sag measurements seem ok if I'm not mistaken, but man, the ride is really not all that confidence inspiring right now, even at non-race speeds. Mike rode the bike up on the crest and didn't like it much either. We will get it sorted, that much I know. The oil weep was near the oil cartridge but I didn't notice it after this weekend's ride.

Talk soon

Hey Oalvarez, I'm not riding for a couple weeks since I twisted my ankle and if you and Mike go on a ride feel free to come by and take my bike for the day. I know that you guys are responsible riders so I have no problem with you taking it to try out. Mike has my phone#....

It has some of the nice mods which you may like or not, but it will give you a real understanding of how the bike changes with these mods. I have the Sachs shock kit w 6.0 spring, Iceparts Triples, Silmoto Exhaust and VDB map 15026 with assymetric linkage which Amauri did. I still have stock fork springs but put 10 wt oil 100mm air gap and 10mm spacer.... but it will give you a good A/B comparison.

Mooseknuckles
05-18-2010, 01:23 PM
Teacher,

the blue knob is the High speed compression adjustment. However, my suspension guy says the it does very little, which seems to be true in my experence playing with it. I found minimal difference thru the range of adjustment on breaking bumps.

oalvarez
05-18-2010, 06:19 PM
Hey Oalvarez, I'm not riding for a couple weeks since I twisted my ankle and if you and Mike go on a ride feel free to come by and take my bike for the day. I know that you guys are responsible riders so I have no problem with you taking it to try out. Mike has my phone#....

It has some of the nice mods which you may like or not, but it will give you a real understanding of how the bike changes with these mods. I have the Sachs shock kit w 6.0 spring, Iceparts Triples, Silmoto Exhaust and VDB map 15026 with assymetric linkage which Amauri did. I still have stock fork springs but put 10 wt oil 100mm air gap and 10mm spacer.... but it will give you a good A/B comparison.

Thanks, Scott...really appreciate the gesture. Will get the RaceTech 6.0 spring installed and perhaps do the oil in the forks to hopefully smooth them out.

Thanks again,

Obie

oalvarez
06-24-2010, 10:06 PM
finally got the moto back....engine ended up needing a re-seal (i'm used to this by now) so it took a little bit of extra time to get done.

the new rear spring has made a real improvement, we went from 100mm of rear sag to 65mm-67mm, just about matching the front (70mm). we dropped the forks to the first line and will now turn our attention to damping adjustments on both ends.

like has been said many times before: suspension issues can usually be corrected with a quick check of the sag measurements which will tell you where you are in terms of spring preload. in my case, it was a felt difference, and one that is starting to make me feel good again about my bike.

thanks for all of the help

oalvarez
08-09-2010, 08:26 PM
post Race-Tech 6.0kg rear spring install
sag 70mm/60mm front/rear
front forks dropped to the first ring
damping adjusters set to manual specs, fork rebound +1 click from there

well, it turns out that i'm almost as disappointed than before. rode the SXV this weekend (my friend on his SM610) up in the canyons (coupled with some freeway), a 85 mile round trip. the new rear spring helped correct the rear sag, and in turn has helped promote a more balanced bike front and rear, but the feeling of harshness, nervousness, washboard-like riding inputs are still there. so we swapped bikes once again, and we both came away with the same impressions. i loved the feel of his SM610 (softer, felt more planted, connected, less jarring) and it immediately showed in my riding. he, on my SXV, criticized the bike as feeling too harsh (less than i would characterize it) up front, while saying that his own SM was noticeably much softer. he weighs a good 30-40lbs more than i do, and i'm not sure that has anything to do with his comments of the bike feeling less harsh than i think it does. regardless, i hate the way the motorcycle handles, and the faster i go the worse it seems to get. if you hit any real bumps/holes in the pavement (at freeway speeds), it really does feel like the next series of events could turn into something worse. the fact that i love his SM610's riding characteristics (and my Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP and Multi, along with any other bike i've ridden) so much more than the SXV should be a telling one, even if an embarrassing one. if liking soft is bad, then so be it, but i ride that SM and my own bikes with so much more confidence, and that's all that matters to me.

what do i need to do to the SXV to make it handle and feel more like what i'm after? are the front forks/internals on this bike that cruddy? i've read about how badly the stock Dunlop's stink but one gent actually switched tires and still had the same feelings i speak of. his fix, if i'm not mistaken, was to dial in more rear preload, that and rebalancing and mounting the wheels (not sure though, i included his thread's link below).

my only thought at this point is to give the SXV to Amauri to see what he might be able to offer up. i want to keep this bike, but if a SM630 is better suited for my riding, then so be it.

your thoughts? and thank you in advance :)

http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206751&highlight=suspension

Wrench
08-09-2010, 10:27 PM
I am having the same issues with mine. The fork valving seems too harsh to me on both low speed and high speed compression damping. I noticed a good improvement moving from the stock sludge to Mobil 1 ATF (full-synthetic 7.5 wt) at 100mm air gap. I still have the rowing feeling around sweepers, though.

I plan to switch to 120mm air gap with Amsoil 5wt suspension fluid and a 10mm spacer in the cartridge.

I am also running XTrig triples and the forks dropped to the fourth ring.

proslider
08-10-2010, 08:49 AM
For me - I am 186#, I dropped the front forks to the 4th ring. I adjusted all the clickers to 3/4 max. Dialed in a little more preload in the back. Tire pressures at 26/28 F/R on the new Michelin Power One 120/180 and the bike tracks solid for me.

Wrench
08-11-2010, 09:25 PM
Ah, I forgot about the tire size. I have a feeling that some of the weave I am experiencing is due to the 160 rear.

Forks are still harsh and nervous feeling, though, and it gets worse with increased speed. The rear tire wont fix that. This is for street-use, though, where I am sure the fork oil temps dont get near as hot as track-use.

ApTard
08-11-2010, 09:27 PM
I have to admit I didnt read it all before I responded but anyways ... My buddy has a 610 and we swap bikes every now and then. The 610 is like riding a slot car, meaning , IT'S ON RAILS. Easiest bike to ride I've ever been on. Can do no wrong as far as throttle or brakes at anytime during anything the road throws at you. When I get back on my sxv it takes me a few minutes to warm back up to it and it's a twichy bitch but it has twice , thrice! , the handling capabilities just pay attention to your throttle and brakes or you will be on your ass. Holding on with both hands? I wear through gloves bi-monthly. I weigh about 50lbs more than you and I lowered the triples and I also sit about on top of the tank. As far up front as possible. I really grab onto the bars and pull. Guess what I'm really trying to say is I can beat my buddy on his own bike vs. the sxv and when I'm on mine I spend alot of time waiting for him. It's not any easy bike to ride for me in fact a real workout but I keep learning a little bit about how it wants to be driven on each ride and I get a little bit faster. It takes time, stay off that Husky lol ...

Now I read it all ...
4th ring on forks
31 front
28 rear
Original Dunlop RR (love them)

My 09 HM1100S is even easier to ride but again not as fast in the corners. Going to ride a Multistrada this weekend, you like yours?

typeone
08-12-2010, 08:44 AM
My buddy has a 610 and we swap bikes every now and then. The 610 is like riding a slot car, meaning , IT'S ON RAILS. Easiest bike to ride I've ever been on.

slight hijack... i ride a Husky in the dirt (TC250, love it!) and seem to contemplate going Husky for a motard at some point as well... the 610 intrigues me... a lot.

how do you rate the power + weight of the 610 for twisty backroad (paved and dirt) riding compared to the SXV? i know they're different, but how do they shake out on a fun Sunday ride?

i love my SXV to death but i have a feeling that some day i will want to move to something that requires less maintenance over more miles.

Yascher
08-12-2010, 11:53 AM
maybe you really should move to husky, :devil: italian girls are not for everyone to handle)))

typeone
08-12-2010, 12:14 PM
i knew something like that was coming :D

oalvarez
08-12-2010, 06:38 PM
My 09 HM1100S is even easier to ride but again not as fast in the corners. Going to ride a Multistrada this weekend, you like yours?

I personally love my MTS1200...best of all worlds...i hope you enjoy your test ride.

back to the SXV if we could...thanks!!

oalvarez
08-31-2010, 07:59 PM
well, i think i may have figured out the answer to my problem.

when all else fails, take out all of the compression and rebound damping and start from scratch.

the last person to tune the suspension was a expert road bike suspension person, and i never really fiddled with it since the work was done to it. like they say, what one person might like another may not, it's that stylized. i really believe that now, i can't believe how much happier i am today. my friend and i also lowered the forks down to the third ring (they were at the first ring to begin with) and that in itself made a big difference, but in truth, it was perhaps the combination of all three. the compression and rebound were close to fully closed up front, and a bit less so in the rear. regardless, the complaints about feeling every rock, nervousness in the front end coupled with a chatty ride have quickly gone away. current suspension settings for this 179lb rider are as follow:

rider sag is 70mm/65mm (f/r)
all clickers set to 50% of their range

i can't tell you how much happier i am even at this juncture. if anything the bike dives a bit under hard braking, and the rear feels a bit quick. those were inputs i felt over my short ride home, we're going to ride the SM's thru the canyons tomorrow morning to get a better feel for the current settings.

so, for this rider, it was all about wonky compression and rebound settings, and not much else. if everyone remembers, all i said was that the front felt chattery and nervous, and nothing like my old Husqvarna SM610 which i loved. well, i'm embarrassed :o to say that i should have started with the clickers right after having measured and set sag, but i didn't.

maybe this helps someone else, maybe it doesn't, and i will say that these adjustments have me wanting to perfect the ride (via fork oil, Alice rear shock, Ice Triple, etc) even more along the way, but i think the most important issues have now been sorted out.

happier now....thanks for listening. :_

(may post this on another related thread as well).

JDS550
09-17-2010, 09:21 AM
Good thread Oalverez. I read the whole thing.
But I was wondering when U were going to check the dampening settings. I suspected rebound was to slow. Makes a the world of a difference on a litre bike.

Glad its sorted out.

Wrench
09-19-2010, 11:30 PM
Oalvarez,

I just swapped a shim on the fork compression stacks and I think it made just the difference you are looking for.

I believe the valving in the forks is too weak on the rebound side (which can be mostly corrected by using heavier oil), and too harsh on compression damping (slow, mid, and high speed).

You can change the compression stack without dumping your fork oil, and with minimal work if you have an impact gun. Pull your forks, turn them upside-down, and remove the base-valve assembly with the impact gun (19mm hex on bottom of fork that is around the clicker). Once you pull the valve assembly, you can pull it apart and shuffle the shims around.

Be careful, though. The o-ring on the valve itself tends to catch on the cartridge when removing and reinstalling. Be sure you dont force it and mess up the o-ring.

More info in my thread: http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=205267

motomad
01-03-2012, 02:00 PM
Ah, I forgot about the tire size. I have a feeling that some of the weave I am experiencing is due to the 160 rear.

Forks are still harsh and nervous feeling, though, and it gets worse with increased speed. The rear tire wont fix that. This is for street-use, though, where I am sure the fork oil temps dont get near as hot as track-use.

I think you guys are running far to much sag,sxv's need very little sag, rider or static,my race bike is running next to nothing sag and the forks are fairly firm, all the set up is with the VDB rear knuckle,shortened swingarm Sach shock, Icepart triple clamps,VDB spec sorted forks dropped as far as the clamps will allow, 16.5" wheel, i get no wobble at high speed and the bike feels planted on tight twisties and big sweepers,my rear tyres are 165 michelins Meduim with a soft 16.5" powerone. im not on here much but heres my email should anyone require more info on my bike spec for a perfect setup ( in my eyes)

toro618
01-03-2012, 03:13 PM
I weigh 155 lbs. without gear. With these setting the bike feels good for me.

rear race sag = 64mm
rear free sag = 20mm

rear compression = 15 clicks out
rear rebound = 8 clicks out