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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to figure out from the Owners Manual the correct position for the rear shock preload setting - the factory setting is at three (3) - it doesn't give a specific value or weight range for any of the settings.

If I were at all up maximum weight of 220 kg (441 lbs) would I set the preload at maximun seven (7)?

Based on 200 kgs (441 lbs) it seems like each preload range is equal to 28.6 kgs (63 lbs).

Could I reasonably divide my load by 28.6 kgs (63 lbs) and set the preload at the next higher number ie - 100 kgs (225 lbs) set at preload four (4) - a preload value of 28.6 X 4 = 144.4 kgs (252 lbs) max load for that preload?

If I were at the max weight for a given range could it be reasonable to even move to the next higher preload value?
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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I set my pre-load from full soft to firm to experiment on my 1100. What I found for the best ride is to set the lowest you can without bottoming out. Houston has rough riders but my setting for solo (I'm 125 pounds) was three. Two up with wife setting was 6 (I like being married so won't post weight). The settings worked even when I lowered bike one inch. One thing to remember is tire pressure. The tire pressure is an active part of the suspension. Don't make any suspension changes without setting correct tire pressure first. Also the coil spring on the Vstar starts to sag with age. As they age you might need to set the pre-load a little higher. Hope this helps some.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I set my pre-load from full soft to firm to experiment on my 1100. What I found for the best ride is to set the lowest you can without bottoming out. Houston has rough riders but my setting for solo (I'm 125 pounds) was three. Two up with wife setting was 6 (I like being married so won't post weight). The settings worked even when I lowered bike one inch. One thing to remember is tire pressure. The tire pressure is an active part of the suspension. Don't make any suspension changes without setting correct tire pressure first. Also the coil spring on the Vstar starts to sag with age. As they age you might need to set the pre-load a little higher. Hope this helps some.
All go info. Les. Thanks

The 1100 is very close to the 650 as to max weight for load - almost pound for pound

So if I use the 63 pounds for each notch on the preload scale:

1 = 63 lbs
2 = 126 lbs
3 = 189 lbs
4 = 252 lbs
5 = 315 lbs
6 = 378 lbs
7 = 441 lbs

So I'm 225 lbs + 10 lbs clothing, boots, helmet, etc + 20 lbs saddlebags, windshield and crashbar = 255 lbs - So I'm topping out the 4 notch and should use the 5 notch????

Is it better to be at the bottom of a scale rather than at the top end of that range???
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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For ride comfort lower is better. You just don't want to bottom out. It is a little bit of a pain to set but I would go lower take up one if you find yourself bottoming out. Remember that the recommended settings are with a new shock and coil spring. If yours are a little weak with age you will probably be up a number or two. The settings are a guide.
 

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I think the min setting of 1 would not be for a 63 lb person riding a VS1100, or a 650. I think the min setting would be closer to maybe 160 lbs?

that would make the jump between settings closer to 45 lbs

it really comes down to riding the bike, and seeing how it feels, if its bottoming out click it up one.

springs tend to age as well, so what was good when the bike was new will be soft after several years.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think the min setting of 1 would not be for a 63 lb person riding a VS1100, or a 650. I think the min setting would be closer to maybe 160 lbs?

that would make the jump between settings closer to 45 lbs

it really comes down to riding the bike, and seeing how it feels, if its bottoming out click it up one.

springs tend to age as well, so what was good when the bike was new will be soft after several years.
Thanks, KCW and Les,

The minimum value of 160 lbs makes sense because somewhere someonh had to decide on a minimum weight rider solo and set that for a minimum - but it gives me something to aim at.
 

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the other side, if you set it too high, then when you hit bumps your rear tire will lose contact with the road

on a curve that will spoil your day...

BTW, does your bike have the spanner hook-wrench in the tool kit? In the 650 its snapped into the bottom of the storage compartment under the left side of the seat - should be the same place on an 1100?

Its hidden in there so well some people never know they have it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
the other side, if you set it too high, then when you hit bumps your rear tire will lose contact with the road

on a curve that will spoil your day...

BTW, does your bike have the spanner hook-wrench in the tool kit? In the 650 its snapped into the bottom of the storage compartment under the left side of the seat - should be the same place on an 1100?

Its hidden in there so well some people never know they have it.
It's supposed to be there according to the dealer - I'll have a look tomorrow - I'm not bottoming out at my weight but was looking at adding a bit of preload to raise the seat height - my legs have too much bend at a stop and I'm finding I'm sticking my left foot out to far to the outside - either a wider nose on the seat or raise it a bit - maybe an inch.
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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FYI, I'm short and played with payload to lower the bike. From personal experience you will not get enough height difference to make a difference. Not a good picture but look at the adjustment slots. I drew a line from the highest setting to the lowest. There is only about 3/8 inch difference. The shock pre-load is just a small adjustment to make it a lot stiffer. That is all you gain height wise from highest to lowest setting. If you are really wanting to gain leg room the only way I've read is a aftermarket seat. There are several makes that will increase seat height. KCW is 100% correct, to stiff suspension really plays havoc on handling.

 

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Also, setting is for weight you put on the rear suspension. So windshield really won't be a factor.

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