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Stock suspension is always a compromise. Since the only reason most people ride cruisers is because they think they look cool, suspension doesn't really matter anyway. If you want a bike that handles well, stock suspension sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Sometimes it's just a compromising choice the manufacturer makes when building the bike. Striving for a softer float ride will make the bike wallow when ridden aggressively.
Now this post has struck a chord for me. Since I don't ride aggressively I should be able to enjoy the softer float. On the other hand, I may encounter occasional conditions on the road that dictate a need for more aggressive handling. Therefore, I intend to return it to the stiffer factory setting.

As an afterthought, I have another question inspired purely by my academic curiosity and an earlier post of yours. Could the softening of the rear suspension without changing the front suspension, in effect, increase the bike's trail by a few millimeters, which would therefore lead to the loss of some of its nimble qualities?

Again my thanks to all who contributed to the discussion. My original question regarding the negative effects of softening the ride has been answered.
 

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I think it would seem more chopper like mildly but yes... I think the angle out in front is the rake and by lowering the rear you would change the rake angle relative to the ground. However the angle relative to the frame remains the same.


http://rawge.bravepages.com/minichoppers/trail/Rake_Trail.htm
 

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I think it would seem more chopper like mildly but yes... I think the angle out in front is the rake and by lowering the rear you would change the rake angle relative to the ground. However the angle relative to the frame remains the same.


http://rawge.bravepages.com/minichoppers/trail/Rake_Trail.htm
See I don't get how "lowering" the rear by compressing the spring more would change the rake angle. The rake is set in the neck and would have to be physically changed somehow. Literally changing it. It didn't raise the front up more, move my handlebars or anything else. It forced the tire/swingarm section closer to the fixed fender. Is rake relevant to the frame or ground? I always thought to the ground was all that mattered and you have to alter it in the frame to make a difference. ???? This is deeper than I've ever explored lol....I just slammed it and road off. Ha

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Rake relative to the frame would remain constant, but rake relative to the ground would increase slightly by lowering (softening) the rear end of the bike. This would increase the bike's trail which would increase its stability in straight line riding, but decrease its nimble qualities on curves.

You probably understand what 'trail' is but for those who don't, I'll try to explain. Trail is the length of the space on the ground between the fork's projected axis to the ground and a vertical line dropped to the ground from the front axle. As the amont of trail is increased, the bike becomes more stable but less nimble.

As Fulltilt1 suggested, lowering the front corresponding to lowering it in back would preserve the bike's original trail, but I don't feel that I'm competent to be messing around inside the forks.

Anyway, after all the discussion about how softening the rear suspension could effect handling, and given my limited mechanical competence, I returned the bike to its factory setting and immediately noticed an improvement in its handling at the expense of its ride becoming more harsh. Having tried it both ways, I can see some wisdom in the factory setting.
 

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Rake relative to the frame would remain constant, but rake relative to the ground would increase slightly by lowering (softening) the rear end of the bike. This would increase the bike's trail which would increase its stability in straight line riding, but decrease its nimble qualities on curves.

You probably understand what 'trail' is but for those who don't, I'll try to explain. Trail is the length of the space on the ground between the fork's projected axis to the ground and a vertical line dropped to the ground from the front axle. As the amont of trail is increased, the bike becomes more stable but less nimble.

As Fulltilt1 suggested, lowering the front corresponding to lowering it in back would preserve the bike's original trail, but I don't feel that I'm competent to be messing around inside the forks.

Anyway, after all the discussion about how softening the rear suspension could effect handling, and given my limited mechanical competence, I returned the bike to its factory setting and immediately noticed an improvement in its handling at the expense of its ride becoming more harsh. Having tried it both ways, I can see some wisdom in the factory setting.
Now did u actually lower (not soften) your bike in the rear? By changing the length of the dogbones parallel to the spring or did u just out the spring on a softer setting? If u didn't change the dogbones u didn't lower it. Simply stiffening the spring will make it handle a lil more like a hard tail and it'll not be as good per say. I actually lowered mine AND adjusted the spring setting to reduce bottoming out and by lowering it closer to the ground its amped up the handling. Its easier to hit the twisties and carve up the road. Easier to scrap the boards too but oh well.

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Now did u actually lower (not soften) your bike in the rear? By changing the length of the dogbones parallel to the spring or did u just out the spring on a softer setting? If u didn't change the dogbones u didn't lower it. Simply stiffening the spring will make it handle a lil more like a hard tail and it'll not be as good per say. I actually lowered mine AND adjusted the spring setting to reduce bottoming out and by lowering it closer to the ground its amped up the handling. Its easier to hit the twisties and carve up the road. Easier to scrap the boards too but oh well.

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All I did was set the rear shock on its softest setting, nothing else. When I sat on the bike my weight compressed it more. I was sitting closer to the ground than I had been when it was on the factory setting. This had the effect of slightly extending the rake angle of the fork relative to the ground, not the frame, and increased the trail which could have compromised the bike's handling qualities. I viewed the return to the factory setting as a compromise of comfort for the sake of safety.
Out of curiosity, when you lowered your bike did you lower the front and back equally to keep its trail constant, or did you go for the more chopperesque look?
 

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All I did was set the rear shock on its softest setting, nothing else. When I sat on the bike my weight compressed it more. I was sitting closer to the ground than I had been when it was on the factory setting. This had the effect of slightly extending the rake angle of the fork relative to the ground, not the frame, and increased the trail which could have compromised the bike's handling qualities. I viewed the return to the factory setting as a compromise of comfort for the sake of safety.
Out of curiosity, when you lowered your bike did you lower the front and back equally to keep its trail constant, or did you go for the more chopperesque look?
I made my own dogbones to drop the rear 2.25"s and that's it. Its hardly chopper ish....just put the tire up closer to the fender. I stiffened the spring to 2nd hardest setting to avoid bottoming out and it handles AWESOME. Lower center of gravity and I feel more comfy too. Not sire how it affected the "numbers" but real life it feels and looks wayyy better. The fender had that cafe racer look up high off the tire. Now it looks like a cruiser with a lil more attitude.

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I made my own dogbones to drop the rear 2.25"s and that's it. Its hardly chopper ish....just put the tire up closer to the fender. I stiffened the spring to 2nd hardest setting to avoid bottoming out and it handles AWESOME. Lower center of gravity and I feel more comfy too. Not sire how it affected the "numbers" but real life it feels and looks wayyy better. The fender had that cafe racer look up high off the tire. Now it looks like a cruiser with a lil more attitude.

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Congratulations on your mod. I'm glad that you're happy with its outcome.:)
 

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Congratulations on your mod. I'm glad that you're happy with its outcome.:)
So far so good. I'm really trying to learn more about suspension etc to be able to maximize the work I'm doing. I want the best handling bike I can get but it can be a bit tricky as I'm learning. Lol.

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
So far so good. I'm really trying to learn more about suspension etc to be able to maximize the work I'm doing. I want the best handling bike I can get but it can be a bit tricky as I'm learning. Lol.

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You are so right. I have a lot of respect for experienced successful frame builders. They work in a world fraught with compromise. Guess that's why the real afficionados end up having a stable full of bikes; each excelling at its own specific purpose at the expense of all other qualities. Here's wishing you good luck in your quest.
 

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When you sit on your bike the springs compress this is your preload. You want to have this adjusted so that it compresses approx. 1/3 of your total travel on both the front end and the rear end. You adjust the big spanner nut on your shock with the funny looking C wrench in your toolkit. Under your fork caps there is a piece of tubing you may need to shorten or lengthen this dimension to achieve your front preload adjustment.
You usually have to remove a bunch of stuff to adjust the rear shock.

The setting you changed is for the dampening this controls the speed that the shock travels in and out or oscillations.
I have a 2005 v-star 650. I also weigh 240 lbs at 6'4" tall. When I sat on the bike the front end would almost bottom out and when braking it would bottom out hard to the point of blowing the seals on the fork tubes, so..when I resealed the fork tubes I had a set of full springs from a Harley Sportster that I used in place of the factory springs and spacers. They brought the front of the bike up 4" (with no load) and it handles like a dream. Also, I played around with the rear shock, trying different settings, and found the #3 slot works well whether I'm riding solo or 2 up.
 

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I have a 2005 v-star 650. I also weigh 240 lbs at 6'4" tall. When I sat on the bike the front end would almost bottom out and when braking it would bottom out hard to the point of blowing the seals on the fork tubes, so..when I resealed the fork tubes I had a set of full springs from a Harley Sportster that I used in place of the factory springs and spacers. They brought the front of the bike up 4" (with no load) and it handles like a dream. Also, I played around with the rear shock, trying different settings, and found the #3 slot works well whether I'm riding solo or 2 up.
 

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Maybe so, but that is exactly why I made a point of saying "most" ... not "all". Most bikes that I have had ridden do not have the issue that the Road Star does.

Also...when I am using the term BIKE I'm am not referring only to a Road Star. If you go back and read FT's original post...it just says most bikes, again, not specifically Road Star. He did not say just cruisers, or just Yamahas, he said most bikes. In my mind hat encompasses hundreds of models and submodels.

Just wanted to make it a little more clear.

Now, what kind of bike were we talking about in this thread again?
Ouch!! Iam 200 lbs my stratoliner is smooth enough it's a cruiser so I ride it as such. Corners well for what it is,,,ride often...
 
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