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Setting the proper preload for the rear suspension

David R

Active member
OK, I got ambitious. My wife does not read a tape measure like I want, so I had my son. He had done this many times.

Rear suspension travel is 90 mm. 3.5"

Sag should be set at 25% of travel with me on the bike for the rear. Front should be 30 to 35%. Or 1/3.

I cranked it all the way up, It went to 24" from an arbitrary point directly above the rear axle.
At this point the suspension was topped out. My weight (199.9lbs) did not move the bike. Still 24".

As I cranked it down, at about 8-11 turns from all the way down, I got my 22.5 mm sag. (90 X 25%=22.5)
This is using the 24" figure to start and when I got to 7/8" or 23 1/8" on the tape measure. It rides well. I set it to 18 turns for wife and I. It seemed to ride quite well. Big bumps will always be a problem, but the little ones went away.

I did all this because reading the shock is progressive, it gets stiffer (shock not spring) as suspension compresses. This could be why it rides so bad when its all the way lowered. I also want all the ride height I can get to drag the pegs less.

I put a line on the screw that adjusts the shock so I could count turns and used a ratchet with extension.

I think it rides great especially compared to when I picked it up and it was all the way lowered.

Just a note, when the wife got off, I went to work with out adjusting. It was a little stiff, not bad at all. I adjusted it for my hour ride home.

David
 

Gerard

Well-known member
Premium Member
On my R1200 C there is a handle with direct access to adjust the rear suspension.
So it's much easier to set when having a passenger.
A shame they didn't do the same on the R 18.
 

David R

Active member
R1200R and R1100RT had a knob, but I had to remove the seat.

This is fine, Simple. If you look at how much the spring collar travels, you would see why its set up like it is.

It has a LOT of travel. My R1200R had about 11mm travel of the hydraulic operated spring collar. The Ohlins I put in had its own preload adjuster, It moved the spring collar 7 mm.

I measured the gap and its 25mm travel.

Look at the pictures, one shows no preload, one shows 1/2 and the last is 27 turns.
 

David R

Active member
I count turns once the backlash (slop) is gone. I have 2 turns that do nothing.
First pic is 13turns. Second is 27 turns. Last is 0 turns.
 

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On my R1200 C there is a handle with direct access to adjust the rear suspension.
So it's much easier to set when having a passenger.
A shame they didn't do the same on the R 18.
There is a lot they missed . Fuel gauge for one. Second they should have had some kind of suspension adjustment lever - I agree. But I will wager that the next iteration will have a fuel gauge AND I think they will put some kind of Dynamic Electronic Suspension system into the R18 - just my opinion ... they have the tech .. just need to recalibrate and rework it for this bike
 
OK, I got ambitious. My wife does not read a tape measure like I want, so I had my son. He had done this many times.

Rear suspension travel is 90 mm. 3.5"

Sag should be set at 25% of travel with me on the bike for the rear. Front should be 30 to 35%. Or 1/3.

I cranked it all the way up, It went to 24" from an arbitrary point directly above the rear axle.
At this point the suspension was topped out. My weight (199.9lbs) did not move the bike. Still 24".

As I cranked it down, at about 8-11 turns from all the way down, I got my 22.5 mm sag. (90 X 25%=22.5)
This is using the 24" figure to start and when I got to 7/8" or 23 1/8" on the tape measure. It rides well. I set it to 18 turns for wife and I. It seemed to ride quite well. Big bumps will always be a problem, but the little ones went away.

I did all this because reading the shock is progressive, it gets stiffer (shock not spring) as suspension compresses. This could be why it rides so bad when its all the way lowered. I also want all the ride height I can get to drag the pegs less.

I put a line on the screw that adjusts the shock so I could count turns and used a ratchet with extension.

I think it rides great especially compared to when I picked it up and it was all the way lowered.

Just a note, when the wife got off, I went to work with out adjusting. It was a little stiff, not bad at all. I adjusted it for my hour ride home.

David
This is very helpful David . Thank you . Where I live (Mumbai) the roads SUCK ! The R 18 demo I got ... had shipping settings on the rear shock ... that was pure torture. Thanks to this forum and the post by one of the admins, who highlighted the issue I was able to play with the suspension . Since it was a demo bike I was not able to fiddle too much as time was short. So regrettably I only got up to 5 ... I would ideally have liked to play with the settings a lot more.... So this information is most useful
 

David R

Active member
I think what I was trying to say is the adjustment on the rear shock has to be like it is because it has so much travel. A little knob like on the RD1200C would be too hard to turn or you would have to turn it a hundred turns. This is why the screw adjustment and I use a ratchet with a socket. Its easier.

I would not want ESA on this bike, but I would not want it on any bike because when it break$.

David
 

tommymck

Active member
I'm a bit confused trying to reconcile the settings described here and what is described in the rider's manual.

"Basic setting of the rear spring pre-load

Turn the hexagon head as far as it will go counter-clockwise, then back it off 8 turns clockwise. (with full load of fuel, with rider weighing approx. 100 kg)

Turn the hexagon head as far as it will go counter-clockwise, then back it off 12 turns clockwise. (One-up with luggage approx. 120 kg)

Turn the hexagon head as far as it will go counter-clockwise, then back it off 24 turns clockwise. (Two-up with luggage approx. 180 kg)

If the load differs from the base settings, increase spring preload 2 full turns for every 10 kg of extra weight.

Install the side trim panel ( 87).
"
 

bgunther

New member
Helped me tremendously! Was never properly set by Dealer! Thank you for this information. The ride is now WONDERFUL.
 

David R

Active member
Yesterday I left the bike set at 20 turns which is where I set it for me and my bride.

I rode around all day and could not tell it was on 20. Could have left it there for me solo with no difference.

The shock needs to be near the top of its stroke for a cushy ride,

David
 

bmg50

Member
Elite Member
My 2021 was set 2 turns off zero from delivery, and the ride was super rigid.

Thank you all for thread, that adjustment sure helped clear up the problem!

I set it ten turns off zero and found that was the sweet spot for mine. I’m at 175 lbs. bike handles smooth and awesome now.
 

theMucker

Well-known member
Premium Member
There may be some confusion about what zero is.
If the preload adjuster is backed off (full anti-clockwise rotation) until it stops turning, that is not zero. Turning the preload adjuster clock-wise from it's stopped position, until you feel some resistance, that is zero.
BUT as long as your adjustment results in a better ride, it is GOOD!
 

bmg50

Member
Elite Member
There may be some confusion about what zero is.
If the preload adjuster is backed off (full anti-clockwise rotation) until it stops turning, that is not zero. Turning the preload adjuster clock-wise from it's stopped position, until you feel some resistance, that is zero.
BUT as long as your adjustment results in a better ride, it is GOOD!
yes, not the stop, as you described zero, I went ten turns from there!
 

RONN18

New member
Wow. After riding my R18 for over 1000k I learned through the info here that what I have been riding is, effectively, a hard tail. I followed the instructions of the member that posted here and indeed - the bike was in lock out / shipping mode. I'm 165# with a spine injury so I was among those who thought this bike had an all too firm ride. I had ordered the bike with the bobber seat, which, of course, has not arrived (nice ofBMW to not mention that when they took my order). I was more than a little annoyed that the dealer hadn't been diligent in setting up the bike or providing sufficient information regarding this adjustment upon delivery - especially since they were aware of my back injury. Thanks to svtweb for posting this!
 

R18Art

Member
That is one of my biggest complaints about today's corporate owned motorcycle shops. They sell you the bike and basically send you on your way. They don't go over the bike with you nor set-it up for your weight. You've got questions, swing by, but don't ask the salesman, he doesn't know anything. They have to find a tech to work with you.

That's why when I buy my Aprilias I always go to the same shop. When you buy the bike, the go over EVERYTHING and they set up the suspension and anything else that needs to be adjusted to your weight or desire.

I'm glad I found this thread. I'll give it a go this next week. I would guess the way I adjusted it, I was a few turns down from the manual cause full lock CCW was my starting point. I'm hoping this works as that rear shock or lets say, ride is currently as bad as my 2017 FLSS, pre-M8 where they went to the monoshock set up which was excellent.

And based on what I'm reading, it seems one should go up a couple turns to be a little more accurate.
 
That is one of my biggest complaints about today's corporate owned motorcycle shops. They sell you the bike and basically send you on your way. They don't go over the bike with you nor set-it up for your weight. You've got questions, swing by, but don't ask the salesman, he doesn't know anything. They have to find a tech to work with you.

That's why when I buy my Aprilias I always go to the same shop. When you buy the bike, the go over EVERYTHING and they set up the suspension and anything else that needs to be adjusted to your weight or desire.

I'm glad I found this thread. I'll give it a go this next week. I would guess the way I adjusted it, I was a few turns down from the manual cause full lock CCW was my starting point. I'm hoping this works as that rear shock or lets say, ride is currently as bad as my 2017 FLSS, pre-M8 where they went to the monoshock set up which was excellent.

And based on what I'm reading, it seems one should go up a couple turns to be a little more accurate.
I agree a lot of shops could care less it seems. That is not the case with my dealer in toronto. While I have developed a personal relationship with Adam over the years, they sure take care of me! BMW Toronto.
 
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