Tyres: I had chosen to take heed of the warning in the emails about Saturdays ride needing Knobblies, so being a Pirelli fan I had fitted my 17 inch rear with a new 130/90 MT21 Rallycross (which are chunky, but homologated for road use), and my best used Scorpion mid soft MX tyre, which no longer had sharp enough edges for my KTM350 on the slick tracks we trailride on, but still had lots of rubber left. For some reason I am really hard on front tyres, so I had a few kicking around and I may have chosen a pretty hard old one now I think about it.
The first few Km on the road had me shaking my head at making this tyre combination choice - the front was sledging all over the place, barely feeing connected to the Dommies old style rubber mounted handlebars - and the rear slipped on anything, like white lines and slick patches. It was downright hairy to ride! I was finding it hard to keep any sort of line through corners, and other riders noticed me struggling trying countersteering, leaning less or more, and all sorts of antics. I had also added an Airhawk seat pad and had a bag strapped where a topbox would normally go since my soft saddlebags had not fitted on the bike without touching the rear exhausts (I will make some guards soon). This certainly raised the centre of gravity on the whole setup, though I was still nowhere near as high as Ricky on his recently purchased XR650L which sits much much higher (on Michelins that I was coveting before and during the ride).
I did think it was improving with each few Km though, and indeed by the end of the days trip it was all working well. The front tyre had worn in on the road and now had sharp edges and slightly shorter knobs, and the rear had lost that glassy look. Both ends were run at 20psi for the whole weekend, though I had figured I might have to let them down at some stage if the going got rough. I had paid to have them fitted as I am terrible at tyre changing, particularly rears, so it was quite amusing when on the Saturday main ride I was on a gate and when I realized the sweep rider had not come along I went back half a km and found Dave with a flat tyre on his 950SE. As I pulled up and we propped the bike up to get the wheel off Dave said he was glad I was there as he was no good at changing tyres - ironically it was a Pirelli MT21 rallycross - DOH!! We did sort it out in no time though (I think because it was warmed up by the 950's prodigious power).
Suspension: My Domonator is certainly the softest trailbike I have ever ridden, and all I did to prepare suspension wise was change the fork oil (20w oil in the old style suspension - easy peasy, each fork leg has a bolt on the bottom to drain it!), replacing the grey slime that came out of them. I didn't notice any discernable change, but felt better knowing they both had the right ammount of fresh oil since they had no adjustment at all. The rear shock had one damper adjuster (I assume compression) which I wound all the way to hard then backed it off one click. It might have bottomed out here and there (ok, all over the place actually lol) but it works really well considering the weight and age of the bike. I have to admit I take perverse pride in riding one of the cheapest, and most certainly the oldest, bikes out there and going well enough to work my way through the pack in each section.
You can see the nice winding road we had come on....fantastic riding country!