Super Tenere ES suspension upgrade

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by ballisticexchris, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    I decided to re-spring my rear shock. Put in a call to Race Tech and have a rear spring and collar waiting on will call for my Tenere ES version.

    I wanted to use what I have for a season but even at about 220lbs (geared up) the sag numbers are huge on this bike. I figure after flogging this bike for a season I'll send it in for a re-valve and re-spring the front as well.

    1 helmet: 48mm free sag/87mm rider sag

    1 helmet and luggage: 46mm free/82mm rider

    2 helmets: 32mm free/72mm rider

    2 helmets and luggage: 29mm free/68 rider

    I'm not a street bike kind of guy but I think the rider sag should be closer to 60mm. I'll post up the part numbers for spring/collar and sag measurements when I install it next week or two. Keep in mind there is no data on the Race Tech website for the ES model. I was on the phone over an hour this morning getting the part numbers sorted out. They have only done one or two of the ES bikes.

    I want to make sure everything fits and get you guys good sag numbers before posting part numbers here.

    I have a really cool sag tool that gives really accurate measurements. It's invaluable when setting up your suspension by yourself:

    IMG_3037.JPG IMG_3180.JPG
    #1
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  2. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    And yes the SPOT tracker should be mounted on my body. I was doing a lot of check ins and cheated by mounting it on the bars.
    #2
  3. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Interesting results. A lot of people getting an ES (and ESA, Skyhook, etc. etc) do it for the suspension upgrade that is supposed to be more sophisticated, but few people follow up like you did and actually measure to see if the suspension is properly setup for them. They just assume that if it's an expensive upgrade, it must be right.

    I am looking forward to seeing what you end up with. Good luck with this project.

    Gustavo
    #3
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  4. Space Traveler

    Space Traveler explorer

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    Suspension is THE upgrade that make the S10 a "Super" Tenere.
    I changed my rear chock for an Elka and see a big difference. Unfortunately, I am sure I can't get the best out of the suspension because I have hard time to find proper settings.

    I will follow your post since I would LOVE the ES version with upgraded suspension!
    #4
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  5. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    I ran a full Elkas on my KFX700 quad and was so impressed I had one custom built for my Ninja 650R. Very good shock!!
    #5
  6. trailNtent

    trailNtent Been here awhile

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    What kind of skid plate are you running on that S10?

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
    #6
  7. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    It's the ALTRider.
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  8. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

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    The sag numbers should increase with load to make good sense. Yours are decreasing.
    With you alone on the bike what percentage of the total suspension travel are the free and the rider sag?
    When you preload to get 33% rider sag, what is the % free sag and how much % preload it takes to do so?

    Ahhh electronic suspensions.....I dont think they're just there yet.
    #8
  9. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    Now I have run into a issue. Right now as it sets the spring and spacer will require too much preload (over 25mm) to install even before the ES system starts to preload it. Called the Race Tech service department and was told for me to bring it in for them to install and possibly machine down the spacer. As I posted before, the sag numbers (with OEM spring) are way off and the spring is too soft. But this is in the garage. Yes the bike sags too much under it's own weight and when I'm saddled up. The numbers don't lie.

    OTOH, when I ride the bike it feels great! Even with the excess sag it corners and rides like a dream. When I put it on 2 helmets it's pretty darn stiff and responsive. The valving is spot on and adjustments for stiffer and softer actually work really well. I think I got caught up in my off road riding experiences (and all the internet buzz) about being too soft. Hell, I'm almost 60 years old and don't race anymore. Softer might be better for me I'm thinking. I have to get honest with myself and realize that I'm never going to ride this bike to it's full potential anyway.

    Decision is made. At some point the suspension will need to be refreshed with oil bushings etc. At that point I'll do the front and rear suspension all at once with a re-valve as well. This goes against all my thinking and experience. One of the first things I do with all my bikes is get the correct spring rate for my weight. It's just that the bike rides so damn good I'm afraid of screwing it up with a spring change. I honestly I had a pretty good feel for when spring changes are needed. I think I would have been better off ff I would have never measured the sag. For now the spring and spacer will set on the shelf until suspension rebuild time.......

    This is the very nicest and best handling street bike I have ever swung a leg over. I just want to keep riding the damn thing and enjoy it. I still have dozens of suspension settings I haven't even tried yet!

    Holy shit what a long winded bastard I am!! I could have removed the shock in the time it took me to type this!!

    What are the inmates opinions?

    That's because I'm putting preload on the shock.
    #9
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  10. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I know you claim to be old and ride easily, but somehow, after reading what you wrote, I don't believe you... :lol3

    The real question you should be asking, is this somewhat excessive sag affecting the bike's performance? The answer I read above is that probably not much. Have you bottomed it out on "normal" rides? That would be the biggest problem of too much sag, it leaves you with not enough travel in compression, bottoming under conditions it really shouldn't (I assume you know this, I am writing it more for people reading that don't understand all the terms and details). If you are not bottoming out, and you like the ride and handling characteristics, no problem. I keep a ziptie on one of the fork legs and always check how much the maximum travel I use really is. That will give you a heads up if you start approaching the bottoming out point. Then it really is time to deal with the too soft springs.

    Gustavo
    #10
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  11. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    That's just it. The excessive sag does not effect the handling one bit so far. I'm still breaking it in but so far it's no drama. This is a whole different world than offroad in the rocks and whoops. I have never dealt with this kind of suspension before. No not even near bottoming. Unless on one helmet and slamming into road dips. Duhaaa, I forgot about the zip tie!! I'm putting one on a fork leg tomorrow!

    I have not even scratched the surface with the different settings. So far I have left soft, standard, and hard in the middle. And just used the different preloads with the "on the fly settings". I'll tell you with it on 2 helmets and luggage, and hard in the middle "0" setting, it's pretty damn stiff!! Not to mention the bottoming might be a good warning that I'm pushing a 600lb machine into the danger zone (off road).

    Thanks Gustavo for the great feedback!
    #11
  12. Hoak

    Hoak Long timer

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    I think we're about the same age, weigh about the same, and seem to have similar riding perspective -- most of my 1.1m miles were accumulated off-road, and racing. We also had similar first reactions to the suspension; though My Super Ténéré is the non-ES version (so damping is different -- the non-ES is a bit excessive on the high-speed damping); I have ridden the ES version and liked it, springs on both bikes are on the soft side, and sag seems highish.

    My recommendation is to build some miles on it before you do anything to the springs or spring rates, valving, tweak fork oil weight, or take the preload beyond spec. Loaded, fueled, a Super Ténéré with a geared-up rider is nearly half a ton of hurtling machine, it's surprisingly off-road capable, and its powerful linear engine and dirt bike like manners while very forgiving, can get you in a lot of trouble fast. Unless you are really going ride yours off-road aggressively, often, running out of travel prematurely and gracefully can be real grace on a bike this heavy and powerful, and put a sane damper on late mid-life crisis mode riding excess...

    Big ADV machines are uniquely powerful, fast, and heavy, and the Super Ténéré with it's smooth power delivery gets you going beguilingly fast over rougher pavement and terrain in just daily A to B riding then any other class of bike. Heavy bikes have a lot of inertia that make it desirable to dissipate as much energy especially the small high speed transient stuff into the suspension rather then the bike, keeping the rubber in contact with the pavement as much as possible, an excess of sag can help here...

    Yamaha has sought a balance between offering a ride for the distance ADV rider that's intended to be unfatiguing while still maintaining control and offers plenty of feed-back, making sure that a machine capable of the speeds the Super Ténéré easily and quickly achieves stays safely planted and there's as much rubber on the road at all times -- and it's a pretty decent balance.

    I got to ride a tweaked Super Ténéré with an expensive Ohlins rear damper, custom spring rates and fork cartridges; it was nice, definitely better then my stock non-ES machine, but it wasn't the nearly $2000 better I thought it might be... You may, like me, realize being nearly 60, and on 600 lbs of over-powered machine, your not going to take it to the Moto Cross track (too often), and that Yamaha really has achieved something albeit compromised, the compromises are sensible, generally work well, are still a lot of fun, and you many not really need to take the suspension to the next level -- you probably already have another bike for that... :D
    #12
  13. smoothride

    smoothride Been here awhile

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    Don't wait to long before pulling the swing arm off. These bike have very little grease in the linkage bearings.
    #13
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  14. klrsmitty

    klrsmitty n00b

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    ballisticexchris, I have a 2015 Super Tenere ES and absolutely love it. I have been riding over 50 years with the last 25 years of street riding mostly on BMW's. I bought my ST for a planned trip from Georgia to Alaska. I just couldn't see the $$ for a R1200GS and I fell in love with an ST my local Yamaha dealer had on his showroom. My electronic suspension seems to be pretty dang accurate. I have not measured the sag since I bought the bike new. I have the Yamaha side cases and top box and ride most of the time in the one helmet plus luggage setting on the rear and the standard plus 1 in the front. When loaded I go to 2 helmets plugs luggage. In July and August of '17 I did my Alaska ride. 13,000 plus miles. I had 2 friends with me, one an a standard ST and the other on a 2017 Triumph 1200 Explorer. I made the complete trip on one set of Hidenau K60's. The Triumph left home with the same tires but had to get a new rear tire around 10K miles. The other ST left home on new Michelin street tires and had to renew both in Fairbanks. He too, got K60's. I had my ST loaded to the hilt on this trip since we camped every night but 8. We were gone 42 days. For this trip I did upgrade to an aftermarket seat, handlebar risers, and DIY highway pegs. I had the CPU flashed by the guy on ADV Rider. This motorcycle is a keeper. It performed flawlessly. DSCF0828.JPG
    #14
  15. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    Hi there Gustavo and inmates, I have had my bike for a little over a year and just shy of 4000 miles. I've decided to do a small upgrade to the suspension.

    So today I did an easy install of some “dogbone links” to raise my bike for some added ground clearance and quicker handling. This is a cheap and easy fix until my suspension is due for a full service re-spring and revalve. At that point I have decided to take my bike in and have the experts do the work. Race Tech is a full service suspension shop that does top quality but expensive upgrades. My bike has electronic suspension with a strange “open ended” spring in the rear and a set of progressive dual rate springs in the front. It will require special machined spacers and straight rate springs along with valving to match. It’s going to cost big bucks so I’m waiting until I wear out my bushings and oil before having it done.

    Install process is an easy one. A fellow Super Tenere owner laid out the install procedure:

    "Bike on center stand, lever under rear wheel. I used large crowbar and small wood block. When sweet spot found the bolts will slide out easily. Remove rear link bolt first keep spacer in place. The pressure will now be off the front bolt so slide it with the link untill it contacks the exhaust. At this point slide the spacer halfway out to the right , this will give enough room to get front bolt out. Be careful as the as the needle bearings are in a teflon type cage and can be dislodged. Put new link on front bolt on and slide back in repositioning spacer when bolt clears exhaust. Using lever line up for rear bolt a second set of hands helps here. Do not force and hold spacer so it does not slide out when bolt goes in. 43 ft # for nuts good luck."

    I opted for a set of the shorter links. They raised the bike 20mm. Now my bike no longer stands up straight with the kickstand down.

    I highly recommend this company for these links. From the time I placed the order it was 7 days to my doorstep from the UK!! With shipping and exchange rate it came out to just about 100 bucks. Just make sure you order the proper ones for your bike. The ES model is a different PN and does not have as many lowering/raising options as the standard Super Tenere.

    http://www.lustracing.co.uk/suspension/yamaha-xt1200z-super-tenere-jackup-kit.html

    P8210101.JPG


    As usual Yamaha is a bit light on the grease. It took more time to load the grease gun than install the dogbones!! In the last year I have switched over to marine grease for almost everything.

    P8210103.JPG

    I ended up breaking into my onboard toolbag and used my Eastbound tools "Wheel Wedge”. This is a back saver and super compact. Way easier than pry bar and it holds the wheel in place. No more sore arms and awkward lifting. Simply tap in the wedge where you want it and do your suspension/wheel removal and service. Very clever, simple and compact design. I highly recommend this tool as part of the tire repair kit. The linkage bolts slipped right out and back in using this tool.

    https://www.eastbound.shop/product/eastbound-wheel-wedge/

    P8210105.JPG


    I'm very pleased with the outcome. The bike sits normal with the sidestand down instead of straight up. I have had more than a few close calls with the bike tipping over. And getting it up on the centerstand is way easier!! It’s sad I have not test ridden it yet. Next week for testing. I’m well aware that my spring rates are way too light and it sets pretty low due to spring sag.. OTOH, this bike rides so nice and is super comfortable. I’m not a young man anymore. So my plan (at suspension service time) is to have Race Tech to install much stiffer springs and soft valving. That way the bike will ride high in the stroke but offer a comfortable and plush ride.

    P8210106.JPG
    #15
  16. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    Just for fun I used my trusty digital sag measuring tool and took some before and after measurements.

    The shorter links do stiffen up the "effective rate" of the spring slightly. I'm 200-210 in street clothes and 220-330 in gear.

    Fully geared up with all my tools, 3 liters of water, full tank of fuel, and empty panniers mounted.

    Stock suspension, stock dogbones
    1 Helmet/standard 0
    Static 66
    Rider 105
    With raised dogbones
    Static 64
    Rider 98


    1 Helmet + luggage/standard 0
    Static 62
    Rider 96

    Raised
    Static 60
    Rider 95


    2 Hemets/standard 0
    Static 52
    Rider 88

    Raised
    Static 50
    Rider 85


    2 Helmets + luggage/standard 0
    Static 46
    Rider 84

    Raised
    Static 44 or 48 (I'm not sure which)
    Rider 82
    IMG-0406.JPG
    #16
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