What about the 950s suspension?

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by KTMax, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,099
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Almost every aspect of the 950 is discussed in depth on this great forum. I'm amazed how (relatively) little is written about the suspension and especially setting it up to personal preference and use.

    After crashing my first 04 950 to a totall loss a few months ago I had to buy a new one. I could lay my hands on the very last Orange 03 950 S in the Netherlands. Still the best looking IMHO :wink: . Didn't dare to buy this high monster coming straight off an LC4 motard the first time but I did the second time around... :D

    The 950s WP components are about the best available for this type of bike and sort of a candy store for fine tuning with its almost infinite adjustability. Straight from the dealer I think the 950 S is not nearly as good as the low version on the road. But I kind of expected that. It's clearly heavier and slower steering and it swims & moves in its suspension much more. The longer and softer suspension doesn't really tells what's going with the tires either and high speed stability is only so so. The S is quite a long way from the confidence inspiring and planted feel of the low bike... So some major league suspension tweaking was needed here! :nod

    I've done nearly 2000 mls. on this bike now and almost worn down a srewdriver and 2 wrenches from all the different setups I've tried. But - no suprise I guess - huge improvements can be made here. Step by step with only small changes each time. Some suggestions from Sommer were a big help too! It's amazing how much more sensitive and very different the S bike responds to changes compared to the low bike. On the stock setup from the manual the S seems to be too soft at front and too hard at the rear. There too much sag and dive from the forks while there too little sag at the rear making it jumpy and harsh for my weight. Levelling this out immediately improved the bikes' stability and general ride quality & feel with a big step. So after a lot of trying and testing this is my current setup.

    I'm 182 cm / 5.5 ft and 85 KG / 187 lbs. All settings are related to the stock setup from the manual.

    FORKS:
    Preload: + 2 turns
    Compression: + 4 clicks
    Rebound: + 2 clicks

    SHOCK:
    Preload: - 1.5 turns
    Compres. Low: + 4 clicks
    Compres. High: stock (1.5 turns)
    Rebound: + 5 clicks

    The bike is transformed compared to stock and about equal to a low bike for street riding now. The higher C of G of the S remains unchanged and present though. This can't be changed with the suspension setup. Jumps, wheelies and bad roads are better though! So are it's looks... :evil
    .
    #1
  2. rcniss

    rcniss Not that way!!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Jackson,Wisconsin USA
    Thank You KTMax!! :thumb

    I have been trying to find some time to "play" with the suspension on my
    S model and you just did it for me! I could not agree with you more on how the S feels with the stock settings. I will try your settings first and then maybe adjust them a little for my extra 18 lbs. :D
    #2
  3. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,099
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    I forgot to mention, with this setup and my weight the dynamic sag (driver with gear on the bike, feet on the pegs) levels out at exactly 73mm (2.87 inch) front & rear. This is the average of 5 or 6 measurements with slightly different gear on, stone cold and right after riding. The variation between measurements is neglible BTW. A sign of good suspension. :thumb

    I came to this setup by riding and seat-of-pants adjustments. I measured as a check after I was happy with it. Neat I think! :wink:

    @rcniss: Hope this is of help!
    #3
  4. rcniss

    rcniss Not that way!!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Jackson,Wisconsin USA
    KTMax - one more thing - have you tried this set up off road? If so,
    how much does it help the "heavy front" feeling?

    Thanks, rcniss
    #4
  5. eugeneorange

    eugeneorange that's gonna leave a mark

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Oddometer:
    296
    Thanks KTMax!
    Very valuable info! Especially for me, because I'm close to your weight. :D
    I've been meaning to post some susp. questions for a while but I always got distracted by other topics. Seems like you spend a lot of time testing. Do you ever ride 2-up with these (new) settings? I plan to do as much dirt riding as I can find, so I'd like to set it up for solo riding. On the other hand, I'd like to take my wife for some easy rides on occasions. The ideal settings for solo rider will be probably far from ideal for 2 people (maybe that's the reason for the stock settings - lot stiffer rear). Another thing to consider when you go on longer trips is the weight of your luggage. Even as little as extra 20 pounds will effect finely tuned suspension.

    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by saying that your rider sag "levels out at exactly 73mm front & rear .
    Normally, rider sag is set only at the rear shock, I don't think the front fork adjustments is considered a part of rider sag adjustment (although the front vs. rear need to be balanced).
    On my EXC450 the recommended sag is 95 - 105mm. I had to have it re-sprung and re-valved because I couldn't achieve the proper settings with the stock springs (it cost me a good penny :cry )
    Your setting at 73mm seems little too low. I'm sure that the weight of the bike plays some role too, but can you elaborate on that?

    And you're right - the orange S is THE best looker!!! :thumb That's what I fell in love with, and that's what I got.

    eugeneorange
    #5
  6. darmahman

    darmahman "Illogically Deluded" Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,137
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    I have an 04 orange non-S and after 1000 miles I set up the suspension to sport mode per the manual and it firmed things up quite a bit. The bike feels much more solid than b/4.
    #6
  7. gato88

    gato88 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    sf,ca
    one big improvement for me was dropping forks into triple clamps 5mm,
    really help bike "want to finish a turn at speed"
    Now with 19/17 on my S and vr rated anakees, another 5mm drop
    up front,little tweaking back and forth,I often find myself laughing
    this thing is insane................... :lol3
    #7
  8. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,099
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Sag is measured and adjusted front and rear. It plays an equally important role at both ends. In Holland we have the luxury of having WP Suspension 'around the corner' as they are a Dutch company. They specify the dynamic sag to be 25 to 35% of the total travel (265mm for the S). Logically 25% is the stiffer sporty end of the scale and 35% the softer comfortable side. The 73mm on my bike is a little more than 27%.

    I was a only little amazed to find that when I was done adjusting and the bike felt good, the sag turned out to be exactly the same front & rear. I didn't adjusted it to be the same, I measured after I was done. Front & rear don't have to be the same. Some difference is fine too.

    I didn't tried this setup off road or two up. I tried dropping the forks through the yokes 3 and 5mm too but that didn't work at all on my bike. The front gets loaded more (it already is front heavy), it falls into corners even more (top heavy feeling of the S gets worse) and stability suffers big time. Weird that your findings are positive with it Gato. :huh
    #8
  9. gato88

    gato88 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    sf,ca
    Max, I,m hip on your sag comments,but years of getting race bikes to turn,
    better yet to finish the turn, thru dropping the forks ,raising rear ride height
    and cranking on a steering damper has produced results and better lap times..........
    This is not intended to be a pissing match, as also sport riding in the twisties
    I personally "like to ride the front" and these tweaks with19/17 have the bike
    planted like crazy,to me the tire tells the story ,although I don,t expect the
    anakees to last very long,with dropping forks ,rings 2.5 mm on 21/18 settings
    I had just a wisker of headshake a 3,4,5, full throthle applications, no biggie!
    As there is no way to increase rear ride height, this is just a test,with the
    front end to produce some quicker more on the front end bias!
    Remember you like potatoes,I like tomatoes kinda thing :rofl
    #9
  10. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,912
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I recently changed my suspension settings from stock to the "sport riding" settings recommended in the owner's manual and have to agree with Dharmaman that this really improved things for agressive street riding. Front end dive is significantly reduced and the bike seems more stable in turns. The feel is very similar to what I was able to dial in to a couple of my previous bikes that had Ohlins on the front and rear - what I like to call "plush but precise". I LOVE this bike. :thumb
    #10
  11. darmahman

    darmahman "Illogically Deluded" Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,137
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Me Too! :thumb Isn't it great that we get a manual with the bike that tells us the correct settings and we don't have to send it off to some suspension Guru at $75.00 an hour? Praise KTM.
    #11
  12. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,099
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    No need to pull out your sword. :D I didn't say your changes are wrong or anything. Just that it doesn't work for me. Turn-in felt oversteered at low and medium speeds turns and it got unstable and twitchy at higher speeds. Dropping the forks and jack up the rear isn't a one-size-fits-all change that works on every bike and for everyone. I think the 950 is quite front-endy already for this type of bike (tires'n suspension). Strangely enough the S feels more front heavy than the standard bike.
    #12
  13. gato88

    gato88 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    sf,ca
    207 gp,208 race compound whatever, rennsport soft/med.........
    burned them, cold tore them on years of track days,mot point!
    the 19/17 set up with the vr rated anakees,thrill me because I can feel them
    come to race grip on the street,thou granted hw 1 north of sf,point reyes
    onward can provided some access to creating,getting positive tire temps

    tire warmers,track days teach so much,but to produce that seroius grip on the street is a big time bonus, from that homely,pathetic.wheel bending
    eyesore,enjoy it please, it kicks ASS............. :nod
    #13
  14. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,099
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    :D I have a strong feeling that my bike 'ends up' with a 19/17" combo too this winter. The 950 of a friend of mine was probably one of the very first in the World with this combo. He installed them on my advise before I even had a 950 myself... :lol3

    I just want to explore the all posibilities with the stock rims first. I still don't like the 'squashed look' and nasty gap at the front fender with these sizes. Working on it though... :wink:
    #14
  15. PeeBee

    PeeBee Giant leap for me!

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    585
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    In another thread KTM warns for the effects of the 17/17" mod. Something about high speed rating of 17" tubes. Do you think that warning is valid for the 19/17" combo too, or were they only referring to the front tire?
    #15
  16. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,099
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    That's a tire thing only as there are virtually no 17" tires (in 120/70/17 & 160/60/17 like sizes) that are designed to use tubes in them. No problem on a 'slow' and light motard but it is on a heavy and powerful bike like the ADV doing 200 KM/h or more...

    Most road oriented dual sport tires in 19/17" like Tourances and Anakees are suitable for tubes. :nod
    #16