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Discussion Starter #21
I felt that my XE was letting too many sharp bumps thorough the suspension. To the extent that some road surfaces would induce traction control activation under hard acceleration in the first 3 gears.

I have just settled on my own suspension preferences for the XE.
Front, open settings for comp and rebound damping, 4 turns out ( comfort settings as per manual). Drop the yokes/trees/triple clamps by 20 mm ( lower the front).

Rear, compression and rebound set to the comfort setting as per the manual. 5 turns of rear preload applied. This is as much as i could apply by hand. I lifted the bike using my ABBA skylift so could apply 5 turns rear preload by hand .

Rider weighs 100Kg
Before rear preload adjustment (zero turns)
Static Sag 58 mm
Rider Sag 108mm

Post adjustment 5 turns preload rear
Static Sag 49mm
Rider Sag 97mm

This adjustment in shock stroke position (11mm longer) has allowed the suspension to move more quickly and so absorbed the sharp road bumps, as it is on average 11mm further down the rising rate curve and in a more open part of the comp damping circuit. I would have liked to have applied more preload but I feel that I am eating into the soft portion of the spring stroke. I am happy with suspension now for 2 reasons, it is more compliant whist maintaining good damping , AND I made the changes, so it feels like my bike. :)
So now you are at about 38% down on rear suspension rider sag pre-load and 20% static sag. With max pre-load I am at 50% rider sag. I only measured on the XC and only Rider Sag. With wide open damping, I like the ride I've achieved very much for the smooth roads that I typically ride.

If you did want to try to add more pre-load, it is much easier to turn the adjustment ring (after loosening the grub screw) without a shock spanner wrench, by grabbing the ring and the entire shock and turning them together. I imagine you have seen this video, but in case you have not, it can be very helpful.
 

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This is weird. Am I the only one whose manual does NOT have “FORK”preload adjustment instructions.

I’m not sure you are getting what I’m saying... I’m not trying to adjust the preload on the rear shocks or dampening or rebound anywhere. There are NO instructions in the manual, google searches, YouTube videos... anything on how to adjust preload on the Showa forks on an XE. I can’t even find a product manual on the Showa website. Weird.


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Hi Norsman
XC owner here... My manual covers compression and rebound settings for both front and rear but only mentions preload for the rear shocks. HOWEVER the front forks ARE adjustable for preload. The black nut on the XC's black forks (and the gold nut on the XE's gold forks) is for setting the preload. And it does make a difference.
729505

I think there's some confusion here as the rebound and compression settings are adjusted by the slotted silver stud in the centre of those nuts. Turning the (preload) nuts does not change the compression or rebound settings.
Thanks for confirming that counter-clockwise on the gold nut increased height, stiffness, and preload on the forks!
I don't think so...
Wind the nut in (clockwise) to increase preload - raise the front - and out (anti-clockwise) to decrease preload - lower the front. From memory there are about 15 full turns available. Front fork preload needs to be set the same on both fork tops. The nut (black or gold) stays level with the top of the fork - the larger silver nut, so you need to count the number of turns you apply. My XC came as standard with no preload. I weigh 100kg fully kitted so I have applied preload in stages and am now at 11 turns of preload to give me 75mm of rider sag on the front. The target 33% gives 67mm but I prefer the slightly softer setting.
The rear shocks are easy to adjust for preload if you use the 'tool' which is under the left side panel to firstly release the grub screw and then turn the adjusting ring by using the tool in the holes around the circumference. Count the number of full turns as the grub screw comes around. Again, my XC came with no preload at the rear. I've put 8 turns of preload (on each rear shock) to give me 75mm of rider sag so the bike sits level.
The ride is much better now as I was previously using all my suspension travel just supporting the weight of my ego...
Those preload figures are simply what suits me - yours may vary. Use the old trick of putting a zip-tie on a fork leg and on a shock rod to see what's happening - give it a few days to assess how much travel you're using and act accordingly.
Dropping the yokes to lower the front will upset the geometry unless you also lower the rear. With twin shocks that has to be by using replacement, shorter, shocks. Dropping the yokes without altering the rear changes the geometry, steepening the head angle and speeding up the turn-in. Not what I would want with a 21" front wheel.
I've got around 4,000 miles on the bike now, curtailed somewhat by the current lockdown, and the suspension is now considerably smoother than when new.
Just my two-pennorth - use or discard at your preference.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
the front forks ARE adjustable for preload. The black nut on the XC's black forks (and the gold nut on the XE's gold forks) is for setting the preload. And it does make a difference.

I think there's some confusion here as the rebound and compression settings are adjusted by the slotted silver stud in the centre of those nuts. Turning the (preload) nuts does not change the compression or rebound settings.

I don't think so...
Wind the nut in (clockwise) to increase preload - raise the front - and out (anti-clockwise) to decrease preload - lower the front. From memory there are about 15 full turns available. Front fork preload needs to be set the same on both fork tops. The nut (black or gold) stays level with the top of the fork - the larger silver nut, so you need to count the number of turns you apply.

The rear shocks are easy to adjust for preload if you use the 'tool' which is under the left side panel to firstly release the grub screw and then turn the adjusting ring by using the tool in the holes around the circumference. Count the number of full turns as the grub screw comes around. Again, my XC came with no preload at the rear. I've put 8 turns of preload (on each rear shock) to give me 75mm of rider sag so the bike sits level.

Just my two-pennorth - use or discard at your preference.
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Thanks 2wheelsgood. Excellent discussion. As I said, I did adjust the preload on the XE front forks (maybe the wrong way) since I did not measure height. I am going to check how with a twist tie and verify how I did adjust them. I did say that backward in my post, but I hope I got it right on the bike. As far as front pre-load on the XC, that black nut was so tight, I assumed it was not operable. The gold nut on the XE moved and clicked as I thought it should. I did not know there was a spanner tool under the side panel. Nice to know! But, as in the video I attached last time, you can move that ring by just turning it with the shock as well. Not sure I'd call it easy, even with the tool, as there is such limited space and I have big hands. Certainly not a technical challenge, just annoying.
 

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Hey Doc, if the preload adjuster nut is tight it'll be because it's either all the way out or in, depending on which way you tried to turn 'em. The black fork top adjusters on the XC don't click - they're continually adjustable as they simply wind up, or down, onto the spring to add pressure (preload) to the spring. Push down on the spring and the front of the bike rises and vice versa. Gently does it - if they won't move, don't force 'em 'cos they're at their limit of travel.
Calling the 'tool' under the side panel a spanner is to damn it with faint praise. You'll know what I mean when you see it!
Good luck. Don't make too many changes at once and you'll find the settings that suit you and the bike.
Check out Dave Moss tuning on YouTube to see it all in detail.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Hey Doc, if the preload adjuster nut is tight it'll be because it's either all the way out or in, depending on which way you tried to turn 'em. The black fork top adjusters on the XC don't click - they're continually adjustable as they simply wind up, or down, onto the spring to add pressure (preload) to the spring. Push down on the spring and the front of the bike rises and vice versa. Gently does it - if they won't move, don't force 'em 'cos they're at their limit of travel.
Calling the 'tool' under the side panel a spanner is to damn it with faint praise. You'll know what I mean when you see it!
Good luck. Don't make too many changes at once and you'll find the settings that suit you and the bike.
Check out Dave Moss tuning on YouTube to see it all in detail.
Yes. You are correct again. The XC already had max pre-load. The nut was all the way tightened (clockwise). I weigh 275 (125 Kg) and have about 50% travel with full pre-load on the rear, so I just left it at max pre-load on the front forks. I did do my XE front forks backward, so I adjusted it to minimum and my rears to max. Again, I don't think that I can get close to 33% no matter what, so I adjusted them to max pre-load and i did see quite a bit of lift on the front forks. I have an Indian that I have been riding mostly, and I am not sure I have even ridden the XE at all since I made the first pre-load suspension adjustments. I have ridden the XC (with my adjusting rear pre-load and factory at max front preload) a few times and I felt like I was leaning more forward. I was disappointed just now when I found that the front was already at full height. It was so tight, I wonder if a mechanic at the dealership thought it was just loose nuts and tightened them down. Finally, no clicks on either bike. Like you, just loosen or tighten. I'll check out that Youtube Dave Moss video. Thanks again and "Cheers".
 
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