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Stock suspension adjustments

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Yo guys, I'm a beginner looking for advice on adjusting the stock suspension on my 2015 kx 450.

I know there's a lot to understand/know and money involved in a real suspension set up. I know nothing and I'm not spending money, I'm just looking to use stock settings (the adjustable front and rear in the manual) to adjust to my body weight (215lbs) if it's that simple? Any recommendations like psi inner, outer, balance and 2 clicks here or there on the other adjustments? It's at the standard setting across the board right now but after several months of riding I'm just now looking into the settings. Until now I literally just got on the bike rode it. Never paid attention to the suspension settings because they just confuse me. Needless to say my bike wasn't close to the standard recommended settings when I went through it and set them so I don't know what "standard" feels like. It may not even make a difference at my level, just looking for input. Thanks

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Hi there. As you said, first set everything to standard and test it a bit. The manual provides three settings (soft, standard, hard), play around with these to give yourself an idea of whether, for example, the softer setting starts to feel most comfortable. Knowing this will help you fine tune around which ever stock setting felt best.  Make sure your sag is correct (free sag and rider sag). Its not difficult to adjust it, and is super important for the overall handling of the chassis. 

 

There is a 'Showa sff air' app available. It will help you a lot with the front end and is super simple (just make sure you insert the correct information into settings). You're probably better off using the app rather than the manual to set up the chamber pressures. Once you find pressures which are comfortable yet still allow for best performance, you can start fiddling with the clickers.

 

If you have the time, it is definitely worth it to do some research on the internet. there is a lot of info that will help you look after and set up your suspension. Unfortunately, these forks are probably the worst forks to own if you don't have a basic understanding of how to set them up. However, once they are set up decently, they are great. I'm loving mine at the moment, although I'm still chasing a better setup haha.

 

You will be able to call any of the big named suspension companies for basic support and setup.They will probably be able to give you a good overall setup for your weight, type of riding and speed. 

 

Just remember, YouTube and Google are your friends.

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Yo guys, I'm a beginner looking for advice on adjusting the stock suspension on my 2015 kx 450.

I know there's a lot to understand/know and money involved in a real suspension set up. I know nothing and I'm not spending money, I'm just looking to use stock settings (the adjustable front and rear in the manual) to adjust to my body weight (215lbs) if it's that simple? Any recommendations like psi inner, outer, balance and 2 clicks here or there on the other adjustments? It's at the standard setting across the board right now but after several months of riding I'm just now looking into the settings. Until now I literally just got on the bike rode it. Never paid attention to the suspension settings because they just confuse me. Needless to say my bike wasn't close to the standard recommended settings when I went through it and set them so I don't know what "standard" feels like. It may not even make a difference at my level, just looking for input. Thanks

First off at 215lbs you need to respring your rear shock. Its easy to switch shock springs. You dont even have to reomove the shock if you dont want.. I suggest calling Factory Connection and ask them what spring rate to buy. They can also give you some settings that you will like for your wieght.

Edited by spin05

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Ill look into a spring if not too expensive. I'll call some suspension places. To be clear though... If I go to the "harder" setting from the manual on my forks air pressure, doesn't necessarily mean I should go to the hard setting on every other adjustable suspension setting right?

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Unfortunately the next chance to ride for me will be a 20 min practice then race... I don't know what to expect now that everything is to the standard setting. I'm sure it won't make too much of a difference though

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What settings were you using... pressures, clickers, fork height? If you are a beginner and quite slow, you probably won't notice a massive difference and suspension setup wont be too important. But do yourself a favor and get to know your suspension. You will be glad you did once you start picking up speed. Having well setup suspension is easily the best and easiest way to drop seconds from your lap times.   

 

The air pressures control your 'spring rate'. Once you find a pressure combination that suits you, you can then play with the clickers (just as you would with a normal fork). So increasing pressures doesn't necessarily mean you should also go harder with rebound and compression clickers. You will need to play around with the clickers once you find a good balance between the three air chambers.

 

Were there any issues with your old setup, like bottoming, harshness, poor high speed stability etc?

 

If I were you, I would just call a suspension company and find out what they recommend. Then just run those settings for the race. the 20 min practice will probably be enough for you to get a decent idea of how the bike will handle. 

Edited by RoboHobo

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First off at 215lbs you need to respring your rear shock. Its easy to switch shock springs. You dont even have to reomove the shock if you dont want.. I suggest calling Factory Connection and ask them what spring rate to buy. They can also give you some settings that you will like for your wieght.

How can you switch a shock spring without removing the shock?

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I've just been riding the bike with no regard to the suspension. I went through it last night with the manual and set everything to the "standard" recommended settings and 3 of the 4 clickers were not in the standard setting this whole time and I had 115psi in the inner. Now I have 131psi inner 7.5 outer and 131 in the balance and all clickers at the standard setting. We'll see? I'm not fast. I've raced once 450 beginner and got 5th out of 7. To be fair the top 4 were throwing whips hahahahaha. Prob won't change much but I just decided to learn what I can and adjust what I have to feel better if possible. Thanks guys

Fork height is at 5mm I believe?

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How can you switch a shock spring without removing the shock?

I did it on my 15 kx450f. Pull bolts on the link.Move it out of the way. Pull bottom shock mount bolt. Then pull the swing arm up as far as you can get it and stick a bucket under the tire. Climb under and start pulling the shock retainer spring off slides right off. I will do anything to not have to pull that whole subframe off the carb.

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I did it on my 15 kx450f. Pull bolts on the link.Move it out of the way. Pull bottom shock mount bolt. Then pull the swing arm up as far as you can get it and stick a bucket under the tire. Climb under and start pulling the shock retainer spring off slides right off. I will do anything to not have to pull that whole subframe off the carb.

I've never done it that way, but I never take the air boot off the throttle body when I do it. I remove the muffler and all the subframe bolts and then push the subframe over slightly to the left and pull the shock up and out of the frame.

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There is some OKAY advice in here but also bad advice in here, so i hope that what i'm about to explain will help you out. All things considered, suspension plays the most significant factor on how confident you are on the bike, and ultimately how fast you can ride. Dialing in your suspension for you should be the very first thing you mess with on a motocross bike.... forget power adders, sprocket changes, etc.

 

For reference, I am 195lbs naked, 6'1", and am a fast C class rider (I jump pretty much everything on southern California tracks), and i ride 100% of the time on motocross tracks. I've had my '15 kx450 for just over 3 months now, and have put 17 hours on it, and have tested many different settings. Here is my advice:

 

First step, download the SFF Air app on your smartphone. This application really helps you visually make sound adjustment decisions.

 

Always check fork pressures before each ride, on location where you are riding at.

 

When adjusting the fork pressure make sure you have the front tire off the ground.

 

Follow this order when making adjustments:

  1. Deflate balance chamber
  2. Deflate outer chamber
  3. Set inner pressure chamber
  4. Set outer pressure chamber
  5. Set balance pressure chamber

Ok, now that you understand the prerequisites, lets discuss settings.

 

For our weigh class, Team Green Kawasaki recommends (Page 21 here: http://issuu.com/541marketing/docs/2015_teamgreennews):

Front Fork - (174psi Inner / 7.5psi Outer / 174 Balance) and Rebound 12 clicks out (from full in/tightened), Compression 6-12 clicks out. Forks 5mm from the top of the fork to the top of the upper triple clamp. 

Rear Shock - Stock Spring should be fine, set sag at 102mm, rebound 10 clicks out, low speed compression 10-16 clicks out, high speed 2-3 clicks out.

 

Try those settings out, and start with the softest (more clicks out from full in) compression settings in the range they give. 

 

I ran those settings for a while and they felt pretty good, but ultimately i found that the forks were a bit too harsh for me. 

 

Here is what i have found that feels good for me. I opted for less inner pressure and more outer pressure to allow for initial plushness with an increased ramping of spring pressure deep in the stroke:

Fork (155psi Inner / 13psi outer / 165psi outer), rebound 10 clicks out, compression 8-10 clicks out. (clickers vary by track).

 

The idea with the spring pressure is to get the ride height where it should be for your weight, to add bottoming resistance, and (for advanced users) to tailor the linearity of the spring force for your riding style. You shouldn't be messing with pressures to fix the rate of compression or rebound. You should be using the clickers to make those adjustments. 

 

There's a troubleshooting section in the manual that gives you handling problems and proposed reasons why its happening. Use the above settings and go ride the bike. If you think its handling a specific way and you want it to handle differently/ better, read that part in the manual and make the adjustments that it recommends. 

Edited by callmeebryan

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There is some OKAY advice in here but also bad advice in here, so i hope that what i'm about to explain will help you out. All things considered, suspension plays the most significant factor on how confident you are on the bike, and ultimately how fast you can ride. Dialing in your suspension for you should be the very first thing you mess with on a motocross bike.... forget power adders, sprocket changes, etc.

 

For reference, I am 195lbs naked, 6'1", and am a fast C class rider (I jump pretty much everything on southern California tracks), and i ride 100% of the time on motocross tracks. I've had my '15 kx450 for just over 3 months now, and have put 17 hours on it, and have tested many different settings. Here is my advice:

 

First step, download the SFF Air app on your smartphone. This application really helps you visually make sound adjustment decisions.

 

Always check fork pressures before each ride, on location where you are riding at.

 

When adjusting the fork pressure make sure you have the front tire off the ground.

 

Follow this order when making adjustments:

  • Deflate balance chamber
  • Deflate outer chamber
  • Set inner pressure chamber
  • Set outer pressure chamber
  • Set balance pressure chamber
Ok, now that you understand the prerequisites, lets discuss settings.

 

For our weigh class, Team Green Kawasaki recommends (Page 21 here: http://issuu.com/541marketing/docs/2015_teamgreennews):

Front Fork - (174psi Inner / 7.5psi Outer / 174 Balance) and Rebound 12 clicks out (from full in/tightened), Compression 6-12 clicks out. Forks 5mm from the top of the fork to the top of the upper triple clamp. 

Rear Shock - Stock Spring should be fine, set sag at 102mm, rebound 10 clicks out, low speed compression 10-16 clicks out, high speed 2-3 clicks out.

 

Try those settings out, and start with the softest (more clicks out from full in) compression settings in the range they give. 

 

I ran those settings for a while and they felt pretty good, but ultimately i found that the forks were a bit too harsh for me. 

 

Here is what i have found that feels good for me. I opted for less inner pressure and more outer pressure to allow for initial plushness with an increased ramping of spring pressure deep in the stroke:

Fork (155psi Inner / 13psi outer / 165psi outer), rebound 10 clicks out, compression 8-10 clicks out. (clickers vary by track).

 

The idea with the spring pressure is to get the ride height where it should be for your weight, to add bottoming resistance, and (for advanced users) to tailor the linearity of the spring force for your riding style. You shouldn't be messing with pressures to fix the rate of compression or rebound. You should be using the clickers to make those adjustments. 

 

There's a troubleshooting section in the manual that gives you handling problems and proposed reasons why its happening. Use the above settings and go ride the bike. If you think its handling a specific way and you want it to handle differently/ better, read that part in the manual and make the adjustments that it recommends.

Why deflate the outer chamber?????? Showa only recomends to deflate the balance

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Why deflate the outer chamber?????? Showa only recomends to deflate the balance

 

In my experience, any pressure in the balance and outer chamber will effect the setting/reading of the inner chamber.

 

You should set the inner pressure without any other air pressure forces in play. 

 

Inner > Outer > Balance.

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I guess theres not much in there so wont take long to fill the outer like it does the balance

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I don't see how having air in the outer chamber can affect inner pressure. For sure let air out of the balance which lets the fork basically "top out" and have no upwards push on the inner pressure. If it's topped out from filling the inner chamber, have 0,10,15 psi in outer should not affect inner pressure because it can only move down so far. A simple way to check would be to air the inner chamber up leaving the pump/gauge attached and then change air pressure in the outer chamber and see if the inner pressure changes significantly. This would take two pumps though to do this which I have. I'll do this and report back, but it may be the weekend.

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I don't see how having air in the outer chamber can affect inner pressure. For sure let air out of the balance which lets the fork basically "top out" and have no upwards push on the inner pressure. If it's topped out from filling the inner chamber, have 0,10,15 psi in outer should not affect inner pressure because it can only move down so far. A simple way to check would be to air the inner chamber up leaving the pump/gauge attached and then change air pressure in the outer chamber and see if the inner pressure changes significantly. This would take two pumps though to do this which I have. I'll do this and report back, but it may be the weekend.

Kinda what i was thinking of trying. I know Showa just says to empty the balance only

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