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XR400 Suspension

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Ok, so I know there are tons of threads on this topic but I thought I should make one specific to me as I am not starting off stock...when I got my bike (1997 XR400) it came with factory connection front and rear suspension from the previous owner. From what I could gather on this guy he was taller like me (6'3") but weighed more than me I believe...maybe close to 200lbs or more. How does this affect the suspension for me? Right now the suspension is almost rock hard when hitting bumps and does not feel good at all. Front suspension might be ok but still feels stiff on some rides. How should I set up the suspension for the best ride?

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With the bike on a stand, wheels off the ground, Put a zip tie around a front fork tube. Sit the bike with your normal ride weight. Get off and measure how much the zip tie moved. That's fork sag "before" any adjustments. Start with setting the rear rider sag. The spring being spec'ed for a 200lb rider, you'll most likely have to back off the springs preload to almost nothing, til you have 3.5"- 4" of sag with you on board. It will be more plush at 4". If you can accomplish that, then check how much the rear sags under the bikes own weight only. Ideally, it should be around 1"- 1.5" but with that stiff spring rate may be closer to 2".

Bottom the zip tie at the front again and sit the bike to measure how much the front sag changed after your rear sag adjustment. You want around 1 3/8"- 2" fork sag.

Making the rear sag more makes the front sag less and visa versa.

If and when you can get these measurements close, I like to stand beside the bike, holding the front brake and with one foot, push down hard on the footpeg and see if the front and rear suspension compress together and equally.

Then you'll need to play around with the compression and rebound clickers to suit. Best thing to do is set them in the middle of their full range of travel, go ride and adjust to suit from there.

Without getting new springs and valving for your weight, that's about as good as you can do.

 

 

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That's great! Thanks! I'll look into it after work and see how it works

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One more thing- Springs generally do not make the bike feel too stiff, unless they are extremely over rate.. They do more to set your ride height which appears directly in turns handling etc. My guess is you need to spend time with the clickers for about 3 hours riding a small loop at varying speeds.

You will probably need to remove at least 3 of the 12 compression shims in the forks.

The #1 problem I have had with XR shocks is NOT too much compression dampening but rather too slow of rebound which causes packing and a harsh ride. XR shocks need lots of dampening compared to other bikes due to the odd linkage ratio.

Set your race sag for exactly 4" and then post up what your free or static sag is and we can tell you if you spring is too heavy on the rear.

Edited by Firestone
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My apologies for the late response fellas, just got some time today to get out on the trails after doing some testing with the clickers. I believe that now that I have turned the compression up(more squishy for lack of a better explanation) there is a subtle difference. I will be keep playing around with it and figure out where it is at it's at its best. Thanks again

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In case you didn't know, the clickers in the fork caps is rebound, Compression clickers are at the bottom of the forks, usually under a rubber plug if they're still installed. On the shock, the adjustment on the clevis end is rebound, compression clicker is on the reservoir at the top.

IN on the comp clickers is harder, OUT is softer/more plush. For the rebound clickers, IN is slower, OUT is faster.

Edited by Trailryder42

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Is there a benefit to having a faster rebound? So far I have only changed the compression since I'm looking for a softer ride but are there advantages to faster or slower rebound?

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Rebound controls how fast or slow the suspension returns to its extended state after it compresses due to terrain. Rebound is just as important as compression in making a good ride and for the bike to handle properly.

Example: If you're riding a lot of choppy terrain and rebound is set too slow, the suspension can't return after compression fast enough to be ready for the next hit, so the next hit catches the suspension in an already compressed state and the ride and handling seem harsh, a phenom called "packing".

A good example of rebound being too fast is the seat hitting you in the ass or your front end washing out in a turn.

You need to do some reading to learn about what to look for and how to notice the different handling conditions that a poorly/properly set up suspension exhibits and how to tweak clickers to correct them.

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That's great info, thanks a lot I'll look into the clickers more and try to set it up more for my style of riding.

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