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2016 Fe350 Suspension

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I weigh about 190-200lbs with gear. I have set rider sag. I have the standard settings on. Suspension feels like shit. Trying to get different settings from people to try out. I haven't figured out the whole suspension thing yet. I understand how it works, but don't want to start turning compression and rebound knobs. I ride a lot of fire roads and single track, no track stuff, and ripping around town (not to worried for street setup). Need new tires too any suggestions? Don't want full knobs. I rode the d606 on my old bike that were pretty solid. Also psi suggestions for off road or happy medium being that it's a dual sport I definitely use 70% off road 30% street. 

I've been riding years on the street, just last year found the joys of off road. I really just want settings to try and then tweek from there. Thanks for any help. 

 

 

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I run approx 8 to 10 psi in the rear and 12 psi in the front in most conditions using tubes and that works well. Any lower and you will get pitch flats. You will need to consider tubliss if you want to go lower... as a rule; the lower the pressure the better the grip but you will lose feedback the lower you go on the front especially which can also make the suspension seem harsh.

Suspension is a very personal thing and hugely depends on your weight, speed, ability and terrain so I'm not sure you will find much help in someone else's settings... I start at the manuals sport settings and adjust from there. If you understand what each adjustment is doing it's quite easy to adjust as you adjust as you ride.

I found this website a while ago and think it really explains what to do

https://rideexpeditions.com/off-road-suspension-getting-the-perfect-set-up/

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9 hours ago, lordsofcalifornia said:

I weigh about 190-200lbs with gear. I have set rider sag. I have the standard settings on. Suspension feels like shit. Trying to get different settings from people to try out. I haven't figured out the whole suspension thing yet. I understand how it works, but don't want to start turning compression and rebound knobs. I ride a lot of fire roads and single track, no track stuff, and ripping around town (not to worried for street setup). Need new tires too any suggestions? Don't want full knobs. I rode the d606 on my old bike that were pretty solid. Also psi suggestions for off road or happy medium being that it's a dual sport I definitely use 70% off road 30% street. 

I've been riding years on the street, just last year found the joys of off road. I really just want settings to try and then tweek from there. Thanks for any help. 

 

 

If you're hesitant to mess with your clickers, start reading what does what. Write down everything you change so you can undo something that you don't like and start playing around... its not like the suspension is going to be permanently changed. The clickers are only going to do so much. You need a respring and those forks need valve work. There are a couple of threads on here describing what solutions cost what and how well they work. I haven't revalved mine yet but I've done as much as I can with the clickers. The fork still sucks but its better than how it came. 

MT21's are pretty good dual sport tires. If you don't slide the bike around too much and have the throttle control to find traction, try out a MT43 in the back with a MT21 in front. The MT43 is a trials type tire, it doesn't dig to get traction so you don't spin it up. It wears well and is actually decent on the street. 15psi all around for the street. 12 in front, 10 out back works pretty good off road. 12psi all around is a good middle ground but you'll leave some traction on the table off road. I wouldn't go below 10 psi on regular tubes. If you decide to try the MT43 use a HD tube or preferably tubliss, the tire really shines at LOW psi. I carry 12g CO2 cartridges and the adapter in my pack to make airing up easy. Tire pressure makes a big difference off road, its def worth it to be able to run proper air pressures. 

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Senorthumpy you really think I need to get my suspension revalved and sprung from a 5lb difference from stock? I've tried searching for suspension info but come up short on the forum. Not sure if I am looking in the right area. 

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You may need to consider respringing for your weight.  Vs the center of the range for your springs, you are 25 lbs over.  That's a whole spring size + (22 lbs per spring size).  If you don't mind the occasional bottoming out and harsher ride, you can probably get by with a few settings changes.  It's a different ride altogether when you get it right.  You might call and discuss with someone like Jeff Slavens, who could steer you in the right direction.  Nice guy, shares his knowledge, even if he doesn't sell you anything from my experience.  As others have said, tires and tire pressure can also help.

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21 minutes ago, markbfe501 said:

You may need to consider respringing for your weight.  Vs the center of the range for your springs, you are 25 lbs over.  That's a whole spring size + (22 lbs per spring size).  If you don't mind the occasional bottoming out and harsher ride, you can probably get by with a few settings changes.  It's a different ride altogether when you get it right.  You might call and discuss with someone like Jeff Slavens, who could steer you in the right direction.  Nice guy, shares his knowledge, even if he doesn't sell you anything from my experience.  As others have said, tires and tire pressure can also help.

Not sure how I am 25lbs over if stock is set for 187lbs. I've haven't bottomed the bike out yet. I did so every now and again on my wr250. I feel like I'm getting bounced around a lot more on the 350. Any recommendations on tires?

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15 minutes ago, lordsofcalifornia said:

Not sure how I am 25lbs over if stock is set for 187lbs. I've haven't bottomed the bike out yet. I did so every now and again on my wr250. I feel like I'm getting bounced around a lot more on the 350. Any recommendations on tires?

Center of the range (165-187) is roughly 175.  200 is 25 over 175.  

If you're getting bounced around a lot, unless you're running unusually high tire pressures, I couldn't see how tires could be the major contributor to your problem.  They could be a problem with grip/traction.  If you think it's tires, drop your pressures to 10-12 lbs and go for a ride and see if that helps.  If it does, get rid of the tubes where you can reliably run low pressures without tube pinch flats (TuBliss system, etc).   If it doesn't help, try getting your static/rider sag as close as you can with your spring setup.  Goal also is to get the front/rear suspension balanced with one another.  Youtube has some videos on suspension balancing.  Try damping your compression and rebound to slow things down a little.  If that helps. you are on the right track.  If you can't get all the way where the bike is behaving properly, then either springs and/or revalving might be the next logical step.

Regarding playing with compression/rebound/preload - play away.  You can always put it back where you started.  Just change a couple of clicks at a time.

 

Edited by markbfe501

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Thanks. I was already running 10psi in front. Buying new tires this week. Just wanted to burn through the stock ones. I already set the rider sag to what people mentioned ed same with the book. Think it's almost 3.5-4" something like that. Guess next ride I start playing around things. 

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I just picked up the same bike and having similar issues. Granted I'm way above the 175lb average rider weight at 230lbs geared up. That being said the suspension seems really stiff to me. In the dirt, the bike doesn't feel planted like my WR250R does. It dances around a lot more. I've aired down to 15psi front & 16psi rear but it didn't help much. I've set race sag too 110mm and backed off the compression up front. Are these Michelin tires just really stiff sidewalled?

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5 hours ago, jeepdave said:

I just picked up the same bike and having similar issues. Granted I'm way above the 175lb average rider weight at 230lbs geared up. That being said the suspension seems really stiff to me. In the dirt, the bike doesn't feel planted like my WR250R does. It dances around a lot more. I've aired down to 15psi front & 16psi rear but it didn't help much. I've set race sag too 110mm and backed off the compression up front. Are these Michelin tires just really stiff sidewalled?

I'd air down more. I was rocking 10psi up front. Just got new tires today and I still need to play more with my suspension. Kind of funny we both think that the Wr handles better so far. 

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First thing I suggest is to read your manual several times. Then read it some more. The basics are very basic but it can get confusing if you try to absorb too much too quickly. Then 2nd thing is to read the very first thread in the suspension forums. The very first one. It addresses external tuning very well. This susp stuff can be very counter-intuitive at first and sometimes and you may get some advice that sounds strange and the opposite of what you expect. But the more you read concerning adjustments the more sense it will make. And remember one cardinal rule---ONE adjustment at a time. Good luck. 

Edited by YHGEORGE
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You say the FE350 suspension is bad, what bike are you comparing it to?  Which bike(s) have you ridden where you liked the suspension?  WR250F?  What year?

As for tire pressure, 10 in the front is very low, I'd suggest 14 as the lowest to not get pinch flats.  And 12 in the rear.  

If you are not riding super fast, you could try setting all the settings to very soft.  So back the compression clickers all the way out.  Same with rebound, full soft.  Go for a ride, see how it works.  If it is too mushy or pogo-stick like or you are bottoming, then start clicking things firmer.  

The manual should have a good explanation for setting the rear spring preload.  If you fall out of certain parameters it will show if you need a different spring.  

You might find you need a bit stiffer fork springs but stock shock spring is ok. 

The bizarre thing with forks sometimes, if you have soft springs and/or overly soft settings, the fork rides lower in the stroke and feels stiffer.  Feels strange that a stiffer spring can make the fork work better.  

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1 hour ago, usedtobefast said:

You say the FE350 suspension is bad, what bike are you comparing it to?  Which bike(s) have you ridden where you liked the suspension?  WR250F?  What year?

As for tire pressure, 10 in the front is very low, I'd suggest 14 as the lowest to not get pinch flats.  And 12 in the rear.  

If you are not riding super fast, you could try setting all the settings to very soft.  So back the compression clickers all the way out.  Same with rebound, full soft.  Go for a ride, see how it works.  If it is too mushy or pogo-stick like or you are bottoming, then start clicking things firmer.  

The manual should have a good explanation for setting the rear spring preload.  If you fall out of certain parameters it will show if you need a different spring.  

You might find you need a bit stiffer fork springs but stock shock spring is ok. 

The bizarre thing with forks sometimes, if you have soft springs and/or overly soft settings, the fork rides lower in the stroke and feels stiffer.  Feels strange that a stiffer spring can make the fork work better.  

I had a 2008 Wr250r. The dual sport version. Took me about 2 weeks to find the sweet spot. I've ridden various dirt bikes through the years. I just got into riding dual sports about a year ago. Rode street for years. Not saying the Fe suspension is bad just haven't found the sweet spot yet. I bought the bike for a reason. Being better than the Wr.

I have the preload/rider sag set and within the parameters of the manual. 

Does sound strange about a stiffer spring, but makes sense. Talked with dealer they said it's set up for my weight. Just to really &%$#@! with the clickers. 

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9 hours ago, jeepdave said:

I just picked up the same bike and having similar issues. Granted I'm way above the 175lb average rider weight at 230lbs geared up. That being said the suspension seems really stiff to me. In the dirt, the bike doesn't feel planted like my WR250R does. It dances around a lot more. I've aired down to 15psi front & 16psi rear but it didn't help much. I've set race sag too 110mm and backed off the compression up front. Are these Michelin tires just really stiff sidewalled?

At 230 lbs, you'd be 2, maybe even 3 springs sizes too light (each spring rate is good for another 22 lbs, and I like to be in the center of the spring rate rather than the bottom or top).  I used to have a KTM 450EXC.  Most miserable riding POS I ever owned.  Until I put the right springs on it to account for my 225lb geared up weight.  Huge difference.  Just bought my 2017 Husky FE 501.  Rode it up in Michigan with my son in sand and whoops.  Most miserable POS I've ever ridden - just like yours, mine dances around a lot and feels very squirrelly.  But I know when I receive my front and rear springs (3 sizes up to account for my 240lb geared up weight) this week and get my suspension set up for my weight and balanced properly, It'll make all the difference in the world.  It's $200 and a couple of hours of time to make it right.  Then comes the TuBliss and new tires.  The DOT Continental TKC80's aren't fairing very well off road, no bite at all.

 

There's a lot of good videos out there for anyone interested.  Slavens has a few on balance, and even videos on how to change the springs on our bikes.

 

 

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5 hours ago, lordsofcalifornia said:

I'd air down more. I was rocking 10psi up front. Just got new tires today and I still need to play more with my suspension. Kind of funny we both think that the Wr handles better so far. 

I'll try lower pressure as well.. My WR250R is pretty dialed in right now. I just rode it for about 40 miles and definitely noticed how much heavier it is but that weight seems to over some stability at highway speed. 

The FE has better suspension but currently its not set up right. Maybe I'm more tuned to suspension now that I had my WR250R tuned for my weight. I know I'm too heavy for the FE but until I sell the WR it's gonna have to wait. 

Mark, I appreciate the info and thanks for the video link. I'll be swapping out tires soon as well. Good luck with your build.

Usedtobefast, I checked out the manual already(not enough apparently, lol) It says to adjust preload remove the tank, the seat, side panels, & shock and replace the spring with the proper spring for your weight. Of course it stops at 209lbs(IIRC) I'll set the preload a little firmer to hopefully plant the front tire more. I'm comparing a dialed in WR250R to the stock, under sprung, improperly adjusted FE susp. Not the best comparison I understand. Thanks for your info. 

George, I'll go through the manual some more and see what I'm missing. Thanks for the reply.

 

Edited by jeepdave

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13 hours ago, jeepdave said:

Of course it stops at 209lbs(IIRC)

 

For future reference should you eventually do your springs, you can simply extrapolate beyond where the manual's "1 spring either side of stock" chart shows.  You'll see rider weight range moves by 22 lbs (10KG) per spring size change, while the  spring rate changes 3 N/mm per spring size change.  

For my own weight (and my bike, an FE 501), to get from the 165-187 lbs to 245 lbs, I needed to go up 69 lbs roughly from the center (176 lbs) of the stock spring to a spring centered at 245 lbs.  69 divided by 22 = 3.14, rounded = 3 spring sizes.  So my new spring rate needed is 48N/mm + (3 spring sizes * 3 N/mm per spring size change) = 57N/mm.  If you can only find springs that are in KG/mm instead of N/MM, just divide by 9.80655 to get a spring rate of 5.8 KG/mm in my case. 

http://www.kylesconverter.com/mass/newtons-to-kilograms

The front is done the same way.   I needed to also go up 3 spring sizes, but front spring sizes jump by 0.2 N/mm per spring size (still 22 lbs per size change), so I'm going from a stock spring of 4.6 N/mm to a new spring of 5.2 N/mm.

You'll use a similar process for the springs rate that go along with your bike.

Ride safe.

Edited by markbfe501

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Here's a little update. I went to the manual and set all the suspension settings to the "comfort" settings. Figured someone may have messed with them on the showroom floor. I also aired down to 13 front and 14.5 rear. Which seemed to help. Also the suspension seems to be breaking in a bit as well. I'll try a little lower air pressure too and see what happens. 

image.jpeg

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