HondaXR650L Rear Shock Adjustment Help

I have a 2014 Honda XR650L and need advice for setting the rear shock adjustments.  The OEM service manual doesn't even address the compression or damper settings.  I located an adjusting screw at the top of the canister and a thumb wheel behind the mudflap.  Seems like they have about 20 clicks each.  Not worried about sag at this point.

Riding and rider specs:

Terrain- Street 70% Trail 20% Motocross 10%, No racing.  Small jumps.

Rider- 50+, 250+ with gear.  Novice

I will be getting larger springs frt/rear at a later date.  

Thanks!

If I wanted to rebuild my shock that site would be of help but what I am looking for is a setup procedure for my bike...a starting point at least.  An explaination of which adjustment is which... compression/damper.  All the info I find is for the race bikes that have high speed/low speed comp/damp adjustments.  

Compression damping is on the reservoir , rebound is on the bottom. They usually come in the middle when new.

Before you do anything, find out what you currently have so that you can get back there.

I had my bike set up by a suspension specialist one time at a local motorcycle event where the money went to charity.  I'll see if I can get to it tomorrow to see how it is set up.  The compression and rebound are balanced and the front and rear action are balanced.

My suspension is on the soft side, and I can't find a single reason to change that.  It works well enough everywhere.

That would be awesome.

I can tell you I weigh 185 and my compression damping is almost full stiff , front and back. I run 8 psi of air in the forks.

Just a couple clicks from max on all settings?

Like I said , that's where I'm at and I'm 185 lbs.

On 1/28/2018 at 2:59 AM, JoeRC51 said:

Compression damping is on the reservoir , rebound is on the bottom. They usually come in the middle when new.

Thanks! Most helpful!

 Compression controls how fast the shock rises when you hit a bump, Rebound controls how fast it goes back to earth after.

Shock rebound is already slow on these shocks.  I highly doubt you’ll want to run it fully stiff (dialled in) when offroad.  Start at the midpoint, and experiment from there; most people want the rebound fully soft.

The compression, on both shock and forks, you’ll probably want close to fully hard, on anything but very rocky trails.  But experiment; it takes only seconds to spin the clickers on the side of the trail.

Setting the sag measurement is important.

Thanks. I will get after them little clickers!

On my XRR I Set both 1/2 way out, find a dirt road section with heavy washboard, turn the shock rebound out (lefty) 2 clicks at a time till things smooth out. Then play with the compression for bottoming/comfort. 

On 1/28/2018 at 7:02 AM, ScottRNelson said:

I'll see if I can get to it tomorrow to see how it is set up.  The compression and rebound are balanced and the front and rear action are balanced.

- - - Edited to fix a few MAJOR mistakes - - -

As promised (and only a day and a half late):

I first looked up the owner's manual pages to see what they recommended.  There are three adjustments (no fork rebound), so the first thing to do is get fork compression to match fork rebound.  After that is done, you want to get the rear suspension to match the front.

So here's what I found out and what my bike is set to.  I can't explain these setting, but an expert set them there and I'm happy with how it works both on the street and off road.  In all cases, hard is clockwise and softer is counterclockwise.  All settings go full hard first, then back out a given number of clicks.  Front compression and rear rebound use a flat blade screwdriver and you just turn the screw.  The rear compression requires you to push the little black adjuster at the bottom of the shock to get a click, but it has vertical marks for each click and is easy enough to do in both direction.  You have to remove rubber covers to get to the adjuster at the bottom of the fork and you have to remove the left side cover to get to the rear rebound adjustment.

  • Front compression.  The manual says there are 14 clicks.  I didn't check this.  They recommend 3 clicks out from full hard and mine was set to 2.  It's actually half a click to get to the first click, then two more.
  • Rear compression.  The manual says there are at least 20 clicks, but mine has 27.  They recommend 7-11 clicks out from full hard.  Mine was one click.  Almost full hard for compression.
  • Rear rebound.  The manual says there are at least 19 clicks, but mine has 25.  They recommend 13-17 clicks out from full hard.  Mine was one click from full soft, so 24 clicks.

I was mixed up on the rear setting when checking, but adjusting it differently, like the manual recommends, makes it behave worse.  Reset to what I had before  I can stand on the pegs and jump up and down and both ends compress an even amount and it bounces up and down evenly.

I have no idea if these setting will work on other bikes or not.

Edited by ScottRNelson

:facepalm:  Compression on the shock is at the TOP and rebound is on the BOTTOM.

Edited by JoeRC51
6 minutes ago, JoeRC51 said:

:facepalm:  Compression on the shock is at the TOP and rebound is on the BOTTOM.

Oops!  I'll edit the above post and correct all of that.  It all makes much more sense now.  I had it correct in my notes, then for some reason because I wrote the rebound numbers above the compression numbers, I was thinking the adjustments were in the same position.  Duh.  Sorry about that.

2 hours ago, ScottRNelson said:

- - - Edited to fix a few MAJOR mistakes - - -

As promised (and only a day and a half late):

I first looked up the owner's manual pages to see what they recommended.  There are three adjustments (no fork rebound), so the first thing to do is get fork compression to match fork rebound.  After that is done, you want to get the rear suspension to match the front.

So here's what I found out and what my bike is set to.  I can't explain these setting, but an expert set them there and I'm happy with how it works both on the street and off road.  In all cases, hard is clockwise and softer is counterclockwise.  All settings go full hard first, then back out a given number of clicks.  Front compression and rear rebound use a flat blade screwdriver and you just turn the screw.  The rear compression requires you to push the little black adjuster at the bottom of the shock to get a click, but it has vertical marks for each click and is easy enough to do in both direction.  You have to remove rubber covers to get to the adjuster at the bottom of the fork and you have to remove the left side cover to get to the rear rebound adjustment.

  • Front compression.  The manual says there are 14 clicks.  I didn't check this.  They recommend 3 clicks out from full hard and mine was set to 2.  It's actually half a click to get to the first click, then two more.
  • Rear compression.  The manual says there are at least 20 clicks, but mine has 27.  They recommend 7-11 clicks out from full hard.  Mine was one click.  Almost full hard for compression.
  • Rear rebound.  The manual says there are at least 19 clicks, but mine has 25.  They recommend 13-17 clicks out from full hard.  Mine was one click from full soft, so 24 clicks.

I was mixed up on the rear setting when checking, but adjusting it differently, like the manual recommends, makes it behave worse.  Reset to what I had before  I can stand on the pegs and jump up and down and both ends compress an even amount and it bounces up and down evenly.

I have no idea if these setting will work on other bikes or not.

Thank you for your time and effort.  Most generous of you.  I will set my bike like the manual says and test.  Then set it up like your bike and test.  This should be interesting.  Sometime this summer I am going to re-spring front and rear to suit my fat arse but I should know more about settings with this info.

Thanks Again.

 

5 hours ago, ScottRNelson said:

an expert set them there and I'm happy with how it works both on the street and off road

Hey Scott. How much do you weigh?  I’m assuming the guy who set up your compression/rebound did it with your specific weight in mind?  Would be interesting to compare. 

8 hours ago, CongoXR650L said:

Hey Scott. How much do you weigh?  I’m assuming the guy who set up your compression/rebound did it with your specific weight in mind?  Would be interesting to compare. 

I'm around 200 pounds plus whatever gear I'm wearing.  The sag was set for my weight, but compression and rebound are specific to bike behavior.  I was told that the only real difference with a heavier or lighter rider is where the bike sits in its suspension travel, which is directly related to the sag setting.

Since you can't set front rebound damping, you're stuck with what you get there and all the other settings are trying to get it balanced relative to that.  So I don't see the point in trying to change the suspension compression and rebound settings for a lighter or heavier rider.  If you had all four settings to adjust, then you might be able to do more.

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