Am I looking for the impossible?

I have a 3-month old 'S'. I use the bike daily for commuting then head into the forest on a weekend. Like many others, I'm looking for a good compromise setup that provides reasonable on-road handling with reasonable off-road performance. But there's a problem... I'm big and heavy (6'2", 220lbs) and I simply can't find a suspension and steering configuration that works both ways. I know that I should probably replace shock and fork springs, but I'm really strapped for cash at the moment and it's simply not an option.

At the moment, I have the preload maxed out at both ends with damping at the stock settings. With this setup, the bike works reasonably well off-road, but on the street the rear end seems to overpower the front. The on-street steering characteristics are primarily characterized by corner approach understeer followed by mid-corner to exit oversteer and a high-speed head shake. All the time, the rear end feels light and unstable except under acceleration (obviously).

Yes, I'm pretty mechanically unsophisticated (if it's not obvious from the above), but part of the reason I bought my DRZ is to learn and I can (and have) handled the usual servicing and maintenance tasks. If anyone has the time to offer the benefit of their experience and superior knowledge, I'd really appreciate it. I've read previous posts along these lines and I think I understand the theory (I've even studied the mathematics of suspension and steering geometry), but I can't seem to apply this to my bike. Is my weight really a show-stopper in this regard? If so, I'm prepared to hit the Slim-Fast in an effort to solve this one!

As a last resort, anyone know any good (and cheap - yeah, right) suspension tuners in the Scarborough/North Yorkshire area?

[ December 07, 2001: Message edited by: plasmasurge ]

set your rear sag at 3.5 - 4 inches with you on the bike, it will stop that over/under steering problem... as far as the bike bottoming, you will need bigger springs.. I'm 6'3 and 235 lbs and I had to buy new tripple clamps and bars to get the bars far enough forward, and new springs, and have the suspension re-valved to even be able to ride the bike very fast... I finaly bought a KTM 520 and now I am in heaven..

I have a buddy that's 6' and 160 lbs, he loves the DRZ...

What are you running for tyres and at what pressures on and off road?

I never ran the trailwings on road but i ran MT21 rear and Bridgestone ED6601 on front these are more offroad pattern dot tires and never had any problems other than keeping my front wheel balanced, but i found it steers good on road.

With the knobbies i had to watch the wet roads the knobbies will break without a lot if any advance warning.

I maxed out all the clickers on my bike, i am 6'2" and 180 lbs.

If your bike is still under warranty why not have it checked over, steering head bearings etc.

I am 6'4" at 230 and after changing to stiffer springs the bike handles good.The rear end now set wear it should and the front does not nose dive in the corners. This front end sag also causes head shake which can become severe. Front and rear spring set is around $160 and you can install yourself. You will need aprox. .46in front and 4.6 in rear, your supplier should be able to help with spring rates.

I'm using the stock Trailwings at recommended pressures on-road, dropping 5-8 PSI off-road, depending on conditions.

[ December 07, 2001: Message edited by: plasmasurge ]

Nice to hear from a fellow Yorkshireman. I live in Harrogate now but was posted to Scarbourough a few years ago when I joined the Fire Service.

I visited a bike tuner in Scarborough a couple of years ago. His name was Nicky Kennedy but I cannot remember exactly where he was located but I think it was near Prospect Road. He was tuning a friends Fireblade ready for Olivers Mount so he may able to help or recommend someone.

If you get your bike set up let me know. Like you I am 6' 2" but weigh slightly more. Unlike you losing weight is not an option, have you ever tasted slimfast??? give me a Whackers Whopper or Harry Ramsdens anyday!!!. I have my front end set up just short of maximum on pre load and damping and the rear set at about 75% for both.

It is many years since I have ridden off road and only recently traded in my GSXR600 for the DRZ. Subsequently I do not have the skill to appreciate the differences in varying setups and find the above good for me.

I would recommend the Continental TKC 80 tyres. They are more commonly used on bigger trail bikes but I have found them excellent on the road in all conditions. Like you i commute daily and cannot compromise safety for increased off road performance particularly as I am still learning how to ride it. They also have excellent longevity.

There is also a dealer called PR Taylor I used via mail order for some bits. They are DRZ specialists and when find his number i will forward it on to you.

Is access to Dalby forest still restricted?

I think that I might be getting there. Precomp max at both ends, clickers 2 clicks out both ends. The handling has calmed down a lot.

bdtmd: Nicky Kennedy's still around (runs a moped racing team, I believe!) - I might give him a call. Most of Dalby is still restricted execept during organised enduro events, although there are areas you can ride if you know where you're going.... Contact me at plasmasurge@btinternet.com if you dig out that number and/or for a chat.

Thanks all, I appreciate it!

[ December 08, 2001: Message edited by: plasmasurge ]

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