Very disappointed - Page 8 - Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Forum
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post #71 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 04:45 AM
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I am no expert at all, but chasing the 30% sag is I think sometimes more trouble than it's worth.

Even though I am of average weight to get the correct sag I have to turn the preload in the rear up to nearly max. However all that does is make the bike noticeably taller which is not good for me as I like to put both feet on the ground with heavy bikes. The preload doesn't stiffen the suspension just gives it more available travel. So having gone back to the factory settings the sag is more than 30% but on the roads I ride in the UK I have never bottomed out the shock so all is fine. The bike is lower and the ride is OK.
True it might not turn in as fast as when the rear was higher but I doubt I will be doing too much peg scrapping on this type of bike anyway.

At the end of the day it is a personal choice, but I reckon if your shock is not hitting the stops don't worry too much. That is not to say that a stiffer spring would not help though. That would make the suspension firmer and the bike could use that in my case.
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post #72 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilco10 View Post
The preload doesn't stiffen the suspension just gives it more available travel..
Have I got this wrong all along ? I thought that tightening preload was supposed to do just that and stiffen up travel if not reducing it.

Have fun, or don't, your choice
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post #73 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SurfsUp View Post
Have I got this wrong all along ? I thought that tightening preload was supposed to do just that and stiffen up travel if not reducing it.
Changing the preload doesn't change the spring rate. It just makes the bike sag more or less under the rider's weight.
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post #74 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SurfsUp View Post
Have I got this wrong all along ? I thought that tightening preload was supposed to do just that and stiffen up travel if not reducing it.
Spring rates are measured in force per distance. i.e. pounds per inch. This is a linear relationship. i.e. for a 1lb/in spring will compress 1 inch for every 1 pound of force applied. This means, 1 pound force compresses the spring 1 inch, 2 pounds force compresses the spring 2 inches, 3 pounds force compresses the spring 3 inches, etc.

Applying preload is adding force to the spring before adding the force caused by your mass and gravity. So, if you add 1lb of preload to a 1lb/in spring it will now take 2 pounds to compress the spring 1 inch and 3 pounds to compress the spring 2 inches.

All that adding preload does is compensate for your weight. It does not stiffen the suspension or reduce travel (the length of the damper usually limits travel). In extreme cases, with an improperly designed suspension a spring could bind, coils touch, therefore limiting travel. This should not be the case.

All of the above is for linear rate springs. Progressive rate springs function similarly. Progressive rate springs will be composed of two or more spring rates. Some springs are varied over their entire length.

A two rate progressive spring will have one rate for part of the spring and another rate for the rest of the spring. Adding enough preload to a progressive rate spring can eliminate the softer rate effectively giving a liner rate spring of the stiffer rate with some initial preload. This would be a dual rate spring. i.e. two linear rates, 1 lb/in for the first 2 inches then 2 lb/in for the remaining length.

A progressive rate spring with a rate varied over its entire length would increase the spring rate with any added preload making the spring harder and harder to compress as preload is added. This would not be a linear rate spring. An example of this would be 1lb for the first inch, 3lb for the second inch, 6lb for the third and so on.

Plenty of information on the internet if you want to know more.
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post #75 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 01:51 PM
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Chasing the 30% sag......

So true for many riders who won't tax the suspension with heavy off-roading. I sat at 40-50% sag when loaded up with pillion and luggage and it is perfectly acceptable on the road or light trail. If you are not bottoming out your suspension it doesn't matter if you are sitting at 75% sag as long as the relationship between the front and back are similar.

It just got a little silly for me two up with luggage. As many others have said before preload is about the bikes geometry on the road, not how hard or soft the suspension is, preload is nothing to do with firmness or softness of the bike. The investment in stronger rate springs, just the rear in my case, an £84 Hyperpro from RR was the only thing I needed to change. Most average weight riders will never need to change the springs but some might benefit from a very low cost spring change if regularly riding two up fully loaded for touring. As I have said before, this is not a spring upgrade, just a spring with a different spring rate designed for a heavier load.
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Last edited by eltel62; 03-21-2017 at 01:56 PM.
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post #76 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 02:34 AM
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Thanks for the answers guys, never to old to learn

Have fun, or don't, your choice
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post #77 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 06:48 AM
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Horses for courses I guess, I'm 170 lbs and ride a Triumph Daytona 675R and a BMW S1000R, My AT is my current favourite, It is more stable at speed than the BMW (essentially a superbike chassis). I get around every bit as quick and have a massive laugh in the process. Maybe at nearly 52 years old I am being true to myself and have accepted that I am not quick (talented, skilled, foolhardy... call it what you like) enough to need a superbike on the road. The AT has taken everything I can throw at it and is 95% effective 95% of the time, The sportsbikes are 100% effective 5% of the time and about 70% the rest.
I find the AT extremely roomy and comfortable and I am confident enough to ride the tyres off it, I have definitely found a bike that works perfectly for my 12000 miles a year.
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post #78 of 80 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 05:06 PM
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The stock 46mm Showa shock is not a bad unit but set up very lightly for road touring with an emphasis on comfort. Although the shock spring rate (8.3kg/mm) is OK for an 85kg rider, the shock spring preload needs to be increased dramatically to help keep the ride height up. We have done some experimenting with stock preload, see below.

For those of you who haven't read our setup guide, (and you really should) here are the basics of sag.

• If you have the bike up on a lift, the suspension is "topping out", completely hanging free. This is called the free length and it's as long as your suspension gets.
• Now if you put the bike back on the ground, the suspension will drop a little due to the weight of the bike. The amount it drops is called static sag.
• And if you then sit on the bike, the suspension will drop some more due to your weight. Even further if you carry a lot of gear. The amount that the suspension has dropped from the free length is called the rider sag.
• A "classic" sag setting is 10% shock travel for static sag and 30% shock travel for rider sag, so here are the numbers for the CRF1000F: a total of 218mm shock travel, so an ideal static sag of 21.8mm and an ideal rider sag of 65.4mm.

For graph see following link. Please note this was found and originally posted by motomarc55

So, as you can see from the graphs, the sag from stock is massive! With no preload on it, the rear suspension is almost a third of the way through it's travel before anyone even sits on the bike. When it's weighted up, with so much less shock travel to absorb any big ruts and thumps, the shock skips around and gets harsh quickly. We have added a spacer/collar to the spring to increase the initial pre-load, and now it's much closer to classic ride height numbers, leaving more shock absorber travel.

It is fair to say that the Africa Twin is set up for road riding and comfort for the Honda standard weight. For many that's very good for what they want to achieve. For off-road riders there is no doubt that the suspension would benefit from adjustment and upgrading to suit the terrain/style.

Regarding the OP
Originally Posted by Iammemares View Post
WTF were you thinking Honda?
It could be construed, in parts, as being a little inflammatory to those who have paid their hard-earned cash for a bike they are happy with. Especially as it meets their needs. However, my take on it was that he received a bike that did not meet his expectations for his type riding. In fairness not unreasonable. He made some informative and constructive comments that illuminated the area of the AT's suspension. His data was accurate when compared to the 'experts' graphs above. If nothing else it has raised awareness and illustrated that one size does not fit all when it comes to suspension.

Originally Posted by Iammemares View Post
I can say I see glimmers of a truly great bike once I get through finishing Hondas work
There aren’t that many bikes that can be described as a truly great bike. Like one or two other posts I feel it would be disappointing if Iammemares didn’t come back. Either way, I wish him great riding.
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post #79 of 80 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Iammemares View Post
New to the forum and the AT. My first Honda in 15 years. Been riding BMWs for a long time. Most recently a 2004 R1150 GS.

I have spent nearly 3 grand to address many of the short comings that Honda left under developed.

Finally a chance to start doing shake down rides and get the bike set up for a 2 week Baja trip. With only my 180 pounds and low fuel and the preload maxed front and rear I am at 30% sag. WTF. Spring rates, especially in the rear, WAY undersprung. Bike was un rideable. Even after lots of tire pressure and damping tuning it was scary at best. Wouldnt turn, wont hold a line, front wanders. WTF were you thinking Honda?

After raising the Forks the max I can its starting to become rideable. This is with no load and 1 person. The bike needs front and rear spring rate increase. Rear greater than front to get the balance right.

Seriouly displeased with Honda right now. Another $400 just to make it fundamentally rideable.

While I am not a a proffesional in the Moto industry. I am a proffesional in the auto industry with 30 years of suspension design, tuning and evaluation experience. Honda jacked this up. It doesnt cost any extra to properly spec the spring rate.

Time to order some springs and finish hondas job. Guess 8 years wasnt quite long enough!

I can say I see glimors of a truly great bike once I get through finsihing Hondas work.

After reading through 8 pages of of this discussion, I think you have buyers remorse and you're blaming Honda for your lack of research.

I weigh near 210 and definitely over 210 with gear. The test bike I rode was quite comfortable and I based my purchase decision on the research I've done plus the test ride.

I've also been riding since 1990 and have had all kinds of bikes from dirt to old school "enduro" to street (most recently a Hayabusa) and now the Honda AT adventure bike.

Not ONE bike in my 26 or so years of riding has ever had a perfect suspension setup, ever.

Japanese bikes are made for the average human (or in their minds, average asian) which weighs about 140lbs/63kg +/- which you would think because most motorcycles have the ability to carry two riders they would spring it properly for a 300lb person, but alas they do not.

So, from the posts made and responses from your OP, I can on surmise that you should have bought a BMW 1200GSA at 2x the price and been very happy with the ESA and other goodies BMW provides standard on their bikes.

I on the other hand, and many other owners of the AT here are very satisfied with what Honda has done with the AT.

IF I find myself needing some suspension upgrades, I'll be happy to drop a grand or so and send the bike to racetech for a full and proper workup. It was a worthy investment on my 05 hayabusa and I'll have no issue doing it again.

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post #80 of 80 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 06:09 PM
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I'm 170lbs , and after proper suspension set up, I find thd suspension to be great for road usage. I don't have plans for off road (gravel roads at best).
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