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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody!

I almost bought AT because my 2016 Suzuki V-strom 650 doesn’t handle heavy load (220kilograms) very well. This is how much my wife and I and three full panniers weight. I thought about upgrading suspension, but then I was told that I should buy “beefier” bike, because bigger bikes can manage more load. I thought AT could be the one.

But now I am reading about AT suspension being too soft when fully loaded with rider, pillion and three full panniers.

Could you please comment about your experience with such heavy load on AT?

Best regards
 

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My 2016 AT suspension is definitely on the soft side. I've run with a pillion before and I had to wind the rear suspension right up to the max. In my case the combined weight of rider and pillion was 150kg, so adding another 70kg to take it to 220kg would put it beyond something I would be comfortable with. If I were to run 220kg I would definitely upgrade the suspension...or get an R1200GS.
 

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The suspension from my 2018 ATAS is at Cogent Dynamics as I write this because with me in riding gear (about 225 or so) and my bike with full tank, panniers and tools, no luggage, and the rear shock at 35 clicks full pre-load, my sag was 40%. Not acceptable so I am modifying to at least allow 30% with panniers full and a roll-bag. I took my passenger pegs off as I have no desire to ride it 2-up, and can use my Goldwing for that.
 

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My wife and I plus touring gear is around 240 Kg - mainly due to me - my wife is slim - but we have a Goldwing for most of our 2-up touring. We have done a bit of day-tripping 2-up on the africa twin without much gear. Mr Kiwi has run through redoing his suspension for 2-up touring with his wife on the Honda adventure riders forum - he mentions his weight is 120 Kg with a combo of 220 Kg - including gear 2-up. https://honda-adventure-riders.com/index.php?topic=1429.0
Another option is a Super Tenere which may have a higher weight limit but with a similar set of abilities, or the BMW1200GS. Both are better tarseal bikes than the Africa Twin but possibly not as competent off-road and neither has DCT. The 1000 cc Versys and Strom are possibly options too.
 

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I have had my 2016 AT since new and it was way to soft to carry any kind of load. I pulled the rear shock and sent it to Teknik Motorsport in Sydney. They changed to spring, put in a pre-load collar and revalved it and now it is fantastic. I am 88kgs and ride with a full loaded with tools camping gear, food and extra fuel. Unloaded I ride without any pre-load and fully loaded I run between 8 and 10 clicks of pre-load. The damping performance is spot on. I ride at reasonable speeds off road and it soaks up everything just beautifully. Front forks haven't been touched but you need to wind up the pre-load near max - they work pretty good also.
 

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Hi everybody!

I almost bought AT because my 2016 Suzuki V-strom 650 doesn’t handle heavy load (220kilograms) very well. This is how much my wife and I and three full panniers weight. I thought about upgrading suspension, but then I was told that I should buy “beefier” bike, because bigger bikes can manage more load. I thought AT could be the one.

But now I am reading about AT suspension being too soft when fully loaded with rider, pillion and three full panniers.

Could you please comment about your experience with such heavy load on AT?

Best regards
If the only reason you want to change the DL650 is the suspension, simply upgrade it. IF you are also not happy with the performance of the bike once loaded, this is another story.

Aside the proposals the other members did, consider the KTM1090 as well; much firmer suspension and loads of pull.

BTW, if I am not wrong, the maximum allowable load for the AT is 205Kg (195Kg for the ATAS). Surely you can exceed it safely, but just keep this in mind as well.
 

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I upgraded from a 2007 VStrom 650. No real complaints about it until I rode my brothers GS1200. Then, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was too big for the bike and it was under powered. I'm 6'3" and 205 lbs. The 2018 AT DCT feels like it fits me so much better and the extra power is noticeable and nice.
I don't carry a passenger, but I do load it down with gear quite often and the AT handles that much better. I still recommend those VStroms to people as I really enjoyed mine and they are easy to maintain. The AT is just better for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi everybody and thank you for sharing your experience. I am also 6'3" and to be honest V-Strom 650 does feel a bit small. But it's a fantastic motorbike. Perhaps I'll take my wife to Honda dealer and ask for a test ride to get the feeling. Perhaps that would make decision easier.


I just don't feel like buying a new AT and then spending 1000$ extra for suspension upgrade because AT will be too soft with both of us riding it.
 

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One key issue with the CRF1000 is that the rear shock spring is too soft. The front fork springs are also soft-ish but not to a point to be a problem while the rear one is. Something else: the standard Honda settings for the rear shock are ludicrously inadequate, some testers test the bike that way and the complain it wallows etc. It is all fixable by upping the settings assuming that the driver and passenger weigh no more than 150kg together. I am talking of the 2016-17 bikes, I suspect the non-ATAS 2018-19 are similar, have no idea about the ATAS.

Some info about the rear spring/shock. It takes 36 half turns/clicks full soft to full hard, Honda's setting is 7 clicks from full soft while I need 24 clicks for acceptable sag/behavior (weigh 89kgs). With my wife on the back (61kgs) I need 30 clicks and with full luggage the full 36 clicks and the preload is still only marginally adequate. Honda's rebound damping setting is 11 clicks from the full position while I found that it should be 5-6 clicks only. Now after almost 30K ml / 48K kms, I have set the rebound damping in the full position as the shock oil has got thinner.

I have lived for two years with the standard suspension by upping the settings but I am about to replace the rear spring with a stiffer 95 N/mm one and also have the rear shock re-valved. The rear spring did cost about 100€ and it will cost around 150€ to have the rear shock serviced and re-valved.
 

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Here's my summary:


Pros:
More power
Better suspension
Better aesthetics
Traction control

Cons:
More money
21" front wheel
Tubed tires
Single headlight
Lower mileage, 47 vs 54
Suspension too soft
Display not sealed well, moisture
Engine case finish poor



Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
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