Lost Weight...Ride is Harsh
  • mossman77
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    Lost Weight...Ride is Harsh

    by mossman77 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:06 am

    I've lost about 20 to 25 lbs over the last year and my 250X seems to ride a bit harsher. I suppose this would make sense since now that I am lighter I am riding further up and using less of the suspension travel? I was about 225 lbs back then and installed 0.48kg fork springs and a 5.9kg rear spring. My sag was spot on at about 105 mm race sag and 30 mm free sag. I'm basically wondering if it's the weight loss that is contributing to the increase in harshness or maybe I need to replace the fork oil (it's been about 20 hours). At my current weight (200 lbs), skill level (dirt novice/intermediate) and riding style (single track trails), the Race Tech calculator says I should be using the stock fork rate of 0.42kg and a 5.8 kg rear spring. Does this sound about right or should I go softer? I am not jumping or going over any crazy obstacles, so I'd rather be on the plusher side.
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
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    JimDirt
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    by JimDirt » Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:41 am

    Congratulations on the weight loss , i have as well , i was at 218 and am now bouncing between 195-197 since breaking my wrist a month ago (makes no sense that i am sitting around doing nothing , but loosing more weight than i could when i was active , but Dr's attribute it to loss of appetite due to pain) .....anyway.....

    I went from a 0.52 fork to a 0.50 , this was before all the weight was lost (i was still around 205 when i changed rate) , unfortunately i crashed the second day riding on the softer springs , but felt more confident on jumps , right up to breaking my wrist , what you need to concern yourself with is not so much the rate has to be X , but that the forks are riding in the stroke properly and your Free sag is good and your not bottoming out (both of which can be altered by changing oil and oil level as well as a spring rate change) , then adjust spring rate to get to the correct settings , with that said .... i would think that with your weight a 0.42 would cause more harshness rather that remove it also keeping the 5.8 with that would unbalance the bike from front to rear , i think if your still over 200 i would keep within the 0.47 - 0.50 (front) 5.5 - 5.9 (rear) range and that should keep your sag numbers in the range they should be , mess with the oil level , also , where are you set on clickers ??

    Also remember , balance , the stiffer the shock spring and the softer the fork spring , the more force/weight is put on the forks , actually making it stiffer in the front and throwing off your settings
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  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:09 am

    Okay. I'll stick with my existing setup then for now. I honestly haven't been messing with the clickers as there are so many combinations that I think it would drive me nuts. Sounds like I need to bite the bullet and really spend some time to get them dialed in. I understand the balance thing--the bike used to nose dive with the softer fork springs and I would wash out on me now and then. Since stiffening up the front end, this has not happened. I plan on attaching a zip tie to my fork tube to see exactly where I am travel wise (I believe you recommended doing so a year ago).
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
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    JimDirt
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    by JimDirt » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:44 am

    Yea you really need to know exactly what the suspension is doing "while" riding , the zip-tie or (if you remove the tube from the clamps) a O-ring that fits snug enough to hold position until the fork compresses and moves it , in general most "stock" settings are medium in the harshness , if your going to adjust , turn in till it stops counting the clicks (make sure both forks are the same adjustment) and count the clicks , this will give you your baseline to adjust from or go back to , then go out (counter clockwise) 2 clicks and see if it feels better , then go back to base setting and go 2 clicks the opposite direction and see if it feels better or worse than the first adjustment , this will tell you if its too soft or too stiff , if going in feels better , then go up 1 rate on springs , if you need to go in all the way then go up 2 rates , same goes for the opposite direction
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  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:52 am

    if going in feels better , then go up 1 rate on springs , if you need to go in all the way then go up 2 rates , same goes for the opposite direction


    What direction do you mean by "going in"? CCW is harder and CW is softer. I'm assuming if it starts to feel better as I max out to the hardest setting (clockwise), then I need to go up a rate or two rate?
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
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    JimDirt
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    by JimDirt » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:17 am

    Yes if you need to stiffen the valving by turning IN the clicker (In = clockwise/stiffer , Out = counter-clockwise/softer) , would mean if it feels better when you stiffen the clickers rather than when you soften the clicker , then it means you need a stiffer setup , which means stiffer springs , the matter of 1 or 2 rates is determined by sag numbers and how far you have to move the clickers in

    If its set at 12 stock base setting (usually) and you have to turn it to 6 to feel better , but if you go to 1 or 0 and it feels even better then you need to stiffen the spring rate , again sag numbers will tell you if you need 1 or 2 rates , my personal observation is , a 200 lbs rider needs around a 0.49 - 0.50 to properly support their weight , IF that rider is even a beginner , and they are a off road rider then the stiffer rate is best (going 2 rates instead of 1) because usually a off-road rider will have a backpack full of stuff , as well as carrying other items like a lunch , drinks , etc that adds to the overall "rider weight" , and usually will also have a larger capacity gas tank , so all that "extra" weight adds up significantly, so when choosing springs , you need to add those items then weighing yourself (in full riding gear including everything you would normally carry with you on a "normal" ride) , despite what suspension companies say , as each has their own different guidelines on rider weight , but that weight does make a physical difference when setting sag and calculating springs , if you set sag in street clothes then add 35 lbs of backpacks and gear , your sag will be way off

    A MX rider generally wears protective gear and nothing "extra" , which usually by themselves do not add up to the weight of a gallon of gas in extra weight , so what you weigh in street clothes is close enough give or take a few lbs to what you would weigh in full riding gear , though most do recommend you wear your full gear when setting sag , which is usually something most average riders overlook ....confused yet ??? :?
    02 CRF450R
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    Weiser , Idaho
  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:26 am

    Not confused. I was sure to measure my sag with full gear (helmet, boots, tool bag, water, etc). The Race Tech calculator asks for rider weight WITHOUT gear and for some reason says I should go with a 0.42 fork spring rate.
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
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    JimDirt
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    by JimDirt » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:49 am

    I still say 0.49-0.50 for someone in the 200 range , think about this , the stock springs on a 450 are setup for a 165-180 lbs rider , they are 0.46-0.47 , a 250 is set up for a 145-160 lbs rider and they are 0.44 , why would springs for a 200 lbs rider be less rate than the spring rate for a 145 lbs rider ?? , it makes no sense , me being at 195- 200 i should have a spring rate of 0.48-0.50 , depending on speed/ability , conditions-off-road/track , i have 0.50/5.8 on my 450R right now , its what i had for 205 lbs rider Intermediate MX Race Tech recommendations that was sent with my Rebound valving kit from one of the Tech's

    I am now 195-197 lbs, if i stay that weight for the next year when i should be able to ride again , i will drop to a 0.49 , if i get to 190
    02 CRF450R
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    Weiser , Idaho
  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:02 am

    Okay, so I did some experimenting this weekend. I found that the harder the compression setting the better it felt (meaning not as harsh). And anything other than full soft (fully CW/turned out) on the rebound felt unstable/non-compliant/dangerous. So I have compression fully hard and rebound fully soft and it feels pretty good, but I would still like it to be a little more plush. From what I've heard, it may be the valving. I also did the zip tie trick and it was pushed down 2/3 of the way (about 4-1/2" from the bottom).

    I measured my sag as well and got 92mm race sag, 32mm static sag. Evidently my shock linkage needs cleaning/lubing because if I lower the bike off the stand gently, I get 22mm static, and if I press down on the seat and release, I get 32mm.
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:50 am

    In case it wasn't clear, I ride woods only and don't typically ever get out of 2nd gear. That being said, wouldn't a 0.48 fork spring be a tad on the stiff side for riding over roots, rocks, etc?
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
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    JimDirt
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    by JimDirt » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:07 pm

    Remember the springs are what hold the bike/suspension up , so the valving can do its job WHEN it needs to , if the suspension is too far down in the stroke (due to too soft of springs) , the suspension will feel stiff , this is why it felt better the stiffer you adjusted the clickers , the rest is controlled by valving and oil (and Pressure Springs) , so to be softer , you need to go stiffer on spring , anywhere from a 0.48 to a 0.50 will feel better that what your currently using

    For example , i use a 0.52 in my 450X and if you rode it you would be begging to ride my bike all the time , i have had guys that way from 175 to 230 ride it and all are amazed at how plush it is , stiff spring (for your weight including gear) and soft compliant valving , is what makes for a plush ride , if you watch Endurocross , that is how my X is set up , full suspension travel , but it does not bottom out , nor does it feel harsh

    What it sounds like is your ready for a re-valve , but you need to get it feeling better with spring selection first , if you don't get the springs right , the suspension will always feel like crap , and by you having to turn in the clickers stiffer and stiffer to make it feel better confirms this ...
    02 CRF450R
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    Weiser , Idaho
  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:18 pm

    ...but you can get away with a 0.52 because you revalved correct? If you didn't revalve you would want a little softer wouldn't you? To reiterate, I am currently using a 0.48kg spring. Can you please address the zip tie travel? Simply plopping down on the bike pushed the zip tie about 3.5" down, and after a lap around the trail it was 4.5" from the bottom. The trail is pretty smooth other than one 12" log I hopped over. Would going to a 0.49kg have a noticeable difference? That along with filling the cartridges with a little less oil? And where can I purchased softer springs for the inner cartridges?
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)
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    JimDirt
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    by JimDirt » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:43 pm

    The re-valve helps tremendously with or without spring changes , but as stated if the sag numbers AND the ride are not plush then usually (especially when it gets better when you stiffen the clickers) , shows that the spring rate needs to be stiffer , the bottoming is fine if it only did it 1 or 2 times on the ride , the oil level helps with bottoming resistance , as does the Mid-Valve in the valving (Mid-Valve is the stack/piston on the Rebound Rod that sticks out of the Cartridge) , its the part that goes IN the cartridge

    For sag , you should have about 55-65mm free sag on the forks for off-road , and about 45-55mm for MX (about 2.1 in. - 2.5 in. for off-road) , which shows your spring is too soft as you have way too much free sag , although keep in mind if your rear sag is off or your linkage is binding , it will haver a effect on fork sag , so make sure you have the rear squared away before worrying about the forks , remember .... balance .... front to rear is what makes a bike ride good

    The Pressure springs can be had at Race Tech or Factory Connection , or buy them from Ken , he has them here as well , the Pressure springs will help with initial harshness , stock would be about 1.8 or 1.9 i believe on the 250 , and its 1.9 or 2.0 on the 450's if i remember correctly , though it could be less on the 250 , you might want to research that with Race Tech or someone (Ken should know) , as the rate does vary from year to year , so i am not going to say my figures are 100% accurate , i run a 1.76 on both my bikes

    I would not say going to a 0.49 would have a "huge" difference , but even 1 rate should be noticeable , just as 2 clicks on the clickers is noticeable

    If your riding smooth trails and using the majority of the stroke , then i would say your spring is too soft as is , unless you are really plowing the log face , but even that should not use that much stroke , it IS OK , to use all but even just 2 inches of stroke , as long as your not doing it all the time , in other words the bike should not be riding in the last half of the stroke the majority of the time , it should be in the upper 1/2 of the stroke most of the time , especially on flatter terrain , then it should be in the upper 1/4 of the stroke

    Hope that helped explain it some .. ;)
    02 CRF450R
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    Weiser , Idaho
  • Aussiecrf230
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    by Aussiecrf230 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:30 am

    mossman77 wrote:Okay, so I did some experimenting this weekend. I found that the harder the compression setting the better it felt (meaning not as harsh). And anything other than full soft (fully CW/turned out) on the rebound felt unstable/non-compliant/dangerous. So I have compression fully hard and rebound fully soft and it feels pretty good, but I would still like it to be a little more plush. From what I've heard, it may be the valving. I also did the zip tie trick and it was pushed down 2/3 of the way (about 4-1/2" from the bottom).


    You will find that with the stiffer springs you will have to back off the bump clickers and wind the rebound back up a bit. As you get closer to the right springs the clicker settings should get closer to the middle of their adjustment. You still may need a revalve but get the springs sorted and free up your linkage/swingarm.

    With the correct springs the suspension actually moves less than with softer springs as they over travel because they can't cope. Quite often the standard valving can be adjusted with the clickers to something acceptable when it is not having to deal with all the extra movement. This results is a smoother bike.
    Ray
    Australia

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  • mossman77
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    by mossman77 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:56 am

    Thanks fellas!!!

    Just to be certain, full soft/CCW is maximum damping and full hard/CW is minimum damping correct?

    Another question, if my shock spring is too stiff for my weight (it is), how will that affect the front end? Seems like too soft in the front and too hard in the rear would make the ride harsh because the forks are taking more of the impact due to the imbalance. If so, I think I'll soften up the rear to a 5.8 and see how that feels.
    2007 CRF250X
    2004 CRF230F (sold)

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