Front preload adjust made-more tension on the chain? - Kawasaki
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-16-2013, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Front preload adjust made-more tension on the chain?

Hey guys-
been searching on how to adjust the sag, preload, damping i took a long fwy ride this past weekend (normally small 10-15 min city trips) and finally was able to get a real feel for her on speed, sag, etc. well i noticed from day 1 that coming out of a corner and get on the gas, the front end "unloads" or lifts for a better term, could be the rear sag or preload to soft, not sure. nothing to panic about, just felt that the front wheel was loosing pressure to the ground.

Well after searching on how to adjust front preload (which i think was my problem) i turned the front preload (the nut that has the screw driver adjsmnt for rebound) in making the front end super stiff. adjust out, take a ride, adjust out take a ride and so on. i finally have it sweet for me (200 lbs) the front doesn't pop up like a boat on exiting turns or take offs. But....i noticed that the tension on my chain became tighter?

That sound right?

i guess i can loosen the tension and call it a day, but was curious to your i said, feels great now, still adjust here and there to educate myself on what does what to handling.

lastly, does the stiffining or reloading of the front fork mess with the front ride height or fork seal, anything like that?
Thanks guys
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-16-2013, 05:20 PM
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there are a few write ups online about it, googling will come up with a bunch of articles from suspension guru's. personally, i'd pay a suspension tech the $30-40 to have em set it for me, and i do, because dialing in suspension is black magic to me

from another forum i'm on

Suspension Tuning Guide
Street Bike or Road Racing Applications

With incorrect suspension setup, tire wear is increased and handling suffers,
resulting in rider fatigue. Lap times can be dramatically slower and overall
safety for both street and race enthusiasts is another issue. Add the
frustration factor and it just makes sense to properly setup your suspension.
The following guide will help you dial in your suspension for faster and safer
riding both on and off the track.

Basic Setup: Check the following

Forks sag 25-40 mm

Shock sag 25-35 mm

Check chain alignment. If not correct, bike will crab walk and sprocket wear
will be increased.

Proper tire balance and pressure. If out of balance, there will be vibration and

Steering head bearings and torque specifications, if too loose, there will be
head shake at high speeds.

Front-end alignment. Check wheel alignment with triple clamps. If out of
alignment, fork geometry will be incorrect and steering will suffer.

Crash damage, check for proper frame geometry.

Adjustment Locations on Forks

Rebound adjustment (if applicable) is located near the top of the fork.
Compression adjustment (if applicable) is located near the bottom of the fork.
Spring preload adjustment (if applicable) is generally hex style and located at
the top of the fork.


Forks: Lack of Rebound


Forks are plush, but increasing speed causes loss of control and traction

The motorcycle wallows and tends to run wide exiting the turn causing fading
traction and loss of control.

When taking a corner a speed, you experience front-end chatter, loss of traction
and control.

Aggressive input at speed lessons control and chassis attitude suffers.

Front end fails to recover after aggressive input over bumpy surfaces.


Insufficient rebound. Increase rebound "gradually" until control and traction
are optimized and chatter is gone.

Forks: Too Much Rebound


Front end feels locked up resulting in harsh ride.

Suspension packs in and fails to return, giving a harsh ride. Typically after
the first bump, the bike will skip over subsequent bumps and want to tuck the

With acceleration, the front end will tank slap or shake violently due to lack
of front wheel tire contact.


Too much rebound. Decrease rebound "gradually" until control and traction are

Forks: Lack of Compression


Front-end dives severely, sometimes bottoming out over heavy bumps or during
aggressive breaking.

Front feels soft or vague similar to lack of rebound.

When bottoming, a clunk is heard. This is due to reaching the bottom of fork


Insufficient compression. Increase "gradually" until control and traction are

Forks: Too Much Compression


Front end rides high through the corners, causing the bike to steer wide. It
should maintain the pre-determined sag, which will allow the steering geometry
to remain constant.


Decrease compression "gradually" until bike neither bottoms or rides high.


Front end chatters or shakes entering turns. This is due to incorrect oil height
and/or too much low speed compression damping.


First, verify that oil height is correct. If correct, then decrease compression
"gradually" until chattering and shaking ceases.


Bumps and ripples are felt directly in the triple clamps and through the
chassis. This causes the front wheel to bounce over bumps.


Decrease compression "gradually" until control is regained.


Ride is generally hard, and gets even harder when braking or entering turns.


Decrease compression "gradually" until control is regained.


Adjustment Locations on Shocks

Rebound adjustment (if applicable) is located at the bottom of the shock.
Compression adjustment (if applicable) is located on the reservoir. Spring
prelude is located at the top of the shock.

Shock: Lack of Rebound


The ride will feel soft or vague and as speed increases, the rear end will want
to wallow and/or weave over bumpy surfaces and traction suffers.

Loss of traction will cause rear end to pogo or chatter due to shock returning
too fast on exiting a corner.


Insufficient rebound: Increase rebound until wallowing and weaving disappears
and control and traction are optimized.

Shock: Too Much Rebound


Ride is harsh, suspension control is limited and traction is lost.

Rear end will pack in, forcing the bike wide in corners, due to rear squat. It
will slow steering because front end is riding high.

When rear end packs in, tires generally will overheat and will skip over bumps.

When chopping throttle, rear end will tend to skip or hop on entries.


Too much rebound. Decrease rebound "gradually" until harsh ride is gone and
traction is regained. Decrease rebound to keep rear end from packing.

Shock: Lack of Compression


The bike will not turn in entering a turn.

With bottoming, control and traction are lost.

With excessive rear end squat, when accelerating out of corners, the bike will
tend to steer wide.


Insufficient compression. Increase compression "gradually until traction and
control is optimized and/or excessive rear end squat is gone.

Shock: Too Much Compression


Ride is harsh, but not as bad as too much rebound. As speed increases, so does

There is very little rear end squat. This will cause loss of traction/sliding.
Tire will overheat.

Rear end will want to kick when going over medium to large bumps.


Decrease compression until harshness is gone. Decrease compression until sliding
stops and traction is regained.

Stock Tuning Limitations

The factories plan on designing a bike that works moderately well for a large
section of riders and usages. To accomplish this as economically as possible,
manufacturers install valving with very small venturis. These are then matched
to a very basic shim stack which creates a damping curve for the given
suspension component. At slower speeds this design can work moderately well, but
at higher speeds, when the suspension must react more quickly, the suspension
will not flow enough oil, and will experience hydraulic lock. With hydraulic
lock, the fork and/or shock cannot dampen correctly and handling suffers. The
solution is to re-valve the active components to gain a proper damping curve. It
does not matter what components you have, (Ohlins, Fox, KYB, Showa), matching
them to your intended use and weight will vastly improve their action.
Furthermore, if you can achieve the damping curve that is needed, it does not
matter what brand name is on the component. Often with stock components, when
you turn the adjusters full in or out, you do not notice a difference. In part,
this is due to the fact that the manufacturer has put the damping curve in an
area outside of your ideal range. Also, because the valves have such small
venturis, the adjuster change makes very little difference. After re-valving,
the adjusters will be brought into play, and when you make an adjustment, you
will be able to notice that it affects the way the way the fork or shock

Another problem with stock suspension is the springs that are used. Often they
are progressive, increasing the spring rate with increased compression distance.
This means that the valving is correct for only one part of the spring's travel,
all other is compromise. If the factory does install a straight-rate spring, it
is rarely the correct rate for the weight of the rider with gear. The solution
is to install a straight-rate spring that matches the valving for the combined
weight of the bike, rider and gear to the type of riding intended.


Always make small adjustments, more is not always better.
Always keep notes.

Suspension tuning is an art, be patient. I hope you all find this helpful. Feel
free to email your questions to us at [email protected]. We are always happy
to help inprove your ride. Herb Varin
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-16-2013, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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cool man, nice that you gave a pricing point for someone to check the numbers, i was quoted $80 bucks since it was a zx? stupid, i knew they were full of it. like i said, still new to this and paying attention to what adjustments do to handling, feels good now, and i am sure there is no magic numbers. biggest thing for me was the front end lifting on existing a turn or taking off from a stop. Now it barely squats and turns in and out nicely. thanks for the wright up, printed a copy for ref. seems like the consensus is that a new rear spring is need for guys over 200 lbs....seems ok for now, not a track guy and top speed is fwy speeds (or close too)
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-16-2013, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE: like i said, still learning: i didn't know that rebound and compression were two sep functions/ adjustments, makes sense now.....anyway the compression adjment screw is at the bottom of the shock, and the rebound is on the resv on the top of the shock, hope i got that right.....

the screw was all the way soft (to the left/ out) on the compression screw thus making the rear squat when hard acc or coming out of a turn, adjusted to almost flush with that black washer and it barely squats.
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-18-2013, 04:30 AM
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Comp is always on the top of the shock and rebound is at the bottom. :)
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-18-2013, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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man, just when i think i had it.....

on the front forks-adjustments are

14mm nut if for the preload
screw in the middle of the preload adjust is rebound damping
screw at the bottom of the fork (new wheel axel) is compression damping

Rear shock adjustment
lock collar C-span adjustment is preload
screw on the reservoir is the compression
screw on the lower part (closet to the road) of the shock is the rebound damping

is that right?
i am trying to get a copy of the manual and dpwnload the maitnence manual, maybe that will help me, but dumb security feature prevent me from viewing the manual

i have searched high an low for the answer, i think i got it,
* Does increasing/ adding preload to the forks raise (lift) the ride height?
if so, will i notice it in free sag numbers or will i notice it when i sit on the bike more?

bike seems to run wide on a turn, i was told to increase preload on the fornt to add weight to the bike, making it turn in faster/ better. Then i read, no the opposite, reduce preload to lower the front end adding more weight so the bike turns in better, which i beleive the latter.......
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-18-2013, 07:15 PM
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I did what Seattle suggested, had my shop dial in the suspension with me on it. Pretty cool to be involved while they are doing it, asking questions etc.. (pic below). This is the same guy that did the dyno on my last bike, he races the zx10 on the track too so heís a great resource for me. First thing he had me do was get on and stand & bounce hard on the pegs, assessing compression & rebound based on my weight. He put about 20 min. into dialing it in, fascinating to watch as he made the adjustments. He changed my break & clutch lever angles too, I hadnít realized how high up they were angled until I felt the difference, much better.. Definitely a good service for $40.

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post #8 of 14 Old 12-18-2013, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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i think i am going to save the motrin and just take it to a shop now that i know what i should be feels good to me, a tad on the soft side in the front. coming out of a turn i get on the gas and the front end feel "boat-ish" not nailed to the pavement like i would hope.....i adjusted rear preload (i am about 205 lbs) and i noticed right away that the bike felt taller in the rear, which i loved. i thought the bike sat a bit low, i am only 6' and i had a bit of room from the seat to the goods. now when i stand up on the bike the seat is snug fitting.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-19-2013, 04:51 AM
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Im not sure if you ever do track days but that's a great time to have it tuned. Typically if you pay someone there they will work with you during the day to help you get it exactly where you want it.

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post #10 of 14 Old 12-19-2013, 01:23 PM
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I don't know what Gen you have if its Gen 4. You need more rear ride height Dave Moss was at Miller in June and did the suspension setup for me. He said the Gen 4 needs 8mm of shims to make the bike finish corners better. He said also the big piston forks are very stiff and need more weight bias toward the front to make them work better.
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