Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
All of the magazine tests that I have read, have gone in the wrong direction for what worked for ME on the *bumpy* roads around here. On a glass-smooth racetrack then the damping doesn't matter so much and stiff settings can be OK, but on anything else, you need compliance.
I don't know how much you know so I'll start with terminology: "sag" is the amount that the suspension compresses with the rider aboard in normal riding position wearing all gear, compared to the fully extended position (i.e. off the bike and pulling UP on the bike on the end that you are measuring in order to make sure the suspension is fully extended).
As a starting point, set rider-aboard sag to about 32mm front and about 25mm rear. Doing it by sag measurements automatically compensates for rider's weight. Don't be surprised if you have to take OUT a lot of preload at both ends, but particularly at the front, in order to achieve this.
Damping settings can only really be done by feel, but expect to have to soften front compression damping. If you have the bike on a paddock stand, jump aboard, feet on pegs and hands on bars but stand up and then jump up and down. To get a "first guess", front and rear should move up and down evenly. Actually it's best to do this with both wheels on the ground and someone trustworthy holding the bike upright, because the paddock stand attaches well forward of the rear axle so it's not really representative of how much weight is on the rear.
One other thing: STEERING DAMPER.
Helibars, MRA screen, Ohlins damper, reversed shift pattern, sorted suspension, braided lines, Michelin Pilot Power, all else stock 'coz it's fast enough!