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#1000307 - 11/06/17 10:27 AM Suspension softness  
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AndyS Offline
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AndyS  Offline
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Is there any way of making the 'Soft' setting of the ESA suspension softer? In comparison to my other bikes, soft is NOT soft.

Last edited by AndyS; 11/06/17 10:30 AM.
#1000317 - 11/06/17 12:48 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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realshelby Offline
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Andy, you are just not used to having a bike that still has oil in the shocks!

Soft on my RT is pretty soft. I don't run it except on very smooth pavement. The problem I have with it is that the rear shock seems to have very little damping while in this mode and it tends to pogo on anything but smooth road. I don't know how you could changed anything to make it more compliant.

#1000322 - 11/06/17 01:48 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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Rider1200RT Offline
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In Rain mode the ESA goes to the soft setting while also reducing power output on the engine. I really don't like that soft setting either. It is like riding a pogo stick...
I used rain mode a few times in the beginning when I just got my bike, as I wasn't used to the extra 40 HP compared to my oilhead GS. Now I use road and dynamic mode exclusively even in the rain as it's all about throttle control..


Oscar W.
2017 R1200RT
Fort Lauderdale, USA



#1000324 - 11/06/17 02:09 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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AndyS Offline
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Well my Oilhead has new Ohlins and is superbly soft and compliant until I wind the preload up. On the Wethead, the soft setting still leaves the bike skittery on rough surfaces and also (in comparison) very hard on uneven surfaces. It's like the preload still needs to wound back a lot more. However, when I change it to hard, it really does firm up. In truth, I think if i was really pressing on and encountered a rough surface on bends, the bike would start to be hopped sideways.

Thanks for your input Oscar, I don't mean to be rude or inflammatory, but it really doesn't help my question. Unlike you, I DO want it softer.

#1000333 - 11/06/17 04:06 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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Paul De Offline
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Drat, beaten too the punch. I've been working on a comparison between my '99 and '15 RT machines and suspension is a point I cover. I too have Ohlins on my '99 oil head and found them superior in ability to be super plush and under control while the ESA system can be set to plush and under damped or under control but not as plush, but not both. Once I take my word vomit of a draft to something less than War and Peace in length I'll post it.

One way I found you might maximize a plush ride is to be in Road or Rain ride modes when you switch to soft as I think in Dynamic mode the computer makes some damping tweaks toward more damping even when set to soft. In any case, the under damped nature of the soft setting allows for extreme suspension shock stroke travel, which could be dangerous if rode frisky in that setting


If the good old days were so damn good, why did we bother to invent modern times?

Most missed bike: Bultaco Sherpa T 326
#1000336 - 11/06/17 04:43 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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Rider1200RT Offline
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Hi Andy, no problem.

I really don't think that within the ESA programming there is a way to soften up the suspension unless you can somehow hack into the brains of the system and redo some settings.
Unless you have them rebuild and use a softer spring and re-valve the dampening internally, I don't see how it can be done.


Oscar W.
2017 R1200RT
Fort Lauderdale, USA



#1000340 - 11/06/17 05:06 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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Bill_Walker Offline
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What preload setting are you using? Have you tried using different preload settings?

That being said, I'd agree that DESA on my RTW isn't as plush and controlled as the Ohlins on my RT.


"Dry-Town" Crew, San Diego
'15 R1200RT
'12 Kawasaki KLX250S
'04 R1150RT (gone)
'02 Suzuki V-Strom (gone)
#1000344 - 11/06/17 05:27 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: Bill_Walker]  
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AndyS Offline
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Originally Posted by Bill_Walker
What preload setting are you using? .


Well, I am talking about 'Rider only', 'Rain' mode, 'Soft'.

#1000351 - 11/06/17 07:04 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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realshelby Offline
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Andy, my Oilhead with Ohlins definitely had a better ride than on any of the settings the new one has. If there is a disappointment with the new Wethead, that is mine. That said, in road or dynamic with my toes touching pavement the bike simply handles very, very well. If I ever replace the shocks on this one, I will see if there is something to do to help.

That said, I do wonder if your "soft" setting might not be doing what it should. Perhaps you could ride another one just to see the difference? Soft on mine seems much softer than the oilhead with Ohlins. If only it had some damping in soft mode......

#1000359 - 11/06/17 09:18 PM Re: Suspension softness [Re: AndyS]  
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Bill_Walker Offline
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Originally Posted by AndyS
Originally Posted by Bill_Walker
What preload setting are you using? .


Well, I am talking about 'Rider only', 'Rain' mode, 'Soft'.


Try "Rider with Luggage". It's counterintuitive that more preload could give a smoother ride, but it couldn't hurt to try. Insufficient preload could result in suspension bottoming, for example.

The names/pictures aren't really indicative of "required" settings for the conditions pictured. They're just different preload settings. The one you need may vary based on your weight, the weight in the bags, and even riding conditions.


"Dry-Town" Crew, San Diego
'15 R1200RT
'12 Kawasaki KLX250S
'04 R1150RT (gone)
'02 Suzuki V-Strom (gone)
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