Your gear is ready and everything is planed. But are you ready to go? One of the most common mistakes that almost every adventure rider makes, is that they forget to setup the motorcycle for the load that it is going to carry.

A badly set up motorcycle will perform equally bad, resulting into poor rider comfort and control of the motorcycle. Lack of rider control is the best recipe for disaster.

Making sure that the motorcycle does not bottom out under full load is very important

Step 1

Spring preload is very important as it affects the height and geometry of the bike.

  1. Place the motorcycle on a stand, so that both wheels have no ground contact and no load posts.
  2. Measure the distance between the center axis of each wheel to a fixed point on the motorcycle, for example the rear axle with the tail (R1) and the front axle with the triple clamp (F1).
  3. Put the motorcycle on the ground, so that the suspension is compressed by the weight of the motorcycle. Measure again from the same points and note the new lengths (R2 & F2).
  4. Sit on the bike in your normal riding position (standing position for enduro or travelenduro) and with both feet on the peg, with the help of a friend. You should be in full riding gear and equipment as it has considerable weight. Repeat measurements and note the new lengths (R3 & F3).

Suggested Measurements for Road Travels

Free Sag (rear) R1-R2 5-15 mm
Free Sag (front) F1-F2 20-30 mm
Race Sag (rear) R1-R3 25-35 mm
Race Sag (front) F1-F3 30-40 mm

sag_street

Suggested Measurements for Enduro & Adventure Travels

Free Sag (rear) R1-R2 30 +/- mm
Free Sag (front) F1-F2 30 +/- mm
Race Sag (rear) R1-R3 105 +/- mm
Race Sag (front) F1-F3 50 +/- mm

sag_mx

Step 2

  • If you deviate much from the suggested measures, then you must adjust the preload of the respective spring.
  • If the Race Sag (with driver) differs even after adjusting the preload of the springs, then a spring change to another of different hardness is probably the only way.

If you want to know more about adventure motorcycle preparation, like where and how to pack, read out article about Hard or Soft Luggage.

Still not sure about what adventure motorcycle is best for you? Read our article about Adventure Bikes.