How to adjust your motorcycle’s rear suspension springs for pre-load

Too stiff or too soft a suspension may not be suitable for all riding preferences and styles. While a soft suspension allows for better shock absorption and a comfier ride, it isn’t very good for the handling prowess of a two-wheeler. On the other hand, for a two-wheeler to be able to handle well, the suspension has to be on the firmer side, but that comprises comfort. As a solution, to suit various riding scenarios and preferences, modern motorcycles come with an option to adjust the suspension spring preload, especially on the rear suspension springs. The rear suspension springs of quite a few motorcycles can be multi-step adjusted as per the rider’s choice. In this video, we’ll show you how you can very easily adjust your bike’s rear suspension for its stiffness levels.

Required tools

Now, while there’s a special tool meant to adjust pre-load, you can do it with the more easily available monkey spanner as well. The flexible size of a monkey spanner makes it suitable to adjust the pre-load on springs for a variety of motorcycles.

For the below video, we have used the TVS Apache RTR 160, which comes with a gas-charged, 5-step adjustable twin rear suspension. The process for adjusting the preload for single or twin suspensions is the same, and after seeing this video, you should be able to adjust the suspension of your mono-shock equipped bike as well.

Pre-load adjustment procedure

Pre-load adjustment is done by making a fixed point on the suspension ride up or down the notches, or ‘steps’ placed above the spring of a suspension system. As the fixed point rides up the notches, it stiffens up the spring, and as you bring it down the notches, it winds down the spring. With a stiffer setting, the springs get more suitable for enthusiastic riding around bends, while the wound-down setting delivers a more comfortable, absorptive ride quality.

In order to adjust the suspension, first adjust the monkey spanner to be able to grip the adjuster unit properly without slippage. Once you get a good grip, adjust the notches one by one, steadily, to increase or decrease the suspension stiffness based on your preference.

Since the suspension on the RTR 160 demo bike here is a dual suspension unit, you need to make sure that the units on both sides are adjusted to exactly the same level to ensure that the bike is properly balanced. Having the same pre-load on both sides would ensure predictable dynamics – otherwise, the handling of the bike may get negatively affected. In case of a mono-shock, however, since there’s only one spring, you don’t need to bother about any such thing. Once you have adjusted the suspension, take the bike out for a reasonably long ride to ascertain whether the ride quality has been adjusted to your liking. If it’s still slightly softer or stiffer than required, further adjust it slightly to suit your requirement.

Watch the video to understand the procedure in detail, and do share it with your friends who you think would benefit from it.

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