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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new rider on a 2014 Ninja 300 SE. I've had the bike for about 3 weeks now and I'm still getting used to its limits and abilities. I took the MSF course and I've started reading Twist of the Wrist II to increase my knowledge and improve my riding. I'm 5'6", 220lbs (probably closer to 225-230 with clothing, helmet, mesh jacket, and backpack).

So, when do you think is a good time for me to start adjusting the suspension, specifically the rear preload?

My bike is completely stock (and needs a wash from all the riding :biggrin:) and still at the factory preload setting, which is level 2. I didn't want to change anything until I felt that I had improved as a motorcyclist to the point where the factory settings were holding me back, not my lack of skill.

Any advice?
 

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I'm a new rider on a 2014 Ninja 300 SE. I've had the bike for about 3 weeks now and I'm still getting used to its limits and abilities. I took the MSF course and I've started reading Twist of the Wrist II to increase my knowledge and improve my riding. I'm 5'6", 220lbs (probably closer to 225-230 with clothing, helmet, mesh jacket, and backpack).

So, when do you think is a good time for me to start adjusting the suspension, specifically the rear preload?

My bike is completely stock (and needs a wash from all the riding :biggrin:) and still at the factory preload setting, which is level 2. I didn't want to change anything until I felt that I had improved as a motorcyclist to the point where the factory settings were holding me back, not my lack of skill.

Any advice?
I think right now would be a good time to play around with the settings. I'm just guessing but I think the suspension was designed for lighter folks, 140-160lbs. Maybe someone can chime in on this. Anyways, at 225-230, I would crank that rear preload to the MAXXXXX!!! LOL. But, to me, you have to keep the front and rear balanced so I would make spacers with a pvc tubing for the front.

Edit: You can also start learning to set your sag, for me, I like my street sag at 30-35mm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I'll give it a shot. I started wondering about the suspension after I took a ride on Mulholland Drive here in L.A. Great curvy road, although its pretty short. On a few of the harder turns it felt like the suspension would bottom out on me, like I went airborne and dropped a few inches.

On the street, I don't get that sensation, so I'm a little worried that increasing the preload would roughen up the ride on the bumpier streets I take (though the manual suggests the opposite :confused:).

So much to learn!
 

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What I would do is either find a race shop that has someone with the proper training to set up your suspension or go to a track day(don't have to pay for the track day to get a suspension service) and have the suspension tech set you up. Usually its about $40 for a baseline. He will also set up a decent amount of rebound and compression, and recommend springs or whatnot to make the ride the best.
 

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Thanks! I'll give it a shot. I started wondering about the suspension after I took a ride on Mulholland Drive here in L.A. Great curvy road, although its pretty short. On a few of the harder turns it felt like the suspension would bottom out on me, like I went airborne and dropped a few inches.

On the street, I don't get that sensation, so I'm a little worried that increasing the preload would roughen up the ride on the bumpier streets I take (though the manual suggests the opposite :confused:).

So much to learn!
Dude!!! Malibu was my old stomping ground. Latigo, Snake, Decker, Piuma, Stunt, Mauholland, Deer Creek, damn, I miss that place. Let me know when you go out again.

Edit: I think we're talking about two different places. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dude!!! Malibu was my old stomping ground. Latigo, Snake, Decker, Piuma, Stunt, Mauholland, Deer Creek, damn, I miss that place. Let me know when you go out again.

Edit: I think we're talking about two different places. LOL
Yeah, I think we are too. I meant the section that borders Hollywood and the Valley, near the Hollywood sign and the lookouts. I haven't been to the more famous stretch of Mulholland Highway yet. After seeing some of those crash videos on that stretch of road, I might wait a little longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update!

Managed to increase the rear preload to 5 with little trouble (installing a pair of LighTech swingarm spools and my Harbor Freight rear stand made it a lot easier to access). I've been riding around town getting a feel for the new setting and I'm not sure I like it.

At setting 2, the bike felt plenty planted, if a bit sluggish during turns. The main concern was the bottoming out feeling I would get during harder/faster turns. With the terrible street conditions in L.A., the softer set up only transferred the hardest of bumps to the seat.

At setting 5, the bike became very responsive, almost too much so. True, I want to go left, the bike goes left, I want to go right the bike turns right; everything happens soon my hands start the turn and not a second later. Problem is, between left and right, the bike almost feels squirrelly, fidgety, a little anxious.

During longer turns, I find myself having to put more focus into adjusting to maintain a certain body position, or the bike will pull in tighter or drift out wider, in contrast to setting two, where I could more so set it and forget it.

But this is on the street at normal road speeds. Where setting 5 shines for me is during aggressive riding and on the freeway (which is probably what it is intended for). Put it through any high speed maneuver, and it complies happily. A few times, weaving through traffic became a breeze because the fine control of the rear I get at setting 5 helps me thread through without thinking about how to move the bike; I point, it goes. I even managed to push the top end a bit during an early Sunday morning freeway sprint. I need leathers before I try to going that fast ever again.

I'm going to knock it down to setting 4 today and give it a shot.
 

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Keep your weight off the handlebars, relax your grip. If you grip the shit out of the bars, or you have your weight on them, or both, you don't let the front wheel go through it's normal gyroscopic precession, and the movements of the front wheel are transferred into the rest of the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Keep your weight off the handlebars, relax your grip. If you grip the shit out of the bars, or you have your weight on them, or both, you don't let the front wheel go through it's normal gyroscopic precession, and the movements of the front wheel are transferred into the rest of the bike.
I've been working on keeping my weight off the bars since day one, though my grip does need a little work. I sit a little farther back, more upright, and grip the tank with my knees (Twist of the Wrist II video and still going through the book). I ride a lot in city traffic, so it's a lot of braking/shifting/turning, causing me to grip a little harder overall to be able to respond faster.

Seriously, the cagers in my area can't drive worth a snot. I've already had to avoid THREE major accidents because of people turning in front of me without looking. Enough to make any person more than a bit tense. When the road clears up, I'm typically much smoother on the throttle and lighter on my grip.
 

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Instead of reducing preload, try softening your tires. Think of it as suspension fine adjustment. Instead of changing a large adjustment like a 5 step preload adjuster, drop 1-2 pounds out of your tires, and see if that doesn't give you more stability. There is always the option of going one size larger on tires, as well, but that would constitute a steering geometry change, so it might do more harm than good. Heavier fork oil would probably benefit you, as well, and it's a pretty cheap upgrade, all things considered.
Take it from me, I'm 6', and about 230 in full gear, this bike isn't sprung for us, it does need a little help, and the most help you'll get without changing hard parts is preload.
 

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Managed to increase the rear preload to 5 with little trouble (installing a pair of LighTech swingarm spools and my Harbor Freight rear stand made it a lot easier to access). I've been riding around town getting a feel for the new setting and I'm not sure I like it.

At setting 2, the bike felt plenty planted, if a bit sluggish during turns. The main concern was the bottoming out feeling I would get during harder/faster turns. With the terrible street conditions in L.A., the softer set up only transferred the hardest of bumps to the seat.

At setting 5, the bike became very responsive, almost too much so. True, I want to go left, the bike goes left, I want to go right the bike turns right; everything happens soon my hands start the turn and not a second later. Problem is, between left and right, the bike almost feels squirrelly, fidgety, a little anxious.

During longer turns, I find myself having to put more focus into adjusting to maintain a certain body position, or the bike will pull in tighter or drift out wider, in contrast to setting two, where I could more so set it and forget it.

But this is on the street at normal road speeds. Where setting 5 shines for me is during aggressive riding and on the freeway (which is probably what it is intended for). Put it through any high speed maneuver, and it complies happily. A few times, weaving through traffic became a breeze because the fine control of the rear I get at setting 5 helps me thread through without thinking about how to move the bike; I point, it goes. I even managed to push the top end a bit during an early Sunday morning freeway sprint. I need leathers before I try to going that fast ever again.

I'm going to knock it down to setting 4 today and give it a shot.

I'm curious how number 4 setting is working for you? Also are you considering front adjustables and if so any idea how that all works. Seems like a couple seperate components would be needed. Not just preload adjusters ( unless I'm mistaken)


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm curious how number 4 setting is working for you? Also are you considering front adjustables and if so any idea how that all works. Seems like a couple seperate components would be needed. Not just preload adjusters ( unless I'm mistaken)


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Preload setting 4 is working out pretty well, The nervousness in the rear end is gone and the bike is handling bumps better. I'm much more confident through my turns.
But I'll definitely need something for the front. It dives under braking every single time, even if my weight is almost completely off the handlebars. Fast stops are pretty scary, but I think I need to work on my braking and downshifting technique a bit more to remedy that situation a bit. Engine braking in anything below 4th gear is downright terrifying with the way the front end dives.
 

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I would make spacers with a pvc tubing for the front.

Edit: You can also start learning to set your sag, for me, I like my street sag at 30-35mm.
What what what!? tell us more about these PVC spacers please.

How do you set sage on the 300? I thought there was a preload adjustment only.
 

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You can adjust preload by cutting PVC pipes and placing them in the forks. Cut to desired length corresponding to how much preload you want.
I don't understand, wouldn't this just take away from the range of motions the forks have to operate? Do you mean use the pvc pipe to compress the spring in the fork a little.

I wrote sage. I meant sag. How do you adjust the sag on the n300?
 
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