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 Hw do I soften the suspension?

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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2020 12:23 pm

Hi, this is Shawn from almost Louisville, KY (just across the Ohio River in southern Indiana, Jeffersonville, where Lewis and Clark began their journey). I just traded my 2001 Helix to a gentleman from Cincinnati who bought his Silverwing new in 2012 and put 22,000 miles on it before he decided he needed to go back down in size as he was 74 now and had been all over the country, so we traded. I am 56, and have had all sorts of bikes and been all over the country, as well in my youth, but LOVED the Helix's smooth, cushy ride and low seat height, as I am only 5'4" and shrinking every day. However, 15 hp just didn't cut it with me and the wife, or even myself. I LOVE the 50 hp of the Silverwing, but am less than thrilled with the seat height and VERY under impressed with the rock hard ride; it is so bad, it is like a hard tail; jumps over bumps instead of working like a suspension should. If it can't be softened considerably, I am afraid I will have to part with it. Rear preload is on 2. Ideas?
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Cosmic_Jumper
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2020 12:43 pm

Unless the front suspension needs attention, having your rear suspension set at #1 or 2 is the best you’re going to get —with stock suspension components.
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steve_h80
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2020 3:01 pm

At 2 the suspension should be very compliant.
First fheck the tyre pressures in case someone has set them too high, 29psi front and 33psi rear (most bikes are 42psi rear so folks do get it wrong).
If you weigh about 150kg (330lb) or more what you might be experiencing is the shocks bottoming out. Me and her weigh about 160kg combined and we had to replace the shocks because even on the hardest setting they bottomed out on bumpy backroads.
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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2020 4:08 pm

Thanks...I will check the tire pressure and then check fork oil viscosity and levels. chickendance
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Terry Smith
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2020 4:37 pm

I recently changed the fork oil to 15W and added 8mm of spring preload (made a longer spacer). Compared to 10W, it has got the rebound damping right but I do find the front end is now a litte harsh on bumps. The increased spacer has corrected the ride height and improved the steering feel.

The fork damping leaves a lot to be desired IMHO, and I am leaning towards adding a Gold Valve Cartridge Emulator, which will enable me to have a good amount of rebound damping without the harsh compression damping. I am however comparing the Swing to my 1000 and 1300cc motorcycles so that does colour my expectations.

The previous suggestion about checking whether the harshness you experienced is actually bottoming out is very sound. Look at the rubber bump stops on the shocks for witness marks where they are being hit, or look for the clean/dirty interface on the shock shaft, to see how far the shock is moving. You can do the same on the forks with a cable tie around the stanchion.


Last edited by Terry Smith on Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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GHM-PM
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2020 5:49 pm

I run my rear shocks at preload 4. But then I weigh nearly 250lbs. Works for me. I will use 15W fork oil when seals are changed. I have new seals but so far haven't needed them.
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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 17, 2020 11:37 am

Thank you all for the excellent, detailed fixes. I checked air pressure in the tires, both fine, well below max. Also, I am going to try the rebound on 4 when riding, to see if indeed I am bottoming out. Finally, I am having the forks serviced for the first time in it's life (I was incorrect about the mileage, it's 28,000). I will have a light weight viscosity oil put in (10, possibly), and maybe put a less than full volume in, as well. I will get back to you with the results. (I might have an inch or so of foam shaved off the seat; I am used to modern day Japanese cruisers where I can plant my feet flat on both sides).

I'm not a whiner; I would not even mention this on the forum, except that I have never had a bike ride so harsh in all my days. If it can't be corrected, I will have to trade her off (and I love riding a scooter; so nice for both of us).
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Cosmic_Jumper
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 17, 2020 1:48 pm

Shawnsummer, Please bear in mind that because of the feet-forward ergonomics of the Silverwing your spine suffers the brunt of suspension. Far more so than a motorcycle. So, it seems to me that, no matter what you do you’re quite likely going to find the ride too harsh —for you.

Best o’ luck second guessing Honda engineers.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 17, 2020 2:39 pm

Adding---the SilverWing is an over 20 year old design---but engine is not mounted to swing arm like Helix. Having had 4 new Helix and over 175,000 miles with them, always carried with in load limit, their rear suspension was not perfect....lots of unspring weight, guts of mufflers came lose at 30,000 miles ( Honda paid for mufflers under warranty), Intake rubber manifolds broke as routine, I had a couple of air boxes crack, too. All this if you ride a lot!

While SilverWing is newer design than Helix, it is still feet forward----ouch on back----and it will never have the soft,long travel suspension of say, a BMW R60/6. I rode my 2 new SilverWings, over 90,000 miles---left suspension alone, remembering..... it is a scooter! No amount of changing seat/shocks will change that. And it is a pretty good scooter! left alone.
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Loosemarbles
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 17, 2020 2:58 pm

This has always been my only gripe with the SW. The small wheels alone make a drain cover feel like a tooth-shattering experience. There are urban pot holes around here which would flip a scooter over on it's front wheel.

My belief is that the SW was designed as a kind of cruiser. (that's not say I haven't scraped the centre stand and the lower right fairing on the ground). I am usually at-one with my baby when I 've got 'mi bird' on the back on a long cruising road or motorway. 60 to 80mph. We can modify certain parts of the suspension to improve things but I reckon symptoms are inherent.

Like most machinery, we just get used to it. I've always wondered what a SW would look like with regular motorcycle wheels Shocked
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exavid
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 17, 2020 7:43 pm

The best way to soften the bike's suspension is to eat more. chickendance
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steve_h80
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSat Jul 18, 2020 5:32 am

Another piece of enlightenment from the Book of Exavid... 😁
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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 19, 2020 7:06 pm

Thank you to Steve, Terry John and Loose Marbles for the excellent feedback. The previous owner bumped his way over 28,000 miles with the rear preload set on 2. I upped it to 4, and that has solved the rear issues - bottomed all the way out before I even started (seems like a rookie mistake - my bad, as the kids say).

That being said, I am definitely going to have forks fully serviced to see if that helps. I added a couple of Ram Mounts (first time for these - I am now addicted to them), one for a drink, one for my phone. With Bluetooth earbuds, we are both very happy now.

QUESTION: Is the rear little backrest removable from the passenger section? The boss wants t slide back farther to be against the backrest on the Givi box.
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Cosmic_Jumper
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 19, 2020 8:18 pm

Rear (passenger) butt stop is fixed.
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Murf
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeMon Jul 20, 2020 1:37 pm

Anything can be removed with a saw. LOL. My BMW's had excellent suspension but you get what you pay for, You can get different socks for the rear with more damping but do to the frame configuration I would not add too much flex to the frame.
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Silverwingdays
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 05, 2020 5:58 am

My rear end has always been a issue for me on !!! my Silverwing.

Besides that I just love this beast of a bike.

I did notice that now YSS have fitted a softer spring to their shock range, you can choose the std or harder. The harder option was std.

Although the winding spring load is high up behind the body work you can drill the access holes to get the shocks of and on OK to adjust this.

You can get the Topline ones with damp adjust to just turn things up too.

I`ve ordered a set of the cheaper ecoline ones to see how they perform.

I`ll do a post re springs etc for people who have the shocks with the older and harder ( too hard spring ).

Best Mark.
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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 06, 2020 9:06 pm

Thank you, Mark. I just saw a guy post elsewhere on here about those shocks in England. Anxious to see your progress. The more I ride this beast, the more I feel, as a shorter person (5'4"0, that I am "on" it and not "in" it. I do not want to trade, as I love the scooter idea, but lowering this thing, or shaving a couple of inches off the seat, is not going to help my handling or ride....in a bit of a quandry. Looking at the Bonneville America or Honda Intersate (the newer ones). I've had a couple of Yamaha Vstars, 650 and 1100, and they were absolutely perfect as far as ride, handling, etc...I felt very comfortable on them. Only reason I am looking at the Triumph is I grew up in the 70s and 80s and a bike is supposed to have an exhaust pipe on each side, the way God intended! But I love tubless tires, fuel injection, and LED lighting, with old school looks.
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GHM-PM
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 07, 2020 8:00 am

Shawnsummer, your comments are interesting. I just traded my Vstar 1100 for a Honda Forza. I could not feel comfortable on the Yamaha. It was top-heavy, noisy and shook like a Harley. Very difficult for me to move around, and it handled like a Mack truck. The Forza is light agile and easy to zip around on. I guess that is why there are different people out there. Hope you find what you are looking for.
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sonuvabug
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 07, 2020 8:32 am

shawnsumner wrote:
... snipped ... The more I ride this beast, the more I feel, as a shorter person (5'4"0, that I am "on" it and not "in" it. I do not want to trade, as I love the scooter idea, but lowering this thing, or shaving a couple of inches off the seat, is not going to help my handling or ride....in a bit of a quandry.

Check out the Burgman 400. It's a little bit lower, and feels like you are "in it" not "on it". Even with the smaller (400 vs. 582cc) engine, you don't give up much in terms of power. If you do a lot of 2-up riding, the 400 is likely not the one for you if you ride a lot of hills or demand instant acceleration.

Even though I have ridden my SWing for over 10 years now ... our 400 is still my favourite when it comes to "feel & fit". It is just a really nice handling scoot.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 07, 2020 11:36 am

Comparing Burgman 400 to Silverwing 600 interesting. I had 2 new Burgmans of the latest type, liked some of their features and 2 new SilverWings, some times this is apples and oranges comparison.

some differences:

SilverWing easier to work on
Wind/air management better in SilverWing---both with Givi adjustable shield
Burgman 400 about $1000 cheaper than SilverWing when they were both new. Only Burgman available as new macine now.
Relability---Honda much better, at over 90,000 miles between the 2, only belt changes, oil and filter, did have to pay 1 hour shop time to get ABS lite out on second one. Burgman 400---first one at 8,500 miles, oil leak--porous engine case traded back to dealer (got TMAX) Suzuki did pay for repairs and labor but it took the dealer a year to get straightened out. Second one at 20,000 miles, total failure of drive train--belt, pulleys/clutch---Suzuki paid, but trip delay not fun. $600 worth of parts! I rode this one out to 50,000 miles.
Both SilverWing and Burgman too heavy and rear weight bias. SilverWing better suspension control with rigid mount engine.
Both highway performance fine, remembering they are SCOOTERS. Suzuki suspension may be softer on smooth road conditions, but terrible on bad roads (trip to AK)
Both feet out in front---not the most comfortable for 8-10 hour day!
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Silverwingdays
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 07, 2020 7:27 pm


Hi Shawn, if you try the YSS shocks, try to order the 46-10-15-240 spring.

It should make them comfier plus you will loose 2cm in thier height.

The silverwing is a wonderful Bike/Scooter in many ways.

Its " Throbbing Fix Factor " is the best I ever had if you will, excuse the rather dogey sound of all of that please.

On throttle and feel for a buzz etc, its the best bike I ever had.

Hope you can work yours out to suit you more.
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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 08, 2020 3:37 pm

Wow, I am humbled by the amount of experience I am surrounded by! I gratefully say "thank you" to all who have given such honest and helpful suggestions. I had wanted a Burgman 400 initially, but the used market is tough. And then, in reading forums, I became concerned of the metallurgy of Suzuki's components, plus, the gentleman trading me the Silverwing for my Helix gave me a deal I could not pass up. I am taking it to a trusted shop in late fall after riding season to work on the suspension.

GHM-PM: As far as the Vstars feeling top heavy and poor handling, all things are relative: some of my favorite bikes I've had have been the dual sport 2-strokes that handle like they're on rails on the street due to the light weight and ground clearance.....Other than the carburetor instead of fuel injection and both pipes being on one side, I absolutely loved EVERYTHING about my 1100 V-Star.
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shawnsumner
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 08, 2020 3:38 pm

I am convinced the suspension is bottoming out in front.
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Silverwingdays
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 08, 2020 6:41 pm

Hi Shawn if you are suffering bottoming out at the front, replace the fork oil with 15W as mentioned, that should stop it and still be fairly comfortable. Don`t overfill though. Slightly under is better with 15w if any way.

If you were to fit stiffer front fork springs like Hyperpro etc it also sort of affects the rear suspension too making it slightly harder ( worse re your rear shock issues ) because of the linked reaction if thats the way to describe it.....

I love my Silverwing so much I`m considering fitting small mini seat shocks to it maybe. Somehow !!!

But over winter going to put gel in the seat, ( I hope ) meant to do it for ages.

As mentioned, especially if you live in a crappy road area like me the rear goings on are quite tough to deal with.

A Yamaha T max is much kinder at the back as a full proper swinging arm, but for your height its no good as too high, plus no feet/leg cut outs.

I`ve sort of changed my riding style on my Silverwing, to help with bumps and learnt where all the real nasties are locally. We have a lot of cattle grids that really can get you too.

But with the best will in the world some odd shocks/bumps will still  be very nasty on a SW.

For all that the SW is a fantastic bike/scooter with lots of smiles per the miles but with the odd ouch too.

Whats needed in the scooter world is a roomy feet forward 300-400 CC scooter with a fixed engine and proper dual swinging arm and adjustable mono shock and  enclosed rear chain drive like early T max`s.

Be a big seller but sadly unlikely to happen.

Hope you can work it out with yours.

PS just a thought what tyre do you have on the back ?

A Michelin City grip original version for instance really absorbs bumps well. Some really don`t Metzelers for instance or Pirelli Rosso`s ? are both very hard. Bridgestone Hoops are OK but not quite as absorbey as a City Grip. If you don`t have a City grip on you would really feel a big improvement. Not so sure about the City grip 2`s though by comparrison.

Another thought is try to mainly use the left hand and mainly back brake, and the front just when needed more, so the scoots less dipped down at the front until you get 15w in.


Last edited by Silverwingdays on Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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GHM-PM
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 08, 2020 8:08 pm

Shawnsummer, just be advised that changing fork oil/seals on the front forks is NOT a walk in the park. I read the service manual and decided that this was a chore I did not want to tackle, and I have changed fork seals before. Of course I am not as young as I used to be LOL
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steve_h80
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 09, 2020 10:49 am

shawnsumner wrote:
I am convinced the suspension is bottoming out in front.

You could put a thin cable tie around one stanchion, or put a chalk mark on to see how far it is compressing.
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sonuvabug
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 09, 2020 6:36 pm

steve_h80 wrote:
shawnsumner wrote:
I am convinced the suspension is bottoming out in front.

You could  put a thin cable tie around one stanchion,  or put a  chalk mark on to see how far it is compressing.

I'd simply wrap the top of the stanchion with a thin layer of masking/painter's tape and see if the tape is crushed along the bottom edge.  That'll be pretty conclusive.


Last edited by sonuvabug on Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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exavid
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PostSubject: Re: Hw do I soften the suspension?   Hw do I soften the suspension? I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 09, 2020 6:47 pm

Loosemarbles said:

Like most machinery, we just get used to it. I've always wondered what a SW would look like with regular motorcycle wheels."

Kinda funny, one would nearly need a ladder to get on it.
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