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Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #21  
Old 29th January 2009
XLXR's Avatar
XLXR XLXR is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200 R
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Does she already have significant riding experience on lighter bikes? Is she strong enough to keep the bike upright at parking lot speeds, especially if she accidently slides a bit on sandy or wet pavement? Can she back it out of the garage by herself? Being "a Harley guy" is no justification to place her safety at risk. I have seen too many beginning riders hurt. Well, I have also seen a lot of experienced riders hurt, but that is a different story.

I knew a guy who bought his wife a new 883 as her first bike. Then she took her motorcycle riding course on a Honda Rebel. She bought herself a new Rebel.

At 130 lbs with a frame mount bike, you need a very light spring for the shocks. The 1200S shocks have a 54/78 lb/in spring. But at 13.25" (if I remember correctly) they will need a lowering block. Read this thead:

http://xlforum.net/forums/s...d.php?t=164018

Any shocks with heavier springs will likely ride very harsh.

Colinb tried some Hagon shocks in the range you are looking for, but they used extra rubber bumpers to get them to work. I don't have the link saved.

I don't know of anyone who has tried to set up a frame mount bike for a 130 lb rider, so I can't give you specific recommendations. Changing chasis pitch can affect stability and handling. Usually, having the front end too low causes the bike to be more unstable. If you have a 180 lb rider sit on the bike with stock suspension, measure the front and rear of the frame rails in relation to the floor. Try to make your final set up settings to provide the same chassis pitch. Then be careful for the first test rides. Bump the bars at 40 mph, 45,50 etc and continue only if no wobble is noticed. I have no idea how much of a problem wobble can be in a frame mount bike.
__________________
Former Ricor test rider for IAS Shocks, Intiminators and Vibranators. Works Dual Rate fork springs, fork brace, Avon Venom X tires, loosen drive belt, and set frame rails level to floor. Read the "7 Pages of Suspension" thread in the Suspension Sticky Index to learn how to fix your suspension.

Last edited by XLXR; 29th January 2009 at 05:25..
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  #22  
Old 30th January 2009
familysporty familysporty is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: Sportster 883C w 1200 kit
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Keeping the same pitch is a great idea....good thinkin'! Trust me, I've had my fair share of falls learning, and I don't wish that one anyone!! Thanks for all of your help, AND being a concerned forum participant!!! It is greatly appreciated!!!
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  #23  
Old 5th February 2009
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Had the same problem as you, except my wife was just slightly taller and slightly heavier. I have a 1200 Custom and went with a 4 pronged attack to fix the problem. It took all four items to make the bike safe and comfortable for her.

1) the cheapest and actually item that made the most difference was to have a cobbler add a inch to the bottom of her boots and a extra 1/2 inch to the heels

2) used lower blocks on the rear with stock shocks. Went with one inch blocks because was afraid of clearance problems because I retained stock shocks. Did rub a couple times when we were ridding two up

3) took seat in and had it narrowed at the nose to allow her legs to be closer together and took just a little off of the top of the seat to lower it.

4) slid forks up triple trees about one inch, also drained a little fluid out of forks but then they would bottom out occaisionlly. Bought a Progressive lower kit with new springs for the front- that lowered it about 2 inches.

After all way said and done she could flat foot the bike with a slight knee bend and back it up when needed. About $400 total
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  #24  
Old 5th February 2009
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Reducing preload will have a greater lowering effect than reducing oil level. Generally, reducing preload to increase rider sag can be combined with increasing oil level to minimize bottoming out.
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  #25  
Old 6th February 2009
familysporty familysporty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XLXR View Post
Reducing preload will have a greater lowering effect than reducing oil level. Generally, reducing preload to increase rider sag can be combined with increasing oil level to minimize bottoming out.
Huh?
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  #26  
Old 6th February 2009
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It's basic suspension set up techniques. Read the links in my signature for details.

The spring supports the weight of bike and rider. Decreasing the length of the preload spacer basically softens the spring rate, which means the spring will compress more under the weight of bike and rider. The distance the forks compress when the rider sits on the bike is called rider sag. Too much preload makes the spring stiffer, so the bike rides higher and feels stiffer over small bumps in the road. The minimum preload spacer length is where the top of the spacer just touches the bottom of the fork cap when it is screwed all the way down because you don't want the spring bouncing around loose when the forks are fully extended.

The oil dampens the movement of the forks/tire, it does not support the weight of the bike, but read on. On top of the oil is a small air chamber. As the forks compress, that air chamber gets smaller. If you add oil, that air chamber gets smaller, and it gets smaller quicker as the forks compress which resists bottoming. Adding oil tends to have the greatist effect at the end of the stroke by resisting bottoming of the forks. Too much oil will cause the fork to lock up. You should use a plastic tie on the forks to make sure you are using all the fork travel over big bumps or hard braking without bottoming the forks too hard. Short forks of Nightsters and Lows need about 1 oz, long forks on Roadsters need about 2 oz's extra, or even a little less.

Preload and oil height are related. Generally set the preload first to get the rider sag and ride quality you want. Then if the forks are bottoming out, add just enough oil to stop the bottoming.
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