As the weather warms up, more people get out and ride. And that sometimes means bringing a passenger or loading up for a long trip. Which means the need for some potential changes to the preload setting on your suspension to adjust for the extra weight
Looking in your owner’s manual is the best first step to take to be sure your preload is set properly. Some bikes are more easily adjustable than others. Some have very little to no adjustment available. If yours runs into the latter, then you better make pretty damn sure you’re not overloading the bike. Doing so is easy math. Just subtract the wet weight (the bike’s weight with the tank full of fuel and the other fluids topped up) from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) listed on the bike and in the manual. The difference will tell you how much weight you can carry.
An extra load, combined with other factors — a long, hot day at high speeds, potholes, lots of braking and accelerating, and somewhat low inflation pressures — will put a lot of stress on your tires. This sort of scenario could cause a catastrophic tire failure…and an abrupt end to what probably started out as a great day.
Resetting your preload won’t make up for the effect of the additional weight on your tires, but it can affect overall handling. Most rear springs can be adjusted with a spanner wrench. You should aim for 0.2 -0.6 inches (5-15 mm) of static sag at the rear, and 0.8 – 1.2 inces (20-30 mm) of static sag at the front. Decrease your spring preload if you don’t have enough sag; increase it if you have too much.
If all else fails, leave something behind. Even if it’s breathing. You’ll thank us later.