How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article) - Yamaha Raptor Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

Disclaimer: If any of this information is incorrect, please say so, I will correct as needed.


Your shock adjustments determine how well your machine handles bumps, how it corners, how it lands a jump, and most importantly, how comfortable you are while riding. Bad shocks and lack of proper adjustment can make you feel like you have been beaten to death out on the trails. A nicely well tuned suspension will allow to ride on harder terrain , for longer, and still feel much better after your ride than being beaten up by an unadjusted set-up.
The difference can literally be night and day.

To adjust the suspension of your 660R (and many other Quads) you need to understand the following 3 adjustments. The suspension will be “tuned” using these adjustments, and they are done in the order they are listed. See your owners manual for a brief description of where the adjusters are located.

1. PRELOAD: Preload is the amount of coil spring tension with a rider in place. On the 660R the rear shock is adjusted by the threaded ring collar at the top of shock’s coil spring. On a stock 660R front shock preload is the ONLY adjustment and is adjusted by the twist collar at the bottom, which has "steps" built into it and allows about 5 stepped settings. Upgraded front shocks, such as the YFZ shocks, are adjusted for preload like your stock rear shock, using a threaded collar.

2. COMPRESSION: Controls stiffness, how easily/quickly the shock will compress. When you hit a big rock the shock can compress faster (softer) or slower (harder) depending on how you have Compression adjusted. The top screw at the reservoir end of the shock controls the rate of Compression. It clicks as you turn it and you can count the clicks as a means to remember how much you have adjusted it.

3. REBOUND: Rebound is measured by the speed at which the shock returns to it’s normal state after being compressed. After hitting the big rock and your shock has compressed to absorb the hit, it must “Rebound” to be ready for the next compression. Rebound is adjusted by the Bottom screw, below the coil spring retainer and it also “clicks” as you turn it.

Note 1: The stock Rear Shock on the 660R has all 3 of these adjustments available, the stock Front shocks ONLY have the Preload adjustment. The YFZ front shocks are a popular replacement and have all 3 of these adjustments, as well. (Modification of shock supports is needed in order to mount the YFZ shocks to a 660R).

Note 2: Suspension adjustments are not absolute, they vary due to rider weight, type of terrain, amount of power at hand and the limits of your available adjustments. Any measurements given are general guidelines, ultimately, there is no magic setting that can be written down and used by all. It is a personal thing, it’s how you feel and your riding habits. Some like a stiffer ride, some like softer ride, some like a more springy feel, others don’t.

REAR Preload Adjustment also called "Ride Height Sag" adjustment *You will need a helper and your riding gear.

1. Lift the ATV by the lower frame (not the swingarm) so the rear tires are off the ground and the swingarm is hanging down.
2. Measure the distance from the top of the rear axle housing, or axle itself, straight up to a point on the frame, like where your grab bar bolts to the frame. But try to make it a point directly straight above the bottom point.
Remember this number!

THE MATH: "Ride Height Sag" should be about 30% of your total suspension travel. So, if your initial reference number was 15”, then you are looking for a total of about 4.5” to 5” of sag, when you are sitting on the bike, ready to ride.

Let’s continue...
3. Put the ATV back on the ground ready to ride. Put on all your normal riding gear.
4. Sit on the seat, boots on the footpegs, hands on the grips, in your normal riding position. If you normally carry a cooler on your back rack, put that weight on there also.
5. The helper can now take the same measurement between the same two points (rear axle housing up to frame) as the first measurement.
The difference between the 1st and 2nd measurement is called the "ride height sag".
6. Adjust your preload so that your "ride height sag" is about 30% of your total suspension travel.

Example: if the 1st measurement was 15 inches (axle housing to frame), and your helper then measures 9 inches when you are sitting on the ATV, you have a Sag of 6 inches (15” – 9” = 6”). This is about 40% sag, which is a bit too much. You would adjust the threaded collar so that the coil spring was a bit tighter, and take another measurement while seated until you get closer to 30% Sag.

FRONT Preload
Note: This is the only adjustment you have on the stock 660r front shocks.
Do the same as you did for the Rear sag, front tires off ground, tahe a reference measurement, then hop the ATV, take a 2nd measurment. The front "ride height sag" should be about 20% , or 1/5th of your total shock travel.

Since you only have the choice of about 5 settings on the stock 660R shocks, just get as close as you can, the stock front shocks are one of the weakest links on the 660R, you either have to deal with it, or find some better shocks. This is where aftermarket or the YFZ shocks come into play, and it’s why you read so much about riders changing the fronts to the YFZ shocks.

The compression adjustment as hard versus soft. This adjustment is one of “FEEL” , it would be difficult to give any kind of actual measurement. This the screw at the reservoir end of the shock, on the 660R is the TOP screw.
Soft compression means the shock is faster to compress, squishier. Hard compression is slower to compress, stiffer.
Adjusting the compression determines how quickly the shock reacts when the ATV’s tire hits an object. This adjustment is dependant on things like terrain and how you ride your machine. The objective of the compression adjustment is to tune the reaction time “rate of compression” to take advantage of the total travel of the shock, but, at the same time, keeping it from bottoming out too hard too often.

–If compression is adjusted too soft the suspension will feel too squishy under normal conditions. Too soft will allow the shock to bottom out hard, when striking an object, bump, or landing a jump.
–If compression is adjusted too hard, You'll feel every little bump you hit because the shock isn't absorbing the bump as it should, it is not taking advantage of it’s full travel to give you a better ride.

Compression is adjusted by FEEL, which means riding.

Counterclockwise = Softer/Squishier Clockwise = Harder /Stiffer

*Before you adjust the Compression: Before adjusting and dialing in the Compression, go to the Rebound adjustement, and set it somewhere in the middle. See below for how to adjust Rebound. Setting it in the mdidle will keep a harsh Rebound issue from messing with your head while you are adjusting your Compression.

Here is a way to adjust compression from SOFTEST on up:
Start by setting the compression at most Soft, turn the screw counter-clockwise all the way, then 1 or 2 clicks back clockwise (Never leave the compression or rebound adjustments Maxxed at one end of the other as it may actually close off the flow of fluid so much that it renders that adjustment useless).
Once set to SOFT, Ride for a few minutes on a smooth surface. Next ride over some smaller bumps. It should feel squishy, and have a feeling of floating. If you hit a sizeable bump now, at speed, you will probably bottom out easily.

Adjust the compression to absorb the bumps without feeling mushy or squishy. As you adjust the compression on the shocks, gradually begin moving up to bigger bumps and/or jumps. Every time you progress to larger jumps and bumps re-adjust the shocks to get rid of any squishy feeling. Adjust until you reach the point where you have reached YOUR personal limit of bumps or jumping safely while using all the travel in the shocks.

Compression and Bottoming out:
It's ok if the shocks “bottom out” as you land your largest jump or hit your largest obstacles. BUT, they should only bottom out a very small amount, just barely. This is how you know you are using as much of your shock travel as possible.

Opinion on Bottoming and adjusting for it:
My personal opinion about compression and bottoming out is, If you ride hard all day long, hitting good sized bumps and /or jumps and never bottom out once, you probably need to adjust your compression a little Softer. On the other hand if you ride hard all day long, if you bottom out numerous times, and one or two of those times are hard, enough to really get your attention or rattle your teeth, then you might need to adjust a little more Hardness into your compression.

Rebound is how fast the shock returns to its normal position after compressing. Faster or Slower. On the Rear Shock of the 660R rebound is adjusted with the bottom/lower screw , below the coil spring.
Sometimes you may hear the terms Hard and Soft used for Rebound, just like compression.
I am refraining from using it here, so as not to confuse it with Compression. Fast and Slow better describe what the shock is actually doing. You are actually dampening the effect of Rebound, since the coil spring wants to snap back to normal.

Fast Rebound = Less dampening Slow Rebound = More dampening

Same as compression, the screw will “click” as it’s turned. There are approx. 20 clicks total.
Never leave the Rebound screw turned all the way “IN” (Clockwise) , the MAX setting is going to be about 3 clicks from all the way “IN”. If screwed in all the way, you may shut off flow so severely the shock will not function correctly.

Setting the shock to rebound rapidly (FAST) allows the shock to return to it’s normal position more quickly.
Why is this a problem?
Don’t we want it to snap back quickly ready for the next bump?

BUCKING: At the Fastest adjustment setting the ATV may feel like a pogo stick. As you ride over a bump, a rear shock that returns too quickly may rebound with a similar but opposite force as the compression hit, pushing the rear of the machine up and wanting to send the rider over the bars. This is called “BUCKING”.

Setting the rebound to it’s Slowest (more dampening) , retards the return of the shock to it's normal position. At this setting as you speed over the bump the shock may not return to the normal position fast enough causing the shocks to "pack up".

PACKING: The more the shocks "pack up" The less travel they have until they have a chance to return to their normal position. An example of Packing goes like this, you hit the first bump and while the shocks is rebounding, it hits the second bump before it is fully back to normal, so it has less total travel, and so on as it hits each successive bump. At it’s worst, “packing” can keep happeneing over a series of bumps until you have no shock travel left at all. It’s like your shock gets shorter and shorter and dies.

The best way to set the rebound on your shocks is to find a set of "whoops". A series of rolling hills two feet high and six feet apart. Since we all don’t have access to actual whoops, just find a spot that has a decent series of bumps like you normally may encounter on a ride.
With the adjustment at full FAST return (screw all the way OUT / counterclockwise) , ride through the whoops at a slow speed. Repeat, and each time you ride through the whoops go through with a little more speed. With an increase in speed, you will start feeling a pogo or bucking effect. Adjust the Rebound toward Slower (clockwise) until you reach your fastest comfortable speed, with the shock returning to it’s normal position (not packing), and not bucking. If you go too far to the Slow end of the adjustment, the shocks won’t return quick enough for the next bump (packing) , and you may even feel it bottom out more, or just not suck up as much of the hit, since it has shortened the travel by not returning fully before the next hit.

After thoughts:

-THE BIG MISTAKE Riders who feel bottoming occur will quickly start fooling with their compression. You must be able to recognize the difference between bottoming due to packing vs. bottoming due to soft compression.
A. If you bottom out, after running over a successive series of bumps, it’s most likely “packing” and is probably a Rebound issue.
B. If you bottom out on a single hard hit or jump, then it’s most likely a Compression issue.

-A word of advice: Don’t make multiple adjustments simultaneously! Don’t turn your Compression XX number clicks and your Rebound YY number clicks and then go ride. Make a single adjustment, ride, and see if it changes the one thing you are feeling. Then proceed to the next adjustment.

-After going through all 3 adjustments as described above, Preload, Compression, and Rebound, back up, and check your Compression adjustment once more, maybe it needs a tweak, and then once more on your Rebound, and again, it would be a tweak.

-IF YOU CHANGE YOUR PRELOAD YOU MUST re-adjust your Compression and Rebound.

Final Words: Tuning your suspension is personal. It’s your weight, how you ride, and the terrain you typically ride on. After making your initial adjustments, go on your next long ride, and if need be, you can tweak your settings to “dial in” to your best adjustment for that terrain.

A well adjusted suspension can make your riding more pleasurable, give you more control, and your arms and shoulders won’t feel so sore. You will feel less beaten up at the end of a long day or weekend of riding if you have adjusted your suspension properly.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 11:28 AM
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

You SIR,ROCK!!!!!!!!!! best how to i have seen to date
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 09:18 PM
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

You sir deserve much Karma . Thanks for the info. Mods, can this post be added as a sticky??

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 08:24 PM

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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

Thanks for the info!

'05 660 Round 38+3 Complete.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-15-2008, 10:09 AM
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

Can this Get Pinned/Stickied? Who do we ask to do that?


You ride in Fresno, Pismo, Visaila, Hollister, Miami Trails ect? PM me.

'02 660 , UM Black nerfs, pegs and heal guard, DimondJ Customs +3, DG Stage 1 Pipe and Jets, ASR Chromely Tie Rods, G-Force Axel, 13/41 gears, L&A Oneway, AC Full Skid plates, flipped link, '05 YFZ Front Shocks, IMS Shifter

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 12:40 AM
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

Originally Posted by SkunkWerX
2. Measure the distance from the top of the rear axle housing, or axle itself, straight up to a point on the frame, like where your grab bar bolts to the frame. But try to make it a point directly straight above the bottom point.
Remember this number!

THE MATH: "Ride Height Sag" should be about 30% of your total suspension travel. So, if your initial reference number was 15”, then you are looking for a total of about 4.5” to 5” of sag, when you are sitting on the bike, ready to ride.
I was just wondering that shouldn´t it be specific points where you make the measurement from? Like points where you get zero when suspension bottoms. Because we are dealing with % of suspensiontravel we should take measure there where suspension can travel to zero?!?! Ridesag depends of measuring points...

Measuring from axle or/and from axle housing gives you different sum and gives you so different ridesag... I hope youguys understood what I mean... and if I understood wrong, you can tell me...

sorry, bad english....finnish dude
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

I am going to look into this, I understand the concern.

We know the stock rear suspension has 9" of total travel, so it may be that the instructions are not stated correctly.

I will repost, answer and/or edit once I have gotten a credible answer.
good question.

EDIT: This is a cut n paste from Fox Shocks:

Rear End:
1. Lift the rear of the ATV until the tires are off of the ground.
2. Measure the distance between the center of the rear axle and a fixed point on the frame directly above it.
3. Place the rear end back on the ground, and have the rider sit on the ATV in a normal riding position. The rider should be wearing all of their riding gear.
4. Take another measurement from the same point on the rear axle to the same point on the frame. The difference between the two measurements is the rear ride height sag.
5. Adjust the spring preload ring by threading it up or down the body of the shock until the sag measures to be within the limits set by your vehicle manufacturer.
On shocks with spring preload lock collars, you will first need to loosen the lock collar before adjusting the preload. Be sure to retighten the lock collar after any adjustment has been made.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

And here is another copy/paste:

Race sag is another overlooked aspect--it's basically preload. If you have a single-spring rear shock setup, 30 percent of the total travel should be used in sag. Sag is the difference between an unloaded suspension and that with you sitting on your quad. The measurement should be taken at the rear axle. For an ATVwith 9 inches of rear-wheel travel, the sag should be 3 inches. You would also want about 10 percent free or static sag. That is the difference between your quad's normal rest position and that with no load at all--you can lift up on the grab bar and extend the suspension or put the machine on a stand to get this measurement. On an ATV with 9 inches of travel, it is just less than an inch. If you are too heavy for the spring rate, you will have to crank in so much preload to get the 3 inches of race sag that you'll end up without any free sag: The only solution is a stiffer spring. Conversely, if you are too light and unable to get the 30 percent race sag with 10 percent static sag, a lighter spring is needed.

And one more:

Checking your machine's sag and free sag are how you determine the proper spring and spring preload. Begin by measuring the quad topped out by lifting up the back until the shock is fully extended (3). Free sag is the amount your machine sags without the rider and should be about 10 percent of the travel (multiply the travel of your quad by 0.1 to calculate the desired free sag) (4). The final and most-crucial measurement is the sag with the rider sitting in the middle of the seat. That should be one third of the travel (multiply the travel by 0.333). If it is more than this, you need to tighten your spring and vice versa.

So, yes, the question was a good one, because as stated, from several sources, we are looking for 30% sag of "total suspension travel".
We do not have to bottom out our machines to establish a reference point, because we know the stock rear suspension has 9.1" of travel, so we are looking for approx. 3" of sag (30% of travel) with rider in place.

**Important: the SUSPENSION has 9.1" of travel, based on the geometry of the rear linkage, this does NOT mean the shock itself compresses 9.1"

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 11:01 AM
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

Hello, Please use the search button!
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to Adjust Your Shocks (long article)

I see that thread also ends with pretty much the same question being asked: (Quoted from that thread)

I am thinking how do you determine "total suspension travel" . I am thinking your measurement to "some point on the frame" could be any number . I see how you get sag........but I do not understand how you get total suspension travel as a fixed number and not depending on your first measurement to some point on the ATV frame . The simplest Preload adjustment I have found is right out of the Raptor 700 owners manual starting on page 4-16 . Lift the rear of the Raptor off the ground with the swing arm hanging down and measure the rear spring length (top of coil to bottom of coil). Standard is 9.3 inches. Minimum (hard) is 9.0 inches. Maximum (soft) is 9.6 inches. Set it up depending on your weight and type of riding (if you bottom out...go more towards 9 inches) .

It's a good question, since the total free unsprung measurment doesn't necessarily correlate to total suspension travel.

I think the 9.1" of travel listed for a 660 Raptor rear suspension is measured at the axle, so, if we take a measurement from the axle, perpedicular up to the frame, we aren't looking for 30% of that measurement as Rider Sag, we are simply looking for 3" less than that measurment (30% of 9.1") The measurement itself is just a yardstick.

So the instructions that are cut and pasted in both of these threads about hwo to take the Pre-load measurments, and take 30% of those measurments may be flawwed.

i am gonig to run this by a mechaincal engineer here at work to see if he can support that is simply 3" of the measurement, not 30% of it.

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