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SPRING PRELOAD is the amount of tension that is applied to the spring from its full extended (before installation) length. This adjustment is very important for proper suspension action. Too little preload and the suspension will sag too much; steering control and handling will deteriorate. Too much preload will have a negative effect on the steering and handling of the bike and will make the ride harsh.
RIDE HEIGHT is the amount the vehicle settles with the rider on the bike in a normal seated position. Rear suspension is approximately 30% – 33%, the front is around 25% – 30% of the total suspension travel. This is why a 300 lb rider would require a stiffer rate spring and more preload to maintain the same ride height as a 150 lb rider.
FREE SAG or BIKE SAG refers to the amount the vehicle settles with no rider. This settling is about 6% – 10% of the total suspension travel. Too little bike sag can make the bike handle poorly and the ride harsh. Too much sag and you have less control over the bike, and you will lose travel of the suspension.
Mike Marquez “Neezer” Circa 1974, Plymouth Ca. The old Hang Town Track.
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