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Maybe its just me, but ever since I have owned my Goldwing (a 2016 ABS model, bought new in 2016) I have not paid much attention to the pre-load of the suspension. I usually set it on 0 when I ride solo, and on 25 when I ride with my wife as passenger, but honestly, I don't notice any difference at all in the ride even when I leave it on 25 with just myself on the bike. Sitting on the bike when I make the change I feel the bike moving under me so I know that this feature is actually working, but I've never noticed a difference in any aspect of the ride. Maybe its not working properly, or maybe I am just not sensitive enough to whatever small changes it causes, or maybe its just me. Should the setting on the pre-load make a noticeable change in the ride? Would appreciate your comments.
 
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You'll notice it when you hit a bump most likely. 0 will absorb it more, 25 might rattle your teeth riding solo. At least that was my experience on my '15.
 

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First we have to assume the preload is working properly or the "numbers" mean very little.
I can tell (more) difference in the settings on my 2001 now that I have refilled the preload pump.
 

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If you rode on really bad roads you would know I know I do.
 

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Preload on the GL makes absolutely no difference in ride and just like the adjusters on coil over shocks all it does is increase or decrease the ride height. I normally recommend the preload be set at max unless one is short, on a trike max is the best. The only shocks that increase in feel when adjusted are air over coil as those will add more spring in addition t height
 

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Preload on the GL makes absolutely no difference in ride and just like the adjusters on coil over shocks all it does is increase or decrease the ride height. I normally recommend the preload be set at max unless one is short, on a trike max is the best. The only shocks that increase in feel when adjusted are air over coil as those will add more spring in addition t height
Adding preload increase's the spring rate, you may see 1/4 " to 1/2 " difference in height
 

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Preload simply pre-loads the spring and adjusts the bike's sag. It definitely makes a difference in the bikes handling and comfort.

If you have a 900 pound per inch spring and you preload it a 1/2 of inch, the shock will be fully extended and the spring will not compress (thus squatting the bike) until it has 450 pounds on it. The bike itself probably puts 500 pounds on it so the bike weight itself will compress the shock almost 1/8" . (Shock compressing and bike ride height are related but not 1:1 because of linkage. The travel of the rear wheel is likely around 4 inches and the shock travel is probably only about half of that so 1/8" of shock movement might be 1/4" of bike sag.)

Add 50 pounds of luggage and a portion of a 200 pound rider, 100 pound passenger and you might end up with 750 pounds on the shock. This will compress the shock a bit more, maybe another 1/4 of an inch, as it's now more than the 300 pounds the spring is preloaded for. The shock is now 3/8" compressed and at a 2:1 ratio, the bike will now "sag" 3/4 of an inch. (Which is actually not enough, you probably want about 1 inch)

If you remove all the preload, the bike will sag too much.

Alternatively, preload the spring a full inch and it will take over 900 pounds of force to compress it. This means it will basically stay rigid unless you hit a massive bump and obviously you'd never set it that high.

What you want is to set the preload so that with bike, rider and gear, the shock compresses about 1/3 of the stroke. This leaves 2/3 of the stock to absorb bumps and leaves 1/3 at the top for movement to rebound after a bump to settle out so that the tire always stays on the road.

So...preload is all about setting sag so that the bike with rider is about 1/3 through the stroke. Set preload too high and there isn't enough sag and the ride is harsh. Set preload too low and there is too much sag and the bike can bottom out as it's already using a bunch of the stroke just going down the road.

Of course my numbers above are all notional. The preload adjuster doesn't move a full inch and there is always some preload on the spring even when the preload adjuster is at zero. The point is valid though. Set your preload based on the weight you are putting on the bike to use about 1/3 of the travel when you are on it. Obviously, the right answer changes based on being 1 up, 2 up, loaded or not loaded.

Ps...with stock springs, many riders need full preload even when solo. The stock springs on the wing are pretty soft. To get correct sag, a 200+ pound rider with gear and nominal luggage might need the preload set at maximum. This is why many riders go with aftermarket suspension.
 

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Preload has no affect on ride or comfort unless the shock is bottoming out, hitting the lower bump stop under compression, or topping out and extending the shock to it's full limit.

Preload adjusts ride height and the goal is to get the ride height corresponding to the middle 1/3rd of the shock's travel so it can do it's job without slamming into a hard limit at the top or bottom of travel. As noted the stock spring is so soft many riders need all of the preload available - providing the adjuster has not lost its original full adjustment travel.
 

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Wow once again the replies are all over the place . To me it makes a big difference where the preload is set, I prefer 25 and very rarely change it.
 

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Riding solo (160 pounds) with or without luggage I'm at 6 or 8 as I recall. Feels great.
AK20 up front, stock rear.
When at 0 the pump (or whatever it is) starts as soon as I begin to increase. From what little I understand, that's correct.
 

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I ride solo and have mine set at 25. For a long time I had it set down around 10. I can't say that I remember any difference in the ride. Next time I'm riding a bumpy road (there's plenty of those in New England) I'll try a lower setting to see if it makes any difference.
 

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The rear preload number is just one component of the entire system. One person running at 5 might be the same sag as another at 25.

Here's my system:

I run mine a 20 solo and 25 when 2up. I am a 240 pound rider, usually carry about 25 pounds of luggage and tools when solo.

I run the Traxxion shock and spring with clip on the lower setting (higher preload)

I also have stiffer fork springs and front tubes flush in the tree which raises the front and shifts more weight to the rear.

In total, my bike sits about 3/4 of an inch higher than stock so I can corner hard and virtually never scrape. I had to weld a piece of 1/2" plate to the kickstand to keep it from leaning too much.

Bike is properly suspended, not jarring and doesn't bottom out or squirrely.

Works for me.
 
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Preload simply pre-loads the spring and adjusts the bike's sag. It definitely makes a difference in the bikes handling and comfort.

If you have a 900 pound per inch spring and you preload it a 1/2 of inch, the shock will be fully extended and the spring will not compress (thus squatting the bike) until it has 450 pounds on it. The bike itself probably puts 500 pounds on it so the bike weight itself will compress the shock almost 1/8" . (Shock compressing and bike ride height are related but not 1:1 because of linkage. The travel of the rear wheel is likely around 4 inches and the shock travel is probably only about half of that so 1/8" of shock movement might be 1/4" of bike sag.)

Add 50 pounds of luggage and a portion of a 200 pound rider, 100 pound passenger and you might end up with 750 pounds on the shock. This will compress the shock a bit more, maybe another 1/4 of an inch, as it's now more than the 300 pounds the spring is preloaded for. The shock is now 3/8" compressed and at a 2:1 ratio, the bike will now "sag" 3/4 of an inch. (Which is actually not enough, you probably want about 1 inch)

If you remove all the preload, the bike will sag too much.

Alternatively, preload the spring a full inch and it will take over 900 pounds of force to compress it. This means it will basically stay rigid unless you hit a massive bump and obviously you'd never set it that high.

What you want is to set the preload so that with bike, rider and gear, the shock compresses about 1/3 of the stroke. This leaves 2/3 of the stock to absorb bumps and leaves 1/3 at the top for movement to rebound after a bump to settle out so that the tire always stays on the road.

So...preload is all about setting sag so that the bike with rider is about 1/3 through the stroke. Set preload too high and there isn't enough sag and the ride is harsh. Set preload too low and there is too much sag and the bike can bottom out as it's already using a bunch of the stroke just going down the road.

Of course my numbers above are all notional. The preload adjuster doesn't move a full inch and there is always some preload on the spring even when the preload adjuster is at zero. The point is valid though. Set your preload based on the weight you are putting on the bike to use about 1/3 of the travel when you are on it. Obviously, the right answer changes based on being 1 up, 2 up, loaded or not loaded.

Ps...with stock springs, many riders need full preload even when solo. The stock springs on the wing are pretty soft. To get correct sag, a 200+ pound rider with gear and nominal luggage might need the preload set at maximum. This is why many riders go with aftermarket suspension.
Excellently stated.
 

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Wow once again the replies are all over the place . To me it makes a big difference where the preload is set, I prefer 25 and very rarely change it.
So, Cycledude, were you expecting any thing else??? :ROFLMAO: There has never been consensus on this board about anything...

I personally can tell no difference in the ride either, whether at 0 or 25. My bike does move up and down significantly with it so I know it does change the position.

I ride with mine at 16.... I'm a rebel... :cool:
 

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Don't forget, rear ride height also changes a lot of dynamics of the bike. Raising the rear transfers weight from the back of the bike to the front, and also impacts the bikes attitude, and thus the aero of the bike as well as the turn-in feel of the front end (rake and trail).

Suspension has to be looked at as a whole system. One small change impacts many things. Rear spring preload most certainly changes ride height, but it changes other things too. It changes the range in which the shock is working, as well as where in the travel range the rear shock linkage is operating. The goal of setting sag is (generally) to get the rear suspension compressed about 1/3 of it's total travel. This leaves headroom for it to extend on rebound but not compress it so far that it runs the risk of bottoming out. The Gold Wing does not use a rising rate rear linkage, and is fairly linear though out its range (except at the very end), but some bikes do, and this also has to be considered. Changes to the front suspension can also impact ride at the rear, and vice versa. Tire pressure also plays a roll, as does the stiffness of the sidewalls and type tire being used.
 

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Wow once again the replies are all over the place . To me it makes a big difference where the preload is set, I prefer 25 and very rarely change it.
The big reason so many find that the bike feels better at 25 is because Honda put way too soft springs in the bike to begin with, which makes it prone to having too much sag. It also doesn't help any that the rear actuator in many bikes isn't providing the full amount of pre-load in the first place and needs to be serviced. Increasing the preload helps compensate some for the overly soft springs.

With proper spring rates on the front and rear, you'll find you don't need so much pre-load on the rear shock.
 

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So, Cycledude, were you expecting any thing else??? :ROFLMAO: There has never been consensus on this board about anything...

I personally can tell no difference in the ride either, whether at 0 or 25. My bike does move up and down significantly with it so I know it does change the position.

I ride with mine at 16.... I'm a rebel... :cool:
I think you'd find there's a consensus on that.
 

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I did the pre-load test (put my bike on center stand, ran it down to zero and ran it back up) and found that mine wasn't effectively activating until past 10. Ordered one of the steel braided pre-load cables to replace my OEM cable and it made a tremendous difference. Even running the pre-loader to the max setting previously, I wasn't even reaching 15. I'm not sure I notice a big difference myself, but my wife sure does. When I remember to make the changes, now I ride one-up at 9 and 2-up at 16. She can always tell when I've forgotten to change it.
 
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