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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.
Well-understood and said!
 

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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.
I really believe you should set it on 25 and leave it alone. You have more wheel travel at that setting. If you ever have to make an emergency maneuver you will be glad its on 25. Test it to see when the sound kicks in on what number. most need to be topped off to get the 25 step settings.
 

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I’m 170-180lbs, ride solo, Traxxion mega monty, with that Penske shock and the 1100lb spring. I run fully loaded (well-pulling my Bushtec) down the interstate at (10). I’ll zip it up to (25) to put it in a trailer (rare), but set it back to 10 afterwards. My AK-20’s are 10mm UP in the T/T. That is all-day-comfort for me. Like 1012 miles to Cheyenne from up here in under 16 hours comfort.
With the new suspension, pre-load makes a noticeable difference. It is important to know that it is working correctly though.
 

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What if one is riding a trike? Does the numbers make a difference then....??

Ronnie
 

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I’m 170-180lbs, ride solo, Traxxion mega monty, with that Penske shock and the 1100lb spring. I run fully loaded (well-pulling my Bushtec) down the interstate at (10). I’ll zip it up to (25) to put it in a trailer (rare), but set it back to 10 afterwards. My AK-20’s are 10mm UP in the T/T. That is all-day-comfort for me. Like 1012 miles to Cheyenne from up here in under 16 hours comfort.
With the new suspension, pre-load makes a noticeable difference. It is important to know that it is working correctly though.
Leave it on 25 and forget about it. You have more travel in your suspension at that setting.
 

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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.
"an idea"
 

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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.
GOOD THING IS YOU HAVE THE 16 WITH THE BEST SO FAR FOR SHOCK / spring AND TAMPENER . First thing is to check were your preload actually starts working. Do your wing on its center stand and bring your pre-load to "0" now start increasing your pre-load button till you here a definite differences in tone and thats were it starts to work. If there is any difference in tone you need to top off your actuator. THERE IS A definite different in tampering and ride at several different settings. I would say every 4 pts of settings.
 

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It only matters if you haven't changed the crush washer.......
 

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I agree with many of the posts here that say it doesn't directly affect ride quality. It can affect it indirectly if you have it set wrong and you hit bumps or potholes that cause the suspension to bottom out or top out.

The only purpose for preload is to allow the rider to set a suspension midpoint that will decrease the chances that the suspension will hit the ends of its limits. The setting is different for every situation. For a 160 lb rider, 0 might be best. For a 300 lb rider, 25 would be best. And with a passenger and fully loaded, 25 might not be enough. Higher rate aftermarket springs can solve this.
 

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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.
If this is the case your pre load is not working nowhere near Capacity I think the Brady cable does not do much topping off the actuator will make you a happy rider
 

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It worked fine after changing out the stretched cable. No issues to date.
cool , if you actuator does not change tone to 2 or 3 or above . topping off actuator will still make a big difference .
 

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Leave it on 25 and forget about it. You have more travel in your suspension at that setting.
Well, not really. You can't change the amount of overall travel in the suspension. The more travel you give yourself in the downward direction means less travel in the upward direction.

Noting the fondness of the typical Goldwing rider for big meals, 25 may actually be a good setting for many riders. (It may not even be enough.) But for lighter riders riding solo, using the highest setting will result in very little upward travel, increasing the risk of topping out the suspension. Topping out will result in a poor ride too. The optimum setting for every situation is different. That's why it's adjustable.
 
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