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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  • 1 Post By Big Yellow Tractor

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  #1  
Old 12 Jan 2015
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optimal suspension travel for dual sport bike?

Hi,
When I look now at more expensive adventure motorcycles all have inverted forks and long suspension travel like e.g 220 mm. I never ridden yet such suspension so my question is this really necessary for off-road? I have no problem riding off-road with my 155 mm suspension travel and don't see much of the problem, sometimes maybe bottomed a little bit but at least when I go back on tarmac I have no problem with fast cornering. What would be optimal suspension travel assuming it's not electronically adjusted?

I'm asking because I have noticed e.g xt660z without abs has much longer suspension travel then with abs, like 220 mm vs 160 mm. Does it mean then the latter is more road oriented and cannot do same things off-road as the other? BTW I found pretty good deal for version with abs hence my question and dilemma if it's worthy. Is that 60 mm difference will be noticeable?
thanks
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Old 15 Jan 2015
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Having more suspension travel enables you to ride the bike faster on rougher pistes with better control, if you happen to jump the bike you have less chance of bottoming the suspension out and will have a much more enjoyable ride on a longer trip with rough pistes. It depends on what you surfaces you wish to ride, if you are doing a more asphalt based trip then the abs model would be OK, but for more gravel pistes I would choose the non ABS version with more suspension travel every time.

To answer your question, 60mm of extra travel WILL make a difference as you increase your speed

It also appears that there are some poorly thought out design issues with the ABS model, including poor battery placement under the tank and the abs is non switchable - which for a "Paris Dakar inspired bike" is not very clever, some more info here:

Yamaha XT 660 Z Tenere with ABS? - ADVrider
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Old 16 Jan 2015
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Interesting link! I don't know the XT660 Tenere' well as we don't get it in the US. Surprising the travel would be so different from ABS to NON ABS version. Do both bikes use a 21" front wheel? Or 17" ?

As Grif says, if riding mostly pavement ABS model would be OK. For casual off road exploration or just riding mild dirt roads, you won't need 12" of travel.

"Real" dirt bikes have about 12" of suspension travel. (300mm)
And on a dirt bike you WILL use all that travel if riding the bike as intended
off road.

But do you need 12" of suspension travel on a dual sport travel bike? I don't think so.

My DR650 has about 10" of fork travel and I find that is plenty even in rough going at speed and works beautifully at a sporty pace on paved mountain roads as well.

I use heavier springs & Race Tech emulators, all works well on a loaded travel bike on rough conditions at good pace.

I don't slow down for "Topes" (speed humps) and generally never worry about pot holes. I can just hit them most times, suspension sucks it up.
So that is the beauty of having a bit of extra travel to spare.

But a well set up bike could get by with even 6" to 8" of travel and probably would do OK if the suspension was set up for the rider weight/ riding style and load carried. (IE: proper springs, damping)
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Old 16 Jan 2015
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Some "spare" in the suspension isn't a bad idea for when you don't spot the speed bump or pot-hole.

My trips have so far involved riding to somewhere over a few days quite heavily loaded with camping gear. Then trailriding from a fixed base for a while before riding back.

I have my suspension set up so it's a bit too soft when loaded and towards the firm side of "spot on" when in lightweight mode. I can live with it being a bit floppy and wollowy on the road but it needs to be right for the fast and rough stuff.
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Old 17 Jan 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post

I don't slow down for "Topes" (speed humps) and generally never worry about pot holes. I can just hit them most times, suspension sucks it up.
So that is the beauty of having a bit of extra travel to spare.
I found using my legs as an suspension add on, when I get up on pegs
and don't have a problem with pot holes as well

On the other hand such long suspension travel must be awful while cornering on pavement, right?
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Old 18 Jan 2015
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The problem of a road suspension is that fully loaded there is not much compression travel left, my road bike was advertised at 5 but only measured 4 available from the dust cover to the lower clamp at static sag,did not measure it 2up with bags and gear.
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Old 18 Jan 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robson View Post
I found using my legs as an suspension add on, when I get up on pegs
and don't have a problem with pot holes as well

On the other hand such long suspension travel must be awful while cornering on pavement, right?
Riding off road or hitting Topes or Pot Holes, standing up on pegs is normal
riding method. Goes without saying, yea? You just look a bit silly doing it on a street bike!

Thing is, with Topes and pot holes many street bikes will BOTTOM OUT and wham down on Topes, possibly doing damage to undercarriage. On a good dual sport bike you have plenty of ground clearance and enough suspension travel to hit things and not bottom out onto frame or engine case.

Most dual sport bikes are fantastic on paved roads. Great fun. Especially rough, beat up, wet, muddy or bumpy paved roads. The long travel smooths out these sorts of roads, easy to control, better than most street bikes.

Remember, 650 class dual sport bikes are not sport bikes and only top out at maybe 100 mph. If the bike went 160 MPH like my former Ninjas, then the soft dual sport suspension would be an issue if riding on the race track or fast, smooth roads.

The dual sport bike has a BIG advantage on wet roads or when mud is present. Sports or Street bikes running 17" wide tires can wash out ... where a 50/50 dual sport tire has traction, even in heavy rain.

If you're riding smooth, fast roads with many fast sweeper turns then a street or sport bike is the better bike. I'm talking about riding speeds between 70 and 120mph, which I did for years on my sport bikes.

On a dual sport, especially traveling, you're going half those speeds or less. So all very manageable.
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Old 18 Jan 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robson View Post
On the other hand such long suspension travel must be awful while cornering on pavement, right?
You must mean awfully good fun !

A trail, dirt or dual-sport bike is a complete giggle on twisty tarmac.

The most fun. Full-stop, period, end of sentence.




Edit...........Riding (and braking) hard on tarmac does tend to kill your tyres. This is my front MT21 after 2,500 miles of twisty minor roads loaded with gear, a week of trails then roads home.
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optimal suspension travel for dual sport bike?-mt21-front-after-2500-miles  


Last edited by Big Yellow Tractor; 10 Feb 2015 at 11:34.
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