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Open Roads Forum  >  Toy Haulers

 > Keep the motorcycles suspension compressed all the time?

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Carlos & Ranae

Orlando, FL

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Posted: 07/12/12 10:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We travel with two motorcycles. I secured them at the bottom of the spring, no compression. So far we have had no issues with the bikes moving in transit. Some trips are as long as five hundred miles.


Carlos & Ranae
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remoandiris

Florida

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Posted: 07/12/12 10:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have either of you ever asked a certified motorcycle tech for an opinion? The only time I compressed the fork springs on my 1988 GL1500 was when trailering. If in storage, never.

As I think someone else mentioned, compromise; when in storage, no compression. When traveling in the TH, leave them compressed. that way both of you have your concerns addressed at the correct time.


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Doughboy12

Minnesota

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Posted: 07/12/12 11:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Carlos & Ranae wrote:

We travel with two motorcycles. I secured them at the bottom of the spring, no compression. So far we have had no issues with the bikes moving in transit. Some trips are as long as five hundred miles.


I too do this...but compressing the suspension puts NO load on the seals. The oil and seals see no pressure once they equalize. That is not how the suspension works. The oil is not "under pressure" it merely flows between two chambers. The only time it is under pressure is to move it from one to the other. Once tied down, the pressure is equal and no different than sitting without the tie downs.

All that said, I wouldn't want my springs compressed "all" the time. They will get a "memory" whether you notice it or not is another story.

Here is a solution...You loosen and tighten YOURS and let him do what HE wants with his. This will also provide you with real life data to tell us if it mattered after 5 years...

My guess is you will be sick of each other long before that if this is the petty stuff YOU want to fight about, not to mention come on here and try to get ammunition against him.





Billieg2

Lake Wales Fl

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Posted: 07/12/12 11:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is my opinion after 46 years of biking....

Most bikers who know place a wooden block under the frame so it can only compress about an inch and is stable. Compressing your suspension all the way down will kill the seals and rear shocks fast. You may get away with it for awhile but sooner or later the seals will give out. The suspension is built for sudden bumps which push air out and fluid up for about 2" or so and is not made to fully compress for long periods of time.

When I bought my last 5th wheel TH I hauled my Harley home in it without a wheel chock and compressed it all the way down to secure it. By the time I got home all my fork oil was all over the floor and I couldn't get the bike down off the ramp it was so low. Just make a block of wood 2 x 4's or a 4 x 4 that fits under the frame about 1" lower and then crank down the straps. Always use a wheel chock and you won't have any problems.

I know some people will disagree with this but this has been my experience and I just spent $400 to have my front end rebuilt.


In my life I've spent my money on women, booze, Harleys, guitars and traveling, the rest I just wasted...

2007 Ford F-350 diesel/dually & Sunnybrook Titan KSRV 39-1 Toy hauler 5th wheel hauling my custom Harley


boogie_4wheel

SLC, Utah

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Posted: 07/12/12 12:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I haul my VTX 1800 (800lbs) with the forks compressed about half way.

1 strap (ea side) on the handle bars near the clamp and they pull forward and down. This leaves the bike kind of loose on the straps.
Second set of straps on the highway/crash bars pulling out and downward against my highway pegs. The 2nd set helps the leaning of the bike.
3rd long single strap wrapped around the rear tire to keep rear from bouncing/swinging on a large bump.

I never hesitate to leave the forks compressed over night but for longer than that I would loosen them.


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Rangervee

Wyoming

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Posted: 07/12/12 12:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of good info here. I have been riding and racing for over 23 years. I rebuild my own forks often.

The answer to your question is pretty simple. Yes, it's bad. Forks are an enclosed, sealed system. Any unneeded pressure on that system is going to shorten its life.

Prioritizing when you compress the shocks and for how long is really up to you. Personally, I only compress during transport, never during storage.

porkchop1221

US

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Posted: 07/12/12 01:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just emailed our Motorcycle tech guy and asked him what he thought (thanks for the suggestion, I don't know why I didn't think of that earlier).

I asked if it was bad to keep it compressed and if so, if he could speak to my husband in a non-chalant way about how he keeps the bikes stored in the RV.

I know there are more important things in our life and I'm sure we BOTH annoy each other (what married couple doesn't but I do think this is important.

But I am VERY concerned because we both ride the bikes on the track. I'm worried that something might fail at a VERY inopportune moment and then bang one of us goes down and injures ourselves.

We have a 15 month old son and saftey is MY priority. I do want to continue riding on the track, and I want to make sure my bike is safe....Although I am not as aggressive as I used to be on the track. I still keep a very spirited pace on the track.

Thanks again.


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fj12ryder

Platte City, MO

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Posted: 07/12/12 03:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I were doing track days or racing then I would certainly want the suspension in top shape, and keeping the springs heavily compressed all the time is not a good way to do that.

It may not be a huge deal for casual street riding but riding on the track can be a whole 'nother story.

One of the advantages of using something like a Condor or Baxley Chock is the fact you don't need to compress the suspension much at all.


Howard and Peggy

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CarlT100

Wellborn, FL

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Posted: 07/12/12 03:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with BigDog. I, too, have been hauling motorcycles for well over 20 years. I time my bikes down to about 50% of the suspension compression. I also use a second front tie down on each side as a safety measure. When I get to my destination, I loosen the tie downs to take some of the compression off, even if I am not unloading. I never store my bikes with compression on the suspension.

My check list includes checking the tie downs and I routinely check them after the first 100 miles of travel and at every stop. I do this whether the bikes(s) are in the bed of my truck, in the toy hauler, or in the bike trailer.


Carl S
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Doughboy12

Minnesota

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Posted: 07/12/12 03:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The best policy is to tie them down before the suspension...you can find a spot.
wheel chock and 2 straps are ALL you NEED. Add more for piece of mind but they are not NEEDED.

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