It took more than three years, but finally I have a rear suspension for my S4Rs that works like I hoped it would stock.
I've gone for this:
Which looks like this:
And most importantly, I suspect, a revalve from Rick Tannenbaum at Cogent Dynamics
You could duplicate the valving I have without replacing the OEM Ohlins shock. But I wanted the remote preload adjuster, and the remote compression damping adjuster, which is sited under the fuel tank so that you can tweak it easily while riding.
This shock is the DU 333 that Ohlins built for the pre-06 S4R. It bolts straight on to the S4Rs.Background
The OEM Ohlins shock (officially a DU 5034) always felt way too harsh for me when the going got a bit bumpy. Roads over here are a bit bumpy most of the time, so that was not what I wanted from an Ohlins rear end with nearly six inches of travel.
I'd previously had my OEM Ohlins revalved on the compression side of the main valve, to match the DU 333. The result was an improvement over stock, but still too many sharp kicks in the bum that could not be tuned out with the adjuster.
I'd just about given up in despair, when Rick answered an email I sent him. After extensive correspondence, Rick got it that I knew what I wanted, and I felt confident he knew what I wanted.
Even so, it seemed like a big ask for him to translate my seat-of-the-pants impressions into valving that worked for me.
Nevertheless he did, sending me a shock with about 15 per cent less compression damping in the mid-high speed area, but with the low and very-high ends similar to std Ohlins performance (as tested on his shock dyno).Results
I can't say enough about the care and attention Rick gave to this work, especially given the paltry fee he charged for it.
The result has transformed the bike. It is difficult to do justice with a description to the improved ride. Suffice it to say that she rides like I'd always imagined a road bike with an Ohlins damped, long-travel rear end should ride. Smoooth, and soaking up just about everything.
I am sure Rick has the modified valving on file. Anyone revalving the OEM Ohlins to this spec should get the same ride, as the main piston, compression adjuster
valving and rebound adjuster needle are the same on both shocks.A few caveats:
1. Make sure you have Rick fit the DU 333 rebound
valving as well as modifying the compression valving. After riding on both, I believe the 333 rebound valving is more subtle than that on the OEM 5034.
2. Even though I am running a significantly firmer spring than stock, I needed to back off the rebound adjuster three clicks from the recommended setting (to 17 out from full hard) for good ride when cruising.
3. Even though the compression valving is softer, I needed to back off the compression adjuster five clicks from the recommended setting (again to 17 out from full hard) for good ride when cruising.
4. The compression valving Rick ended up using was quite tricky and complicated, as he altered the shape of the damping curve to match my perceived needs. I suspect that if an S4Rs owner living nearby was able to work with Rick to test other options, you might get an even better result from a simpler spec.
5. The overall result convinces me that there is no inherent problem with the S4Rs suspension link
that mandates a harsh ride. Indeed, the top link runs the same part number as on the ST4s sport tourer, which I believe rides quite well, and as the specified travel is the same 148mm, I am guessing the geometry is also the same. If you want your Monster to ride like a sport tourer, the fix can be all in the damping.
6. This linkage feels quite progressive and hence the ride is quite sensitive to spring preload. You want laden sag in the 30-40mm range.The DU 333 remote adjusters vs stock
So that is the revalve. Now a couple of comments on the remote adjusters.
Simply, they are the icing on the cake.
The remote preload adjuster is helpful not only to adjust for a passenger or touring luggage. It also allows rapid fine-adjustment of sag so that you can dial in the ride you want. Especially handy given the sensitivity of the linkage.
Of course, you can also use it for making fine adjustments to ride-height, and hence steering, at the price of having the ride slightly off.
The remote compression adjuster allows you to test for the optimal setting while riding. Of course, you can also dial up some extra compression damping on the fly if you hit some sweet, smooth twisty stuff and want more control.
All in all, highly recommended.