Fireblade standard suspension settings.
For those of you who have messed with the suspension and are now unhappy with the performance of the bike or have bought a bike and the handling doesn’t match you expectations I have listed the base settings that the bike should have when it comes out of the factory . Be aware that a number of other factors could be messing the handling up. These include tyre pressure, tyre profiles, wheel bearings, suspension linkages, chain tension, steering head bearings and the suspension units themselves. Over time the shock absorbers do lose their damping capabilities mainly through the thinning of the oil contained within them. If it has not been done recently (most likely not at all) then it would be a good idea to get the oil in the front forks changed and to consider a new shock for the back as the original is not rebuildable economically. An Ohlins unit will cost about £400 quid if you haggle and will make the bike look more trick as well. Front forks can be rebuilt, resprung and revalved for about £200 - £300. It’s something I keep meaning to have done but can always think of other things to spend £700 on J
Be sure to adjust both fork legs the same otherwise you might find the bike has a tendency to weave and favour left handers over right or vice versa
The pre-load is adjusted by turning the adjuster which is located in the centre of the fork leg at the top. A 14mm spanner fits the flats that Honda have thoughtfully provided as means of adjustment. The standard settings for all models are so that you can see three lines of the adjuster above the hexagon.
The rebound damping adjuster is located at the top of the forks in the shape of a small brass screw. To adjust first turn the screw fully clockwise. Then turn the screw counter clockwise for the desired amount of clicks or turns. Later models don’t have the clicks when you turn the screw so you have to count turns instead.
N – S Models 7 clicks from maximum
T – X Models one turn from maximum
N and P model Fireblades do not have this adjustment. I have no idea why but it was probably something to do with money. The adjuster is located at the bottom of the fork leg just above and behind the wheel spindle. As for the rebound damping the setting is measured from the maximum by turning the screw fully clockwise and then turning anti-clockwise and counting either the clicks or the turns
R – S Models 6 clicks from maximum
T – X Models one turn
The preload is adjusted using the C spanner contained within the standard tool kit. If you look at the rear shock you will see a stepped collar that surrounds the shock and has numbers imprinted. The standard settings for preload are position 2 for the models up to V and position 3 for the W and X models. The higher the number the harder the spring will feel. Big heavy bloaters will require more preload.
The rebound adjuster is found at the bottom of the shock on the left hand side. Even with a hugger this area will probably be covered in shit so its not a bad idea to get a sponge and wash it down so you can see what you are doing. The recommended setting for all models is one turn counter clockwise from maximum.
The compression damping is thoughtfully placed on the remote reservoir located on the left side of the bike.
N – S models one and a half turns from max
T – X models one turn from max
Words of wisdom.
When adjusting the suspension to try and correct faults or just to see if the bike will handle better remember to make one adjustment at a time and the go for a test ride. Adjusting many things at once will make it much harder to judge what is actually going on so a bit of patience and carrying a small screwdriver so you don’t have to keep coming home to do the adjustments will let you reap the rewards. To be truly scientific about it aswell you should ride the same piece of road befor eand after each adjustment to see if there is and improvement otherwise the road itself may become a bigger factor in the handling than the adjustments.