im not saying b/s or anything on what you've stated buck, but i just want to ask some questions to clear some things up. ive had the settings on soft in the front before, and the ac's have powerful brakes, once i grabbed em a bit, rather than being progressive, and the front squatted and the back end came up, luckily its just stood on its nose and didnt come over the top anymore. what im trying to get at is that b/c of the long travel and tendency to have the front end dip under either braking or cornering, is the reason i have them set to stiff, to limit that movement. id rather have my machine slide a bit in a corner than have my outside front wheel grip and that corner compress and the machine come up and over, which has happend to my father and almost a few times with me. now if any of my assumptions here are wrong, please let me know and correct me, im on these boards to learn about stuff not blab on thinking that i know all. just curious.
You are correct. Different machines may need a little different setting as well as with different riders (remember there is body english too). It is all about weight loading and unloading and your wheight plays into that too.
The major improvement is to stop the 'roll-under' with the front tires. Once that is accomplished then the rest is a matter of personal taste and how a person uses their own body weight with the machine. You seem to prefer that the front push a little - and that is fine. I on the other hand don't like it because when it stops pushing it will grab and there is a sudden snap to the turn.
If you like your front springs a little stiffer that is ok. But you may find that the rear may have to go up also for a good balance... i.e front on 1, rear on 2, then you adjust front to 2, you may have to put the rear on 3. See what I mean.
When you get everything done, a good balance is a machine that will enter a turn too fast and all 4 will slide. Not just the front and not just the rear. As a general rule most setups will have the rear stiffer than the front. What I meant with having soft suspension while setting up handling is that soft will grip and stiff will slide. If you have a machine that is gripping too much in the front then you make it a little more stiff to unload the weight and by the same principle if the rear is sliding too much while entering a turn then you soften it a bit. You can stiffen and soften with both the shock preloads and tire pressure.
All things are not equal. Your front springs from the factory may be a tad softer than mine. My rear springs from the factory may be softer than yours.....
I did the whole article so that people would know what to do if their machine was doing a certain thing. If you go into a turn and the machine wants to go straight or plows then you can either soften the front or stiffen the rear or both and you can accomplish this using both the preloads or tire pressure.
A lot of people thought that if it was tippy then if you stiffened the front that would take care of it - well to some degree it would but then your machine would push like crazy. The tippy is really controled from the rear, that is where you get the stability for the most part.
The article was done so that people when making changes would have some degree of knowing what was going on and not just keep making changes on a trial and error and getting frustrated.
The biggest thing is to stop the roll-under from the front tires. That could mean 6lbs, 8lbs 9lbs or air or putting tubes in the tires or getting a 6 ply tires etc etc. or any combination mentioned. But for good handling the 'roll-under' from the sidewalls of the tires is the first thing that must be adressed and eliminated. Then you can get on with the suspension... once the suspension is set then you may find that you can take a 1lb of air out.
The whole point is that the ill handling and the tippy feeling from the AC's can be addressed and the handling can be greatly improved (and you don't have to do trial and error - that if you know what is going on and what to do then you can make adjustments appropriate to improve the handling). Some people did not know where to start or what to do. Some people didn't know what was happening when it felt like you were doing a handstand on your handle bars or that it felt like you were going to do a nose dive over the outside front wheel. I made an attempt to let them know that when this particular thing was happening, here is why it was happening and here is what you can do to correct it.
So in your case where the front seems to be too soft then yes stiffen it but don't forget about the back too, If you stiffen the front and your handling goes away don't think that you have to set it back, you may only need to add more air to the rear tires or go up one preload setting to bring the handling back.
Here is a fun exercise that you can do to really understand grip and slide.
Take your machine and set the front preloads on the softest and your rear on the stiffest. Put 4 lbs of air in the front and 10 lbs in the rear. Then on asphault at 1 or 2 mph turn left then right. You will see that it turns pretty easy. It may steer hard but it will turn easy - there is a difference between steering and turning.
Then do the opposite. Put 10lbs in the front and the preloads on the stiffest and in the rear put the preloads on the softest with 4lbs of air. Then do the same turns left and right and you will see that the thing just does not want to turn.
Test both settings driving forward as well as backing up.
Slide = giving up traction (to any degree even ever so slight) and being light.
Grip = holding traction and being heavy.
I would start by making sure that my front tires are not rolling under. Start with 5 lbs in all tires then go up 1 lb at a time on just the front tires and see what changes in the handling characteristics. Or you could start with the fronts at 12-14lbs and come down on pressure - this is the way I do it - I only have to add air once then let some out as I go until I feel that it is turning good and the side walls are not rolling under.
Once you have the front end pretty well set then the rest of the work is done with the rear. Either spring stiffness or tire pressures.
A confusing situation is a feeling that when you go into a turn that you seem like you want to do a nose dive over the outside front. You may feel that the front needs to be more stiff, but in fact what is happening is that the front is too stiff and plowing and the front tire is rolling under and when it hooks up (by this time you have loaded way too much weight from the rear to the front - and it dips) it sort of snaps and gives you a feeling like you want to do a handstand on the handle bars or that the machine is going to tuck and roll. The fix is not to increase the front spring rate but to increase the tire pressures and decrease the front springs. This way the front can squat (from a moderate loading of weight) and grip and the side walls on the tire will not tuck under, and the back will just unload enough to follow the front.
The more your machine pushes in a turn the more the rear will keep trying to load the front with more weight until it turns or you slow down enough to cause the back to stop loading the front. This is why a soft front end will load quickly and squat and go into the turn (but you need to have your tire sidewalls stiff enough not to roll under). The rear at this point will stop trying to load the front and will just follow it. If the rear is too stiff it may slide because of the momentum from loading the front and if the front is in the turn the rear just loads it to the outside and thus a slide. Remember, a body in motion tends to stay in motion until an equal or greater apposing force acts on it.
If a moving ball is met with resistance (bat) it reacts violently in the opposite direction (too stiff on the front) but if the ball is met with a soft catchers mitt, it just absorbs the energy and stops (soft front springs).
Here is something fun you can do.
On dirt - like a dirt road or some such. Start driving in a big circle and keep increasing your speed and note what the front is doing. Are the tires really scuffing hard, are they just tracking good. At some speed they will start to scuff and push. Note that speed.
Then add about 25-50 lbs to your front rack and do the same thing. If you can reach a higher speed before the front starts to scuff and push that means your front springs are too stiff or the rear is too soft.
Then put the added weight on the rear rack and do the same thing. If you reach a higher speed before the front starts to scuff and push that means the front springs are too soft or the rear too stiff.
There is no balance this is only done to give you an idea where to concentrate your efforts. Either it be making the front stiffer or softer, and the same holds true for the rear. If the front was gripping too good going into a turn, this means the rear is too stiff. You may want to try setting the rear preload to 2 instead of 3 or you can sit a little further back (body english), Play around with it and you will find a setting that is pretty good for you.
Disregard what I just said I forgot that you said the rear was lifting and the front wanted to tuck - Decrease the front tire pressure and or the front preloads. The front did not take the weight soon enough and the rear kept trying to load more and trying to drive the front into the ground and ended up overloading the front and then attemped to put even more by lifting (this means that the rear had too much traction and did not give up enough weight to the front soon enough to become light and loose). In wet conditions the rear should have simulated or actually been loose going into the turn and slid out very easily - thus you are too stiff in the front.
There is nothing wrong with AC. The suspension and tire pressures just need to be tuned from the factory settings. My experience has been that once tuned the AC can handle better than most and can be right there with the best of them. Actually if you spend some time, the AC IRS and run with an SRA. Plus with AC you get a host of other bennies such as the industry leader in GC and wheel travel. Doesn't get much better than this. AC as well as all ATV's the demon is the 'role-under' from the front tires.
The post was done so that people could tune the suspension and really get the benefits from the AC. Rather than blindly make adjustments, to be able to know what to do in order to get the results that you want. If your machine is behaving in a certain way, some things that you can do to correct it and not just blindly, hit or miss, make changes.
This post has not only helped AC but several other brands, based on the private messages I have received. It all makes my heart smile to know that it has done some good and people have benefited, no matter what they are riding.
30"Silverbacks on ITP ss112 wheels
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Polaris windshield, Rock Sliders, 'S' flairs, Rear Bumper, Bimmi Roof 3000lb winch.
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