Normally when you ride motorcycles you scan the road ahead for safety reasons and to avoid debree but also potholes and bumps. Except when you’re tuning suspension I’ve now learned 😎.
After replacing the stock bitubo rear shock on my Energica SS9 with a hyperpro 467 I was already surprised by the difference using just the recommended settings. Most noticeably the long waving movements after a bump were gone but also the few bottom outs I encountered with the stock shock were finally fixed.
Next step was to write down the settings the shock came with and see if any adjustments would make it even better (spoiler; it did).
If you do this to your bike make sure to check tyre pressure first and begin with the sag measurements and adjusting preload. Cause if these are off none of the other adjustments will fix that.
On the stock bitubo you can only adjust preload and rebound. Rebound defines how fast the shock returns to its position after action. The recommended bitubo setting is 2 clicks from the softest setting. I was riding that at 2 clicks from the hardest option.
I’ve often compared the suspension on my Energica with the zero SRF. The BMW R1200 GS had electronically adjusting shocks so that is on a completely different level. The zero is comparable to the Energica except that there is no upgrade from factory and the standard shock on the zero outperforms the bitubo on the Energica. Both in action as in adjustability. The zero SRF and SRS both come with showa fully adjustable front and rear suspension. Energica only has a fully adjustable front marzocchi and limited bitubo rear shock.
I started up front checking what the marzocchi forks were set at. Whatever you do make sure to set the preload identical left and right. Recommended setting is 7 full turns preload, 2.5 turns compression and 1.5 turns rebound. Mine was set at 11 turns preload, 2 turns compression and 1 turn rebound. Except for compression that is always counted from the hardest setting. I just changed that to the recommended and haven’t touched it since then.
On the rear I now could also adjust my compression and even separately for high and low speed movements. Compression defines how fast the shock compresses when it initially starts action. While rebound defines how fast it will return to its neutral position.
Both high and low have 30 clicks of adjustment available with the recommended setting right in the middle at 15 clicks. Although that setting worked pretty well it was a bit too stiff to my liking (as a commuter) so I experimented with going softer first. At 20 clicks everything was still OK. At 25 clicks the shock would occasionally bottom out on speed bumps. Just like the bitubo would.
On the bitubo I couldn’t really correct for that. Maybe play with preload would help but shouldn’t be a solution. With the hypepro 460 which also doesn’t have compression settings I guess the progressive spring already prevents that.
But I have the 467 so I left the low speed on 25 first and changed high speed back to 20 clicks. Rebound has 40 clicks adjustment with 20 clicks recommended. I’m riding with 30 clicks. And there it was… My hyperpro suspension configured to my liking and use case. Oh boy it feels so great having that dialed in now.
If you’re still on the bitubo and sometimes feel it could be improved upon… Just go try any alternative. Might be that a new spring is sufficient. I’ve heard good things about the ohlins option also.