Rear shock adjustment - are you kidding me?!!

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May 15, 2023
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Just got a 2011 and I thought for sure the rear shock preload adjuster was broken. I only felt one click from “SOFT” to “HARD”. Then I did some searching online and found out that’s because there are only two options for preload - literally “SOFT” and “HARD”. Are you f***ing kidding me?!!! On a motorcycle manufactured in 2011? Maybe 1911!! How disappointing. You’re telling me I have 20 different possible settings for rebound damping but only two options for spring preload?!!! Unreal!
Yeah, not ideal, but.......

It's actually not preload. The Yamaha FJR shock is an interesting design. The shock has two springs. So when you go from soft to hard you are actually changing the spring rate, not adding preload.

I've had many FJRs over the years. The stock suspension has gotten better with every generation. Still, on every non-ES FJR I've owned I've always installed aftermarket suspension of some sort. Not cheap, but makes a world of difference.
What aftermarket shock would you recommend and do you need to uninstall the cables/adjusting mechanism?
What aftermarket shock would you recommend and do you need to uninstall the cables/adjusting mechanism?
Uninstalling the adjustment mechanism isn't a big deal. I have a Penske rear shock. Other common choices are Wilbers and Ohlins. I think some people have been happy with Hagon as well. Do some searching on aftermarket shocks on the forum and you will find a lot to keep you occupied for some time.
I was fortunate enough to stumble across a used Penske rear shock so that's what I now have on. Friend of mine has a HyperPro on his is he's pleased with it if you're looking for a lower priced alternative.
Had a Penske on another bike, best money I ever spent on it. Big benefit is the separately adjustable high and low speed compression damping AND Penske services their stuff. Not sure if the Penske (or Hagon, HyperPro, Wilbers, etc.) have a hydraulic preload adjuster knob like the Ohlins. I guess the amount you put on passengers or luggage and actually change suspension settings, and the strength of your checkbook, will guide you to the right choice for you. Hope that helps to differentiate the benefits of each and best wishes for smooth riding.

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