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Super Tenere ES suspension review

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Well guys I'm getting acquainted with my beast of a bike. I have to say the suspension is proving to be phenomenal!! So a few weeks ago I had my Tenere set at 1 rider and luggage soft +3. This has been my go-to everyday mellow setting. It was horrible and downright scary going through the local canyons. I could not hold a line, the bike wallowed, made strange direction changes in the corners, and my toes kept dragging pavement in sharp turns. I really wanted to see how this thing rides from freeway and straight line to hard cornering without changing anything. I'm here to say it SUCKS!!! Not good and downright dangerous.

Fast forward to this morning. Went to the same canyon and set the suspension to 2 riders and luggage hard +3. This is the very stiffest setting available. 1st thing I noticed was the bike actually raised up a bit in the rear. I was now on my tiptoes when heading out. HOLY DAMN SHIT!!! Night and day difference from last weeks ride. This bike is nothing short of amazing in the turns. Yes the suspension is very stiff. Well worth the tradeoff in phenomenal handling. I was braking deep into the corners at first. Then found myself doing trail braking in the middle of corners. First using just the rear brake. Then with the unified system using front brake only. As an added benefit of setting the valving to hard +3, the fork dive is almost eliminated!! I did happen to drag a footpeg. Only once.

After I came off the mountain I set it at 1 rider and luggage soft +3 and enjoyed a very plush and stable freeway ride home. Yes this ES suspension is really nice.

I'm now over 1000 miles on this bike and really liking the stock suspension. While I know it's under-sprung, The adjustments and settings are more than adequate. I can only imagine how much better it will be after having Race Tech re-spring and valve it for me.

I'm still scratching my head in bewilderment how such a under sprung bike can work so well. The tape measure does not lie. I weigh in at close to 220 lbs geared up. Figure in the panniers, tools, extra fuel, ropes/pulleys/carabiners. Even set in the stiffest position the Tenere really sags under it's own weight. Race Tech service guy told me it sags so much (initial free sag) due to the open ended OEM spring.

Whatever the reason, I'll just continue to ride it until it's due for oil change and/or bushing replacement. I figure I should get a good season or two out of the OEM setup. Being under sprung like it is goes against my thinking as a long time proponent of changing springs to get proper sag. I have no idea why it works and handles as well as it does. One thing for sure is I can't see myself "outriding" the suspension on the pavement. In a few months I'll be venturing off the pavement. That will be a whole new aspect of how good the suspension will keep the knobby's planted.

I have to say I'm still very nervous to take this beast in the dirt. I have already had to pick it up once in my driveway. 2 hours of work with the cutoff wheel and welder to repair the foot peg and mount ( I ended up having to chop into my IMS II peg to remove it). Mr Brian Bosch gave me full warning on how huge and heavy these bikes are. I know one thing for sure. I will not be venturing too far in the dirt unless I have a set of knobby's mounted. 

I fully confident that this bikes suspension will do just fine when the pavement ends. I'm not a very aggressive rider. Not to mention I realize that no matter how good the suspension is, I'm straddling a 600+ lb bike. Good news is I have 84 different adjustments to play with.

 

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