'99 WR400 - Suspension Help

50 replies to this topic
  • Brian_in_Long_Beach

Posted October 01, 2001 - 03:40 PM


I need help/advice/words of wisdom on what to do with my '99 WR400. I ride Northern Ca - Middle Creek/Stonyford/Downieville/Elkins Flat etc - no MX, no jumping (over 500lbs of combined bike/rider hitting the ground is NOT a pretty picture...). The only mods to my suspension are .48 kg fork springs and a 5.6kg shock spring - selected using RaceTechs webpage. I weigh 250lbs w/o riding gear.

My problem? The rocks/roots are killing me. Either I truly suck (can't be that can it?) or my bike needs serious help. I feel like I get bounced off the rocks like a pinball. I rode Dave Wood's class at Downieville two weekends ago and I couldn't hold a line through the boulder fields if my life depended on it. I watched Dave ride up a section on his '02 CR250 like it was a paved parking lot - I on the other hand did my best impression of Donald Duck. This weekend I rode the Nevada County Woods Riders dual sport at Downieville, backed my compression clickers out all the way and felt pretty much the same. I swear my wife's XR250 handles the rocks much better - we bought it used so I have no idea what was done the suspension.

I've read James Dean's posts about the forks and I can do that kind of stuff myself (not sure if I want to or not) but what about the shock? Can you guys explain/expand on what to do and WHY to do it?

I want suspension that redefines plush :)


  • Taffy

Posted October 01, 2001 - 03:48 PM


i've got a 99WZ and i weigh in at 200lb.

the front forks are 48's and the rear spring is 5.5 as it's an aftermarket job.

the working range of the rear spring is on it's minimum so i might need a 5.6 or AM size is 5.75 which is a bit of a jump (no pun intended!) the sag is on 90/95mm which as i've said is the minimum.

get a 5.75 rear, revalve. go 50 on the front and have them done by race tech who are brilliant IMHO.


  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted October 01, 2001 - 05:52 PM


I'm probably pretty close to your gross weight (no pun intended...well, maybe :)) and my suspension is bone stock. There's not a lot of rocks in Florida, but there are a lot of tree and palmetto roots that can be real nasty. I always thought my 99 handled well until I set up my suspension properly-now it rocks! I can ride so much faster now than I did just a couple of months ago. My riding buddies are having a good time trying to keep up these days.

Now, this may be stating the obvious, and if you've done this already then the only thing I can think of is to get professional suspension revalving, but here's my advice:
<LI> Set up your race and free sag to the proper settings. If you've put heavier springs in, you should be able to get this spot-on. The springs on my bike are stock and are pretty much just at their limits, sag-wise. The race sag should be between 90 and 100 mm and the free sag should be between 15 and 35 mm. This part is very important, so that the springs do the work they are intended to. If you don't get this part right, it will be very difficult to get the rest in tune. <LI> Then adjust your compression, front and rear. I had to increase the preload setting, so I backed off compression damping a few clicks on both ends. I softened the front to keep the ends "balanced". <LI> Finally, dial in your rebound. I had to go up several clicks on the rebound to make up for the increased preload. I didn't mess with front rebound at all.

These small changes have made such a big difference that it almost feels like a new bike.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited October 01, 2001).]

  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted October 01, 2001 - 05:54 PM


Sorry, I pushed the wrong button :)

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited October 01, 2001).]

  • Brian_in_Long_Beach

Posted October 02, 2001 - 12:34 PM


I've got the sag set - can't remember the numbers - and I increased the rebound 2(?) clicks on both the fork and shock. Shock rebound seems to be OK, forks not really sure about. Maybe I'll try backing off the fork rebound. I've got the compression clickers backed off all the way - full soft.

Any body else been able to make the stock '99 valving work?

Argghhh :)


  • MN_Kevin

Posted October 02, 2001 - 02:27 PM


You can always go the re-valve method. If and when I get to WI, I will be sending off both ends to MX Tech.

BTW, I work with a guy whose brother is one of the co-owners of Factory Connection. I was thinking of asking him if they could use a janitor or something for a job there (or a cheap re-valve). :)

  • The_Missile

Posted October 03, 2001 - 01:49 AM


My 99 WR (Euro version) threw me last Sunday due to the front bouncing off of a medium sized rock at medium speed. Whaf&&K!!! I resolved to spend some time just riding to set my suspension.

I think I have a stock setup for springs and nekkid I weigh 215 pounds so I guess about 250 lbs with gear & tools.

Firstly I reset all the rebound/compr clickers to the factory settings and worked from there.

I took a screwdriver stuck into my boot for easy access so I could make easy adjustments. As I ride only trails for the moment I chose a really rocky rooty drop-offy uphill section that ran out from slowish to fastish and spent about 20 minutes riding up and down making small adjustments as I felt necessary.

The result : probably not optimum yet: Being new I cant really tell what to do or what it should feel like but.... a completey different bike nonetheless and far more ridable at higher speed in the rock piles.

Front : Compression clicker 3 clicks softer, rebound : 2 clicks softer.
Rear shock : compression 1 click harder, rebound stock.

My sag up front sucks though (about 60 mm race) so I think I need to do some work there but the rear is perfect at 95mm.

I'll continue working at it.

The Missile
'99 WR400F
Airbox Lid - gone
Throttle Stop - shorty!
Plastics/Tank/Seat - One Industries
Street Legal

  • Taffy

Posted October 03, 2001 - 02:58 AM



it's amazing the difference a year makes!

when i first joined over a year ago the amount of work required to turn one of these bikes into your dream machine was huge.

we didn't just tickle the carb either!!

the 98 and 99er's were known for a harshness at mid-stroke on the compression in the forks.

looks like you just found it!

i was riding hard on some hard stutter bumps and the front wheel bounced out to the left and then out to the right. that was it, it had to be sorted. it was. the difference was huge. get them done.

most sussie shops will, by now, know what to do to them to make them work.


  • darbsitton

Posted October 03, 2001 - 03:24 AM


For riding the rocks/roots you want relatively low compression and rebound dampening. Too much rebound dampening will cause the suspension to pack up going through a rock field. If it does not rebound, there is nothing to compress when you hit the next rock.

I believe in setting a bike up fairly soft and using most of the suspension most of the time. Too often bikes are set up for the "big hit" which means most the time, you are not using a lot of the suspension. Sure, I bottom if I hit big jumps, but that does not happen often on single tracks.

Find a nice rock field and experiment with the compression dampening first then the rebound and move back to compression. Don't be afraid to crank the dampening all the way in one direction or the other. This will help you to develop a feel for just what effect the dampening has.

Once you think you have it, you will want to find a couple of other sections that have jumps and stuff, and make sure the suspension still works there.

Short story: I bought one of Dave Woods bikes back in the early 90's. When I first rode it, it felt like a "damp rag" when it hit jumps and bumps. At first, the bike just didn't feel right, but after a while I realized that I was sticking to the ground while everyone else was bouncing through the air. Now I go for that "damp rag" feel when setting up suspension. I was able to achieve this on my '01 426.

  • slashman

Posted October 03, 2001 - 03:42 AM


has anyone else tried going th 2.5wt fork oil. i only weigh 170 with gear and both ends are tooooooo stiff. i have only 2 clicks left on my forks(softer) and can not remember the rear. after the oil change i found the bike to be better but not soft enough yet. i am looking for more input. with out having to revalve. i will do it if i have to. i need more sag from what i read today.

not yz timmed yet
some mods

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  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted October 03, 2001 - 06:56 AM



Have you adjusted the oil height in your forks? Too much oil will cause your suspension to be harsh. And if your sag is less than 90 mm, the spring won't allow your suspension to perform like it's designed to. At 170 lbs, you should be able to set that bike up perfectly with the stock suspension components.

  • MN_Kevin

Posted October 03, 2001 - 07:24 AM


Whatever happened to you and Guns & Roses? :)

I am using PJ-1 2.5# in my '99. I had softer springs in it (I weigh 172#) and a re-valve from Pro Action (with their 5# in it) (I DO NOT recommend Pro Action). I went to minimum oil level (500cc's oil). I had to raise compression to keep from blowing though the stroke and bottoming. I put in the stock springs for a Turkey Run and backed off on compression, but still found them to be too stiffoff the top. I will be putting in the lighter springs again, and raising the oil level to prevent bottoming...

'99 WZ/YR (you choose!) with ALL YZ mods, de-octopused, DSP Doug Henry airbox w/ velocity stack, FMF PowerBomb header, Stroker SX-1 silencer, SS front brake line, OEM YZ tank, IMS YZ seat.

  • BlueThunder

Posted October 03, 2001 - 07:24 AM


If the free sag will not go below 105mm (can keep turning adjuster but measurement stays the same @ 105 ?), does that mean I need a stiffer spring ? I currently have the stock spring in my 2K WR and I weigh in at 250 w/gear. Was told that 94-95 mm free sag was optimum with the Ty Davis link installed. Anyone have any input on this?

Y2K WR400FM,Answer top tree w/Accu-Trax clamp,Pro-Tapers(CR-Hi w/ EE handguards),Devol Rad. & frame guards, Guts tall soft foam w/ ballistic cover, 14/52 w/DID VM X-Ring, Kouba-T,Michelin M-12's ft.& rr.,12 oz. flywheel weight, Zip-Ty Racing Link & Shark Fin, Cycra front rotor guard and T.M. Designworks Chain guide, buffer & chain wheels. Street legal except for the non-"DOT" tires.

  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted October 04, 2001 - 08:36 AM


A little nomenclature: Free sag is how much the suspension compresses by its own weight. Race sag is how much your suspension compresses with you on the bike.

Free sag should be between 15 and 35 mm and race sag should be between 90 and 100 mm.

If race sag is more than 100 mm, then you have to increase the preload. By doing so, if the free sag becomes less than 15 mm, then you need a stiffer spring. If you can get both race and free sag numbers right with the existing spring, then you don't need to change the spring.

  • slashman

Posted October 04, 2001 - 07:12 PM



yes i adjusted the oil level to 125mm. and the free sag is at... well i do not rember. and the race sag is at 100mm. the back is still toooooooo stiff. the front is ok everywhere except the rocks or sharp ruts. it acts like the on quick sharp bumps that the front forks do not act fast enough. with big whoops or jumps it is almost perfect. my riding buddy's DRZ does the same thing on the same bump. the front forks give you a sharp jolt only on sharp sudden bumps. has anyone put gold valves in yet? i have heard that is the ticket. for now i am putting up with it..

not yz timmed yet
some mods

  • MX_Tuner

Posted October 05, 2001 - 02:27 PM


Gold Valves can make the forks work wonderfully. *IF* you use the right valve stack. I've installed countless sets of GV's and have excellent results. In fact, I got an e-mail today from one of the guys that rode the bike I built for the Vegas to Reno race. Here's a small quote:

"I just wanted to express my delight with the Yamaha. I couldn't have been happier with the bike. The suspension worked great!"

The nice things about Gold Valves is you can alter the valving if you don't like what you currently have. I'd be glad to recommend some oil height and valve stack numbers if you decide to go that route.

MX Tuner

  • WR_Jason

Posted October 05, 2001 - 03:27 PM


Screw that revalveing, take it to a sus shop, just throw money at it cuase I dont feel like figuring it out stuff!!!! Posted Image .
If your trail ridin, set it soft! The stock sus it good, nay, GREAT! . Thats what you spent your money on in the first place right? Put those stock springs back on, and try to tune it so the fork is 1/4 in the stroke on flat ground. Set the rebound stiff to keep the fork from loading up as mentioned before. soft comp on rocks is best with quick rebound. Use the power of the motor to work the suspension. This bike dose NOT like to go slow, its to heavy to put your feet down, so use the GREAT suspension and SICK power to dominate the knarly stuff and try to keep the surprise look off your face when you look back at your buds and say "Did I just RIP up that sheer rock face?". Posted Image

  • The_Missile

Posted October 07, 2001 - 11:03 AM


WR JAson.. I agree.....

if you act like you just woke up with a hangover......... the bike is the master. You will get thrown around like a rat in a bull terriers mouth.

howeverr.............if you get out of bed sporting major wood, if the sun is shining & red bull is you trail drink of choice..... well..... then YOU are the master. The faster you go, the less you feel the trails. This I learned on a mountain bike from 'Sebastien Tobler' mountain biker. There is a fear factor to overcome at first but then.....you sport major wood for the second time in one day!!!!!

Skiing giant slalom skis is the same thing. Let up for one second and you are face down.

The Missile
'99 WR400F
Airbox Lid - gone
Throttle Stop - shorty!
Plastics/Tank/Seat - One Industries
Street Legal

  • Ron_S

Posted October 08, 2001 - 03:38 AM


I weigh 200lbs w/o riding gear and have bone stock suspension. We ride in New England, tight single track, lots of roots, rocks, and mud.I went softer 2 clicks front and back. Everyone who rides my bike raves about the suspension. One of my friends had Factory Connection do his 99 XR250, and he likes mine better, and I didn't spend $400 plus. He said if Yamaha made the WR with the magic button, he would buy one tomorrow. Another friend is an "A" Enduro rider, (2 stroker)and he said the WR stock feels as good as a factory job. Try going back to spec's and going from there.

  • slashman

Posted October 08, 2001 - 06:52 AM


well i let a 200lb rider ride my bike(same settings) and he liked the suspension. but i only weigh 170 with all my gear. so i think it maybe that i do not weigh enough for the suspension to even know i am there riding. so i may be getting gold valves softer springs??? i need to be softer!!!


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