How to: change F to P on rear shock

Jan 2012
East TN
Great topic guys, please correct me if I misunderstood some of the comments. The manual recommends “F” for track usage but are you all say “P” is actually is better? My Pani will be a track only bike so I’m trying to get the best advised from some of you guys that have put some miles on your bikes. Thanks!
Most of the "P is better" comments have come from people saying the bike's too stiff in the back and gets unsettled over rough pavement as a result. P does soften about the first third or so of the stroke, but the middle ratio's about the same as in F and the last part of the stroke is stiffer than F. That's what it's designed to be like. Bit of compliance for solo riding on real world roads, with enough resistance at the end for two-up riding.

Did a quick-n-dirty measure on mine in both positions recently just to see the difference. Pulled the shock and measured eye-to-eye distance at different wheel travel positions with the link in F and P. Not really accurate enough to post graphs or hard numbers (really need about .1mm accuracy to make that worthwhile), but in F it looks to stay at 2:1 all the way through (2mm wheel travel to 1mm shock travel). So F really is flat, or at least appears so on my crappy 1mm scale. P ends up creating a pretty straight line too; a very slight arc with the upward bow towards the middle rather than the end like you tend to see. In any case it's nowhere near as progressive as some bikes (my Daytona, for instance). Think two lines, one flat, and the other starting out lower but angled up a bit, so it crosses the flat one in the middle, and you have a good idea of how the two linkage positions compare to each other terms of effective spring rate. Think in the neighborhood of a 1.5:1 (stiffer) to 2.5:1 (softer) range instead of flat 2:1 and you'll be pretty close, but don't quote me on that. Need.better.measure; 1mm scale means +/-.5mm accuracy at best.

Anyway, with stock springs, that softer 1st 3rd will make the bike more compliant over bumps, but I didn't like what it did to chassis control. Felt like the rear wanted to squat and then pack, so I went back to F. I do need a little lighter spring on the rear of my base model at around 150lbs dry, but am trying to figure out what to go with. Dan Kyle said 8.0-8.5N/mm, so I was thinking 8.5 since everyone says the rear is a 9.0 and I'm not far out on my sag. However I'm thinking the base already has about an 8.5 on it. Coil, wire diameter & # of coils looks a LOT like 8.5 to me. Anyone have definitive numbers on the OEM base spring rates, or have measured them?

I tend to think F with the right spring is what you're going to be best off with for solo riding on relatively smooth surfaces (road or track), but I reserve the right to be full of it. Gnarlier roads might well favor P overall, even if you end up with a bit of wallow in the corners. But aren't those roads what Hypers are for? :p
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Dec 2012
I just did this job in about 15 minutes. Honestly, taking the hugger off and putting it back on was the hardest part.

I do want to point out that the first "tutorial" on this thread does not show that you have to remove the bolt from the rear shock mount and pivot the part that holds it up out of the way. The second tutorial a down further on page one shows it. It's pretty easy to figure it out when you unscrew the link and realize it won't go back down until you unbolt the shock.

BTW, I was able to unscrew mine very easily by hand. They must have learned not to Loctite them on.
Feb 2013
Lawrenceville, GA
I tend to think F with the right spring is what you're going to be best off with for solo riding on relatively smooth surfaces (road or track), but I reserve the right to be full of it. Gnarlier roads might well favor P overall, even if you end up with a bit of wallow in the corners. But aren't those roads what Hypers are for? :p
Works for me. I much prefer linear as opposed to progressive suspension - be it road or track. But then I tend to favor a relatively stiff suspension setup.
May 2013
West Coast
sticking with flat and glad the factory delivered my bike with it. Now that said, would love to get the entire suspension dialed in by a specialist and not have to guess
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Oct 2012
I switched from F to P for the road riding I do in VT and am very glad that I did. BTW, removing and replacing the rear wheel hugger did take longer than changing F to P.
Mar 2012
What about the ride height? By changing the rod length and moving the pivot hole, the ride height will change. In order to get it exactly where it was, what is the number of exposed threads (or the exact length of the threads) so that we get the ride height perfect (or at least at stock specs)? I bought 2-step softer rear spring from Dan Kyle, and on the F setting it is still too stiff. Dan suggested I move it to P as a next step. Hopefully this will do the trick, or next up is shock revalving (compression circuits) and possibly softer still on the rear spring (I weigh 190# plus gear). Thanks in advance for the advise.
It doesn't alter ride height as you are lengthening the rod but moving the position of the mount bolt by the same amount, when I did mine the moun hole lined up exactly
Mar 2012
Ok so I switched my rear shock linkage from "F"(flat) to "P"(progressive) today and shot a few photo's. The rear suspension is still stiff but way better. I can actually feel the rear suspension moving now. My afternoon ride was much more enjoyable and the rear doesn't bounce sideways in bumpy turns.

Tools used:
8mm Socket
13mm Wrench
4mm Allen key
8mm Allen Socket
(2) 16" Pry Bars from harbor freight or 7/16" Rods
(2) Jack Stands
Wheel Bearing Grease

OK first thing I did was remove the lower fairings on both side's. Its not really necessary but I did it anyways just because they get really really close to the lifting points where your inserting the pry-bars/rods to lift the bike. Refer to manual to remove lower fairings.

Next I placed one pry-bar inside the large hole right in front of the rearset(right side) and placed a jack-stand under it. The bike was not lifted at all at this point. I then straitened the bike, made it level and placed the other pry-bar on the other side of the bike(left) with a jack stand under it. This holds the bike level and upright. I then moved from side to side lifting the pry-bar while raising the jack-stand and letting it lock into position. This slowly lifted the tire in the rear off of the floor. If you have some other sort of stand that will lift the bike while letting the rear tire hang go ahead and use that instead.

I recommend that you remove your rear fender using the 4mm allen key(I could not get my allen socket to fit under the exhaust). There are 4 bolts, 2 on top and 1 on each side. I didn't remove the rear fender at first and ended up doing it later to give me more room to rotate the linkage.

Remove Bolt A(swing arm push rod pivot bolt) using the 8mm socket and 13mm wrench for the nut on the back side. The rear tire will need to be supported as it will want to hang loose. And lift the push rod out of the linkage.

Now remove Bolt B(swing arm push rod retaining bolt) with an 8mm socket.

I put the push rod bolt inside the push rod to twist it loose so I wouldn't make marks with pliers.

You will notice there is a slot where the push rod retaining bolt(B) was. You have to unthread (counter clockwise) the push rod a little over an inch to the second slot. This was very tight to unscrew. Now reinsert the retaining bolt and leave it loose. This will allow it to twist and line up later when putting it back together.

Next is to pop out the little bracket(indicator block) that has the arrow pointing down to "F" and flip it 180* so the arrow now points up to "P". It will now block the original hole that the push rod bolt was in.

You are now going to place the push rod ball joint into the linkage. It will now go into the hole on the linkage that is closer to the front. I had to lift he bike a little and move the rear tire up/down to get the ball joint and linkage holes to line up. It would definitely make it easier to have two people.

Reinsert the push rod bolt(A) with grease and tighten up the nut on the back side. IMPORTANT: you now must tighten up the retaining bolt(B).

When its done it should now look like this. Notice we are now using the front hole(was covered by the indicator block) and the push rod is threaded out further.

Lower bike one side at a time from the jack stands and reinstall rear fender and lower fairings.
One thing I found easier than removing the rear hugger was to take bolt out of the shock and you can swing the shock upwards which allows you to swing the linkage forward and you can undo the ball joint to the right position easily
It's just not as fiddly as doing all the hugger bolts
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Oct 2013
I took the R for a ride last week (set on F) and found it really not pleasant at all after only riding it on the track as the roads here in Sydney Australia are not the best - decided to change it back to P this morning just to try it out and man instantly the bike was a pleasure to ride again (I was actually seriously thinking about getting rid of it after last weeks ride but now happy again and keeping!) Thanks fro the info guys - I did the change with just a block of wood, the side stand and some muscle. Took about 20mins but I rekon I would do the change back in 10 now - def going to keep P for the ride but F for the track. Piece of cake and the info all you guys gave as enough to have a crack and get the job done with little effort (even just lifting the wheel up on the side stand wasnt much) as SSDriver said: 8mm Socket, 13mm Spanner, 4mm Allen key & 8mm Allen is the only tools needed - block of wood just to lift the wheel slightly off the ground and you can muscle the rest (could do it on the side of the road - I did it in an allyway lol. For the Aussie - put in F mode for the Oxley :) ) Great info guys thanks
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Jul 2012
Omaha, NE USA
If you were to choose the ideal spring rate for ether Flat or Progressive rate, you'd actually use a softer spring for progressive, hence why the 899 comes with a softer spring on it than the 1199 does, since it has a fixed-position progressive linkage rather than the adjustable one on the 1199. So if you're flipping your bike between F and P with the same spring rate (stock spring in most cases it looks like), the bike will overall be stiffer in the P setting than F. As was noted earlier in the thread, the very early part of the travel may be a touch softer, which could explain why some are feeling the difference to be "softer" when they switch to P, but overall the bike is stiffer not softer. The missing piece the puzzle here is that no one seems to be (or at least hasn't stated that they did) changing their damping settings on the shock. This is the critical part to get the setup correct, and if you're not doing it then you should reconsider why you're switching to the P setting. If you ride the bike on the track in F and have it set up how you like it, you should absolutely be removing compression and rebound damping from the shock when you transition to street use with it, as a baseline I'd say at least 4-5 clicks of compression and 3-4 clicks of rebound, and even more for milder non-aggressive riding. This will soften the response of the shock up and make it more compliant to uneven road surfaces, bumps, etc. without effectively making the spring rate stiffer. It will make the bike feel much more compliant and not get the chassis upset when hitting bumps. Switching to the P setting to get a softer initial response with no other changes is a very poor substitute for leaving it in F and softening up the damping.

Here's what I would recommend:
Get the correct spring rate for your weight and get your sag set correctly before anything else, this will make more of a difference than you can possibly imagine if you haven't done it. Anyone who can do the procedure outlined above to remove the suspension linkage rod can surely handle taking their shock off and swapping the spring out. If you don't know what spring rate you need, PM me your weight without gear and type of riding (Track, Track/Street, Aggressive Street, Mild Street, Street w/Passenger), and I'll give you the Ohlins recommended spring rate for your weight. A new Ohlins spring is only a hundred bucks, so not going to break the bank to get your suspension setup properly.

If you're going to ride with a passenger, or you're over 250 lbs. and don't want to change your spring rate, then set it to P. If not set it on F for all riding other than riding with a passenger. This is how designed it to be used, it's why the bike comes with the spring rate on it that it does, and it's how the engineers designed the chassis for the best handling/corner exit for the track or aggressive riding. There's absolutely no downside to a Flat rate linkage on a sport bike other than if the chassis gets overloaded (i.e. putting a pillion on or a heavy rider) it can bottom out the rear suspension when going over bumps. This is why every professional race team switches any stock bike that comes with a really progressive rate over to a flatter rate for racing use. The flat rate gives you an even response of the chassis in any range of the suspension travel. So for example when you're in a fast sweeping corner and the g-force is pressing down on the bike and it's moved into the mid-range of it's travel (assuming you have your sag set correctly), the suspension still has about the same compliance as it did at the top of the range. This means it can still respond to bumps and offer better traction and more stability. In the same situation with the progressive linkage, the suspension gets stiffer and stiffer as it's compressed, providing less compliance and more likelihood of the chassis being upset over bumps. It also increases the likelihood that you're going to get tire spin on the power driving out of a turn and on the track that means tearing up your rear tire. F is better. It's the reason that I just bolted an 1199 flat-rate linkage onto my 899 track bike. But I also made sure I have the right spring rate for my weight for the F setting, and I will get my damping dialed in the very first time I take it to the track, because those are the most critical factors for it to work correctly. Doing nothing other than switching from P to F would be doing 50% of the job and hoping for 100% of the benefits.

So I'd recommend anyone who posts about their experience with F or P should also post what their sag numbers are on their bike and where they have their compression and rebound set to on their rear shock. That's the only way to get any kind of meaningful comparison.
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