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Ride modes - Is it real or the placebo effect

Paul De

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Ok first I'm going to say thanks to all in a previous thread on throtle sensitivity vs ride mode for sharing the virtues of all the modes. I had been so enamored with the power of the wethead motor I was exclusily in dynamic mode. Ya'll got me curious about using the other ride modes because of comments about how these modes impact damping. I went back to the OM and it too suggests that the computer does interact beyond autoselecting soft/normal/hard damping for each mode.


The motivation to be more dynamic and select something other than dynamic mode was my wife kept on wanting the plush ride I could achieve on my Ohlins equipped '99 RT and I was not really able to get there on my new fangled ESA suspension. And when I say plush, think 1970s era Lincoln Town Car...yup a silky soft under damped marshmallow ride. No strafing corners and keep the speed down please with these settings. So, experimenting on maximizing plushness on our last ride I finally settled on one up/soft/rain. This setting made my wife very happy and that bobbing boat ride was fully there.


I do clearly notice that damping is less overall in any of the soft medium or hard damping settings in Road vs Dynamic modes, but is it the placebo effect to feel the damping is also less again in Rain VS Road modes?

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Could you kindly provide a link to that aforementioned thread?


Domo ah-ree-gah-tow (that's Japanese for muchas gracias)

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If the OP is suggesting that the damping is, for one example, softer in Normal/Road than in Normal/Dynamic, I don't believe that is intended in the design. What is it in the owners' manual that seems to support this? I believe the bikes have three damping settings, not nine.

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Rain, Road, and Dynamic modes are not JUST damping. But engine tuning and traction/stability control as well. So you can have more than 3 combinations...

Edited by realshelby
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No; but Soft, Normal, and Hard are just damping. We are drifting toward talking about different things. Yes, there are nine combinations of the three dampings and the three riding modes. But I specifically stated that there are three damping modes - Soft, Normal, and Hard - and that these are in fact the same damping parameters regardless of which ride mode - Rain, Road, or Dynamic - they appear.


The OP seems to be stating, if I understand correctly, that the three damping modes in Road are all "softer" than they are in Dynamic, and then asking us if they are softer yet in Rain. That would amount to nine different damping modes. If there is a placebo effect here, I believe it has created the perception that, for the one example I gave, Normal/Road is softer than Normal/Dynamic.


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Well the reason I posed the question is it is subtle and since our ride I have played with ride modes myself. The ESA suspension does have travel monitoring sensors so it is feasible the computer could make use of that input to made some adjustment to damping setting along with throttle, ASC, ABS adjustments. Since then when riding by myself I have played back and forth with Road and Dynamic ride modes while leaving the spring set to One Up + Luggage and damping set to Normal and I do sense a more plush ride while in Road ride mode. But is it real?


My wife knows nothing of the settings I was playing with so she was a blind test subject and she definitely commented that one up/soft/rain was more plush than one up/soft/dynamic.I'm really curious now and will be doing more trial sampling with my wife onboard with the various ride modes without telling her and see if she comments one way or another.


Real or placebo...I dunno, but more sample data, or someone who really knows what the black box under the seat is doing will be needed to satisfy my curiousity at this point.

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If the OP is suggesting that the damping is, for one example, softer in Normal/Road than in Normal/Dynamic, I don't believe that is intended in the design. What is it in the owners' manual that seems to support this? I believe the bikes have three damping settings, not nine.



Page 68 of 2015 RT OM discussing the effects on suspension in the three Ride Modes


"with Dynamic ESA OE

The suspension setting also adapts

to the selected scenario."


Does that statement only refer to the 3 standard damping settings, or is the word adapts suggesting something more is going on. And if it only means the three standard damping settings, then why is the suspension equipped with stroke monitors?

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The point of "Dynamic ESA" is that it's dynamic, i.e., the computer adjusts some of the parameters as you ride, based on how you're riding and operating around the settings you've chosen. This has been well reported in the moto press. So it seems likely that it could alter damping beyond the range of the three damping settings. Whether the baseline of the three settings is different in different modes, I have no idea, but it's certainly within the realm of feasibility.

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It's very real. On the GS the difference in suspension stiffness and throttle action is very noticeable when switching between ROAD, ENDURO and DYNAMIC modes. I'm afraid to run in dynamic mode unless I'm really on my game.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dynamic mode on the RT changes the bike from a sheep into a wolf in sheep's clothing.. :bike: The biggest difference is between rain mode and dynamic mode of course. There is also a substantial difference between solo rider, solo with luggage and fully loaded in road mode. Definitely no placebo effect here..

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Not only is the throttle response more crisp in Dynamic mode, but the suspension is set based on how you're riding. I usually find that if I start it in NORM, that it will end up in HARD after a few miles.

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