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February 13th, 2012, 08:37 PM   #1
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FE501 Rear Suspension: The Missing Link

I have both a 97 and 99 FE501 and I'm wondering why the engineers did away with the rear suspension linkage on the newer model. In comparing the two side by side the newer (linkless) version is obviously lighter, less prone to wear and cheaper to manufacture. But...is it better? Was the change made to improve the geometry and action of the rear suspension or to save cost? Which is the more desirable suspension from a functional performance standpoint as opposed to a manufacturing standpoint? Just curious if anyone knows the reason for the evolution of this design. I'm also putting together a hybrid motorcycle from the best of the two and wondering which rear suspension to use. Also, are the rear shocks from the two interchangeable or is each one unique to its suspension design?
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February 14th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #2
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Re: FE501 Rear Suspension: The Missing Link

'Steve' probably knows quite a bit about this one. maybe you can get his attention?

I would say that the two shocks should be built differently, whether they are is another matter. which was best: others can tell you. which system is the best 15 years later? well even now you can make a cantilever work well so whatever the result is it is marginal.

the japs have perfected all this: would be interesting to take the linkage system off (say) a later Jap bike and the shock as well. that would be progress I think!

regards

Taffy
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February 14th, 2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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Re: FE501 Rear Suspension: The Missing Link

The probable answer is that Husaberg went to the linkless system because that is the 'standard' design for most of the dirt bikes in KTM, the parent company, plus Husaberg found that it works very well.
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February 15th, 2012, 12:55 AM   #4
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Re: FE501 Rear Suspension: The Missing Link

FWIW, the PDS was developed by Ohlins and Husaberg in the mid 1990s. When Berg was sold to, or purchased by, KTM, they got the PDS tech. They also acquired WP at about the same time, and PDS ended up being a WP thing for Berg and KTM through to this day. (The latest Ohlins stuff, like the TTX is actually designed by the former WP chief designer, WP is now in Austria rather than Holland )

The PDS is easier to maintain on the bike, and when setup properly, I reckon is about 85-90% as good as a good linkage. The older Berg linkages were always considered a 'good' linakge.

I have a good mate who is a suspension guru, and I've taken advantage of that to have him work both my 98 501 with linkage and my 07 650 with PDS. Each have been done a few times, because I'm a fussy bugger, and I seemingly give good feedback.

Assuming correct springs, the link gives a more progressive feel, whatever that means, but it keep the wheel on the gound a bit better than the PDS, and is more comfortable as a result and more consistent traction.

If I ever get around to it, its a plan to adapt a 97/98 swingarm and link to my 650, but the reality is, at approaching 60 yo, I don't push it like I used to, and the PDS is good enough.

Steve
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February 17th, 2012, 02:25 AM   #5
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Re: FE501 Rear Suspension: The Missing Link

Not sure what PDS is but assume you are referring to the linkless system? Sounds like the link provides a more progressive action, better comfort and traction. Possibly at the expense of weight, complexity, mfg cost and increased maintenance?
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February 17th, 2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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Re: FE501 Rear Suspension: The Missing Link

Originally Posted by guzzaberg
Not sure what PDS is but assume you are referring to the linkless system? Sounds like the link provides a more progressive action, better comfort and traction. Possibly at the expense of weight, complexity, mfg cost and increased maintenance?
About sums it up. I should also add that I've no real experience with the newer PDS (Progressive Damping System) setups like the current Bergs and KTMs. The differences are there, but are they enough to be aproblem?

Steve
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