Ok, so my goal then is to sort out the springs so I get the correct travel. I'll stick with my original plan and go back to the 18's, do some normal riding around and see where their travel is at...
You are correct, bottoming out is bad for the longevity of the shocks. Therefore, on the face of it, the springs are too soft- at least for the preload setting they are in at the time of your test. In order to get the best ride possible with progressive springs such as Hagon use, it is best not to have to preload the spring. This effectively coil binds the softest windings, which take away the suppleness of the spring. If the same adjustment was made on a single rate spring it would effectively increase the entire springs load bearing ability. So ideally you would be best off with a spring you did not need to adjust at all until you add weight (passenger/luggage or both).The ideal situation is to end up with the buffer at or near the top of the stroke but not flattened- ie using as much of the stroke of the shock as possible without bottoming.
If it bottoms out the suspension, that is particularly jarring to the frame and to you. It would best be avoided, if possible.What I do, and used to be common riding practice in the old days of short travel suspensions, was to just stand up on the pegs when we were able to see a big bump coming up. This evens out the weight load on front and rear, and keeps your butt out of the seat when the impact happens. All the old bikes were like this in the good old days. We managed to survive it okay.The bike isn't supposed to feel like riding on a cloud. You should feel feedback from the road and suspension.
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