a crucial piece I failed to mention is that I have the lighter spring, as suggested by REALM.
what I ended up doing, since I am essentially homeless still and didn't have a measuring device, was to mark scores on the handle of the shock wrench. I marked the distance from the base to the nut with no preload at all, then the full travel unloaded on the other side of the wrench. Then I put on what I estimated as 20mm preload, and set just the bike (with one side case on) on sidestand with a stone to keep it close to upright. marked the compression of the bike itself, then pushed the rubber damper down to the bottom and sat on the bike without bouncing. the rubber damper was then my mark for "loaded" bike.
once I get to a ruler I'll see what that all comes out to, but overall I think that I will put some more preload on and try to lower the damping a bit more. I've been riding with just me and one side case only, me and my wife, me and my wife's luggage, me and my kayak and gear, me and my wife's friend, yadda yadda. basically all I learned was what Beachcomber told us in the first place, put your preload on first then use the damper!
Beach, glad to hear these are being well received, and that you'll soon have a stock in the states. I was just referring to the last group buy as my only firm data
Luke, it's hard to compare this to the Hagon HD, as I had never seen a KAY, let alone ridden one before mine. It came from the PO with the hagon, and I lowered the preload and rode it 2000 miles. so that was my gold standard, but the price of the bike was that I return the Hagon to him, so I did that while I was in the states this summer anyway, to save shipping it from Portugal. That forced my hand for the REALM and it was just luck that the topic came up right as I was interested. So far so good, and I think that once I find my sweet spot it will easily measure up to the hagon.
My only possible complaint is that I have been living near the beach for the last few weeks and I have noticed the sea air has already started to oxidize the housing. I think I may have to pull it off the bike, wire brush it and give it a coat of ?something?
I try not to be influenced by the exterior appearances of my belongings, preferring to have something that looks like hell but runs like a top, but this would be one of the first times I've actually thrown down on performance gear, so... but if that's my biggest complaint call me a happy customer!