Adjusting Motorcycle Suspension

Motorcycle Suspension

Front Dirt Bike Suspension/Forks

Motorcycle suspension serves a dual purpose: contributing to the vehicle’s handling and braking, providing safety and comfort by keeping the vehicle’s passengers comfortable isolated from road/terrain noise, bumps and vibrations. The typical motorcycle has a pair of fork tubes for the front suspension, and a swingarm with one or two shock absorbers for the rear suspension

Here we talk about how to set up your motorcylce suspension:

Front Motorcycle Suspension (Forks)

On the top of the fork you will find a flat head screw (or clicker). Next to it will be an  S – H, meaning Soft and Hard. This is the Rebound adjuster, this controls how fast your fork returns to its extended position after being compressed. If you turn the screw in (clockwise) towards the ‘H’ the rebound action of the fork will slow. If you wind the clicker (counter clockwise) the rebound action will soften. When making adjustments on one fork make sure you make the same adjustments on the other.

To get a good feel for the difference this can make, try turning both clickers all the way in, then go for a ride. Don’t try and set any new track records though since your bike may react to jumps and bumps very different than you are used to. Once you have a good feel for that, try winding the clickers all the way out and compare the difference.

The second way of adjusting forks is the compression adjuster. You’ll find the compresion adjuster on the bottom of each fork. This determines how quickly the fork compresses when it hits a bump or landing from a jump.

Rear Motorcycle Suspension

Rear MX Shock

Screwing the clicker in towards ‘Hard’ will slow the compression speed down making it stiffer for larger, rolling terrain or bumps.  Screwing the compression adjuster out towards ‘Soft’ will decrease the compression speed making it better for smaller, rougher bumps. Thinking  of a pogo stick may help to visualize this.

Rear Motorcycle Suspension (Shock)

The first thing to do when setting up your dirt bike suspension is to put the rebound and compression clickers for both the forks and rear shock in their standard position (your owners manual should tell you how many clicks out is standard), if you don’t have the manual just set them halfway between hard and soft.    It’s basically the same routine for adjusting the shock, but the clickers aren’t in the same spots. Number three shows where the rebound clicker is on the shock, and number four is where the compression clicker is. The shock is usually around fifteen clicks also.

Setting it up for your Dirt Bike Riding style

If your dirt bike still has stock suspension and it’s not Terribly worn out, then the stock springs are usually set up for about a 130-165lb rider for motocross. If you weigh more than that, you’ll want stiffer springs, but if you weigh less than that then you’ll want softer springs. Another pointer when you’re adjusting you clickers is that you want the forks to be equally adjusted. When adjusting the right side of the forks compression or rebound, then you will want the left side to be the same, otherwise it might not feel right or be as consistent. This does not mean that you have to have the compression adjusted the same as the rebound for either the forks or the shock.

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