Getting your suspension right on your motorcycle is one of the easiest and best ways to get it riding just right. Whether you love hitting a long tabletop at your favorite motocross track or you like to drag a knee in the canyons having your suspension set just right makes a huge difference. If you’ve never ridden a bike that is set up just for you, trust us, the difference is night and day.
In today’s article, we’re going to focus on setting up your front suspension. Anytime you work on your motorcycle fork it’s worth doing a rebuild. The parts are relatively inexpensive and you may end up damaging them during removal. This includes bushings, o-rings, and dust seals.
Besides the rebuild, it’s worth tuning your forks while you’ve got things apart. On a motorcycle, the rider is a significant portion of the weight so your height and weight will have a lot to do with how the bike handles, especially a dirt bike. When it comes to your front shocks, there are 3 things you can change:
Motorcycle Fork Adjustments
- Spring rate
- Oil weight
- Bump and rebound
The spring rate you choose will make the biggest difference in the way your suspension handles. A stock motorcycle fork is built with a spring designed for your average rider. This means average skill level/aggression as well as average weight. Finding out what your stock spring rate is and who the bike was designed for is a great first step in knowing what spring rate to choose. You can also use this handy calculator provided by Race tech. Our suggestion is to consider going softer if you’re between two spring rates as stiff springs may make you fast but also might take away from some of the fun.
The oil weight that you add to your shock during your rebuild will affect the damping effect your shock has. The more viscous the oil you use, the more damping your shock will provide. Besides having the right weight it’s important to use high-quality oil. High-quality oils will both reduce wear and keep shock performance consistent even as they heat up during your ride or race. PJ1 Fork Tuner Oil far exceeds OEM shock oil quality and can noticeably increase traction. PJ1 Fork Tuner Oil is available in a wide range of viscosities from 2.5WT up to 30WT. When filling your shock after a rebuild, make sure you add the correct amount of oil to the correct height.
Lastly, you’ve got to have your bump and rebound set correctly to have the best possible ride. This is set with the clickers at the top and bottom of your motorcycle fork tube. Adjusting these clickers is a fine adjustment for how much resistance the shock will give both on compression and rebound. We always recommend setting these adjustments at the halfway mark then riding and adjusting from there, especially if you changed the weight of your shock oil. If you feel a bump is too jarring, loosen up your bump clicker. If you feel your steering gets light over bumps, loosen up your rebound clicker. If you can’t get these settings correct, consider changing to a lighter weight Fork Tuner Oil.
Now that your suspension is set for your personal riding style and build, go out and get some grins!
Photo by Andraz Lazic on Unsplash