Suspension Setup Tips


After reinstalling the suspension, it is helpful to devote a little time to a test session. This is best achieved by setting up a short course, one mile or less, that includes obstacles that you normally encounter in your riding. Ride the course a couple of times, and readjust as necessary, then, ride again.

Compression adjustment should be easy. Just adjust as light as possible, front and rear, without experiencing excessive bottoming or excessive changes in geometry (busy steering feel). 


Rebound may be more difficult. Generally, on sharp objects such as roots and rocks, rebound needs to be lighter to allow the wheels to return very quickly. Sandy whoops require more, especially for the rear shock in order to keep the rear of the bike down and maintain stability. The adjusters on all machines work similarly; clockwise increases dampening resistance. (think of a faucet; counter-clockwise opens the valve for quicker movement.)    


O n KYB, SHOWA, WP and MARZOCCHI, recommended settings will be the number of clicks out, counter clockwise from full hard, as described in your motorcycle owners manual.


This is a two person operation.

 Measuring rider sag can be done as follows:   

Put the bike on a stand with both wheels off the ground.

Measure R1 from the center of the rear axle vertically to a fixed point on the back of the bike, such as a muffler bolt, fender bolt, or a specific point on the rear fender. Mark the fixed point for future reference.

Take the bike off the stand and sit on it in your normal riding position; body to the front of the seat and head over the top triple clamp. Keep your feet on the ground with just enough weight on your feet to balance the bike.

Have the other person measure R3 from the center of the axle of the previously marked fixed point.

Calculate rider sag by subtracting the smaller from the larger measurement.

Adjust as necessary to achieve the recommended rider sag.


The rider sag recommended above should be used as a guide. A different sag level may be appropriate due to differing riding styles, ability levels and riding conditions. Most manufacturers use 1/3 of total suspension travel for a starting point; a typical standard rider sag is usually 100-105mm. 






Springs - Most manufacturers target medium rider weight is around 170-175 lbs. So, if your weight is in that range you have a good chance of using the standard shock spring. If you’re heavier, getting the appropriate sag numbers will require excessive tension on the spring and will result in harsh feedback on sharp edge bumps (roots and rocks) and inappropriate front/rear balance causing the front to dive and steer too quickly.