Dialing in Your Suspension with Solid Performance

Choosing what type of bike to ride is a major choice to begin with, but on top of that there are like a gajillion little details you can dial to make your bike your own. Springs, seat, tires, power valve …it never ends! But this process of truly making your bike your own is super rewarding and worth the attention.

Suspension is one of those important details, and one that can really affect your riding experience. It affects how you connect with your bike, and how your bike connects with the ground. It can affect your turns, your traction and, of course, your jumps!

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Our next event is ideal for dialing in your settings because there are wide open areas, different types of terrain and a motocross track - all of which give you opportunities for repetition so you can ride, adjust, ride, adjust and truly dial in your optimal riding settings.

Solid Performance KTM will be on-site with us Saturday, October 5th to help us do just that! They’ll be on-site offering their suspension expertise and setting sags, guiding clicker adjustment, and providing general rider maintenance. Learn more about dialing in your suspension with Solid Performance…

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING SAG

Proper sag ensures that your motorcycle is balanced, and it’s important to set both free sag and rider sag. Free sag is how much the suspension droops under the weight of the bike. Rider sag is how much the suspension droops with the rider on the bike in their usual riding position.

If both free and rider sag cannot be adjusted within an acceptable range, the front and rear spring rates will need to be changed to ensure proper balance. Springs are available according to rider’s weight. For many women this is the first thing to do on a new stock bike (because stock bikes are made for an average male rider of greater height and weight).

When a motorcycle has too much sag, often called “choppered out”, the front tire is light and often pushes to the outside of corners. If you find yourself having to plant your foot when cornering often, it’s likely that your motorcycle has too much sag.

Fig 1

Fig 1

Fig 2 - Proper Sag = Balance

Fig 2 - Proper Sag = Balance

Fig 3 - Too much Sag = “choppered out”

Fig 3 - Too much Sag = “choppered out”

Inversely, if a motorcycle has too little sag, often called “stink bugged”, the front tire is loaded and the rear tire is too light making the bike want to tuck in corners and/or have excessive fish-tailing during straight line acceleration. The owner’s manual is a great place to start for your suspension sag settings, and Solid Performance will be on-site at OAOMX offering sag setting (where available) all day Saturday 10/5.

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CLICKER ADJUSTERS

A majority of riders rarely use the clicker adjusters on their suspension because they don’t understand how they work and/or are afraid they’ll break something. While suspension does have an optimal operating range, it won’t be damaged by running the suspension with the clickers all the way in or all the way out - meaning there is room for adjustment using the clickers that won’t cause harm to the internals.

We encourage you to do an exercise with your clickers to understand just how much different your bike can feel with just a few clicks. (Now remember, if this sounds confusing, we’ll have help on-site at OAOMX!)

Here’s the exercise -

  1. Get comfortable on your bike by riding for about 20 minutes.

  2. Set clickers to the standard settings (indicated in your bike manual) and ride 10-15 minutes.

  3. Go 2 clicks stiffer on your fork compression adjuster and shock low-speed adjuster, ride 10-15 minutes.

  4. Go 2 more stiffer on your fork compression adjuster and shock low-speed adjuster, ride 10-15 minutes.

  5. Repeat one more time, for a total of 6 clicks stiffer than standard setting.

Next, set the fork compression adjuster and shock low-speed compression adjusters back to standard, and repeat the exercise but going 2 softer and ride, 2 softer and ride, 2 softer and ride.

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2 clicks at a time is a noticeable adjustment, and going 6 clicks total off from the standard settings is your effective range of adjustment. The total range of 12 clicks is your optimal clicker adjustment. We encourage you to adjust your fork compression and shock low-speed adjusters to where they feel best for you. Most riders mainly feel compression, so that’s where the majority of riders should focus.

We then recommend adjusting your rebound adjuster to be a 2 compression : 1 rebound off of standard setting. For example, Standard: Compression: 15 Rebound: 15, but if you liked the compression at 19 clicks out, set the rebounds at 17).

Remember: turn the clickers in(clockwise) until they stop, and then out (counter-clockwise) until desired setting.  (Confused? Don’t worry, Solid Performance will be onsite at OAOMX to help anyone who wants to try this exercise with their own bike.)

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ADJUSTING SUSPENSION BASED ON TERRAIN

Riders commonly want to know how to adjust their suspension for different terrains (myself included!) For softer loamy soil like sandy conditions, the compression and rebound adjusters should be turned in (stiffened). This will help the suspension force through the soft soil/mud/sand to get traction, and the stiffer aka slower rebound will keep the bike planted rather than wallowing.

For harder terrain like rocks and hard pack moto tracks, both the compression and rebound adjusters should be turned out (softer). This will allow the suspension to soak up the hard hits, and the soft aka faster rebound will allow the suspension to return to full height to be ready for the next big hit. The 2 compression:1 rebound rule of thumb would still apply (as referenced above).

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CONFUSED? DON’T BE! WE’RE HERE TO HELP…

Solid Performance will be on-site at Over And Out Moto-X Saturday October 5, 2019 to answer suspension questions, to help you dial in these details as you ride, and to support attendees with general maintenance**.

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SOLID IS KICKING IN SOME RAD RAFFLE PRIZES!

Solid Performance is doing us a solid (haha) and kicked in some rad prizes you can enter to win onsite!

  • A FREE Suspension Tuning with Purchase of Complete Service, a $200 value! (once tuned, setting can be adjusted at any future service).

  • A FREE 2 Hr Service Labor Credit (excluding suspension, but can be used towards suspension removal and install).

  • A Troy Lee Designs GP Air Grey and Orange, Gloves, Jersey and Pants Set.


** ”General Maintenance” does not mean show up with a broken bike. Support services are available for general wear and tear issues, not in-depth mechanical issues that require longer time at a garage or a parts order. Please ensure your bike is in proper riding condition before coming. :) Thank you!