Many people ring up enquiring about the best way to set up their new
shocks or their front forks. There really is no one correct way,
as the settings to suit one rider, may not suit another, but most
suspension can be set up to get the best from a bike. From
experience, I have found that it is best to start with the rear
suspension first of all, as it handles all the power from the
engine. Then set up the action of the front forks so that the
movement compliments that of the rear suspension, so that forks and
shocks work together as a team, instead of fighting each other, as
they so often do on many bikes.
As a starting point, the spring preload should be adjusted to a
position, so that when you stand alongside the stationary bike and
push down on the seat, the springs should have enough strength to
return the suspension to the top, or nearly to the top, of it's
The preload adjuster is simply a ride height adjuster, and does not make the springs any stronger or softer.
If the spring rate is correct, then with the riders weight on the
bike, (Please note; with motocross and trials bikes the riders
weight should be on the foot pegs, and with road and road race
bikes, the riders weight is on the seat), your suspension should
compress around 25% of the total travel. It is best to get someone
to measure this for you, as your estimate of the travel whilst
astride the bike can be very inaccurate.
Please note, that this setting, is only a starting point for your suspension experiments.
The rebound damping should be set so that the rear suspension will
return reasonably rapidly over the first half of it's travel, and
then slow up as the suspension extends to it's full movement.
Rebound damping is usually set up with regard to the strength of the
main springs being used, but can, on our Falcon shocks be varied to
suit individual requirements.
Front fork damping action should have a similar feel as the rear
shocks, on compression and rebound speed, so that they works
together providing a balance between front and rear suspension.
If the forks tend to be too soft, more oil can be added to help them stop bottoming out. Air caps can also be fitted, and with a small amount of air pressure in each leg can help to prevent bottoming out of the forks. The speed of the fork movement can be changed by varying the oil viscosity inside each leg and also the ride height can sometimes be increased at the front end, by putting spacers on top of the springs to bring the ride height to the top of it's travel.
We strongly recommend that every 3 months you check the rubber shock
absorber bushes are capable of easy rotation in the shock absorber
eye. it is important that this maintenance is carried out to ensure
smooth action of the rear suspension. A few drops of oil each side
of the bush and worked between the surface of the rubber and the
shock eye will ensure that this bearing surface is free to rotate.
Any suspension settings are always experimental, and are best tested
under the actual working conditions. All operation of the suspension
should then be assessed, with a view to make any adjustments you
feel may be necessary to correct any behaviour problems that you
come across while riding the bike. If you need any further advice on
setting up your suspension, then please contact us during our
telephone answering hours.
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