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Suspension depends on spring rate, valve shim stacks, and clicker adjustments. First, If you want to have good suspension you have to install springs that are the correct rate for your size. Depending on your weight and riding style you might need to get some aftermarket springs.
After you have purchased your springs you may want to re-valve your front forks for better characteristics for the new spring rates. For older or worn out dirt bikes, Race-Tech Gold Valves work great because they give the feeling of newer and more modern suspension. If you own a newer or mid 90s KX 2-stroke I suggest installing washers below the springs to lower the rear end and offer better cornering on tight tracks. For bikes such as the Yamaha or Honda I would suggest an aftermarket rear linkage to help them in straight-away stability and jumping.
Oil weight can also affect dampening, or the rate at which the suspension bottoms out. A 5-weight oil is usually used on trail riding applications, for MX style jumps a 7.5 weight oil (if available) would be better preferred. for large MX jumps, arenacross tracks, and supercross tracks 10 to 15 weight oil should be used. By using the correct oil weight you can avoid spending $200 on Gold-Valves and Shims although they are highly recommended. Next, set your rear sag on your shock.
Once you have set your sag you can now play around with your dampening and clicker adjustments to create a soft and plush feeling or a racy type firm feeling that offers more comfort when jumping larger jumps and cornering at higher speeds than what your stock settings are intended for. You can’t forget that stock settings performed by the manufacturer’s are for the average adult rider, not an A-class or B-class racer. If you need any help post a comment regarding your question for suspension.
How To Adjust Your Dirt Bike’s Suspension
Here’s a quick tip on how to adjust the suspension on your dirt bike if it has adjustable forks or shocks. The purpose of adjusting it is to make the suspension perform at its best on certain types of terrain or size/shape of obstacles. The faster you go, the stiffer you’ll want your suspension to be. If you are a trail riding, then you will want it to be softer than it would normally be for riding on a motocross track.
There are two things you can do to the forks without changing your springs, and these are adjusting the compression and rebound speed. As seen in the picture above, number one shows where the clickers are for adjusting the rebound on the bike, and number two shows where the clickers for changing the compression speed on the forks are. To slow down/stiffen either the compression or rebound on the forks, you will want to turn the clickers in/clockwise with a screwdriver. You will hear a “click” about every half turn, and all the way in is about 15 clicks for most bikes. You do the same thing for speeding up/softening the compression and rebound, but instead of turning the clicker in you will turn it out/counter-clockwise.
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 style
If your bike still has stock suspension and it’s not extremely 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. What I mean by that is when you adjust 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. I usually keep them the same because I am not the fastest rider and tiny adjustments like that aren’t really noticeable for me. If you are picky about your suspension then you make little changes by having different combination settings (check out the Adjusting Your Spring Rate article for more tips on suspension). If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Thanks for viewing, and good luck!