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How To Adjust Suspension On A Dirt Bike

What does it mean to have good suspension? How can I improve mine to ride with more comfort, confidence and speed?

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.

Front Suspension/Forks

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 below, 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.

How To Adjust Suspension 1 How To Adjust Suspension On A Dirt Bike

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.

Rear Suspension/Shock

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).


Tuesday 20th of September 2011

That looks like a YZ250, pre-2005. I am looking in the manual right now for a 2005 YZ250 and it looks to me like you have the rebound and compression locations swapped on the front fork. Compression is located at the top, and rebound at the bottom. At least, that's what the manual says.

Kelley Fager

Wednesday 21st of September 2011

Yes, it's an '01 YZ125. Hmm, Yamaha must have changed it, because I'm looking at a pre '05 manual and it says rebound is on top/compression on bottom.


Sunday 25th of April 2010

what is the stock setting for the clickers on an 02 yz250

Kelley Fager

Sunday 25th of April 2010

Are you asking how many clicks in or out a stock yz250 comes with? I'm not sure right out of the box/showroom, probably halfway in or out. It doesn't really matter what the stock setting is, you want to do trial and error to find what you like. Good luck!