How to improve the suspension of a motorcycle

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How to improve the suspension of a motorcycle

Your motorcycle's suspension motorcycle shock absorber helps you maintain traction by keeping your tires in constant contact with the ground as you encounter rugged terrain. Understanding how your suspension works and how it affects your riding is an important part of motorcycle care and maintenance. Here are a few of the basics to get you started. If you have any other questions about motorcycle maintenance visit us at North County Indian Motorcycle® of San Marcos and Corona, California, serving San Diego and Oceanside, California.

Modify Your Setup

If you have an entry-level motorcycle your suspension might be totally non-adjustable or only allow minor rear preload adjustments to compensate for luggage or a pillion rider. If you’re a more experienced gear turner with a higher-end bike you might have the option of making a few adjustments on your own. Be sure to read your owner’s manual thoroughly and leave any repairs or modifications that you can’t handle to the pros. Tweaking a motorcycle’s suspension is a lot more art than science, and there’s no shame in letting someone experienced set up your suspension.

If you're making adjustments on your own, make a note of all factory settings in case your experiment doesn’t work. The easiest way to do this is to count the clicks and only adjust by one or two clicks at a time until you find the right setting. Adjust compression and rebound separately and test each change on the same road under the same conditions. Keep track of the clicks and be sure you’re not making things worse.

Adjust Your Riding Style 

As you get more riding experience you’ll develop better instincts. No two bikes handle in the same way, even if they’re the exact same model. Sometimes speeding up will improve your handling on certain types of terrain and slowing down will help on others. Be sure to loosen your grip and lift your seat through bumpy areas to reduce your suspension’s workload.

Eat Right and Exercise

We don’t have to explain the health benefits of losing weight, but if you need some additional motivation it makes riding more enjoyable. Motorcycles also often come off the line set up for someone of average size and need to be extensively modified for overweight and obese riders. Your suspension won’t have to compensate for as much weight and your bike will handle better. It will also improve steering and braking response. And don’t forget about those crunches! Improved core strength is great for your balance.

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