Strap: Tuning a motorcycle’s suspension means tinkering with different parameters to find the right balance between comfort and handling.
Motorcycle suspension is responsible for absorbing the undulations of a road. Alternatively, suspension is also responsible for the handling and balance of a motorcycle, and is a key parameter when it comes to setting up a motorcycle. A minute change in the suspension settings can lead to a big difference in the way a motorcycle behaves over a given surface.
What can be adjusted?
At the highest level of racing, there are multiple parameters in a suspension that can be tweaked but in most stock motorcycles or aftermarket shocks, there are three parameters that can be tweaked: preload, compression and rebound.
Preload is the amount of force applied to the suspension spring. It is used to set up the ride height of a motorcycle, according to the rider’s weight. Compression is the speed at which a damper compresses and rebound is the speed at which the damper extends. Changing any of these settings will lead to a difference in how a motorcycle handles.
What are the benefits of adjusting your suspension?
Motorcycle manufacturers tune the suspension of your motorcycle at the factory so that it works optimally in the real world. However, high-end motorcycles that can be used on the street or at a track come with an adjustable suspension. This allows the rider to choose the settings according to their use.
Street riding requires a softer riding setup to soak in the obstacles found on the street. On the track however, these obstacles do not exist and thus the suspension setup can be stiffened up to allow for more sporty riding experience.
How do you get your desired settings?
There is no chart to instantly find the right suspension setting for your motorcycle. It is a hit and trial method that requires you to play around with the settings. However, we suggest you do this only in the presence of an expert, if you don’t have the prerequisite tools and the knowledge to find the right suspension setting.
Can a suspension setup work for comfort and sporty riding both?
Suspension technology has reached a point where we can enjoy the best of both worlds: a comfortable ride and sporty handling characteristics. Progressive suspension for the Harley Davidson Sportster offers the very same thing. Using it allows the rider to go over bumps smoothly while allowing for a sharper handling motorcycle.