Profits were one of the manufacturer’s primary motives in the design of your dirt bike suspension. We know this may sound harsh. However, let’s face it – the manufacturers’ primary goal is not to have “The Best Motocross Suspension Period” out on the track. Rather, they want it to be “The Best Suspension They Can Afford”.
Profit is their primary goal, and it all comes down to money. Unfortunately, this reality often means dirt bike suspension with less than ideal internal components and fluids as received off the show-room floor.
However, this situation is workable as there are many reputable motocross suspension shops and online websites you can rely on to offer reasonable pricing on a custom dirt bike suspension setup specifically tailored to your riding ability, weight, and personal preferences.
Below is a technical guide briefly explaining the differences between stock motocross suspension and a truly custom setup as offered by the better suspension shops. Have a look.
Suspension hop-up shops take great care to improve performance through reduced stiction within the setup. This occurs by using higher quality shims which are often more flexible & more comfortable to move, redesigned pistons with modified compression & rebound ports, and utilizing fewer sealing O-Rings. You will be surprised how much care and effort is taken in this area, especially on factory race bikes, to achieve a plush ride that also resists bottoming.
Suspension Fluid Stability
Most people don’t realize that the fluid/components within the suspension can reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit during a typical moto. These temperatures place extreme demands on the stock petroleum-based suspension fluids ability to survive and remain stable through a 20-minute moto.
Suspension hop-up shops typically use the best polymers (Group 2 or Group 2+ base oils), which offer greatly improved viscosity index performance. This ensures the suspension fluids viscosity remains stable under the highest operating temperatures. These polymer fluids also offer the best additives to deal with extreme pressures and reduce stiction, foaming, wear, and corrosion.
Polymer-based fluids offer a dramatic difference in suspension performance consistency throughout the moto and over the course of a long day, making it much easier to fine-tune your setup and achieve desired race results.
Rebuild or Revalving
Valving shims fatigue with use and loses their resistance to bend over time. These small, thin metal disks are what control the flow of oil within your forks or shock and affect both compression and rebound damping. When the suspension shops “Perform a Rebuild”, new seals, bushings, o-rings, shims, and fluids are installed, all to bring your old suspension back to specification.
On the other hand, when you request a suspension company’s “Revalve Service”, not only do they perform the rebuild mentioned above, they also carefully arrange the valve shim stack to suit your riding demands and compensate for the particular handling characteristics of your bike. That is why it’s important to choose the right bike repair company that focuses on your bike’s problems more than the money.
To be successful, the tuners need specific information from you and feedback about your suspension concerns to help “You” achieve “Your Goals”. Only you can explain how your bike feels when subjected to your height, weight, riding ability and track conditions. This is truly a personalized setup to get the bike handling much better for your particular needs.
Your bike’s suspension is important in ensuring a smooth riding experience during racing. It also ensures that you can control your bike better. Apart from protective gear like Bell Helmets, the suspension is one aspect of your bike you shouldn’t ignore.
After you have read these basics, can you determine if your bike needs custom valving to make it handle better.