Top 10 Dirt Bike Suspension Tips – Do’s and Don’ts


In this post, we’re going to show you guys the top 10 suspension troubleshooting tech tip do’s and don’ts. We’re going to show you guys 10 very common mistakes and/or good things that we do when we ride dirt bikes when it comes to suspension.

Here’s tip number one. A common question we’re always asked about the bleeding the fork as how often I do it we recommend that you do it before every ride while the bike is on the stand. I always like to wear eye protection, there’s always a chance that when you’re bleeding the fork oil dirt. To crack the bleeder you don’t need to take the screw all the way out just simply undo the bleeder.

Verify that you have a ring in place and simply tighten your bleeder down. I see a lot of times people putting a lot of torque on that just hand tightly as you can see I’m doing a quarter turn. The second tech tip is how to set the sag. There’s a lot that we could cover, the important key points thereof setting the sag is you’re consistent you’re doing it in your riding gear you’re standing in a standing position.

We actually have a sag video that we’ve done so if you want to go into a little more detail with that check out the link below and we got all the goods there. Tip number three adjusting your clickers. This is a 2017 Husqvarna FC 450 it’s a separate function fork you got an air spring on one side compression in rebound valving all on one side. To adjust the clicker you’re going to turn the clicker all the way in clockwise.

Now we’re adjusting the clicker we’re going to open this up to 10 and then rebound set it 18 there’s a screw on the bottom and we’re counting the clicks. Again we’re turning clockwise bottoming out the clicker and then we’re opening it up 18. Here we have a piston valving in a needle closing off on orifice.

So we’re turning clockwise to bottom out this needle and then we’re opening it up to our desired number of clicks, on Tyler’s case 10 at the top 18 at the bottom. What is happening with the needle is we’re metering the amount of oil that is going through that orifice. Here’s a couple of different types of Forks doesn’t matter if it’s an open chamber, closed chamber, 4CS KYB Showa they all pretty much work the same.

We’re going to set the adjuster to ten we’re turning the adjuster screw clockwise we’re going to open up to ten. And here’s a rebound adjuster for this set of forks, we’re going to open that up to 18 tension rebound they’re synonymous. 4CS, same thing, positive I’m closing the orifice negative I’m opening the orifice. The same thing with the rebound, closed chamber WP bladder fork compression at the top sometimes you’ll find these little rubber stoppers at the bottom.

And there’s our rebound adjuster. Clockwise, closed, counterclockwise open. Same thing with the shock closing it clockwise and open it counterclockwise. This slows down and speeds up how fast the shock shaft is moving. On a shock the brass adjuster screw is at the center this is your low speed adjuster, I’m going to open this up to 10. The 17 millimeter nut is your high speed adjuster.

Now high speed adjuster is how fast the shock shaft is moving velocity of the shock shaft so I look at it as how fast the velocity is moving, high speed hit, the square-edged bump, the braking bump, the acceleration bump. I’m going to close this we’re going to open this up what I like to do is just kind of orient my t-handle and we’re going to open this up to two turns.

Again low speed clicks, high speed turns. Moving on to another shock rebound adjuster at the bottom, I’m going to open this up to 10. A separate type of adjuster is compression low speed, compression high speed, tension low speed. Tip number four is an alignment of the four tubes. What we’re talking about is the relationship between the left in the right fork tube.

This Fork is not properly aligned and we got some rock there you can see at the bottom that our axle pinch bolt is compressing the pork and they’re not parallel to each other. To align the front end, torque the left side of the bike air axle is already torqued triple tree bolts are already torqued in the front tire, all we’re simply of doing is aligning the front end of the bike.

We generally do this three times on the third time we’re certain that our front fork tubes are aligned while a brake is pressed in we’re simply going to torque our axle pinch bolts. Tip number five is your fork height. The main thing is, is that you have the fork height equal on the left and the right side raising and lowering the fork in the triple tree is changing the weight bias the rake in the trail of the bike.

In a high speed setting we may have our fork cap flush with the top triple clamp in a technical Rudy rocky enduro setting we may have our Forks up in the triple tree and that’s going to allow us to negotiate tighter turning radiuses. Pull little tip or trick is obviously not everyone has a set of calipers in their toolbox you can get a simple alligator clip put some pennies on that alligator clip throw that in your toolbox.

Generally, most bikes like to be settled and balanced around 5 to 7 millimeters depending on what type of riding you’re doing. If we’re doing high-speed desert we’re going to move the forks down in the triple tree and when I say down in the triple tree we may put the fork tube flush. Here we can see that this generally has about three pennies width which is 4.1 millimeters.

If I was in the high-speed setting I would put one penny on it 1.3 millimeters moving the forks down in the triple tree. We’re going to set the torque specs on this bike is 12 Newton meters on the bottom triple tree bolts and then 17 Newton meters on the top. The key component there is getting your torque spec correct.

Here is what right looks like and as soon as I put my buddy’s wrench on it what happens is they’re talking about riding dirt bikes and they torque it and then they recheck it and they torque it again and now what I’ve created are stiction and friction. This can be measured and it can be felt.

So right now the fork will not go past this point because it is stopping that inner and outer bushing from sliding through the top tube. Tip number six is pressure washing the bike. You want to stay directly away from the linkage pivot bolts and when your power 45-degree angle downward never want to spray up at an angle getting past the dust seal or oil seal.

All that’s going to occur is you’re going to accumulate water and moisture inside the fork itself. Tip number seven is the storage and transport of your bike. Storage of the bike we like to store the bikes on a stand it just relieves the pressure on the seal. When we’re strapping down the bike we like to have the bike equally strapped in on both the left and the right doesn’t matter where you strap as long as it’s the same on each side.

I always just pull out at the same time but if you can’t be in front of them yeah this nice little snug not too much not too little. Your little equal is a hole in the wall too much equals blown fork seals you have to go back this whole process with dock again. — We’re not a fan of tipping the bike sideways the only thing that happens with a tip in the bike sideways is you’re making the seal kind of egg-shaped it promotes leaking of seals which is what we do not want.

Also when you’re transporting for a long time when the bike is cinched down simply crack the bleeder it gets the pressure out of there when you go out for your initial ride you’re going to put the bike on the stand and re-crack your bleeders. Okay tip number eight I want to talk a little bit about something that may not be your suspension you may feel like the bike is super harsh or like the bike is washing and it could all be right inside this tire.

What you want to do is make sure that you have proper air pressure in your tires. I personally liked around in between 12 and 13 on the tracks around here depending on where you are in the world that’s going to vary but it won’t vary more than a couple of pounds of pressure. What you don’t want to do is put 25 or 30 pounds of pressure in your tire because it’s going to make the bike feel extremely stiff and harsh and just like it’s not floating through like you’d like it to.

Tip number nine we recommend servicing your suspension every 30 to 50 hours. After 30 to 50 hours what happens is the oil develops some polymers here it has stiction and friction and it changes how the performance of the bike feels, changes compression and rebound damping.

The reason that we’re recommending 30 to 50 hours is this is an aluminum stanchion tube and these are bushings this bushing has a Teflon coating on it and if that Teflon coating wears away what happens is it starts to eat away at the aluminum on the outer tube. Here’s what it looks like this is just after probably about 60 hours-worth of riding. And if you look at this real close you may get to see a little bit of aluminum particle in there, see how it’s kind of shiny.

And this is what it looks like once you get into a 35 40 hour range you’re really doing damage to the component itself. Tip number 10 is the riding position. Rider input a lot of times it’s not your suspension that is causing the problems. Yes, he’s totally correct there so if you haven’t taken the time to properly learn how to put your body weight in the right spots at the right time no matter what suspension you have it isn’t going to work like you would like it to.

So an imbalance in body position at any point is going to affect the suspension just like when I scoop a couple of inches on the stand the bike tips back and puts weight on the backhand and lightens the front end loader. The same things happening every time you go into any part of the track if you’re too far one way or the other the suspension is going to feel the direct effects of where you’re at.

All right guys we hope you really enjoy the top 10 do’s and don’ts for setting your bike suspension up.

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