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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, this is a question a lot of guys have and maybe I am not the best person to ask. But, I will give it a try and maybe with the help of some others we can all have a better understanding of what works where and why.

I think a lot of guys make the mistake of thinking their bike doesn't work well because of their suspension. Well, As I mentioned in the throttle control section...It might actually be what you are doing with the throttle, the clutch, or under braking. If you are chopping the throttle or stabbing the brake you accelerate the suspension into the stroke and the bike is out of balance entering the corner. Then the bike doesn't work well entering, going through or exiting the corner. The point is....sometimes no matter what you do suspensionwise its not going to work unless you also think about what you are doing on the bike.

Here are some suggestions to get started:
1 Have your suspension tuned by a professional. Someone, that understands SM and can get you right in the ball park with valving and spring rate. The fine tuning is up to you. My point is...Your stock suspension is not going to be the best starting point. I use Nick at Provalve. He has spent endless hours testing with me and knows what it takes to make a good SM bike. If you want call him 714-708-2583. There are lots of other guys that do SM, so find the guy that works for you.

2. Buy a lap timer. The AIM units work great. Document each lap you do with such things as conditions, track, dirt or no dirt, tire psi, gearing, suspension settings, sag, preload, ride height, spring rate, etc. the more info you have the better.

3.You MUST have a base. Write down your base and make sure you always can go back to where you started. Make sure you write it down...And not just think "you know" where you base is. It is real easy to get confused.

4. Get a feel for the track and start thinking about the grip and how the bike is working. A good starting point is if the track is slippery you can get away with looser suspension meaning softer compression and rebound. If the track is sticky with grip then you need to go stiffer both compression and rebound. I think with a little bit of testing you can start to get a feel for what you need.

5. Remember, just because it feels good, doesn't mean it is the best setup. I can't tell you how many times I made changes to a bike that felt really good and still went faster. So don't be afraid to make changes. The worst thing that can happen is it doesn't work (Or you crash:hmmm:)

6. Once you have your bike valved and sprung correctly (by a professional who understands supermoto) you can start making changes to the balance of the bike. I think just moving your forks up or down can make drastic changes in the handling of the bike. Find the balance that works for you in different situations. In my DVD I talk about maintaining the balance of the bike. This is done with throttle, clutch, brake control, and of course your suspension settings. I think this is one of the most important things to make your bike work properly for you.

7. Have fun with it. The best way to get faster is to think about your riding and how you can get through this corner or that corner better. Same with suspension. The more you think about it, make changes for the better or worse, write down what you thought of it....think about it. Try to make sense of it. Draw it on a chauk board..etc...do you get my point! The better understanding you will have when you get to a new track on how to tune it in.

Other Notes:

When I am having a problem on a sectiion of the track, I like to draw the corner on a chaulk board. I then draw my line that I am taking through the corner. Think about and even draw the corner before. I then visualize exactly where I am having the problem. I usually then think about where the balance of the bike is. Is it heavy on the front or rear...I then make appropriate changes to the suspension or even my riding style to correct the problem.

This is such a complicated subject and I look forward to hearing from others. I hope this helps!:thumbup::thumbup:
 

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As Trachy say, it is very important that a SUPERMOTO suspension tuner does the suspension for you. It is very different from motocross where the suspension is adjusted to "follow the surface" and not that much set for cornering on plain surface.

If Trachy has had good results from a suspension tuner you should choose his tuner if you're in the area. There are not many people who can do supermoto suspension.

When you tune the suspension for supermoto, tune it for the asphalt and not for the offroad section. I think this is a big difference europe vs the states, many of your tuners still set the bike up for the offroad section. In europe our bikes tend to be more and more like roadracing bikes.

Even tho you've got a hold of a supermoto specific suspension it is very important to refresh the suspension atleast once every season. Doesnt matter if its leaking or not, the oil has to be fresh and it should move smoothly.

When you've got a supermoto specific suspension, have someone (the tuner or a great rider) set a basic setting and DO NOT try to fix issues on the track unless you are really sure that your riding is correct. Basicly, if you have slicks and a chassie that isnt completely wrong a pro rider can ride within 5 seconds of his own best laptime with any suspension setup. (not saying that I'm a pro but I can ride a stock mx suspension CRF450R with slicks within 3 seconds of the laptime on my race aprilia)

So, if you're more than 5 sec off the top guys dont try to adjust the suspension, put the effort into figuring out your riding. If you belive something is wrong with the bike, have a better rider try it out. If you went to the right suspension tuner in the first place there should be nothing wrong with the chassie.

When you think about adjusting the suspension, always have in mind that its the end that the contact patch has THE MOST force that starts to slide first. A short bike corners well, a long bike has good stability and is less likely to lift either wheel.

The chassie setup is many cases as much or more important than the suspension, making the bike short or long, raising or lowering the forks, changing offset etc etc

I havent been concerned with chassie/suspension setup untill this year, I am kind of new to adjusting the suspension (compression, rebound). Untill I had my riding figured out I couldnt feel any difference raising or lowering the front, setting the rebound or compression... Now that I have figured it out I can feel every little click, every milimeter I raise or lower the bike... I think it says a lot about how important it is to ride the bike correct.

In short, have someone set the bike up properly, learn to ride, then adjust the compression/rebound/height ;)

Also, remember that suspension is always give and take. It will be great in some sections and not so good in others, thats where you as a rider come in ;)

For Aprilias, listen to Alice Racing (in the UK), Stuart knows how to make the bike fast!
 

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Well said.......no VERY WELL SAID.
Thanks Gary and Oller for your insights, some of these points may cause others to actually think about what they are doing and get real results!!!!!
 

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Very good explanation Gary, I think you gave away some very important info many riders didn't know. One very important point you touched on is the fact that the rider has to understand what the bike is doing, as well as be very consistent with their riding to determine if a change is for the better. If you make a change and then go out and are missing your lines, say because you are tired at the end of the day, you aren't able to properly evaluate your change. If you watch pro-level riders, they are at 110% every lap, practice, qualifying, and race. If you ride your bike at 110% during testing, you will set it up to work at race pace.

I do somewhat disagree with Oller as to set-up biased towards pavement-- this may work in Europe where the tracks are faster and don't have such aggressive dirt sections, but the trend in AMA Pro has seen the bikes slowly start keeping more travel and moving back closer to more of Supercross set-up than we saw when the series began a few years ago. Europe also doesn't have Urbancross to deal with...
 

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I do somewhat disagree with Oller as to set-up biased towards pavement-- this may work in Europe where the tracks are faster and don't have such aggressive dirt sections, but the trend in AMA Pro has seen the bikes slowly start keeping more travel and moving back closer to more of Supercross set-up than we saw when the series began a few years ago. Europe also doesn't have Urbancross to deal with...
We do not lower our bikes any more, we have actually raised my bike! The suspension is very stiff tho, it allows very hard landings (I've overjumped a 100 feet jump) but its not swallowing every bump.





The Urbancross allows your bikes to be roadracing-inspired, its the other offroad parts that is the problem. We are not allowed to have whoopie sections here, only "waves" which are ok with a RR-inspired suspension. The X-games is special because its "spectator friendly", as you've all seen the european style bike wont do the trick there. But, as you have seen VDB prove, it works on most AMA tracks! However, it is a lot to learn before most of the riders here rides on a AMA track :)

During my stay in the us it seemed like your tracks are kind of similiar to ours, unless they are X-games. A little tighter between some jumps but very similiar during the rest of the track :)

I'm not saying that you are incorrect, you should set the bike depending on the terrain, you might want to go softer than a euro bike, but it is still very far off from a MX bike.
 

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Oller knows more about suspension than me... and he can jump the SUN! :clap: J/K :D Nice pics. Thanks to the both of you for your input on this. I've spent hours upon hours (in the past) trying to "dial in" my suspension, usually with little benefit. I'll just work on my "lines" from now on.:lol:
 

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I can see where SX set up suspension would be better that stock MX suspension.
SX suspension generally uses stiffer springs, increased Compression & Rebound dampening.

So what about shock sag? What do you guys use?


.
 

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my bike is lowerd 1.5 at the front and 1.25 at the rear.....static sag is 22 mm, 25 percent of the full race sag.....properly sprung and valved for my weight.....compression is about the middle and I like the rebound slow..8 mm into my triples with a 16.5 front and a 5 inch cush on the rear...If there is a big dirt section then I will speed up the re bound, flat trackin I will loosen up the copmression a we bit as I will in the rain.....
Thanks Gary ! You made me think of a couple things I hadn't considered !!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I like about 3/4 inch to 1 inch static sag.

When I ride, my times are really consistent. So, with testing I make a change....Do ten laps. I take the average lap time and the fastest lap time and see if it is faster or slower than the previous setups. The average lap times is best to make sure a change is a positive one because you can alway get one lucky lap here or there.

When it comes to going fast on a motorcycle, you can't leave anything to rest. You have to continue to find the next .001 of a second.

Please feel free to make suggestions or ask suspension questions here. I will try to answer them.
 

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To make sure everyone understands.....when you sat static sag are you referring to bike only sag under its own weight or with the rider aboard?

Setting the sag is the 1st step in setting up suspension.


.
 

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To make sure everyone understands.....when you sat static sag are you referring to bike only sag under its own weight or with the rider aboard?

Setting the sag is the 1st step in setting up suspension.


.
Static SAG - only bike

Riding SAG - rider with full gear on it...
 

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So what would race sag be then?

In MX if you had 100mm race sag and 3/4-1 inch (30-40mm) static sag that would mean the spring was to heavy.
 

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we run between 60-65 mm rider sag , if im helping set up someone elses bike i will set there rider sag at 70 mm
i like my bikes set up stiffer
 

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So what would race sag be then?

In MX if you had 100mm race sag and 3/4-1 inch (30-40mm) static sag that would mean the spring was to heavy.
Here's what the deal is.....when the bike is off the ground and the mesurement is say 600 mm then the bike is put back on the ground and the measurement is 565 mm meaured at the same points then the difference is 35 mm which is static sag......When you sit on the bike and the measurement is say 510 mm again measuring at the exact same points then take 600 minus 510 and that is your riding or srace sag, which in this example is 90 mm.
In your example the static sag is part of the race sag ....In the KTM and Husaberg manuals they recomend between 90 and 105 mm of riding sag...which is consistant with other books I have read....

So I guess APA that your example would be right on the money....for MX
How'd I do Gary.....?
 

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I like this forum. All of this helps alot. Thanks SMJ, GARY, and OLLER.
 
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