ohlinlogo SUSPENSION SETUP


Note! This material is taken from Öhlins "Racing Workshop" that comes with their excellent shocks.

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Introduction

Unfortunatly there is no literature that can give you the perfect machine setup. Also suspension setup is individually dependent on the rider (style, preference) and track conditions which vary from race to race.
We can therefor only try to give you guidelines and ground rules for the chassis setup of your machine.

To get more info, go to Ohlins homepage

General guideline

The general guideline in road racing is that the suspension has to support the tyres to create the best possible grip. For this reason suspension plays its most important role in corners, chicanes, aceleration and braking.
In the straight line the suspension works satisfactory if it can absorb the bumps without causing instability.

Suspension stroke

A road race bike should normally not use its full suspension stroke, although on some curcuits one or two big bumps or hollows can cause the suspension to bottom.
Also landing of front wheel after wheelies can cause excessive use of the front fork stroke.
If suspension bottoms in big bumps or hollows, it should not automatically mean that the suspension should be set harder
However, if suspension bottoms at the place where the maximum grip is essential, the tyre cannot creat the best traction because it also has to perform as a spring. Adjusting the settings is necessary.
During every riding session, the suspension stroke should be carefully checked.
When tire grip and lap times improve, the suspension has a harder job.So, settings must be set harder.
On the opposite, when it starts raining, tyre grip and lap times go down. In that case a softer setting should be applied.

Suspension setup

Before you make any adjustments, please read your "OWNERS MANUAL"!

Tip! You should do your changes in suspension setup one by one. Try to learn what effect each individual adjustment has on your bike and take notes!

Static sag without rider

How to do: Hold the bike upright on a flat surface. You shold independently lift front and rear until the suspension is fully extended. Approximate values should be:

Machine type Front sag Rear sag
Motocross 30 +/- 5mm 30 +/- 5mm
Superbike 15-30 mm 10-20 mm
RR 250 15-25 mm 0-5 mm
RR125 15-25 mm Just top out 0 mm

An RR125 cannot afford to loose the momentum that the sag would give it in a straight line (loss of top speed)

Adjustment: The static sag is adjusted by the spring preload. The procedure is the same for the fork and rear shock.

Static sag with rider

The accepted manner to adjust the spring ratio is to measure how much stroke is used with the rider sitting on the bike in a straight line position after you have set the correct static sag without rider.
Nearly 1/3 of the full stroke is a good starting point for all machines.

Note: This is the only guideline for the right spring ratio. The final check must be done on the curcuit.

Rebound damping

Rear Suspension

Too much rebound damping can cause:

Too little rebound damping can cause:

Front suspension

Too much rebound damping can cause:

Too little rebound damping can cause:

Compression damping

Rear suspension

Too much compression damping can cause:

Too little compression damping can cause:

Front suspension

Too much compression damping can cause:

Too little compression damping can cause:

Adjustment advice: Compression damping should be adjusted together with front fork oil level.

Spring ratio

Rear

Too hard spring ratio:

Too soft spring ratio:

Front suspension

Too hard spring ratio:

Too soft spring ratio:

Front fork oil level

First see the manual. The modern front fork of cartridge type is very sensitive for oil level changes, because of the small air volume.

Air inside the front fork works as a spring

The different level of oil effects the spring ratio from the middle of the stroke and has a very strong effect at the end of the stroke.

When the oil level is raised:

The air spring in the later half stage of travel is stronger, and thus the front fork harder.

When the oil level is lowered:

The air spring in the later half stage of travel is lessened, and thus the front forks are softer. The oil level works most effectively at the end of the fork travel.

Note! Adjust the oil level according to your manual.

Time to gas it!

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