The motorcycle industry is constantly evolving, which b […]
The motorcycle industry is constantly evolving, which brings exciting new features to the bikes we know and love. However, with these new advancements come challenges for those who work on two-wheelers, whether it be as a hobby or for those who are full-time motorcycle technicians.
Today’s bikes are more complex than ever, and understanding how the suspension of your motorcycle works may seem like an intimidating task at first. However, knowing how your suspension is set up, how it affects your riding, and how to make adjustments is a great first step to fully understanding your bike and how to keep it in pristine condition.
Motorcycle Suspension Explained
The primary goal of Motorcycle Rear Shock Absorber is to keep vehicle tires in contact with the ground. Without proper suspension, tires would lose traction when encountering bumps, dips, or other ground imperfections. We can’t forget about braking, acceleration, or cornering forces either.
Motorcycle suspensions use a spring and damper combination to isolate the chassis and rider from road imperfections. On-road motorcycle suspension systems work to minimize the effect of potholes, bumps, cornering, and acceleration/deceleration forces. Off-road motorcycle suspension systems handle roots, rocks, jumps, ledges, and more.
Without suspension, any impact between a vehicle tire and a ground imperfection is at best uncomfortable, and at worst, the cause of a dangerous crash.
Basic motorcycle suspension lacks adjustability. It works fairly well in a wide variety of circumstances, whereas more premium suspension is tunable to rider weight and intended riding type. Cruisers or dual-sport motorcycles have vastly different needs than a dedicated sportbike.
Adjustability can include ride height (under load), fine-tuning how quickly springs compress or rebound as well as preloading spring tension to accommodate differing weight for different riding styles, such as riding with a passenger and/or luggage.
The most common suspension systems found on motorcycles use a coil spring and hydraulic damper setup. Air springs and other types of suspension exist, which will be covered more in-depth in another article.
Springs allow a motorcycle wheel to move independently from the chassis, and dampers control and manage the movement of the spring. A motorcycle-riding only on springs would bounce continuously and dangerously after every road impact.
Springs are coiled steel wires that compress or stretch when acted upon by an external force. Spring rate is the measurement of the force required to compress it a certain distance, which is typically measured in pounds per inch. Spring rate varies with material thickness and the number of coils. Heavier duty springs will have relatively thicker coils spaced further apart from one another.
Linear rate springs offer consistent resistance throughout spring travel. If 10 pounds will compress the spring one inch, 20 pounds would compress it two inches, and so on.
Progressive springs require more and more force to achieve the same travel. Progressive springs are essentially two (or more) springs in one, with both widely and narrowly spaced coils. Initially, a lighter force will compress the first coils, and then a greater force compresses the remaining coils.