Motorcycle Suspension – Core Mechanism Explained

Every day, motorcycles are becoming more sophisticated, complex and better constructed, and knowing how the suspension of a bike works may seem like a difficult chore due to continuous changes. Knowing how your motorcycle suspension works, how it impacts your riding, and what adjustments you can make is a huge help. A properly set up suspension will provide you with more comfort and control.

Let’s Breakdown the Suspension

Starting with the basics is essential, so let’s split suspension down into the spring and damper. These two work together to generate a desired riding experience, and both are necessary. As you might expect, the spring holds the weight of riders and machines, while absorbing road bumps when riding. It’s, of course, just a part of the whole  suspension; you need to think about the other part. It would never be ideal to ride on a spring alone! You’d be jumping all around, utterly uncontrollable.

It’s where the damper starts playing its role. The damper usually limits the compression rate by pressing together, which is known as compression damping. When a spring gets compressed, it must return to its original shape and measurements, which is called the rebound damping.

Both components must be well-balanced and perfectly tuned for making a bike suspension work correctly. While the spring of a bike controls its mass, the speed of movement of the spring is controlled by the damping. You must examine the following factors to understand how to set up a motorcycle suspension:

  • Your weight
  • Your riding style
  • Your buggages
  • The terrain and weather where you ride

It’s not finished yet  – means don’t think the suspension is well set up. You have just set up roughly based on the above criteria. You have to check it again and may further require adjustment for perfection, time to time.

Let’s Breakdown the Basics a Bit More

Sag Adjustment

It’s a critical component of your suspension. While street bikes run at 25 to 33 percent sag, road racers typically run at 30 to 35mm of sag. The amount of rebound damping you apply depends on the spring force in your sag. The more sag your bike has, the higher the damping you should apply. A low rebound setting may be enough to give you a dead-sailor feeling.

To measure Sag, turn your shock springs down until they measure 1″ of sag. If the Sag is more than one inch, turn the shock springs up. Once the correct sag is measured, readjust the shocks. The Sag adjuster can be a useful tool in tuning your bike. Here’s how to use it: To determine how much sag your motorcycle needs, place a dust wiper against the shock’s o-ring. The o-ring will mark the stroke of the suspension. Then, use a metal ruler or calipers to determine how much adjustment you need. The shock’s sag is measured in millimeters.

If your motorcycle has less than one inch of sag, you can adjust the shock’s springs to reduce sag. If the Sag is more than one inch, you can turn the shock springs up. To check the sag, turn the shock springs up and down again. The shock must be turned down slightly before adjusting the shock. Then, check the Sag on each cylinder to be sure you’re in the correct setting.


Suspension Preload is a dial that sets the amount of sag in the shock when it’s at rest. It usually controls the damping of the front shock, and the rear suspension’s preload adjuster is usually hidden. This adjuster is crucial for making the bike ride smoother. With an adequate amount of preload, the rear suspension will follow the terrain better and produce a better ride.

To measure the preload in the rear suspension, first mark the strut and rear fender. Next, measure the center of the axle nut. Then, bounce the bike to settle the shock. To get the sag value, subtract the measurement from the sag value to determine the preload. This measurement is your sag value. The sag value is based on the size of the spring and the amount of preload.

Suspension preload is important to get the right ride height and prevent your motorcycle from bottoming out. You must avoid preload that is too high or too low. Lowering the preload of the springs is essential to achieving a smooth ride. To lower the preload, make sure that the ride height of the bike is correct. When adjusting the springs, you may need to lower the front and rear suspension for more comfort.

In addition, preload is a key component of springs. It can make the bike steer like a chopper. A spring with one inch of preload is going to have the same ride height as a 10 inch long one. This is because 100lb of force will be needed to collapse the spring before it can be compressed by the vehicle’s weight. Increasing the preload will reduce the compression of the suspension, which results in a lower ride height.

Compression Damping

Compression damping works by controlling the speed of the shaft of a shock and allowing the spring to use less travel. It is important for handling, combating bottoming out, and smooth riding over bumps. The ideal setting should have a gradual increase in firmness with each compression from light, medium, and hard. You can fine-tune your bike’s suspension by changing the settings between test sessions and over the same road.

The amount of compression damping in a shock depends on how tightly the oil is squeezed through a small hole. It can be soft, slow, or heavy, but it should be proportional to the force applied to the shock. A slow, hard compression damping means the oil flows slowly through the shock. A fast, soft, or heavy compression damping means the oil flows freely. If the damping is too high, the car will not ride as smoothly as it should.

The right amount of compression damping is crucial to the comfort of the rider. Too much or too little compression will result in the front end to bottom out over heavy bumps or aggressive breaking. Insufficient compression can cause the rear end to “sweep” or come around aggressively. A bike’s shock should be adjusted with the oil level in the fork. When adjusting the damping in a suspension, make sure to adjust the lockout.

Rebound Damping

Rebound damping controls the extension of the shock after compression. Without it, the spring will push out a lot of force. This causes wheel bounce and makes riding a bike a very unpleasant experience. Instead of rebound damping, the spring will have a stiffer spring and less energy to release after impact. It also has a greater impact on comfort. Here are some tips to improve your rebound damping. Using a rebound damping tool to adjust your suspension can improve your riding experience.

Rebound damping is important because it controls the amount of suspension movement after compression. It makes the bike feel supple in corners, but harsh over bumps. The rebound damping adjuster is located on the bottom of the shock. By setting this value, you will be able to improve your bike’s ride quality. However, keep in mind that the amount of rebound damping you use will affect the overall performance of the bike.

When fixing your rebound damping, you should consider your riding style and terrain. A faster bike might feel better on easy terrain, but a faster bike will cause sore arms and legs. The speed of your ride will also affect the rebound damping. When riding hard, you should be able to control the amount of movement in the rear. If your suspension is too soft or stiff, it will make your ride uncomfortable and unresponsive.