(909) 838-4587 ed [at] le-suspension.com

The most common suspension adjusters are pre-load, compression and rebound. This is a guide to help you understand what they do.

Springs: Hold up the weight of you and the bike. Think of them as stronger or weaker, not hard or soft.

Pre-load: Only stores energy in a spring, it does not make the spring stronger. More pre-load makes the bike taller only at rest.

Damping: Controls how fast or slow the suspension moves up and down. Think of damping as fast or slow, not hard or soft.

Compression damping controls how fast or slow the suspension gets shorter. Braking, the front of a bump and the start of a turn all compress suspension.

Rebound damping controls how fast or slow the suspension gets taller. Acceleration, the back of a bump and the end of a turn all let the suspension rebound.

Now to turn these ideas into feelings. This is best done at a track day but you can also pick out a mile or so loop with slow and medium speed turns, bumps and smooth bits. Throughout this test you must ride under control and consistently. Crashing is on you.

First ride your loop to set a base. Then ride the same loop with these different changes. You will need to write down what the bike did/how it felt after each ride.

One ride each, set the adjuster back where it was after each test: Forks & shock together. Pre-load out, Pre-load in. Comp out, Comp in. Reb out, Reb in. That’s six rides so far. Now look at your notes. Some changes let the bike move more, some changes make the bike move less. Now you know what they all do and it will be easier for you to find the sweet spot.

Never be afraid to do the wrong thing, you will learn something and you will know to go the other way.

How smart are you? If you make the changes and do the riding, the idea of what you think the bike should do after each change will taint your results. There are six tests here. Ask a friend to make up the order and to repeat two of the tests for a total of eight rides. Now you don’t know what has been changed so your test will yield better data. If you give the same feed back for both of the tests that are repeats you know you are a good test rider. If you don’t, then you need to work on your riding skills. This is your control.

Call me with your questions. If your suspension is stock the changes will be small and sometimes hard to notice. If you have LE suspension the changes will be big and easy to notice.

This is just the beginning. There are many things I left out because you have to start somewhere. The most difficult part is that everything is always changing because the bike is so dynamic.

Work on this Grasshopper and check back here later for the next step.