Dirt Bike Suspension -- Front Forks
Adjusting the suspension on today’s dirt bikes isn’t difficult. This gives you a chance to adjust things to suit your riding style – from Sunday morning ditch-banging, to grueling trails, to motocross racing.
You have two suspension areas to work with – the front and the rear. Since it’s a VERY good idea to adjust only one area at a time, one small setting at a time, let’s start at the front of your dirt bike.
On the top of the front forks (or sometimes the bottom – check your manual) you’ll see a screw or clicker. There’s a good chance that it’ll be labeled S and H, for soft and hard.
BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, RECORD THE CURRENT SETTINGS. If you completely screw things up you can just reset everything to your starting point.
The screw direction is similar to any other screw or bolt – righty tighty, lefty loosey. If you turn the screw clockwise, or towards the 'H', the action of the fork will harden. The opposite is also true – turn the screw counterclockwise and the action will soften.
Since you may not feel the difference a small adjustment makes, try a couple of sample large ones. Take a ride with both clickers dialed all the way in, and then another with them set all the way out. NOTE: full hard isn’t good for the lifespan of your suspension, so make sure you back it off after your test run.
On the bottom of the forks, you should see the rebound adjuster. If you read the terminology article, you’ll know this controls how quickly the suspension “bounces back” to its extended position after being compressed. A harder (clockwise) setting slows down the rebound – good for bigger, rounded obstacles and rolling terrain. A softer (counterclockwise) setting increases rebound speed for rougher riding.