Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

The little things can mean BIG improvements!


Stillwell Performance

Small details can mean the difference between a bike that is so so versus a stellar performer.

 

So let’s assume you have been out to the track or trail and have come up with some good settings through your testing. (For more info on how to start testing you can refer to an earlier article by Stillwell Performance on Thumper Talk entitled “Tuning Your Suspension-Where To Start?”).

 

Once you establish good, baseline settings you can start digging into the smaller details. As always, your testing should be done in a controlled environment and at a speed less than your best Bubba Stewart impersonation. The adjustments listed below can DRASTICALLY alter the feel of your bike, so take it easy at first!

 

There are several things you should pay attention to:

 

• Your sag setting can drastically alter how the bike feels. On current model bikes like YZ-F’s, CRF’s and SX-F’s for example the chassis balance is critical to turning, rear wheel hookup and overall feel of the bike. 2-3mm here can mean the difference between a plush ride and a hacky feeling. Learn how to correctly set your sag (and make sure your buddy reading the sag scale has his glasses on, lol!).

 

• Look at your tire pressures. On the front, for example a tire that is too hard can cause deflection and a harsh ride. Last week we were testing in the Colorado Mountains and one of the riders was complaining about his bike bouncing off of rocks. Nothing had changed from the previous day when he was quite happy with his settings-except he had adjusted tire pressure. When we checked the pressure it was at 20 PSI, up from 12 the day before! Turns out he was in a hurry and misread the gauge. That increase turned his perfect front end into a skitter-scatter ride. Too little pressure and you can experience front end push or tuck. Find a pressure that works for you and make sure it stays consistent. We run 12-13 PSI in the front when testing. NOTE: Check it during the day, Colorado is cold in the AM and hot in the PM many days-you can see pressure build up during this time!

 

• Note where your rear axle is adjusted. Running the axle far forward will make the wheelbase shorter, can make turning sharper and can also make the bike want to wheelie easier on uphill climbs. With the axle far back you will notice an increase in stability at speed and sometimes a bit slower turning. Also-if you are using the axle or axle blocks as a starting measuring point for your sag calculation this measurement will change when you adjust the axle!

 

• Where your forks ride in the top triple clamp is important. Flush with the top means a bit more stability, and possibly less sharpness in turning. Moving the tubes up in the clamps can increase how sharp the bike turns but can also create headshake at speed. There is no right or wrong here, and each bike can be different. I would suggest trying them flush, then pulled up in the clamps 3-4mm. Ride the same terrain and compare.

 

• Like the above tip, some bikes have triple clamps that can be moved forward or backwards to either pull the head angle back or push it away. In general, less offset means sharper turning and more offset helps with stability. This is not an absolute so test it out if your bike has this option. The 2010 KTM SX/XC models for example went from an adjustable 18/20 offset clamp to a fixed 22mm clamp. It not only made the bike more stable (which you would expect) it also made it turn better. Weird but true. Test, test, and test some more to see what feels best to you.

 

• Look at smaller things like the position of your bars-some guys feel better with them back, some forward. The key here is how much weight do you transfer to the front end and what effect does that have on the bike? One of our sponsored riders, Ex World and GNCC Champ Shane Watts runs a very neutral bar position. One of our other pro riders, ISDE Junior Trophy Team rider Ian Blythe wants his bar setup further back as he feels he can transfer more weight to the front tire in turns, increasing traction and feel. Try some different bar positions and see what feels best for you.

 

• Bleed the air from your forks. I drove from Denver (5200ft.) to Pitkin, CO (9100 ft.) with a new 2011 KTM last week to test. When we had set up the forks in Denver we bled the air. In the first 10 miles of testing the forks were feeling hard. Popped the bleeder screws and I’ll bet 15 PSI of air came out of each leg! Presto, instant plushness.

 

Just like that last point above; don’t overlook the small stuff if you really want to make your suspension the best it can be.

 

Take your time and have fun!

 

Keep It Pinned,

 

Alan Stillwell
http://www.stillwellperformance.com

Sign in to follow this  


User Feedback

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



Guest
This is now closed for further comments

  • Similar Content

    • By Bryan Bosch
      The Four Stroke Dirt Bike Engine Building Handbook is the most comprehensive guide to at-home dirt bike engine building available. The process of building four strokes to race engine quality in your own garage is explained in-depth in this thoroughly illustrated handbook. 

      With the highly tuned state of the modern four-stroke dirt bike engine, correctly building a strong and reliable engine is becoming increasingly complicated. Unless you've been brought up in a world surrounded by engineers and engine building professionals, having the correct knowledge at your fingertips is nearly impossible. That's why we created this handbook for you. Brought to you by powertrain engineer, Paul Olesen, this book contains up-to-date professional knowledge and hands-on tips currently used in the industry. 

        Containing 250 full color pictures, 300 pages of step-by-step instruction, and detailed technical knowledge that can be applied to any make and model, this book is a trusted guide for any expert or beginner. If you have a thirst to learn more about how your engine works and a desire to correctly disassemble or assemble an engine to professional standards, you will benefit greatly from this book. 

        If you just want to build your engine back up to stock spec, you are covered. If you want to go the extra mile and prepare a racing engine, you are also covered. In a way this book allows you to choose your own ending by giving you all the tools and knowledge you need to complete your build at whatever level you decide.
      The book will be sent right to your email inbox and available to download to your home computer or mobile phone so you can start learning instantly. 
       
      http://www.diymotofix.com
         
    • By WideningArc1
      PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
       
      The best possible suspension set-up for each track is most often what decides the winner. The PODIUM® RC3 gives riders unsurpassed suspension performance along with the ability to fine tune to the perfect setting quicker and easier than ever before. FOX's proprietary external adjustments allow riders to independently dial in the optimum amount of high- and low-speed compression, rebound, and bottom-out control, completely independent of each other.
       
      FEATURES/TECHNOLOGIES
      Adjustable Bottom-Out Control  (B.O.C.) to change the end of travel damping without affecting the first 3/4 of travel F.A.S.T. (Fast Adjust Spring Technology) preload device Dual compression adjuster with huge range of adjustment DLC coated shaft Exotic, proprietary coatings on shock body and reservoir to enhance durability and significantly reduce stiction High flow, Off-Road racing truck inspired damping piston ADJUSTMENTS
      - Bottom-Out Control (B.O.C.) - 24 clicks - Spring Preload with new F.A.S.T.  preload device - High Speed Compression - 24 clicks - Low Speed Compression - 24 clicks - Rebound - 24 clicks SPRING
      Coil APPLICATIONS
      Motocross Racing  
    • By jjast
      KEY FEATURES
       
      The only 100% digital wideband air/fuel ratio technology!
      Water Resistant 52mm (2 1/16”) round dash-mountable casing is perfect for automotive, powersports, marine, and demanding racing applications
      Built-in Direct Digital™ Wideband Controller reduces wiring and simplifies installation (No LC-1 required)
      Wideband O2 Sensor is compatible with all fuel types (Leaded, Unleaded, Diesel, Methanol, E85, etc)
      Ability to calibrate O2 sensor for increased accuracy
      (2) 0-5v fully programmable linear analog outputs for use with engine management systems “closed-loop” and external dataloggers
      Interchangeable faceplates and bezels: Black and silver bezel, black and white faceplates included
      Large digital readout and programmable “Digital Needle” provides the functionality of a needle style gauge with the pinpoint accuracy of a digital display
      Datalog using LogWorks on your PC
      Serial IN and OUT ports allows for easy connection with other Innovate MTS and other devices
    • By essin
      GENERAL INFORMATION
       
      Enzo Racing offer performance upgrading coatings to the inner and outer tubes to reduce frictions. Using specific surface treatments for steel and aluminum, the side load frictions is reduced dramatically. Both of these surface treatments are used by Factory YAMAHA and KAWASAKI teams.

      For the outer aluminum tubes we offer KASHIMA coating which is a proprietary treatment offered only in Japan. KASHIMA coating is a very hard and low friction treatment applied to aluminum and is used by many factory teams. Enzo Racing offers high level KASHIMA coating treatment to stock front fork outer tubes.

      For the steel inner tubes, we use DLC (Diamond like Carbon) treatment. This is easily identified by its black color. This treatment comes production on the '07/'08 KXF450. DLC coated inner tubes greatly reduce the friction, which provides smoother action over sharp impacts and overall performance. The DLC coating is also harder and smoother than the standard chrome, and resists nicks from stones that can create sharp dings in the surface which in turn damages the oil seals that can turn into leaks. Included in the cost we also offer hard anodizing to the axle brackets.
    • By ThumperTalk
      Puncture resistant, crush proof, highdensity polyethylene makes it the toughest fuel container available
      Versatile bracket with 1/4in. turn action knob allows for quick and easy removal
      C.A.R.B. and EPA certified
      Custom design base plate incorporation built-in KXP mounting system
×