Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Track vs. The Trail: How Do I Tune For That???


Stillwell Performance

More and more we see suspension jobs coming through the shop with the requirement “give me a setup that works for off road, and an occasional track day”.

Think about it-off road race series are incorporating more MX tracks than ever before, and having a bike that can handle both is increasingly important. Or, if you live in colder areas of the country like we do, the tracks might be your only option to get a mid winter ride in.

So here is a general primer for what you should do to set up your off road machine up for the MX track:

• SAG-Double check your rear sag. As always, do this before you make any adjustments. Unless the track is mostly sand, your off road sag setup should work fine. Deep sand/sand whoops favors a bit more sag (3-5mm in most cases)

• SPRING RATES-The ideal pure off road setup will run on the soft side for the track. Higher speed jump faces on an MX track tend to make off road bikes “blow through” the suspension, especially on the front end. If your bike has adjustable preload on your forks, this is an easy way to get a bit more firmness without changing springs. Dial it in (clockwise). Most bikes with this feature have an adjustment range of 1mm of preload per one complete rotation of the nut. Check your manual for specifics. If you are doing several months of track riding during the winter, it is worth it to swap fork springs for a set 1-2 steps stiffer. You can also raise your fork oil height/volume to better resist bottoming. Add oil in 10cc increments.

• CLICKERS-For MX you will want to add compression to both ends of the bike. As a baseline, start with 3-4 clicks stiffer on fork compression, and the same on your shock low- speed compression. For shock high-speed compression (if your bike has that adjustment) you will want to increase/stiffen by .25-.75 turns. This will help hold the back end of the bike up when hitting obstacles and jumps on the track. For rebound, the general rule is to slow/stiffen both ends as well. Do this by feel, if your bike is landing from jumps and giving you a “bouncing back” sensation the rebound is too fast. Go with smaller increments of adjustment, 1-2 clicks at a time until the bike feels planted when you land.

As always, take it easy when changing any suspension settings. Get a feel for what the bike is doing before playing RC out there. Have fun!

Keep It Pinned,

Alan Stillwell

http://www.stillwellperformance.com


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


User Feedback


There are no comments to display.



Guest
This is now closed for further comments

  • Similar Content

    • By DH893
      Hey all,
      My brother bought a used 2018 KTM 350 SXF and when he tries to set the air pressure on the fork, the reading jumps around and is very difficult to get it to settle at the desired pressure. It is not the pump, as it works just fine on his 2017 250 SX. Any ideas what could be going on here?
    • By joelpotter
      Attempting to change the fork seals due to a leak in one fork on my 1984 Honda XR500R with Showa mg3-771 forks. My dust seals don't look anything like the youtube videos, photos, forums that I have researched. Also researched this specific fork and found nothing. Also I can only find information about models relatively close to my bike(XR350, XR400, XR600), but not exact. My dust seals seem to be permanently attached to the inside of the fork tube, probably some adhesive and has a foam ring underneath it that is deteriorating, hence the leak. Anyone have any ideas how to change the fork seals without removing the dust seal? Also noticed that the foam ring should be under the white plastic washer, not on top of, when compared to my other fork tube that is not leaking.
       
      Left Fork: Leaking, foam ring on top of white plastic washer
      Lef
       
      Right Fork: Not leaking, foam ring under white plastic washer

    • By noja83
      Hi all. This is my first time posting here, been using this wonderful resource for some time though. So a brief introduction and question. I got back into riding a few years ago after a long time  away.  A couple years ago I picked up a new to me 2009 KTM 200 XC-W. I've had a lot of fun the last two seasons riding the bike, but even after a fair amount of riding and getting more comfortable on the bike, it still feels really tall and really stiff.  I ride trail and single track, some pretty steep and rocky trails here in northern CO. No MX, racing, or big jumps.
      I've spent a considerable amount of time on hold and emailing suspension companies trying to get recommendations with no response. So hopefully you knowledgeable folks here can help me out.
      I was told by the previous owner the bike was set up for a 190lb rider. I weigh maybe 140 soaking wet. I've played with the clickers and have a lower seat but the suspension seems too far out of the range for a person as light as I am. I've torn the forks down for seals and replaced a damper rod tube that had 80% of the threads snapped off where the fork cap / reb adjuster screws on (probably that 190lb previous owner going all Lennie form Mice and Men on it) causing the adjuster rod to be bottomed out just to get the cap on two threads and the clicker on the cap to be stuck. 
      I'm an experienced mechanic and have no issues with the forks and can get the shock spacer added and serviced / charged with nitrogen locally.
      My question is on spring rates. Racetech's calculator gives me .359 fork and P5 progressive rate shock. Do I want to go up in rate much from there when lowering 1" all around?
      Here's my plan, based solely on the racetech calculator and my measurements from when I had the forks apart, so your thoughts and experience here are very much appreciated.   
      Stock spring dimensions are 43.2 x 508 x .41. The rate in there now is unknown.
      I plan on using Racetech 42.7 x 493 in a .38 spring rate. That's .6 in shorter, There's enough shims up top to remove to get correct preload with an inch lowering spacer at the bottom.
      For the rear stock is 8.4 rate. I can't find any marks to guess what's in there right now. I am planning to use the P5 from racetech, again based on their calculator.
      Sorry for the long winded post, I'm a mechanic raised by a machinist and I've been trying to work this out for a while.
       
      Thanks in advance,
      Noah 
       
    • By Cubes
      Hey Everyone,
      I have just recently gotten back into riding, and I have been trying to get my sag set on my bike.  I have a 2005 RMZ 450.  The manual calls for 104mm of rider sag. I am a bigger guy, 6ft and 320lbs.  I know the spring that is currently on the bike is stiffer than stock, but I am not sure what the rating is on it. 
      I currently have the bike set at 120mm rider sag, and 10mm static sag.  I know this means that my spring is too soft, and I need to go to a heavier spring.  However, I probably wont be able to switch out the spring for awhile. 
      So for now, what is the best sag setting with my current spring?  Should I try to get rider sag closer to 104mm, or should I worry more about raising my static sag? I do mostly trail riding and I am a novice. Will messing around with adjustments on the rear shock help?
    • By 06thumpstarpro
      I just picked up a 2006 Thumpstar 125 and I want to upgrade the rear shock to accomodate my weight. I'm 6'1" and just about 300lbs. My bike has the A style or triangle style swing arm. There's some decent looking 1200lb rear shocks on ebay or there's the Fast Ace 550lb rear shock on Tbolt which says is for A style swing arms. My question is, would the 1200lb rear shock be the way to go for a guy like me even on the A style setup? Also would a 280mm shock work? And does the shock have to be A style specific or not?