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Hey guys

I'm thinking about sending my suspension out to get revalved and serviced. I'm 6'1 about 195 and a C level rider. I ride a 14' YZ450f that has about 70 hours on it.

 

I really can't say that I'm at a level that I can notice small changes in suspension as I have changed a few clickers around, set my sag and fork height and never really noticed a huge difference. But I hear from everyone that getting suspension done is a huge help.

 

I've looked at a few different sites and it seems like for around $5-600 I can get a fairly decent service and revalve done. Any suggestions on who to send it to? Anything in particular to ask/tell them about what I want/need (can't say that I really know lol)

 

thanks in advance

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Protune Suspension. Hands down, you'll never beat his pricing and his work is brilliant. I've spent the past 10 years complaining about suspension until exactly a year from now. He has excellent settings for KYB as well as WP. Give him a call and he will ask you everything he needs to know

 

+1 (740) 988-6673

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Hey guys
I'm thinking about sending my suspension out to get revalved and serviced. I'm 6'1 about 195 and a C level rider. I ride a 14' YZ450f that has about 70 hours on it.
 
I really can't say that I'm at a level that I can notice small changes in suspension as I have changed a few clickers around, set my sag and fork height and never really noticed a huge difference. But I hear from everyone that getting suspension done is a huge help.
 
I've looked at a few different sites and it seems like for around $5-600 I can get a fairly decent service and revalve done. Any suggestions on who to send it to? Anything in particular to ask/tell them about what I want/need (can't say that I really know lol)
 
thanks in advance


And for the record clicker adjustment is hardly ever felt, very small changes. That being said if you're fork and shock oil is worn out and older than 20 hours your clickers aren't doing anything at all. A good valving set up be undeniably noticeable

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+1 on worn out oil and bushings if not serviced regularly.

 

Before having it revalved, 

you also have to explain exactly what areas which you find are problematic:

 

-braking bump

-corner exit traction 

-flat landings  

-front end washout

 

etc etc.

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So maybe even just a good service would be somewhere to start. It's hard for me to really pinpoint issues I have with the suspension because I don't know that I have enough seat time to really know what a good set up should feel like? 

 

It seems like the bike hooks up pretty good out of corners, is occasionally harsh on flat landings or coming up short which I kind of expect, could probably handle braking bumps a little bit better as I feel I have little control going over them. 

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Start with new fork oil, seals & bushings (also servicing the inner cartridges) and the shock oil and nitrogen charge before spending on a revalve.

You'll have to search a bit but perhaps at 195lbs your suspension could  require stiffer springs.

 

Yes seat time will change your suspension needs as you'll corner faster

(most bikes don't handle well if not pushed hard enough) and land smoother with gained riding experience.

 

I imagine a 450F is quite a handful for a C level rider, in principal it allows for bad habits to form versus a smaller bike

that requires good cornering to maintain momentum rather than rely on massive torque for corner exits and jumps.

 

Edited by mlatour

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9 hours ago, Ryder Ruschke said:

Hey guys

I'm thinking about sending my suspension out to get revalved and serviced. I'm 6'1 about 195 and a C level rider. I ride a 14' YZ450f that has about 70 hours on it.

 

I really can't say that I'm at a level that I can notice small changes in suspension as I have changed a few clickers around, set my sag and fork height and never really noticed a huge difference. But I hear from everyone that getting suspension done is a huge help.

 

I've looked at a few different sites and it seems like for around $5-600 I can get a fairly decent service and revalve done. Any suggestions on who to send it to? Anything in particular to ask/tell them about what I want/need (can't say that I really know lol)

 

thanks in advance

Like you, I'm an relatively inexperienced rider; actually more so. I'm kicking 56 years old and only been riding MX (or anything dirt bike) for 1 year and 7 months. I started on an 2015 CRF250R and have 160 hours on that bike and now I have a 2017 CRF450R which has 45 hours. So in total just 200 hours of track time in a rather short time.

Pretty much from the beginning it became apparent that suspension setup is critical so I decided to learn about that as best I could. It amazes me the people at the track who don't take the time. I have two riding buddies who both I had to correct their misunderstanding of which way to turn the clickers (fast vs slow). If I can learn to feel the difference in suspension adjustments so can you.

First, dido on all the above about you needing to do some maintenance on your fork and shock if you have not done so already. If your suspension fluids are 70 hours old then they are rather dirty and that dirt is grinding away at your internals. You may just need fluid change but I suspect you need new bushings as well. Do the work yourself as that lets you see inside your fork and shocks so you learn more about how they work. TT forums are great for this as well as youTube videos.

You should be able to feel changes to sag settings quite easily. First a turn or two less sag at a time until you feel the bike change to the point you don't like it. It should start to dive or oversteer in turns; quite possibly you might encounter some head shake as well. Then work the sag in the other direction which should result in understeer, pushing out of ruts, etc. Measure sag during this process so that you know the limits. This will give you working knowledge of how you can change sag and you will find yourself using that for different tracks and different conditions.

Same should apply about fork height. First set your sag to to what you found your best liking via above. Now play with fork height, only a MM or two at a time. You should notice a lot of the same behavior as when you played with your sag. For me I adjusted sag first, when I did not get the bike turning as responsively as I would like it I raised the forks in the clamps a bit until I felt the bike being more responsive then I went back to changing sag.

From what I read about your bike it sounds like the spring rates may not be bad for you, a bit stiffer for a heavier rider. See MXA article http://motocrossactionmag.com/mxas-2014-yamaha-yz450f-motocross-test-when-yamaha-first-went-backwards-they-got-it-backwards-but-now-they-are-straightening-it-out/. MXA evaluates bike on hard and fast tracks so only consider those settings as a possible starting point.

After having sag and fork height set you should move onto the clickers as well. I tuck a screw driver into my boot when I go out on the track to make adjustments. Just like sag you should run the clickers in-and-out until you find the extremes; one at a time. This way you know the ranges you can adjust them too. Word of warning, just be a bit careful as you should start to feel the bike do "bad things". A click or two at a time but keep doing it until you get to the "yea, that's not so good" setting. Then return to the "that felt good setting" and move onto another clicker. After running though all the clickers and making the bike handle like crap, return to your best baseline.

Now the real work begins. Do a few laps or even an complete moto. Then pull off to the side and think how it felt. Then decide what you want to try changing. It's not always suspension changes. It may be your riding position and etc. Make adjustments, rinse and repeat. It's a lengthy process. It's a continuing process as your riding is changing (hopefully for the better). Track conditions and terrain are variable. How one bike reacts vs another bike is different. Expect to occasional get to a point where it's just not right. Then you decide if you want to go back to some good known setting (because you kept a log with notes about changes you made and the outcome it produced) or sometimes you just do a complete reset and start over.

I found a suspension guide on the internet I found really useful. I made a document from that information (credit is given in the document). It's a PDF so I need to figure out how to attach it. In the meantime, the source of the information is at http://dirtbikeresources.com/dirtbikeresources/Suspension/SuspensionTuningGuide. So for example, if I feel the rear end dancing around (deflecting from side to side) going over some breaking or acceleration bumps, I see under "handling-rear end swaps" six items to consider. I can rule out three immediately because I feel like sag is correct (bike is turning nicely in corners) and I'm pretty sure my springs are correct (I've already changed those for my weight and ability). I can rule out another that compression is not too soft because I'm not bottoming when I take a good hit landing a jump so now I'm down to two. I feel that rebound is not too fast as it is not bouncing after a landing and stays nicely squatted exiting turns. So now I have a good guess as to what to try. That is a real case scenario of how I've use that guide for successful results in the past. Sometimes it's not that easy and you have to experiment a bit.

This is my rather long winded way of saying you can get to the point where you can feel changes in your suspension and you can make adjustments to correct.

I just had my 2017 CRF450R re-valved. I used a local suspension tuner. I started out with the conversation of "I'm a beginner so I'm not sure I can tell you, bla, bla, bla" but then dived right into what I felt the bike was doing that I needed to have fixed. For me it was diving through the mid stoke way too fast for not very good reason. So on front wheel heavy landings the bike would get some pretty nasty head shake because it would blow through the stroke and not return quick enough. In addition it always felt like the back end and front end just would not to agree to cooperate coming out of a corner - like riding a sea-saw. God forbid I went into a corner fast and hard. On the shock, I was pretty low on rebound (way in) but meanwhile pretty far out on the HS compression. So I wanted those changed so that I had more room to make adjustments to those settings. Being able to give that information to the suspension tuner was important and I got a bike back that fixed those things. I'm very happy with the changes and the results. However, I had ridden the bike for about 40 hours to get to that point of absolutely knowing what I wanted changed. A more experienced rider would have gotten there in a shorter time but so be it. But for me as the saying goes, it's the journey not the destination. I feel I "know" my suspension of my bike as best I can.

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Couldn't figure out how to attach a PDF so I just pasted the information below. Lost a little bit of formatting niceness but all the content is there. I keep a copy of this printed out so that I have it at the track for reference while riding.

From - http://dirtbikeresources.com/dirtbikeresources/Suspension/SuspensionTuningGuide

Spring Rates

Spring rates are the starting point of your setup. If you want to go fast, the springs have to match your riding weight. Every stock motorcycle suspension is designed for a target weight. Manufacturers typically include information on spring rate selection in their owner's manuals, although this information is often generic. Fortunately, there are resources available such as Race Tech. Race Tech is a well respected and knowledgeable suspension company and provides reference charts to help you find your correct spring rates. You can find information and suspension related products on their website at Racetech.com.

The purpose of the springs is to absorb energy and return the suspension back to the ride height after compression. Furthermore, the springs hold the bike at the correct ride height when loaded statically with you and your gear on the bike in the neutral riding position. Typically, the normal ride height is at a point where the suspension is sagging about 1/3 of its travel (check your manual). It is important to realize that your suspension not only has to absorb an impact, it must also extend when the wheels roll across low spots. Checking and adjusting the ride height is usually referred to as "the sag".

Many rear shock absorbers include a threaded preload adjustment ring so you can set the sag at the rear of the motorcycle. The ring can be turned to increase or decrease the amount of spring preload, thus altering the sag. It is important to note that you can adjust for correct static sag but have incorrect "free sag". Free sag is the amount of sag with no rider on the bike. When the static sag is correct but the free sag is not, the size of the spring is incorrect. For example, too little free sag indicates a spring that is too soft. This is because the spring preload has to be set too high to achieve the correct static sag. In this scenario, the rear suspension will kick upward on rebound because the spring never runs out of energy as the suspension tops out.

Front forks are typically less forgiving when adjusting the springs because there is often no means of adjustment. Regardless, the concept of setting sag is no different than for a rear shock. If forks sag is incorrect, adjustment may be possible with the use of preload washers. If there is too much sag, washers can be added to increase spring preload. In all probability however, the springs would need replaced with ones having a different spring rate. Of course, pneumatic spring forks are now available on some dirt bikes that make spring adjustments simple, using only a pump. However, there are tradeoffs with pneumatically sprung forks, but I do not intend discuss that here.

Damping adjustments

Damping controls the rate at which the suspension compresses and rebounds. Damping is achieved by controlling the flow of oil moving within the suspension as it is compressed or extended. As with spring rates, the amount of damping required depends on rider weight, rider ability and riding style. Damping adjustments are made to allow the suspension to move faster (also referred to as softer) or slower (also referred to as harder). Not all suspensions provide all means of damping adjustments, but most modern motocross bikes do. Additionally, it is important to realize that adjuster locations can vary across models of bikes. Always consult the owner's manual when in doubt.

Typical adjusters are:

·         Slow speed compression

·         High speed compression

·         Slow speed rebound

The slow speed adjusters, commonly referred to as the "clickers", are adjustable flow control valves. Turning the adjusting screw counter clockwise allows more oil to flow and turning the adjusting screw clockwise allows less oil to flow. The slow speed adjusters affect the damping feel of the suspension at all speeds, but they have no effect on the main valving itself. These adjusters can be thought of as fine tuning adjustments. The amount of available damping adjustment is therefore limited.

High speed adjusters are sometimes provided in addition to slow speed adjusters. The high speed adjusters do not affect the main valving, but have a much more pronounced effect than the slow speed adjusters. For example, a single adjustment position on a high speed adjuster may represent a full range adjustment of a slow speed adjuster. Of course, suspension designs vary.

Damping can adjusted beyond the provided external adjusters, but this kind of adjustment requires suspension service and is what is referred to as revalving. If a rider's ability and weight fall within the target design for a particular motorcycle, revalving is generally not needed.

Baseline adjustments

Discussion here assumes a rider is skilled enough that the motorcycle is being ridden correctly with the proper techniques and body position.

Always start by referring to your owner's manual, making sure the adjustments are at the recommended starting position. If you do not have access to an owner's manual, set all of the adjusters to the middle position. Do this by turning adjusters all the way out (seated lightly), then count the clicks (or number of rotations) it takes to fully seat the adjusters all the way in (lightly). Set the adjusters to the middle of the count. Do this for any high speed adjusters also. Generally, there are a few different ways to approach suspension adjustment. In the end, the best result will be a compromise between big hits, rough terrain and cornering. In all cases, there must be good damping balance between the front and the rear.

It is highly advisable you keep a log of the adjustments you make and the effects those results had. It can be a painstaking process but if you are competing seriously, for example, a properly working suspension can make the difference in endurance and speed. Besides, it only makes sense to have a suspension that works correctly.

Test and adjust for big impacts

Carefully ride the bike when testing the adjustments. You must be careful because you don't know what to expect from the suspension's behavior. After getting a feel for the suspension action, start testing impacts. In the end, you need the suspension to perform correctly on the biggest impacts you intend on taking. Do not just go out and mindlessly hit some huge jump! Start small and work up, adjusting the compression adjusters one position at a time until the overall stiffness is satisfactory to your biggest landings or impacts. For your biggest acceptable impacts, the suspension should use the full stroke but not bottom hard. Focus not only on stiffness, but also on the balance between the forks and shock. Pay careful attention to how the bike springs up on rebound. During the testing of your compression, note if the bike has a pogo effect on rebound (front or back). A pogo action is when the suspension accelerates upward on rebound rather than rebounding controllably. If the bike does spring up, turn the appropriate rebound adjuster in one click at a time until the pogo action stops. Note: Typically, the rebound dampening should be as fast as possible, but with good linear control. If you are unable to get the compression stiff enough (or soft enough), you will have to revalve, assuming there are no mechanical problems with your suspension. In the case where there is a high speed adjustment, always adjust the slow speed adjuster first. If the slow speed adjuster must be adjusted all the way in (or out) to get good results, put the slow speed adjuster back to the starting point and adjust the high speed adjuster one increment. Resume testing using the slow speed adjuster.

Test and adjust for cornering

Choose a corner that requires you to use all of the basic cornering skills: Braking coming in, transitioning through the apex and accelerating out. Ride the corner giving careful attention to the attitude of the bike. As you brake coming into the corner, the bike should pitch forward smoothly at a controllable rate. Transitioning through the corner, the front tire should be planted firmly to the ground. As you accelerate out of the corner, the bike should pitch back to it's normal balance without losing front wheel traction. If the bike does not pitch forward when braking into the corner, the balance is not correct between the front and rear suspension, assuming that you are riding the motorcycle correctly. Make adjustments where needed, one click at a time, until the proper cornering manners are achieved. Testing each single adjustment will help to determine if what you are changing is the correct approach. Strive for the best possible balance.

Adjust for bumps, whoops and holes

To adjust for bumps, whoops and holes, you will need to find an appropriate area where you can test your settings. As with adjusting for big hits, the goal is to adjust to the most extreme conditions you intend on riding. Furthermore, you should experiment in different ways such as accelerating out of bumps, braking through bumps and blitzing whoops. You'll need to test this way because you'll find the need to compromise adjustments so the suspension can work the best in all conditions you intend to ride.

Things to keep in mind

Your strategy for tuning the suspension should be based primarily on your ability and riding style. If you ride only trails for example, cornering manners and bump absorption may be your only concerns. On the flip side, if you are a freestyle rider or supercross rider, you may be more concerned about taking big hits. Regardless, keep in mind that damping adjustments are all about controlling the speed of the suspension. Riding very fast across bumpy terrain, for example, would require faster rebound than riding slow across bumpy terrain. The reason is so the wheels can keep contact with the ground as much as possible, but in a controlled manner. If we are to consider jump landings, a harsh landing will require a slower compression setting than a jump landing where there is very little impact. The bigger the hit, the faster the suspension tends to compress. As the hits get bigger, the amount of compression damping required needs to increase.

As I already indicated, damping adjustments are for controlling the speed of the suspension. Clockwise adjustments make the suspension slower. Counterclockwise adjustments make the suspension faster. Softer compression is the same as faster compression which means the suspension compresses in a shorter amount of time for a particular compressive hit. Harder compression is the same as slower compression which means the suspension takes longer to compresses for a given compressive hit. Softer rebound is the same as faster rebound which means the suspension will rebound more quickly. Harder rebound is the same as slower rebound which means it will take longer for the suspension to rebound.

 

Dirt bike suspension tuning guide

This dirt bike suspension tuning guide provides some guidance on what actions to take depending on what problems a bike's suspension exhibits. Realize that proper tuning can only be achieved with proper riding technique, correct spring rates and suspension that is properly maintained. If the suspension is not working correctly to begin with, tuning will have little if any benefit. The same is true if a rider exhibits poor body position while riding. Please refer back to Suspension Adjustment Basics for an overview.

--- CORNERING --- 

Understeer:

Means that a motorcycle is slow to turn. In this case, the bike may tend to drift wide despite the effort of the rider.

·         Forks spring rate too stiff

·         Shock spring rate too soft

·         Incorrect rear sag

·         Forks compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Forks rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Rear shock compression damping too fast (soft)

·         Rear shock rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Triple clamps position too high on forks

Oversteer:

Means that a motorcycle turns too quickly. In this case, the bike may tends to turn too sharply (or dart to the inside) which can disrupt a smooth, controlled arc.

·         Forks spring rate too soft

·         Shock spring rate too stiff

·         Incorrect rear sag

·         Forks compression damping too fast (soft)

·         Forks rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Rear shock compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Rear shock rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Triple clamps position too low on forks

Washing out:

Washing out refers to the front end loosing traction while cornering, causing the rider to lose some or all control.

·         Forks spring rate too stiff

·         Shock spring rate too soft

·         Incorrect rear sag

·         Forks compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Forks rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Shock compression damping too fast (soft)

·         Shock rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Triple clamps position too high on forks

Rear breaks loose accelerating out:

·         Shock spring rate too stiff

·         Incorrect rear sag

·         Shock compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Shock rebound damping too fast (soft)

Front end climbs out of ruts:

·         Forks spring rate too stiff

·         Forks compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Forks rebound damping too fast (soft)

--- HANDLING ---

Head shake:

Is when the front end of the motorcycle deflects side to side in a continuous manner.

Problem occurs slowing down

·         Forks spring rate too soft

·         Shock spring rate too stiff

·         Incorrect rear sag

·         Forks compression damping too fast (soft)

·         Forks rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Rear shock compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Rear shock rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Triple clamps position too low on forks

Problem occurs accelerating

·         Forks spring rate too stiff

·         Shock spring rate too soft

·         Incorrect rear sag

·         Forks compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Forks rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Rear shock compression damping fast (soft)

·         Rear shock rebound damping too too slow (stiff)

 

Rear end swapping:

means the rear of the bike deflects side to side.

·         Shock compression damping way too stiff (rear deflects)

·         Shock compression damping too soft (rear bottoms easily)

·         Shock rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Rear shock spring too stiff (rear deflects)

·         Rear shock spring too soft (rear bottoms easily)

·         Insufficient rear sag

Front end deflects up:

Problem occurs on first bump hit

·         Forks spring rate too stiff

·         Forks compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Forks rebound damping too fast (soft)

Problem occurs on subsequent hits, first bump hit ok

·         Forks spring rate way too soft

·         Forks compression damping way too fast (soft)

·         Forks rebound damping way too slow (stiff)

 

Rear end kicks up:

Problem occurs on first bump hit

·         Rear shock spring rate too stiff

·         Rear shock compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Rear shock rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Insufficient free sag

Problem occurs on subsequent hits, first bump hit ok

·         Rear shock spring rate way too soft

·         Rear shock compression damping way too fast (soft)

·         Rear shock rebound damping way too slow (stiff)

·         Possible excessive sag

Harshness:

The suspension has a jarring effect. Impacts are transmitted to the rider and there is a lack of plusness.

·         Spring rate too stiff (suspension can't move enough)

·         Spring rate way too soft (suspension riding too low)

·         Way too much sag (suspension riding too low)

·         Compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Compression and rebound damping rates not in balance

 

Packing:

The suspension stroke progressively shortens across a series of bumps or whoops because it is unable to return quickly enough after each successive hit.

·         Spring rate too soft

·         Rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Compression damping too fast (soft)

 

--- JUMPING ---

 

Suspension bottoms too easily:

·         Compression damping too fast (soft)

·         Spring rate to soft

·         Low accumulator pressure (where applicable)

·         Low oil level

·         Excessive sag

Bike pitches back off launch:

·         Forks rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Forks spring rate too stiff

·         Excessive gas pressure in forks

·         Insufficient sag (forks)

·         Shock rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Shock compression damping too fast (soft)

·         Shock spring rate too soft

Bike pitches forward off launch:

·         Forks rebound damping too slow (stiff)

·         Forks spring rate too soft

·         Shock rebound damping too fast (soft)

·         Shock compression damping too slow (stiff)

·         Shock spring rate too stiff

·         Insufficient free sag (rear shock)

·         Brakes dragging (front or rear)

Pogo:

Upon landing, after the suspension completes compression stroke, the bike springs up rather than returning to ride height in a controlled manner.

·         Rebound damping rates too fast (soft)

·         Spring rates too stiff

Harshness:

The suspension exhibits a jarring effect. Impacts are transmitted to the rider.

·         Compression damping rates too slow (stiff)

·         Spring rates too stiff

Note: Suspension could also be bottoming out. See "Suspension bottoms too easily".

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If you take the time to call and talk to Corey at Protune or any reputable shop you won't have to come here for a thousand answers. They will walk you through everything and help you best decide what will suit you best. It's a 20 minute phone call that you will greatly benefit from

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Thanks GoneDirtBikeN, your effort is much appreciated. Your post puts a lot of things in a very clear format that will help new and long time riders both. It is very easy to get things a little jumbled or forget some things on a phone call with a tuner. Not everyone communicates perfectly and this includes tuners. Tuners can be as prone to misunderstanding as we laymen are.  And having a copy of the info at the track/trails can be very beneficial. :thumbsup: 

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