front suspension for dummies

How often should you bottom out your front forks? I only do mostly moderate jumps but I am working on going bigger all the time. I tax out my front end on a 5 to 6 foot drop landing on both wheels, flat ground. Is this normal, I only weigh about 165? I dont know the first thing about about adjusting the front suspension so I have never messed with it. I know the 03 450's have smaller forks than the newer bikes, but I dont expect it to matter at amature level trails/ racing. I have been checking out suspension posts but its seems to allways be about the rear sag and I have that set correctly. I have read about people adding oil or changing the oil to a different weight and adjusting the springs, but to me for some reason its seems like a different language.

How do you add or change the oil? How do you adjust the front springs? Is a 6 drop on flat ground just asking for bottoming you front end?

Please advise.


I just had my forks and shocks revalved, there are a myriad of things you can do, shim stack heigth diam. of shims, etc. etc. I suggest finding someone in your area that is very experienced with the "black art" and take your stuff to him and watch and learn.

Fix a zip tie round the fork leg about half way up the chrome stanchion. After riding it should end up pushed down to around 1/2 cm from the bottom. This shows you are using full suspension travel. For mx with big table tops etc.. you should not bottom out the forks more than once per lap max. There is a basic suspension tuning guide on the ohlins site (PDF format). Or borrow some KTM suspension manuals, they have good basic setup info. Or find another rider who seems to have a better setup & "share". Always remember to write down the settings BEFORE they get changed, so you can get back to stock settings if you need to.

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