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Suspension or Steering Dampener

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OK, I have a limited amount of money at the moment and need help. I have an 09 XCW and only have about 500.00 to spend at the moment. Would it be better to pay to have the suspension re-done as I know I need a stiffer rear spring and I'm sure the front forks could use some help as well or would it be better to pay for a stearing dampner? What are your thoughts, I'm a solid B rider and tip in at 180 without gear. I live in the west and ride Stony / Georgetown etc.. type of trails.

Thanks for the info!!!:thumbsup:

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definately the suspension!!! :thumbsup: even if its just the different springs and an oil change.

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always susp first, get used springs and start with that and no revalve til you ride it agin and you may be happy.

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I have the same bike and just threw stiffer fork and shock springs in it and it made a huge difference. I also went with a progressive rear spring and have been very happy with the results. I've also never used a dampener, so take that for what it's worth, but you can't beat proper suspension setup.

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Being that the 09 stuff is pretty dern good stock, for $500, you can likely change the oil in the forks, get springs, AND a damper....if you are frugal, buying used springs and a used damper. Might even have enough left to have the shock serviced depending on the hours on the bike.

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I'll agree that your suspension should come first, but don't be so fast to discount the steering damper. It sounds like your weight is in the range for the standard springs, so all you should need is a suspension service, which will probably leave you almost enough for new damper, and plenty for a used one. If you can do the forks yourself, you will save even more money.

I don't really get the point about steering dampers "masking" suspension problems. If your bike works better with one, what's the problem???? It's just another means to the end of getting a fast race bike.

In my personal experience, I never used a damper until I got my first KTM--a new 09 SX revalved for HS racing right off the showroom floor. Despite the services of a very reputable suspension shop, and lots of phone time and tuning and adjusting, the bike turned in the woods like it was on rails, but scared the crap out of me in 4th and 5th gear sections. If I tuned for more stability, then it wouldn't turn the way I wanted it to. Well, after a couple of months of this and some real scares, I slapped on a Scott's stabilizer. Problem solved instantly, and I actually won my class in the HS series that year!

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I'll agree that your suspension should come first, but don't be so fast to discount the steering damper. It sounds like your weight is in the range for the standard springs, so all you should need is a suspension service, which will probably leave you almost enough for new damper, and plenty for a used one. If you can do the forks yourself, you will save even more money.

I don't really get the point about steering dampers "masking" suspension problems. If your bike works better with one, what's the problem???? It's just another means to the end of getting a fast race bike.

In my personal experience, I never used a damper until I got my first KTM--a new 09 SX revalved for HS racing right off the showroom floor. Despite the services of a very reputable suspension shop, and lots of phone time and tuning and adjusting, the bike turned in the woods like it was on rails, but scared the crap out of me in 4th and 5th gear sections. If I tuned for more stability, then it wouldn't turn the way I wanted it to. Well, after a couple of months of this and some real scares, I slapped on a Scott's stabilizer. Problem solved instantly, and I actually won my class in the HS series that year!

I have ridden my 200 with and without a damper. I had the susp dialed and had no need, didn't get headshake, deflection, or anything. I had them in the past, but didn't feel the need. However, when I started racing again, pushing the pace, the damper gave me that added split second of reaction time.

I agree that a damper really has nothing to do with suspension, except for headshake at speed, and I believe that can be tuned out with proper set up. It can be tough sometimes, but it can be accomplished.

What I like about the Scotts is that I can tone down the low speed so it doesn't affect me in the trees, keeping the high speed there to help with the big hits.

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I have ridden my 200 with and without a damper. I had the susp dialed and had no need, didn't get headshake, deflection, or anything. I had them in the past, but didn't feel the need. However, when I started racing again, pushing the pace, the damper gave me that added split second of reaction time.

I agree that a damper really has nothing to do with suspension, except for headshake at speed, and I believe that can be tuned out with proper set up. It can be tough sometimes, but it can be accomplished.

What I like about the Scotts is that I can tone down the low speed so it doesn't affect me in the trees, keeping the high speed there to help with the big hits.

I do the same with my Scotts. It is set so that it is unobtrusive for turning in the tight stuff, but it sure does calm the bike in the rough stuff. The bike makes a big difference. When I first got the Scotts I was so excited about the performance that I was going to buy a mount kit for my RM (which is ridden in similar conditions) and just switch it between bikes. With more back-to-back riding however, I decided the RM does not need it. I think it would help the RM (and I would put one on if I raced the RM more), but the RM never scares me the way the KTM did.:thumbsup:

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When i brought my new bike home i instantly took the suspension off and down the road to my suspension guy for a re-valve and re-spring. All other parts come after that. To me that is how important the suspension is.

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I have tried to set up the sag correctly but with the spring in the back I can't get it to work so I'm sure I need a new rear spring to start. With that said should I have the entire rear shock serviced? I have about 840 miles on the bike and again I'm a B rider, not going 4th or 5th gear through the woods too much but I do ride some decent rough conditions in 3rd.

As for the front I have read that the XCW forks (09) are known to be "harsh" and after softening the clickers way up I think it's much better than stock but I'm thinking in the right hands it could be WAY better. Do I need new front fork springs too? I'm hoping different valves and oil along with oil level could be all I need but I need some help.

Thanks for the advice, I think I'm going to do the suspension first and then save over the summer to get the dampner as I think it will only add the feel and speed I can get to.

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Websites for companies like Factory Connection and MXTech have spring rate calculators, so you can compare what your bike has (look in the manual) vs. what they suggest.

Since you are racing, try to bum a ride off a couple of guys that have had their suspension serviced, and see what you think. Find out who the local tuners are that are familiar with your race conditions.

I agree that suspension is the most important thing to spend money on for racing, but I don't agree with revalving a bike immediately, unless you are using the bike for something other than its intended purpose (for example, I knew my SX would never see an MX track, so I had it revalved before I even rode it). Make sure you have fully explored the stock valving and settings. After all, the manufacturer has put far more time, money and effort into developing those settings for the bike than your local tuner has! My RM never received a revalve when it was used on MX tracks, and I always thought it worked pretty well, even compared to guys who had spent a lot of money on suspension.

To add a final complication, since you are a racer, remember that what "feels" fast may not be producing the fastest lap times. For example, my revalved KTM suspension has never felt as good to me as my revalved Honda CR 250 suspension, but my lap times (and race finishes) have been consistently better on the KTM, so I'm leaving the settings alone for now!

I guess I would just proceed cautiously with a local tuner who has a good reputation.

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I have tried to set up the sag correctly but with the spring in the back I can't get it to work so I'm sure I need a new rear spring to start. With that said should I have the entire rear shock serviced? I have about 840 miles on the bike and again I'm a B rider, not going 4th or 5th gear through the woods too much but I do ride some decent rough conditions in 3rd.

As for the front I have read that the XCW forks (09) are known to be "harsh" and after softening the clickers way up I think it's much better than stock but I'm thinking in the right hands it could be WAY better. Do I need new front fork springs too? I'm hoping different valves and oil along with oil level could be all I need but I need some help.

Thanks for the advice, I think I'm going to do the suspension first and then save over the summer to get the dampner as I think it will only add the feel and speed I can get to.

With regularly riding, once a year is good for most for service. The rear will affect the front and you may find once you get the rear right, the front will feel better. I could make my forks feel like crap by putting one too many turns of preload on my shock.

Learn how the valving works on a bike if you can. By softening up the compression clickers you can actually make the bike harsher by allowing the fluid to bypass the valving stack, having lots of bleed by. then when pressure peaks and finally goes thru the stack, you get a spike in pressure, or a harsh feeling. The other thing is that the valving is a series of shims, stacked in a certain order that flex as fluid passes thru the piston. Also remember that the midvalve stack sits opposite the rebound stack and is affected by the rebound clickers. Softening up the rebound affects compression performance on the small stuff.

IF it was my bike, I would

-rear spring, set correct sag and clickers to suit (the rear drives the front)

-fork springs if needed and definitely change the oil, set clickers just a little softer than stock, experiment to fine tune.

-used Scotts damper, in that order.

Then after some time experimenting with clickers, if I couldn't get it where I wanted it would I have it revalved to suit.

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With regularly riding, once a year is good for most for service. The rear will affect the front and you may find once you get the rear right, the front will feel better. I could make my forks feel like crap by putting one too many turns of preload on my shock.

Learn how the valving works on a bike if you can. By softening up the compression clickers you can actually make the bike harsher by allowing the fluid to bypass the valving stack, having lots of bleed by. then when pressure peaks and finally goes thru the stack, you get a spike in pressure, or a harsh feeling. The other thing is that the valving is a series of shims, stacked in a certain order that flex as fluid passes thru the piston. Also remember that the midvalve stack sits opposite the rebound stack and is affected by the rebound clickers. Softening up the rebound affects compression performance on the small stuff.

IF it was my bike, I would

-rear spring, set correct sag and clickers to suit (the rear drives the front)

-fork springs if needed and definitely change the oil, set clickers just a little softer than stock, experiment to fine tune.

-used Scotts damper, in that order.

Then after some time experimenting with clickers, if I couldn't get it where I wanted it would I have it revalved to suit.

So softening rebound will also soften compression on the small stuff?

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I wont ride the woods here without a damper, unless you wanna meet trees at high speed, but for me it's just a matter of getting a new mount, so the expense is not so high

I use mine to keep trees from ripping the bars out of my hands, it's really got nothing to do with suspension, the trees are impossible to avoid all the time on singletrack here, it takes a LOT of the scary out of hitting trails where the trees have no bark left.

All that said I like my single track bike setup to headshake if I dont run a damper, I drop the forks or raise the rear until it would scare most people from the west coast

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