Dirt bike front suspension
Maybe I’m wrong in thinking this way; but I never put much effort into fine tuning the front suspension on my other bikes. For example, on my 74 Z1, I bought progressive suspension brand front springs, put them in with the pvc spacers… it was stiffer, so I thought, “cool, feels good, done”. I didn’t technically measure preload. Anything was better than before so it was an improvement and I was happy.
On the dirt bike, I feel like it matters more to attempt to tune the suspension. Ya know… Jumping shit. Wheelies past friends.
On my 1979 IT250 here’s what I did
- Racetech front springs: .43kg stiffness. I weigh 175 on a good day. I said it before but Racetech is great since you can choose different spring rates.
- Terry Kit vintage dampening rods. eBay find. Apparently these give you 1″ more of fork travel and make for a more plush ride at high speed on bumps? Can’t find much info.
- I set preload to just under an inch
- used 300mm of 20 weight fork oil
- new all balls fork seals
So will these improvements make the IT feel better? Who the fuck knows. I want to see how it feels without doing modern front $200 Racetech emulator cartridges.
Front combined with my beefed up rebuilt YZ250 rear monoshock should be good.
So how exactly do you measure preload? It’s pretty simple. When you screw the top cap on, it’s how much you are compressing the fork spring. My manual calls for about half inch but I went with just under an inch. Preload below.
Below vid shows how soft my forks were before. I could compress with 1 hand. I was going to show an after video but it’s almost stiff to the point I can’t compress with 1 hand.
Below pic is from Racetech website… The Terry kit dampening rods had less holes, but the holes were bigger I think? I find the dampening rods the most confusing part.
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Published - Jan 31, 2013
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