Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks…

DICLAIMER – all that is relayed here is that which works for the Dude and may not work for everyone. Some of these things are pretty low-tech and easily executed by all, while others may seem a bit more complex and perhaps difficult to understand. Common sense is required, and if you feel you lack this quality (or have been repeatedly told you do) then perhaps this page is not for you. Though most (if not all) of what is noted below may prove helpful in the enhancement of your riding experience – should something go slightly or even horribly wrong, you have the right to contact the Dude and let him know about it…but that’s about it.

Saggin’ with the Dude…

Have you got your Sag properly adjusted on your bike? Do you know how to adjust & properly set your Sag? Are you confused by the question – no clue what I’m talking about? If you are, don’t feel bad because most riders don’t make this crucial adjustment. “Crucial” you ask? Yes. I could write volumes on why setting up your suspension makes all the difference in the World, but let’s just start by setting up your Sag. In simple terms, Sag is the difference between your suspension being fully extended and the amount it compresses when you’re on it ready to ride – this is often referred to as “ride-Sag”. It’s been my experience that most riders never adjust this, and just learn to ride the bike as it came.  Generally your ride-Sag should be about one third of your total travel. Most modern motorcycles have shock preload adjustment, and some even have external fork preload adjustment. In fact many bikes have compression and rebound adjustments as well, but for now let’s stick to ride-Sag. I’ll keep it as simple as I can, here’s a little illustration I’ve put together showing the basic formula…
You must first start off with knowledge of what your total travel is. Start by jacking your bike up high enough to lift the rear tire off the ground, then measure from your axle to a sprung point on the frame vertically above it. This is your extended measurement (“A” in the illustration). Next you’ll need your fully compressed or “bottomed out” measurement (“B” on the illustration) to get your true wheel travel. You could remove the spring(s) from your shock (or forks if doing the front sag) and with the shock re-installed measure the vertical travel of the axel from full extension to completely bottomed out, then subtract that from the extended measurement – this would be your full travel (less any compression of your bottoming stop or compression of any top-out spring or mechanism – but let’s keep it simple). Problem with this is most people don’t have the resources to remove the spring from the shock(s), and the same goes for the fork springs. So a shortcut would be to look up the travel online, it’s often available on the manufacture’s website under the specifications for your particular model – or on one of many websites or forums. The only problem is often these numbers vary a bit, so if you don’t physically measure it yourself try to get as many references as possible and look for the most commonly repeated one – it’s likely pretty close. So armed with this number, figure out what one third of it is – this will be your “target ride sag” number. Lower the bike back to the ground (with the springs re-installed if you removed them) and sit on it while balancing yourself in a manner that you have the least amount of weight on the ground. While doing this, have someone take a measurement between the same points you’ve been using (“C” in the illustration). Subtract this measurement from the extended measurement – this is your actual ride-sag.
Is it different from your target ride sag number? If it’s higher that means your suspension is sagging too much and you need to turn your spring preload up. If the actual ride-sag is less than the target number, you need to turn your spring preload down. The same process should be done with your forks, measuring the travel from the axle to the lower triple-clamp (rather than vertically), applying the on third of your total wheel travel target sag number and either adding or reducing preload as needed. This may require shortening or fabricating preload spacers. Will it make a difference? You bet. Why? Well again in simple terms, for suspension to be optimized it must be able to work in both directions – it needs to be able to compress over a bump AS WELL as extend when the riding surface drops away from the bike. Try it; I think you’ll like it.

Maxi-Sweatband…

If you’ve ever been riding on a hot day and had some sweat drip down into your eyes, you know it stings. One easy way to remedy this is to stick a feminine protection panty-liner to the inside of your helmet do that it rest on your forehead when you put the helmet on. If you’re wearing googles, the pad can be affixed to brow of them instead. This is amazingly effective and relatively cost effective. After your ride, simply throw it away and replace it with another for your next ride. I discovered this will off-road racing, but found it useful anytime one may be perspiring while they ride. I suggest the smallest most inconspicuous ones you can find, and expect some razzing when someone notices them…until they give it some thought or a try.

got a Tip to share?…

Or maybe a comment or question on something here?…tell the Dude