How important it is to setup your suspension?
Modern motorcycle suspension consists of several variables. Each of these variables can be changed to alter the suspension action. Riders of different weights, heights and skill levels as well as tracks of various terrain require different suspension settings. In general, heavy riders require stiffer settings to keep the suspension up in the travel to absorb a series of bumps as well as resist bottoming. Lighter riders need softer settings to transfer weight in turns and eliminate kicking and deflection.
The idea is to have the suspension soft enough to get good traction by transferring weight front to back and absorb bumps of all types but have it stiff enough to ride high in the plush part of the travel and resist bottoming. To accomplish this, we have several variables to work with. The suspension tuning elements include spring rates and preload, oil viscosity and volume, internal shim and valve body configurations, external adjustments and various optional parts.
The springs control how far the bike rides in its travel with the rider on it. Typically, the bike should settle approximately 1/3 of the travel with the rider in place. This will require softer springs for lighter riders and stiffer springs for heavier riders.
Valving refers to alteration of compression and rebound dampening action by modifying internal piston flow ports and their shim configurations to control fluid flow at various speeds. Proper hydraulic dampening will allow the suspension to absorb small bumps and large impacts while keeping the wheels contacting the track surface as much as possible.
Valving is directly dependant on the spring force in both directions. The two must be set up to work together to provide the most comfort and control.