How to Adjust Your Motorcycle Suspension

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How to Adjust Your Motorcycle Suspension

While some motorcycle owners purchase their bikes fully equipped and have them serviced by professionals, others take pleasure in customising their motorcycles, adding new parts and upgrading existing parts, and servicing the motorcycle themselves. In addition to routine maintenance tasks, such as changing the engine oil and replacing tyres and brakes as needed, motorcycles sometimes require suspension adjustments to keep the bike running smoothly and provide a safe riding experience for the operator.

History of Motorcycles

It was not until World War I that motorcycles began to gain in popularity. They were used by the military during the war for a variety of purposes, including delivering correspondence and in combat situations. Many of the companies that began producing motorcycles in the early years are still respected names in the industry. Motorcycle manufacturers produce several models, including touring bikes and racing motorcycles, in a variety of sizes to appeal to a wide range of consumer preferences. Manufacturers are continually improving the designs by reducing the weight of the bikes, creating more compact parts and accessories, and boosting power. Motorcycle manufacturers also continually look for ways to improve the aerodynamics, make bikes safer, and provide a smoother ride by improving the suspension system.

Purpose of a Motorcycle Suspension System

Motorcycle suspensions serve two purposes: helping the motorcycle’s handling and braking as well as providing a smoother ride. The suspension system does this by absorbing some of the impact from bumps in the road as well as the impact experienced when a rider presses on the brakes. Motorcycle suspension systems can be adjusted by a process known as damping, which involves adjusting the tension of the spring so that it can absorb more impact.

Adjusting Your Motorcycle Suspension

Before attempting to adjust a motorcycle suspension, the owner should locate the handbook or manual that came with the bike. If an aftermarket suspension system has been installed on the bike, the owner should use the information provided in that manual to determine which components can be adjusted and how to do so.

Adjusting Preload

A motorcycle sags due to the weight of the bike itself as well as the weight of the rider. While this is normal and expected, there should be some sag left over to allow the bike to absorb the impact of bumps. To figure out how to set the preload properly, one must first take a few measurements. First, the owner should prop the bike up on the centre kickstand, or if a kickstand is not installed, find another way to lift the weight of the bike off the tyres. Once this has been done, individuals need to measure the distance between the rear axle and a fixed point above it, such as a bolt.

Front Damping

Some motorcycles offer only one way to adjust damping on each suspension system, the front and rear, while others offer separate compression and rebound adjustments for each of the suspension systems. Before adjustments can be made, individuals need to consult the motorcycle’s manual and determine which types of settings are available for the suspension system. One may need to adjust the front and rear damping separately, and doing so may require some test driving to determine the settings one is comfortable with.

Rear Damping

When adjusting the rear damping, individuals should use the same logic they used with the front suspension. If the compression is too hard, the bike may slide along the road surface especially when a bump or uneven surface is encountered. If the compression is too soft, the bike may seem weighted down when the rider is accelerating rapidly.

Shopping for Motorcycle Suspension Systems

Motorcycle owners who have attempted to adjust their suspension systems, or have them adjusted by a mechanic, may discover that they are still not happy with the suspension even after adjustments have been made. These individuals may want to consider installing a better suspension system for improved handling. Motorcycle owners living in larger cities may find motorcycle parts stores that sell suspension systems and parts; however, many buyers may need to turn to the Internet to find a suspension system.

Buying Motorcycle Suspension Systems on eBay

If you want to take a look at the motorcycle suspension systems available on eBay, go to the site’s main page and type a search term such as "motorcycle suspension" into the search box. Once the search results load, you can narrow down the listings based on a variety of filters, including brand and price. If you are looking for specific replacement parts, such as shock absorbers or other specific suspension pieces, type that information into the search box. For example, if you are looking for shock absorbers, search on that phrase to obtain specific results.


The suspension on a motorcycle is important for the motorcycle to handle properly and ride smoothly. Different adjustments can be made on a motorcycle’s suspension system to enhance its performance and improve the bike’s handling. Motorcycle owners may need to experiment with different settings for the preload as well as for the front and rear damping in order to find the settings that are right for them.

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