Have you ever hit a big bump while riding your dirt bike and felt like your front wheel was coming off? That’s probably because the fork adjustment was not right.
Your dirt bike forks are one of the most important suspension components on your bike. They play a huge role in how your bike handles, so it’s important to adjust them properly.
Besides, dirt bike forks can be easily adjusted to make them more flexible and absorb shocks better.
Forks on dirt bikes can be adjusted fairly easily – if you know what you’re doing. Let’s look further in the following for our step-by-step guide on how to adjust dirt bike forks in no time!
Basics of suspension adjustments
It’s crucial to have the basic knowledge of dirt bike forks so that you can continue the adjusting without any hassle.
Technical terms like Sag, Reload & Damping are the most important. Once you grab knowledge of these, you can do a better job of adjusting your dirt bike forks.
Let’s explore the suspension or fork-related terms
You can start by setting your dirt bike sag while going for a fork adjustment. Because your bike’s balance depends on it. You will get two types of sag, one is free sag and another one is rider sag.
In short, free sag means how much your trail bike suspension compresses just from its body weight. While rider sag means the amount of compression of the suspension when you are riding on it.
Less amount of sag will let the rider control the bike easily but it will have low stability during high speed. High sag means it would be a bit difficult to steer the bike but it would be very stable during high speed.
Preload is one of the most important aspects of dirt bike suspension. It is responsible for setting the initial sag of the bike, as well as how much travel is available to absorb bumps.
When preload is set too high, the bike will be less forgiving over small bumps and will have a rougher ride.
If it is set too low, the bike will bottom out more easily and will not have enough travel to absorb large bumps. Dirt bike springs are typically softer than those on a street bike, so it is important to adjust preload accordingly.
The hydraulic valves that directly keep your dirt bike’s spring under check is known as damping. Damping determines how fast would respond to shock and the forks to any specific riding terrain.
For example, low-speed damping or slow shock is best for the hilly surface. And high-speed damping is appropriate for hardcore rough terrain.
Damping can be divided into two categories for a more detailed understanding of the fork mechanism.
The first one is compression damping which assists the enduro bike forks to absorb the bump while the wheel goes for an upward stroke.
The second one is rebound damping which helps your dirt bike’s fork to move back in its original position while the wheel goes for a downward stroke.
As you will be riding on various terrain so you have to adjust the damper according to the specific ride.
How to adjust forks on a dirt bike?
As dirt bike comes with two wheels so you have to work both of them individually as they have their fork or suspension system. However, the front forks have a huge difference from the rear ones.
In the following, you will see both the front fork adjustment and the rear fork/suspension adjustment.
From the moment right now you will see your bike forks differently because I am going to reveal a lot about them.
Rear suspension/fork adjustment
The following mechanism is for those bikes which come with Rear Shock on Linkage Suspension
However, when it comes to rebounding, in most cases you’re going to find the rebound adjuster down at the bottom on the clevis on your shock. But remember just like with the forks, it might differ from bike to bike, so if you’re not quite sure, look at your owner’s manual.
Here you will screw the adjuster ( flat screw shape) in a clockwise direction until there’s any resistance. The resistance point is considered zero. Then, simply turn the screw in an anti-clockwise direction while you have to count the clicks 12 times. And then stop because this is your standard adjustment.
Now coming on the shock or the rear suspension, in most cases your low and high-speed adjusters are going to be located near the shock reservoir. You can use a flathead screwdriver to adjust. The high-speed compression is going to be the outside nut. Also, when the focus is on high-speed compression, a couple of things you need to keep in your mind.
Don’t get high-speed compression confused with how fast you’re moving in terms of miles per hour. Rather, it’s the measurement of how fast a shock shaft is moving. You might experience abrupt high-speed landings or sharp square edge bumps during your riding sessions.
For example, if you’re out riding, you come off a jump, you feel like you’re bottoming too easily, or if you feel like the rear end is maybe sitting a little bit too low under acceleration, well what you can do is stiffen up the high-speed compression and go in.
Or maybe you’re coming through a corner, you have some square edge bumps coming out, some acceleration chop, you feel like it’s harsh. What you would do then is soften up the high-speed compression to make it a little bit more comfortable.
You will find a high-speed adjuster which is the exterior part of the 14mm nut.
Now when it comes to adjusting that high-speed compression, in most cases, this isn’t going to be by clicks, it’s going to be rather by turns. And a good rule of thumb for adjusting is you want to go a ¼ to a ½ turn at a time into a clockwise direction when you’re adjusting that high-speed compression.
Whenever you feel a minimum resistance, it’s time to stop the adjusting because it means zero or neutral. And from this zero point, you should make 2 full turns and 1 half turn in an anti-clockwise direction, and here is your standard adjustment.
Front suspension/fork adjustment
The adjuster for compression damping and rebound damping is known as clickers. You will easily find them right on top of your dirt bike’s fork leg. Here you will find S and H letters which refer to Soft & Hard respectively. Along with that, another screw lies close to that which is known as an air bleeder.
You will only need a flat blade screwdriver which will help you adjust the front fork.
Now if you want to harder the compression then using the screwdriver turn the clicker in a clockwise direction towards the H letter.
On the opposite, if you rotate the clicker anti-clockwise towards the S letter it will make the downward compression softer.
However, you should not change the adjustment too much. Generally, 2 clicks and immediately have a ride to see the difference.
It’s time to work on the rebound adjuster. You will find this right at the bottom of your dirt bike’s fork leg. It will help you to tune and adjust the rate of the fork movement to its extended position.
If you want to make your forks rebound speed slower then simply turn the clicker towards the printed H letter. And if you want to make the rebound speed faster then turn the adjuster towards the printed S letter.
Maintenance of dirt bike forks
A dirt bike fork is an essential component of the suspension system, and proper maintenance is crucial to keeping it in good working condition.
The fork consists of two tubes, held together by a series of springs and dampers. The springs provide tension that keeps the fork from bottoming out, while the dampers absorb impact to smooth out the ride.
Over time, dirt and debris can build up inside the fork, causing the parts to wear down and eventually fail.
To prevent this from happening, it is important to regularly clean and inspect the fork for damage. If any parts are worn or damaged, they should be replaced as soon as possible.
By taking care of your dirt bike fork, you can ensure that it will provide years of trouble-free performance.
What Is “Bottoming Out The Suspension”?
Bottoming out the suspension refers to the condition of suspension when it loses the ability to take and absorb further force and it’s completely compressed. Although there are shocks that come with a rubber stopper system, which prevents the damage of the shocks.
If your bike is generating metal clunk noise that means it’s bottoming out. However, you can prevent it by increasing your dirt bike’s sprint rate. Moreover, you can higher the oil level of the forks to event it. One of the best ways is to lower your trail bike’s compression damping.
How to identify if your dirt bike forks need adjustment?
The first thing you’ll want to do is to find a flat, level surface to work on. Then, using a tape measure, check the sag of your forks. The sag is the distance that the forks compress when you sit on the bike in the riding position with the shocks fully extended.
To get an accurate measurement, have someone hold the bike while you measure from the base of each fork leg to a reference point on the triple clamp.
Ideally, you want between 20 and 30mm of sag. If your measurement falls outside of this range, it’s time to make an adjustment.
What can happen if you do not adjust the dirt bike forks when necessary?
When riding a dirt bike, it is important to keep an eye on the forks. The forks are what connect the handlebars to the front wheel, and they play a crucial role in determining how the bike handles.
If the forks are not properly adjusted, it can cause the bike to handle badly and make it difficult to control. You could also end up putting too much pressure on your tire, which could cause a blowout.
Additionally, if the forks are too loose, they can cause the front wheel to come off entirely. As a result, it is important to check the forks regularly and tighten them as necessary. Failure to do so can put you at risk of serious injury.
How to adjust dirt bike suspension to your weight?
Suspension is one of the most important aspects of a dirt bike. It significantly affects how the bike handles and how comfortable you are while riding. While factory settings are usually a good starting point, they may not be ideal for your weight and riding style.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to adjust your suspension to better suit your needs. The first thing you’ll need to do is determine your sag. This is the amount that your suspension compresses when you’re seated on the bike with all your gear on.
Once you know your sag, you can start to make adjustments. If you’re too heavy for the springs, you can add preload to stiffen them up.
If you’re too light, you can remove preload to soften the ride. You’ll also need to adjust the rebound and compression damping to get the ride quality that you’re looking for.
Additional Read: Dirt bike weight limit
What are the functions of dirt bike forks?
The forks on a dirt bike serve a number of important functions. First of all, they hold the front wheel in place and provide a connection point for the handlebars. Also, they act as shock absorbers, absorbing impacts from bumps and jumps.
In addition to that, they help to distribute the weight of the rider and bike evenly.
Moreover, they provide stability and control while riding.
Furthermore, they allow the rider to change the bike’s direction by turning the handlebars. Without forks, a dirt bike would be much less maneuverable and more difficult to ride.
How to tighten the fork caps and test for proper adjustment?
Before you can ride a dirt bike, you need to make sure your bike is in good working order. In addition to keeping the fork in good condition, checking the fork caps and making sure they’re tight is also crucial.
The fork caps are located at the top of the forks, and they hold the forks in place. If they’re not tight, the forks can come loose and cause serious damage to your dirt bike. To tighten the fork caps, use a wrench or socket set.
First, loosen the bolts that hold the cap in place. Then, use the wrench or socket set to tighten the bolts until they are snug. Once you’ve tightened the fork caps, test them by trying to move the forks up and down.
If they’re properly adjusted, the forks should be snug and not move around. If they’re still loose, repeat the process until they’re tight. With proper adjustment, your dirt bike will be ready for a day of riding adventures.
What is the appropriate dirt bike fork height?
There’s no easy answer regarding the appropriate dirt bike fork height. A variety of factors can affect the ideal setting, including the rider’s weight, skill level, and the type of terrain being ridden.
That said, there are a few general tips that can help you find the right height for your dirt bike forks. First, start by checking the owner’s manual for your specific bike. This will give you a good starting point for setting the fork height.
Next, consider your own weight and riding style. Heavier riders may need to set the forks slightly higher, while more aggressive riders may prefer a lower setting. Finally, be sure to test out different settings on different types of terrain to see what works best for you.
The days of trouble from the adjustment of the fork will be removed from your dirt bike maintenance duties as now you know crucial knowledge about how to adjust dirt bike forks.
If this article makes a positive change in your dirt biking and your understanding of dirt bike forks has improved then it would be pretty awesome for us both. Keep dominating the track with your dirt bike.