June 23rd was shaping up to be an exceptional day. As a result of several weeks of phone calls and emails trying to get schedules to coincide, I managed to arrange a test with Thom Smith of Coppersmith Suspension Services to test the Öhlins TTX rear shock on the RMZ450 we have. I would be going for a pleasant drive to the country to a favorite track of mine called Center Road MX in Booneville, NC, the owners Jay and Sandy are super friendly, the dirt is always great and the track is well groomed. Thom is the man when it comes to setting up suspension and when it comes to Öhlins he is as close to God as you can get. He works with top pros across the nation running Öhlins suspension on their bikes and we think if they are cool with his advice we should be too. Thom says “most people try to deal the reaction, not the cause”. Say you bike is kicking going into a corner. He suggests; ask yourself why the bike is kicking? Is it possible it’s bottoming then kicking? The typical rider will try to deal with this problem by slowing the rebound because he’s trying to fix the kicking or rebound issue. The result of adjusting the rebound in this situation is the shock still bottoms but now there is less traction because the shock is packing up. The key is in asking yourself why is the bike doing what it is doing? Not simply asking what is the bike doing. He says “If you have a problem with rebound it’s usually made better by adjusting compression. If you take care of compression the rebound takes care of itself and balance is a must”.
We have seen time and time again how important suspension setup is. We suggest everyone have at least the correct springs installed and set their sag before making any other modifications to their bike, especially mods to enhance speed via increased HP. Going fast on a motocross bike is hampered by a suspension that is not set up properly. ................................................Continued