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Food for Thought

Here are a some stories just to position the importance of properly set-up suspension.

Anecdote 1:-

I was reviewing some old copies of "Two Wheels Only" magazine recently, one of which was the October 2008 edition.

They did an article titled "The Science of Speed". They had Niall MacKenzie ride a Kawasaki ZX10R around Brands Hatch, applied the following changes and assessed the improvements each made, as a stand-alone adjustment against the stock bike.

Suspension set-up

Sticky road tyres


Altered Gearing

Exhaust and filter

Showa shock

Their conclusion was the first thing you should do is get your suspension set-up properly as that gives the biggest gains. Next best gains came from fitting sticky tyres. Their opinion on a race exhaust was that it is virtually only good for saving weight and an after market shock needs a large time investment to balance and set up.

Ironically the cheapest change, suspension set-up, provides the best returns!

Anecdote 2:-

Another interesting anecdote relates to the last season in WSB of Troy Bayliss on the Ducati 999. Ducati had stopped developing the 999 engine the year before as the costs had become too great to match the 1000c fours, and they were negotiating the capacity increase to 1200cc for twins.

Troy was winning races not with an engine that had been updated, but by manipulating suspension settings from the previous season. A point that to me illustrates not only the impact of good suspension settings, but also, that it is evolutionary in nature.

Riders who have their suspension set-up for them and their riding style, will ride faster and once they reach their new limit, their suspension can be tuned again to help them find an even higher limit.


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