Suspension Kinematics

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5/14/2018 11:39 AM

Hey all you cool cats,

So in anticipation of this years outdoor series and to amp myself to get back on the bike after finishing college, I have been watching old outdoor races on Youtube from the Stewart and Carmichael days; my golden days. One thing that I can't help but notice is just how much more active the suspension characteristics were back in those days. Watching the tops pros such as Windham, Carmichael, Stewart, Reed, etc. their bikes look like they just eat up the track. Almost as if the rider is stationary and the bike just kind of hovers under them. In outdoor races, this can be especially seem at tracks such as Glen Helen, Southwick, and Millville. Now, I realize these guys were on two strokes and due to the lighter weight of the bike, the suspension valving even for a pro could be set up lighter. But, even when everyone went to 450's in 05' their bikes still seemed to just hug the track and not cause too much feedback to the rider. Even in supercross, the suspension seemed more "plush" but not plush as in soft, more along the lines of active? Watching some of the guys come up short on big stuff, the bikes just seem to take it and go. Nowadays it seems like the factory bikes only use maybe 1/4 of the travel on the bike and are very stiff looking around the track. Doesn't appear from a viewer's perspective that the bikes are that comfortable to ride and should you get something wrong, you are going flying...

Has anyone else noticed this watching the old pro bikes compared to factory rides today?


5/14/2018 1:04 PM

I have noticed the same thing, however I am in no way qualified to say how or why! Slipdog or ML might come along and sprinkle a little bit of knowledge in here... but I have heard that ML can’t even bottom A Kit suspension so I would probably not put a lot on what he says whistling tongue

Just kidding Michael!


Don’t piss off the old people - the older they get the less “life in prison” is a deterrent for them!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

5/14/2018 3:27 PM

bvm111 wrote:

I have noticed the same thing, however I am in no way qualified to say how or why! Slipdog or ML might come along and sprinkle ...more

Can ml bottom the yz65?


5/14/2018 3:38 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/14/2018 3:39 PM

Not so much stiff in the GP's. Everyone wanted to be like James, whips and rigid forks. The evolution of RUTS in corners has made this possible otherwise the front end will wash out. It is a setup designed for the 1% mistake rather than the 99% of the track. It seems as if braking bumps and acceleration bumps are created less by firm suspension? Not a fan, but I am not riding it either.