Suspension tuning/setup - how big a difference and is it worth it?

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10/27/2017 5:09 AM

I bought a fairly well kitted out 2017 CRF 250 at the start of the year and pretty much the only thing that could be done to it would be triple clamps and a full suspension setup. I have got in touch with a company called Planet Advanced Racing who seem to set up a lot of the British Nationals bikes along with a couple of GP teams bikes and they have quoted me £415 delivered which they say will include a new rear spring, revalve front & rear and upgraded fork seals and bushes.

My question is, after having similar work to this carried out have you noticed a big change in the bike? Does it just respond better through the track or does it aid fatigue and arm-pump also? I have only had suspension work done to 1 bike previously and after having had it done I only noticed small changes but later heard the guy that did the work is very hit or miss so can't really use that as a good reference point.

Any pointers would be a big help!

Thanks!

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10/27/2017 5:14 AM

I'd say it's 100% dependent on who's revalving it, and what data they're going off to set it up for you. Some guys will come out and test with you to make further changes as needed. So IMO, it could be better, worse, or a tiny difference completely depending on how it was set up.

Most here will say it's probably the biggest/best mod you can make if done right.

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10/27/2017 5:54 AM

What’s your size/weight and speed?

If you’re over 170 lbs, or anything faster than a novice..... that 415 quid will be the best money you’ll ever spend on a bike.

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Washed up moto and enduro weekend warrior.

10/27/2017 6:13 AM

Transworld asked some of the top riders some time ago about one modification that they would do to their bikes, if they were limited to just one. Most of them picked suspension tuning/setup. It says a lot.

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10/27/2017 6:22 AM

Well the guy who would be setting it up just asked the bike model, year and my weight and gave that estimate based on what I told him. I would be posting the parts over to him so there would be no feedback after it. In terms of weight I am about 150 pounds and just pushing B rider. The bike handles nicely as it is but I get a lot of people saying they think the front forks feel stiff although I have played about with the air pressures a bit since then.

I probably won't rush to do it but it will definitely be the next money I spend on my bike!

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10/27/2017 6:58 AM

The improvement very much depends on the starting point.

If the rear spring is too stiff, and you can’t get enough sag with any preload, while the front bottoms three times a lap, any suspension tuner worth the title will make a huge improvement.
(Many MX bikes seem to come with mismatched springs. My theory is that the factory figures most people will only have to change springs front OR rear,)

If the suspension is well balanced, without obvious flaws, and the rider is in the target range for weight, improvement is harder to come by, and likely to be more incremental.

I had my 2004 YZ250F revalved, resprung on the rear, and the goofy “bleed valves” removed from the forks. Night and day improvement.
I sent my 2008 YZ250F suspension to the same guy for similar treatment (SSS forks - no goofy valves) :the improvement was barely noticeable.

As one company says : the best you know, is the best you’ve tried,


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10/27/2017 7:36 AM

This really depends on your speed, if you are near a beginner level you most likely wont notice much of a difference, if you are at the junior level you could probably get away with just doing the springs and that would make a big difference for you. You should just buy the spring and do it your self first and see if that is good enough or if a revalve is needed if so then you can send off.

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10/27/2017 12:38 PM

I had a 2008 KX250F sprung/valved for my weight (215lbs at the time) and I thought it was only incrementally better, bottoming was improved but I honestly didn't think much of it. A year later I got a 2009 KX250F and I couldn't ride the damn thing. It wasn't as planted and plush as my 2008 and I honestly felt dangerous on it.

In my situation I was way out of the target weight range and I couldn't set the sag. I would definitely say having it revalved and sprung made a tremendous difference.

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10/27/2017 1:35 PM

TJMX947 wrote:

I had a 2008 KX250F sprung/valved for my weight (215lbs at the time) and I thought it was only incrementally better, bottoming was improved but I honestly didn't think much of it. A year later I got a 2009 KX250F and I couldn't ride the damn thing. It wasn't as planted and plush as my 2008 and I honestly felt dangerous on it.

In my situation I was way out of the target weight range and I couldn't set the sag. I would definitely say having it revalved and sprung made a tremendous difference.

You make a good point! I can set the sag just fine on my bike despite being adivsed ill need a new rear spring so i definitely wont be rushing to get the suspension done especislly since im already comfortable on the bike! Will definitely be the next thing i invest in though for sure, cheers for all the advice folks!

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10/27/2017 2:10 PM

Gary, Having used Scott Gardiners suspension for 10 years or so. He does have some good settings. Just be fair with the speed you quote and what you want.

I now live in Australia and have used another good local pro who has been tuning for 20 + plus years and the suspension is very similar.

Most Tuners use the same basic principles on a shim only revalve and will get the bike holding up better in the stroke (makes it feel plusher) and give the additional bottoming resistance required for faster riders. You will also get a more stable rebound circuit (slower) which helps with turning and the mid/large knee high bumps.


With Scott what I used to do prior to having him revalve it. Is play with the clickers quite a bit and find out what direction I liked the action (typically 4-6 clicks stiffer on comp and 1-2 clicks slower on rebound and have him set it up with that in mind. I also asked to make sure that the suspension was capable for a fast B class rider (Mid A) and set the outer chamber in the forks 10-15ml low in oil height as I would add oil to control bottoming if needed.

Always give the tuner as much info as you can. Saying (revalve it for such and such speed) means you will get a generic stack. If you put some effort in it will be more aligned with what you need. I ride over the front a lot and like a stiffer fork. I also like a non active rear shock (being short) and prefer to have a dead feel in the back rather than springy.

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CR250 07
KTM 200 2016 EXC (XCW)
Husqvarna TE150 2019
KX85 Supermini 2014
YCF 125 Bigy 2018

10/27/2017 2:32 PM

from my experience, there are guru's and hacks in the suspsension game.

My usual dude who I have had great success with had such a long lead time (due to been so good!) so I went with the other suspension guy in my city.

Put it this way, I paid for my suspension to be done twice, and got the good guy to sort it out properly.

So in short, yest suspension is worth doing. But get it done by the right guy with the runs on the board and good reputation.

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10/27/2017 4:10 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/27/2017 4:11 PM

Suspension is always the first component that i dial in on any bike i buy. A 1000$ exhaust that adds 1.3 hp is not going to make you charge harder into sections and feel more confident. A suspension configuration that is set up for your riding style, weight, and skill level is confidence inspiring, and any lack of confidence in your bike is ultimately what holds you back.

I still have stock exhaust and stock motor on my 450. It's already fast enough.

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