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Suspension Glossary

The following list contains many of the terms you come across when
talking about a motocross bike’s suspension systems.  For more
information on suspension see
suspension setup tips.

Acceleration Headshake
When the front of the bike starts to shake while accelerating.  Not as
common as deceleration headshake and generally occurs when
existing corners under power or on long straight-aways.

Bottoming
When the front or rear suspension systems use ALL available travel
to absorb an impact.  Forks or shock have completely collapsed.

Compression
Means to press or squeeze together.  The front and rear suspension
systems compress when landing off a jump, hitting a bump, or
braking for corners.

Compression Adjuster
Used to adjust the front or rear compression setting.  The rear
compression adjuster is located on the rear shock at the top of the
reservoir.  The front compression adjuster could be on the top or
bottom of the forks depending on your bike.  Check your owner’s
manual for correct location.

Deceleration Headshake
When the front of the bike starts to shake under braking or when you
let off on the throttle.  Most common form of headshake.

Diving
When the forks compress very quickly.  Mostly occurs when braking
hard for a corner.

Headshake
When the front end of the motorcycle oscillates back and forth.  
Headshake can occur during acceleration or deceleration.

Hopping
When the front or rear wheel bounds off the ground when landing
from a jump or hitting bumps.

Over Steer
When corning, the front end of the bike “washes out” or “knifes
inward."

Pogo
When the shock or forks rebound so quickly that the rear or front
wheel leaves the ground.

Preload
Refers to how much tension is applied to a spring.  You use preload
to adjust the sag.  More preload increases the tension on the spring
and decreases the sag.  Less preload decreases the tension on the
spring and increases the sag.

Rebound
Means to “spring back.”  The front and rear suspension rebound after
being compressed from an impact.

Rebound Adjuster
Used to adjust the front and rear rebound setting.  The rear rebound
adjuster is located at the bottom of the shock by the rear shock
linkage.  The front rebound adjuster could be on the top of bottom of
the forks depending on your bike.  Check your owner’s manual for
correct location.

Revalve
Revalving is the process of changing the internal compression and
rebound shims to change the flow of oil throughout passages in the
front forks and rear shock.  A suspension specialist should revalve
your bike’s suspension.

Sag
Refers to how much the rear suspension compresses when a rider
in full gear sits on the bike.  Sag is measured in millimeters.  For big
bikes, 100mm is generally the standard sag setting.  For mini bikes,
85 mm is generally the standard sag setting.  Check owner’s manual
for the manufacture's recommended setting.

Spring Rate
Refers to the strength of a spring.  Measured in kilograms per
millimeter or pounds per inch.

Static Sag
Refers to how much the rear suspension sags under only the bike’s
weight (no rider aboard).

Swapping
When the rear end jumps quickly from one side to the other.

Top Out
When the rear shock fully extends.

Under Steer
When corning, the front end of the bike refuses to turn or turns
outward.

Unstableness
When the bike feels uncontrolled, unpredictable and inconsistent.  
The bike does not feel steady or balanced.  The front and rear are not
working together.

Washes Out
Front end of the motorcycle turns inward, especially when cornering.  
Same as Over Steer.
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