Forks or Shock which is more important?

Jeremy Wilkey

Owner, MX-Tech
Jan 28, 2000
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Ok here is the first REAL poll. I have found that many riders tend to isolate the front as the part of the suspension that makes the most diference to ride quality. Many of you might know how I feel but I'm intrested in your exsplanations. So file out the survey and post a reason if you like!
 

mx547

Ortho doc's wet dream
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Nov 24, 2000
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my only experience with what i consider to be awful suspension...i bought a new '90 honda cr 250 back in '89. the suspension was so bad it was almost unrideable. people laughed at me until i let them ride it, then they agreed. i sent it off to pro circuit. the shock came back with a night and day difference. the forks i couldn't tell any difference at all. but with the shock fixed, i instantly became a contender on that bike. the forks didn't really seem to matter that much as far as overall track speed.
 

MACE

LIFETIME SPONSOR
Nov 13, 1999
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I can confidently break traction on the rear and never have it cause a crash (at trail speed). I can vary the load on the rear with throttle.

The front end needs to afford predictable traction or I am off the edge or in the bark. I can not apply more or less throttle to the front wheel.

And finally, my sissy wrists don't care (much) what the shock is doing.

Of course when I get that cheese valve in the shock my opinion may change.:cool:
 
B

biglou

I voted that I "Feel" the forks are most important but I suspect that in theory the forks and the shock are equally important. The forks play a huge part in what is transmitted through your wrists, arms and shoulders so you feel their input at all times. I am betting, however, that the shock plays a much bigger part in the stability and controlability of the bike than we realize.
Am I close to right? Are there any right/wrong answers to this?!
 
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BSWIFT

Sponsoring Member
N. Texas SP
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Nov 25, 1999
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You have to have balance. However, the rear end must remain in contact with the ground to have tractablility. Without that, you are just spinning your wheel.
 

Anssi

Member
May 20, 2001
870
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I would say the shock for me.

I only ride MX, and much of the time I'm on the throttle hard. The forks make zero difference here. Bad forks may feel a bit harsh when hitting bumps, but I assume make no difference in lap times on that part. A bad shock might make me lose control and cause me to let off the gas.

I'm not saying that the forks are not important. They make a difference in braking (I'm too bad a rider to take advantage) and in turns where you have to slow down or be on non-full throttle for a while.

My forks are shot (the mid-valve, probably) making them extremely harsh since they are most of the way through the stroke most of the time. I tried a friends YZ426 and man what a difference in plushness even with the thumpers fork compression set to 2 clicks out.

My shock is also valved too soft for my weight and bottoms regularly on big hits but works ok on small ones.

Both ends will be done when my vacation is over.
 
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HiG4s

~SPONSOR~
Mar 7, 2001
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Of course I agree witht the BOTH sentiment, but I voted for the forks. If the shock is a little off (as long as I can set the rebound damping) I don't worry too much about what the back end is doing. But if the front doesn't track, I crash. And when you finally hit one of those whoops wrong at speed, and sooner or later you will, if the fork doesn't absorb the impact well enough it becomes endo time.
 

motojunkie

Member
Apr 25, 2001
88
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I can feel what is going on more with the forks, But I think the shock is actually more important. The shock can affect the action of the forks a whole lot more than the fork affect the shock. Not only do shock adjustments affect traction, but the also have an impact with the way the forks react to terrain. If you change the shock's sag, compression, or rebound setting - you're going to feel a difference up front.
 

919

Member
Oct 27, 2000
43
0
I say forks are more important. Think of it this way. Would you rather have a front flat tire or a rear? Jeremy....are you going to post the correct answer after a while?
 

John Curea

LIFETIME SPONSOR
Feb 29, 2000
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The shock.......

A shock that is set up wrong will swap a rider all over the track.....how about entering a turn, hitting all those nasty braking bumps, and then its right out of the turn into a bunch of accelleration bumps, getting your shock to handle both of those extremes is like wanting your cake and eating it too!!

Not to mention blasting through a whooped out section without getting pitched off the bike ,or making the bike jump level without too fast rebound which will want to throw you over the handlebars

if your shock is all bad, you'll hate your bike !!


A shock lives in a very violent enviroment, add the enormous factor of chain torque, especially on a 250 2 stroke and you will have a recipe for dissaster !!

Of course ....there are ways to tame the beast.....:D
 

yzeater

~SPONSOR~
May 21, 2001
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It is possibly (very hard, but possible) to spend the an entire race on only the shock. It isn't possible to spend all track time on your forks.
 

Jaybird

Apprentice Goon
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Mar 16, 2001
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Charlestown, IN
I concur with motojunkie.
 

nikki

Moto Junkie
Apr 21, 2000
5,802
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I picked "where's C" because I feel both are very important to me because I'm pretty light on a 125. Also - of course for the best possible ride - the two have to be working together.

But if someone said to me: "You can only have one side revalved..." I would choose for the front to be done. The shock seems to be a little easier to work with/tune for a decent ride (set sag and play with clickers). Forks not set up right for you seem to have more of an impact on a ride... harshness, front tire not sticking in the ruts in corners, barshake, arm pump, hard landings, tired upper body, coming off a jump awkward, etc...
 

919

Member
Oct 27, 2000
43
0
KX VET,
I have my forks revalved but nothing is done to my shock yet. But my bike is working really good. Maybe? IF !! I could get the shock done it would work even better!!
 

Jeremy Wilkey

Owner, MX-Tech
Jan 28, 2000
1,453
0
Nikki,
The infamous event "death swap from hell"? That grusome responce was non-other than your shock. Your fork postion was not helping but when your tuner made a bad tunning descion and softened up your shock rebound up it got worse.. (Sorry about that.. :p )


Suspension must work in balence, however the shock IMO is about the most critical.. If one is bad you will pay the price, but if the shock is bad you'll go twice as slow...or crash twice as hard..
Jer
 
S

Saratoga

They are dependant on each other. The performance of one affects the others performance. Therfore, you cannot categorize one as more important. It's like asking what is more important the gas or the premix oil?
 
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MikeS

LIFETIME SPONSOR
Jun 12, 2000
716
1
59%shock, 39% forks, 2% ???

I am not at all a expert tuner or rider. But when I ride agressively or watch other good riders, woods or MX they all ride hard on the rear wheel and let the forks float around. They steer on rear wheel, hop obsticles etc.

Us spodes steer with the forks & ride with most of our weight planted on them so some times we feel that they are the major factor.
 

yz_387

Member
Jun 6, 2001
71
0
Definitely the shock! A few years on a 89 CR 250 (honda's first inverted forks) makes everything else feel great. It seems that the one thing that is always holding me back is the seat kicking me in the butt (to the poing where my feet come off the pegs). Having a shock that would not do that and hook up under acceleration chop would be more valuable than works forks to me.
 

Jeremy Wilkey

Owner, MX-Tech
Jan 28, 2000
1,453
0
So it looks like the consencous is, but not by votes.. That both must work ok, but a good shock helps the most? Or is that just my opionion?
 

buffmaster

Mi. Trail Riders
Member
Apr 11, 2001
559
0
I'm just a dumb beginner, but I voted 'C' b/c you need to have both ends working together, complimenting each other. You can have either end 'off' a little and most people would never notice it. You need the shock to keep the tire on the ground and the power to the ground, but you also need the forks to keep the tire going where you want it to go. And then there's the load absorbstion (sp?). If you have no shock, you could end up with a taco'd wheel and/or broken frame. If you have no fork, you could end w/a taco'd wheel and/or something in the front broken(bars, head tube gusset, etc.). W/out the sus., front and rear equally, you'll have problems.
 

MX265

Sponsoring Member
Jan 29, 2001
238
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I feel the forks are most important because they are at the center of control and the also cushion the blow to your arms and upper body for the most part. The forks impact your cornering speed and sense of control. To soft or to hard you'll either wash out or high side. Neither is much fun. Also your arms and uopper body will tire quickly if the forks are not dialed in correctly. Your legs tend to be stronger so they can make up for some minor tuning errors in the shock. I am in no way an expert in the subject, these are just observations.
 
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