Hello everybody, I was very impressed to see how many people wrote to me after my post about Sphere Kit and as always I can just say thank you for your interest and for your support! You’ve asked me about functionalities of Sphere Kit, how about the difference during the years and others interesting questions, but one of the most frequent question was about suspension valving (shims’ setting), which I think it is one of the thing that sparks a big interest but it is also very important do the right one.

So following your big curiosity about valving, today I will talk about it, before explain more about my range of products, when I will talk to you about their valving and probably after today’s post you will have a clearer idea.

Let’s start! 

When we talk about suspension valving the first thing that we have to remember is that shock absorber is “speed sensitive” and NOT “position sensitive”, consequently of speed we have the dumping effect.

Another important thing to have a complete overview of how suspension valving are used in mechanics, is to recognize the 3 types of valving (you can see them on the pictures below) and they are:

  • HORN: which is linear valving, used for off road disciplines. And as you can understand is the valving that I use.
  • BELL: valving used for road disciplines
  • STRAIGHT: valving most used for autos 

A question that I often receive is: Is there an absolute suspension valving for each discipline, which could be ok for every rider? The answer is NO! Because every rider has its own particular needs and the perfect thing would be find your own valving. It depends on the discipline, on the terrain, on the level of the rider etc… there are a lot of variables that effect on it.

So for sure you question now will be: if there isn’t an absolute valving, how do you do valving for your products because they are used from different riders? 

Let’s explain how I choose the suspension valving!

  • First step, I study different shims settings for Enduro, MX and Motorally. After that with a good number of riders from the different disciplines, and of different levels (from the amateur that go out for a Sunday ride to the pro rider who do races) I do many tests on track to understand which are the best suspension valving
  • Last step, with these last I go on my dyno shock and I stress them to the maximum and I put these valving in extreme conditions; this allows me to exclude cavitation, shims’ twisting, excess of friction and important thing, the valving must not stress too much the oil.
  • At the end when I am completely sure, I choose the right shims setting , which is in my opinion a good compromise for all riders.

When you’ve got a good upgrade kit…

Finally there is one thing that I want to clarify and probably it could change your point of view about suspension valving and sure it changed mine when I’ve started thoroughly study the shock absorber. Have a good and properly valving is sure very important for a rider because it gives feeling with the motorbike and stability, and all these two things together mean safety!

But it isn’t the most important thing to obtain a big return from your suspension, especially if you have installed an upgrade kit, that could be Sphere Kit, XP-One Kit, Ray Kit etc.. or other kits that you find in the market., because the already have a good shims setting.

What are the important things to knowbesides valving:

  • Point number one, the right springs’ rate, it’s very important to have the springs suitable for you. The rate of them depends from the body weight and from the type of discipline you usually do, motorcycle weight and riding position (front, middle or back).
  • Point number two, the right level of oil because sometimes just taking off 10ml you could have an optimum result.
  • And last but not last for importance, find the right dynamic and static sag.

How to measure SAG In three simple steps

  • Put the bike on kickstand and measure the front fork in two points;
  • Get off the bike from the kickstand and do the same measurement.
  • The point 1 – the point 2 = STATIC SAG
  • Bike on the ground with rider on seat and you do again the same measurement.
  • Now if you subtract the last measurement (point 3) from the first measurement (point 1) the total that you obtain is the DINAMYC SAG!

The rights sag for your motorbike is on its manual if you want to have a parameter before checking it.

Suspension valving - test

Well, here we are, that’s, in my opinion, all you have to know to better understand this argument, suspension valving, that is sometimes difficult to comprehend. Obviously this is a smattering, becaus this theme is very very wide and complicated.

And as always I’m waiting for your questions, doubts, curiosities and all you want to know about suspesnion valving in this case, or about other things!

Thank you for your time and I hope that most of you will have beautiful bike rides during this sunny season!

– Gianni-

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