Tuesday Tip: Understanding Your Clickers
With Enzo’s Ross Maeda

Enzo Racing handles the suspension needs of a number of top pro racers, including guys like Jason Lawrence and Ryan Morais of the Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy team. So when a reader emailed us asking about how and why you would make adjustments with your suspension’s clickers, we hit up Enzo’s Ross Maeda for some advice.

Take it away, Ross…

TWO KEY COMPONENTS

To understand how to start adjusting your suspension, you have to understand the basic components. Both the forks and shock have two key elements: the spring and dampening.

The spring is load or position-sensitive, which basically means it’s job is to hold the rider’s weight. The dampening — which is what the clickers control — is a speed-sensitive element.

The spring is really just a dumb piece of metal that’s bending. It’s like a trampoline, if you stand on a trampoline, it holds you up; but if you jump on it, it goes down a lot deeper and throws up equally as high. If you just had a spring on a motorcycle — and no dampening — it would be like a car going down the freeway without shocks; it would bounce up and down for miles.

Adding dampening to the suspension is like putting that trampoline in water. It will still support your weight, but you don’t get the springy, bouncing effect.

START WITH THE RIGHT SPRINGS

You can’t compensate for a spring that is too stiff or too soft with the adjusters. So before you do anything, check the weight range indicated for your spring and, if needed, make a change there first. Your local suspension shop can help you with this.

WHAT YOUR CLICKERS DO

As I said, your clickers are there to make adjustments to dampening; to control speed-sensitivity. Going in (clockwise) on your clicker makes that adjustment tighter/slower. If you go out (counter clockwise), it makes that adjustment looser/faster.

For example, if you are bottoming out in low-speed situations, go in on the low-speed compression clicker to compensate (increase compression dampening).

The suspension on a modern motocross bike has dampening adjusters (clickers) for:

  • Fork compression
  • Fork rebound
  • Shock low-speed compression
  • Shock high-speed compression
  • Shock rebound

Check your owner’s manual for the exact location of each adjuster.

SHOCK ADJUSTMENTS

It’s important to remember that your shock has adjusters for both high- and low-speed compression. The low-speed adjustment is for situations with low amounts of stroke, and the high-speed is adjuster impacts situations with large amounts of stroke.

Let’s say you’re accelerating through a section with very deep bumps, and your shock is going from full extension to 3/4 quickly; to change how soft or stiff your shock feels in that situation you would adjust your high-speed compression clicker.

If you’re in a situation where your shock is using short amounts of stroke, like braking bumps, you want to adjust your low-speed compression adjusters.

FORK ADJUSTMENTS

Your forks only have a single compression adjuster, and a rebound adjuster. Adjusting the fork compression will affect how quickly or slowly your front end compresses, while adjusting the rebound clicker changes how fast the shock springs back to full extension.

Changes to fork dampening can have a big impact on how well your bike handles in corners. If your front suspension feels too soft, go in on your compression. If your fork is coming back too fast, go in on your rebound adjuster.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS

Some people are afraid to adjust their clickers, but I tell them if you can count, use a screwdriver, and tell the difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise; you can adjust your clickerrs. Just remember, clockwise is tighter or slower, and counter-clockwise is looser or faster. It’s that simple.

To get started, go to your local track and run a few laps. Then come back to the pits and make adjustments one at a time. If you think it’s one thing, try making an adjustment two or three clicks at a time, then go back out and ride. If that didn’t help, go the other way; or if you don’t feel it, keep going more.

If you get lost you can always go back to the stock settings by checking your owner’s manual, and most suspension shops will be happy to give advice over the phone.

Well Ross, suspension is clearly a complicated beast, but we appreciate the tips.

If you have questions, or prefer to have your suspension adjustments handled by a pro, check out Enzo Racing at www.enzoracing.com.