Over the last few years, RG3 has been busily building their reputation on the MX scene, both for their suspension tuning capabilities and innovative products like their triple clamps, which have gotten rave reviews. Their visibility got a huge boost in 2000 when Travis Pastrana used RG3 suspension to win the 125cc National Championship in his rookie season. They currently support Suzuki’s 125 riders with suspension work (and the 250cc riders use the RG3 triple clamps), as well as the Suzuki arenacross and off-road riders.
We stopped by their offices this week and one of RG3’s partners, Ian Roe, gave us the scoop on the company background. “Rob Hendrickson started RG3 in September of ’98. Before that, he was at FMF in their suspension department, and prior to that he was at Race Tech, which is where he got most of his initial training. Early on he was in New Zealand doing schooling for engineering.”
“I actually had the building RG3’s housed in now with a watercraft business, and sublet part of it to Rob to start RG3. I’ve known him since Race Tech, because I used to work there too. When RG3 expanded service-wise and also with the introduction of the triple clamp, I closed down the watercraft/jet ski side of things.
So how did RG3 hook up with the various Suzuki teams? “A lot of it was Rob’s connections over the years working within the industry. He developed a good reputation for knowing what he was doing when it came to suspension. When he was involved with FMF’s Honda team, that lead to an association with Showa, and Honda’s off-road team was supported by FMF back then. Through that avenue it led to other teams and Suzuki.”
“I think the support of the Suzuki team has really raised the profile of the company at a national level. We do a lot of suspension work on all brands. We don’t just do Suzukis. We do a lot of Yamaha and Honda…we’re finding that we’re doing a lot more KTM now as they’re getting more popular.”
Besides the suspension tuning, RG3 is also well-known for their triple clamps. The four post bar mount design has garnered rave reviews for vibration reduction and helping to reduce or eliminate arm pump. “The clamps are the biggest thing because they address the one problem most riders have, which is being able to hang on. Pretty much every rider at some point runs into not being able to hang on because their arms are fatigued because of vibration. I don’t think that’s ever going to go away. You’ve got to be able to hang on, because the bikes are so highly developed in other areas.”
“The triple clamp part of the business has grown tremendously, and there are a lot of other products on the drawing board that are equally unique, but the biggest problem is probably time. Rob’s resources for design and engineering of this stuff is limited, particularly when the Suzuki off-road team needs support, or the arenacross team, or 125 supercross and national team. They all need support during testing.”
So what tips does Ian have for new riders? “We have a field support guy that goes to tracks and he offers a free service of basic bike setup. Some of the things he finds are pretty scary. Guys with fork tube heights that are different, wrong sag settings…where the basics are just way off. Certainly for any novice or beginner, just getting those basic setup things are the most important. Sag, fork height, and maybe a bit of clicker work makes a world of difference. Guys find that once the basic stuff’s done, they become more comfortable in their abilities and improve. The same type of thing translates to the intermediate and pro class. The more comfortable they are, they more their abilities will improve and their race results will improve. Setup’s everything. People don’t know how good it can be until they try something better. They think they’re comfortable and doing as well as they can, so they introvert, ‘What do I need to do to get around this turn quicker,’ or whatever it is, and they pound on themselves. But if they’re made more comfortable on the bike it happens naturally.
So why does Ian feel someone should trust their suspension to RG3 instead of another company? “There are a lot of good, knowledgeable companies out there doing suspension, but there are quite a few hack ones, too. I think we have a good depth of experience when it comes to different abilities and riding conditions. We’ve got a collection of specifications that fit a wide range of riders and we certainly have a lot of intention to make sure the customer gets the best spec. If they’re not happy with what they get, we want them to be in touch, and we try hard make sure it’s dialed in perfectly. We fully guarantee everything we do.”
What: A full variety of suspension rebuilds and revalving, triple clamps, and Showa suspension kits for Suzukis.
Where: 3164 E. La Palma, Unit A; Anaheim, CA 92806
Tel: (714) 630-0786
Fax: (714) 905-0441
Orders: (714) 905-0440